Steve James Sherlock

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Steve James Sherlock
Born 1953
London, United Kingdom
Instruments Saxophone, Clarinet, Flute
Associated acts Neu Electrikk, The The, Marc and the Mambas

Steve James Sherlock (born 1953 in London, United Kingdom) is a British composer, musician, saxophone player who was a founder member of Neu Electrikk, joined Matt Johnson in the Post punk band The The and notably Marc Almond in Marc and the Mambas.

Career Summary[edit]

Sherlock grew up in Thornton Heath, UK, and played the saxophone, clarinet and Flute. On hearing musicians like Andy Mackay of the 1970s band Roxy Music and Davey Payne, Ian Dury and The Blockheads Sherlock developed his own method of playing. This invariably involved experimenting with sound and processing the playing through various effects pedals. He met the vocalist Derek Morris in 1977 and together they formed Electra Vogue. Steve Parry later joined Sherlock and Morris having answered an advert placed by Morris in the NME for experimental musicians into The Velvet Underground, David Bowie. This trio of musicians formed the nucleus of what was later to become Neu Electrikk

Neu Electrikk[edit]

Main article: Neu Electrikk

Neu Electrikk [1] comprised singer songwriter Derek Morris, guitarist and electronics Steve Parry, bass player Nicholas Chamberlain Hunt, sax/flute/treatments Steve Sherlock and Barry Deller on drums/percussion.[2] Neu Electrikk were based in London and part of the experimental, post punk music scene that included artists like This Heat, The The, Wire and Throbbing Gristle. Live concerts were erratic events, whereby three-minute songs became long passages of improvisation and noise. Neu Electrikk would often take to the stage to the voice of Frank Sinatra being accompanied by pre-recorded tapes of bird song and the sound of an industrial hammer.

The The[edit]

Main article: The The

Sherlock became involved with Matt Johnson having been introduced by Steve Parry. Keith Laws had quit The The and they comprised Matt Johnson with Simon Turner (guitar/vocals), Colin Lloyd Tucker (guitar/vocals) and Steve Sherlock (saxophone).[3] In 1982 he contributed Flute and Saxophone to 'Three Orange Kisses From Kazan' and 'Waitin' For The Upturn', compositions for the intended debut album by The The (The Pornography of Despair), but this album was never officially released. Both compositions later appeared on the b-side to the 12" version of 'Uncertain Smile' and were included on the cassette version of Soul Mining.[4] Sherlock played Flute and Saxophone on the demo recording of 'Uncertain Smile'. Matt had defined most of the crisp melody lines on his original demo [5] with Sherlock having contributed the Sax and Flute lines. However, Johnson later recorded a version of the composition in New York City with sax and flute session player Crispin Cioe. Sherlock played with The The at their month-long Marquee Club residency in London.

Marc Almond[edit]

Main article: Marc and the Mambas

Matt Johnson recommended Sherlock to Marc Almond.[6] Marc and the Mambas was a new wave group, formed by Marc Almond, in 1982 as an offshoot project from Soft Cell. Notably the only consistent members of Marc and the Mambas were Marc Almond, Anne Hogan and Steve James Sherlock.[7] Almond and Sherlock, together with Annie Hogan recorded as Marc and the Mambas.[8] His inventive playing featured prominently on ‘Torment and Toreros‘. Sherlock notably sharing writing credits with Almond for the track Narcissus for the album. Marc and the Mambas could be considered the blueprint for Marc Almond's solo career. Torment and Toreros being an eclectic blend of Vaudeville, French chanson, goth sensibility, guitar noise, saxophones/flutes, piano and string sections.[9] Marc Almond became mentally ill during the course of making the album and he later noted ironically that the Torment and Toreros album was a nervous breakdown put to music.[10]'Torment and Toreros' reached #28 in the UK album charts in August 1983.[11] Shortly after completing the album Almond disbanded the band. Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons has referred to Marc and the Mambas being his favorite band all through his teens, becoming the starting point for Antony and the Johnsons and the album 'Torment and Toreros' being probably the definitive record of his adolescence.[12] 2012 - Steve James Sherlock featured on Marc and the Mambas limited edition CD/DVD set Three Black Nights of Little Black Bites - Live at the Duke of York's Theatre, 1983. The concert DVD was filmed by Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson from the industrial, avant-garde visual art group Throbbing Gristle.

Other Recordings[edit]

Sherlock worked on various sessions with Keith Laws The The (unreleased). Recorded with Matt Johnson/Colin Lloyd Tucker/ Simon Fisher Turner contributing to the Deux Filles - ‘Silence and Wisdom’ LP. Sherlock contributed flute to the track ‘The Hungry Years by Marc Almond and Andi Sexgang included on the 1983 compilation album ‘The Whip’.[13] Sherlock recorded with Red Army Choir for their EP Schizophrenic - released 1981 on Red Rhino Records.[14]

Selected Discography[edit]

  • Cover Girl - Neu Electrikk (1979)
  • Lust of Berlin - Neu Electrikk (1978)
  • Soul Mining (cassette and later extra tracks CD version) – The The (1983)
  • Torment and TorerosMarc and the Mambas (1983)
  • Uncertain Smile - (12” Single b-side) – The The (1982)
  • Silence and Wisdom’' - Deux Filles (1982)
  • Red1B3 - Red Army Choir (1982)
  • Three Black Nights of Little Black Bites - Marc and the Mambas (1983)
  • Silence & Wisdom & Double Happiness - Deux Filles (1982,1983,2013) Double CD Package LTM Records


  1. ^ Gimarc, George (2006). Punk Diary:Ultimate Trainspotters Guide to Underground Rock 1970-1982. London: Backbeat Books. p. 429. ISBN 978-0-87930-848-3. 
  2. ^ "Neu Electrikk". Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  3. ^ "The+The". ingsoc. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  4. ^ "The+The". Discogs. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  5. ^ "Uncertain Smile". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  6. ^ Almond, Marc (Oct 1999). Tainted Life. UK/Ireland: Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd. p. 103. ISBN 978-0-283-06340-4. 
  7. ^ "Marc+And+The+Mambas". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  8. ^ "Marc+And+The+Mambas". enotes. Retrieved 2011-09-18. 
  9. ^ "Marc+And+The+Mambas". Retrieved 2011-09-19. 
  10. ^ "Marc Almond". Marc Almond. Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  11. ^ Chartstats Marc Almond (Marc and the Mambas) Torment and Toreros
  12. ^ "Pitchfork Antony Hegarty". Retrieved 2011-10-06. 
  13. ^ "Marc Almond/The Whip". Retrieved 2011-09-21. 
  14. ^ "Red Army Choir". Cat45. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 

External links[edit]

  • Discogs [1]
  • Allmusic [2]
  • Marc and the Mambas [3]
  • The The [4]
  • Neu Electrikk [5]