Matthew Ashman

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Matthew Ashman
Birth name Matthew James Ashman
Born (1960-11-03)3 November 1960
Origin Mill Hill, England
Died 21 November 1995(1995-11-21) (aged 35)
Genres Punk rock, new wave
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar, keyboards
Years active 1970s–1995
Associated acts Adam and the Ants, Bow Wow Wow, Chiefs of Relief, Agent Provocateur

Matthew James Ashman (3 November 1960 – 21 November 1995)[1] was an English guitarist with Adam and the Ants and Bow Wow Wow. He died at age 35 after lapsing into a coma due to complications arising from diabetes in 1995.[1][2]


Raised in Mill Hill, Barnet, Ashman attended school alongside Boz Boorer. He was influenced by jazz while learning guitar,[3] and joined his first band, Staffix, after learning Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird". Staffix opened Glastonbury 77 with a 2 hr set, their own PA and a borrowed generator.

He joined Adam and the Ants after leaving The Kameras in June 1978, playing guitar and singing backing vocals. After 18 months, during which the Ants toured the UK twice and visited Belgium, Germany and Italy and released the singles "Young Parisians" and "Zerox", plus the album Dirk Wears White Sox, Ashman, together with fellow Ants Dave Barbe and Leigh Gorman were persuaded by manager Malcolm McLaren to leave the Ants and join Bow Wow Wow, featuring 13-year-old lead singer Annabella Lwin.

Bow Wow Wow broke up after three albums in 1983 and while Lwin went solo, the other members formed Chiefs of Relief with Ashman now as frontman. Gorman and Barbe drifted away (the latter replaced by former Sex Pistol Paul Cook), and the new line-up released an eponymous album on Sire Records in 1988 before breaking up. After several years away from the music industry, Ashman joined Agent Provocateur in the early 1990s, dying of complications arising from diabetes in 1995 shortly before the band released their album.

On the fifteenth anniversary of Ashman's death, Adam Ant topped the bill at a tribute concert for Ashman on 21 November 2010 at the Scala in London, in a show also featuring bands Ashman later joined – Bow Wow Wow, Chiefs of Relief and Agent Provocateur. Boorer provided guitar for Ant's set.[4]


Quite a few guitarists have listed Ashman as an influence over the years, including former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante.[5]


  1. ^ a b – accessed June 2011
  2. ^ Knocking on Heaven's Door: Rock Obituaries By Nick Talevski
  3. ^ Simmonds, Jeremy. The Encyclopedia of Dead Rock Stars. Pg. 342. Chicago Review Press, 2008. ISBN 1-55652-754-3, ISBN 978-1-55652-754-8
  4. ^
  5. ^