Robin Simon

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For the art historian and critic, see Robin Simon (critic).
Robin Simon
Birth name Robert Simon
Born (1956-07-12) 12 July 1956 (age 59)
Halifax, West Yorkshire, England
Genres New wave, post-punk, synthpop, world music
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1970s–present
Associated acts Limmie Funk Limited, Neo, Ultravox, The Futants, Magazine, John Foxx, Blitz, Ajanta Music, Persuasion, Visage

Robert "Robin" Simon (born 12 July 1956, Halifax, West Yorkshire, England)[1] is a British guitarist who was a member of both Ultravox and Magazine. He is currently a member of Ajanta Music (alongside his brother Paul), and of Visage since 2013.


Early career[edit]

Robert Simon and his drummer brother Paul had played in a number of bands in and around Halifax in the mid-1970s, including one which featured future Ultravox member Billy Currie. The brothers toured the UK with Limmie Funk Limited,[2] before joining the punk rock band Ian North's Radio (later called Neo) in 1976, along with American singer and Brian Eno protégé Ian North, the band supporting Ultravox! at their London performance that year.[3]


Simon joined Ultravox, replacing Stevie Shears, in 1978, bringing a looser, more multi-dimensional sound to the band.[4][5] When he was part of that band, he changed his name to Robin Simon in the music world.

He played guitar on the album Systems of Romance and co-produced it with the band, Conny Plank (of Kraftwerk fame) and Dave Hutchins. He also pioneered the use of multi-effects for guitar on the album to create an early Grunge/Metal type of sound using the Electro Harmonix and MXR effect pedals such as Fuzz compressor, wah-wah and flanging, tremolo and chorus. These were sent through a Music Man amplifier and cab, then to tape and also fed back to be re-recorded through a vintage Fender Champion amp. On Ultravox's hit single "Slow Motion", the song he instigated and co-wrote with the band, he added extra delay at the mixdown. Other effects such as flanging and ring modulation were added at mixdown to create occasional keyboard like guitar sounds.

During the American tour in 1979, John Foxx left Ultravox and Robin Simon decided the same idea, asking the other members to stay in the USA, being both replaced by Midge Ure shortly afterwards. While on tour with Ultravox Robin Simon met Grace Weisbard who was writing an article on the band for her college newspaper at the nightclub Hurrah and came back three months later and married her on 25 April 1979 in New York. He lived in New York and played with a local electro post-punk band called The Futants[6] (along with Defunkt keyboardist Martin Fischer). Grace Simon, formerly Weisbard moved to England with him before and during his years with Magazine but she went back to New York and divorced him by proxy on 14 June 1982. They remain friends to this day. Grace Simon went on to marry again and then became Grace Hudson in 6 June 1987. After Grace Simon left England and moved back to New York, Robin Simon and Billy Currie began regularly visiting the Billy's nightclub in Soho, which was at the heart of a new electronic music scene which was inspired by all thing European and cinematic, and would be a major influence on the burgeoning New Romantic scene.[7]


Returned to England, Simon joined Magazine in 1980 replacing John McGeoch.[8] Magazine's tour of the United States and Australia led to Simon's departure from the band.[9]

John Foxx[edit]

Simon contributed to Foxx's solo albums The Garden (1981), The Golden Section (1985) In Mysterious Ways (1985) and performed on stage during his 1983 tour and at a special John Foxx & the Maths show at London's Roundhouse in 2010.[10]


Ultravox had gone on to greater success with Midge Ure fronting the band, but when he left the band in 1988, Billy Currie reformed Ultravox with Simon, although the band's name soon changed to Humania due to outcry from fans.[11] The band was short-lived, with Currie subsequently forming another incarnation of Ultravox without Simon.[11] Simon also worked with Ian North and former Ultravox frontman John Foxx during their solo careers.[12]

Ajanta Music[edit]

In the early 1990s, Robin Simon began working again with his brother Paul, in AjantaMusic.[2]

He collaborated with his Magazine ex bandmate Dave Formula in the song "The Saddest Quay" for his solo album Satellite Sweetheart, which was released in 2009.


Since 2013, Robin Simon has been a member of the British new wave group Visage.[13]


  • Live At The Vortex (1977) (compilation of various artists)
John Foxx
  • Sinews Of The Soul (2006)
Ajanta Music
  • And Now We Dream (2006)


  1. ^ Chase, Helen. Magazine Pg. 23
  2. ^ a b "AjantaMusic", Independent Artists Company
  3. ^ "Neo", punkmodpop
  4. ^ Strong, Martin C. (2006). The Essential Rock Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 1132. ISBN 978-1-84195-827-9.  "[78] Robin Simon – guitar (ex-NEO) repl. Shears ... [Apr 79] Robin ... departed to Magazine."
  5. ^ Welbourn Tekh, "Ultravox – Systems of Romance (review)", Head Heritage
  6. ^ Metamatic Forum: Robin Simon – The Futants
  7. ^ Reynolds, Simon (2005) "Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978–1984", Faber and Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-21570-6
  8. ^ New Musical Express, 26 July 1980 "Magazine have already recruited a replacement for John. He is former Ultravox guitarist Robin Simon who has been rehearsing with the band for the past three weeks and has already been writing material with them."
  9. ^ Larkin, Colin (1992) "The Guinness Who's Who of Indie and new wave Music", Guinness Publishing, ISBN 0-85112-579-4
  10. ^ Masters, Tim. "John Foxx celebrates the sound of synths". BBC. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Grant, Steven, Robbins, Ira, & Reno, Brad "Ultravox", Trouser Press
  12. ^ Strong, Martin C. (1999). The Great Alternative & Indie Discography. Edinburgh: Canongate. p. 266. ISBN 0-86241-913-1. 
  13. ^ [1] Burning Flame Biz. Visage New Line-up
  • The Rolling Stone Encyclopedia of Rock and Roll – 3rd Edition

External links[edit]