Tony James

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Tony James
Tony James in the Sigue Sigue Sputnik days – San Francisco, 1986
Background information
Birth name Anthony Eric James
Born (1953-04-12) 12 April 1953 (age 64)
Shepherds Bush, London, England
Genres Punk rock, glam punk, post-punk, new wave, rock, garage rock, alternative rock
Occupation(s) Musician, record producer
Instruments Bass guitar, guitar
Years active 1975-present
Associated acts London SS, Chelsea, Generation X, Gen X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, The Sisters of Mercy, Carbon Silicon

Anthony Eric "Tony" James (born 12 April 1953 in Shepherds Bush, London) is an English pop musician, best known as the bassist for Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.

Early life[edit]

Tony James was born in Shepherd's Bush in West London on 12 April 1953. He spent his childhood years in Twickenham, and received his formal education at Hampton Grammar School, and Brunel University, from which he graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Mathematics and Computer Science. Before becoming a professional pop musician he was briefly employed as a computer programmer.[1]


James was originally a member of the punk outfit London SS along with Brian James (later of The Damned), and Mick Jones plus Terry Chimes (both future members of The Clash).[2]

Later, James joined the early punk band Chelsea. The group included Billy Idol (then William Broad) on the guitar, John Towe on drums and Gene October on vocals. Soon they left October to form Generation X (named after a 1960s paperback novel, by Jane Deverson, not to be confused with the 1990s book by Douglas Coupland), a British punk band of the late 1970s. Idol switched from guitar to vocal duties, and Bob "Derwood" Andrews joined as lead guitarist after leaving the Fulham band Paradox. Generation X played their first concert on 14 December 1976 at The Roxy (becoming the first band to play at the venue).

Towe was later replaced on drums by Mark Laff (ex-Subway Sect), to complete the 'official' line-up, before the band signed to Chrysalis Records and released their first single, "Your Generation" in September 1977.[3] They played this song on Marc Bolan's afternoon variety show, Marc, that same month. This line-up of the band would remain through their first two albums, the self-titled, Generation X (1978), followed by Valley of the Dolls (1979).[3]

There were differences in the group's musical direction that they struggled to resolve. Internal disagreements came to a head in late 1979 during the recording of what was to have been the third Generation X album. This was released decades later as part of the Anthology boxed set under the title Sweet Revenge. In 1980, Andrews and Laff left the band (subsequently forming the post-punk band, Empire), to be replaced in Generation X by The Clash and Cowboys International's former drummer Terry Chimes, and former Chelsea guitarist James Stevenson.[3]

Generation X made a last stand, re-recording some of the Sweet Revenge material, as well as several new songs. With this final release, Kiss Me Deadly (1981), the band abbreviated its name to Gen X.[3] The album featured several different guitarists, including Rich Kids' Steve New, future Siouxsie and the Banshees guitarist John McGeoch and ex-Sex Pistol, Steve Jones. Kiss Me Deadly failed to secure any placing on the UK album chart despite the appearance of "Dancing with Myself." The group disbanded, and Idol left for New York as a solo artist.

Tony James, after penning "Russian Roulette" for Stiv Bators and The Lords of the New Church, and producing a Sex Gang Children album, formed glam punk band Sigue Sigue Sputnik with fashion designer-cum-singer Martin Degville.[4][5]

In 1990, Tony James became a member of The Sisters of Mercy, and played bass on their Vision Thing album, he also played on the band's following live tours. James left the Sisters the following year.

On 20 September 1993, during Billy Idol's No Religion Tour, Tony James joined Generation X for a one-time reunion performance at the Astoria Theatre in London.

In 2002, James reunited with Mick Jones to form Carbon/Silicon. He continues to work with Jones, now co-writing songs and playing guitar for the band.[6] In 2010, he helped Patch William produce a tour video for their single release.

Personal life[edit]

During his tenure in Sigue Sigue Sputnik, James dated Janet Street-Porter. Prior to that relationship, he was living with Magenta Devine.


Generation X[edit]

Generation X Compilations

London Cowboys[edit]

  • 1982 – Animal Pleasure (Underdog Records)

The Lydons and the O'Donnells[edit]

  • 1986 – Family Album (MBC Records)

Sigue Sigue Sputnik[edit]

  • 1986 – Flaunt It (Parlophone Records)
  • 1988 – Dress for Excess (Parlophone Records)
  • 1996 – Sputnik: The Next Generation (EMI Records) (as "Sputnik: The Next Generation ")
  • 2000 – Sci-Fi Sex Stars (Sputnikworld Records) (as "Sci-Fi Sex Stars")
  • 2001 – Piratespace (Sputnikworld Records)
  • 2002 – Blak Elvis vs. The Kings of Electronic Rock and Roll (Sputnikworld Records)
  • 2003 – Ultra Real (Sputnikworld Records)
Sigue Sigue Sputnik Compilations

The Sisters of Mercy[edit]

Fin de Siécle[edit]

  • 2003 – This Is What I Like...... (Sputnikworld Records)


  • 2007 – The Magic Suitcase EP (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2007 – The Last Post (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2008 – Carbon Casino (Carbon/Silicon Records)
Carbon/Silicon Digital Releases
  • 2010 – A.T.O.M. (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2010 – Western Front (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2010 – The Crackup Suite Parts 1 and 2 (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2010 – The Carbon Bubble (Carbon/Silicon Records)
  • 2013 – Big Surprise (Carbon/Silicon Records)


  1. ^ Interview with Tony James, Gary Crowley's Punk & New Wave Show,' Soho Radio, 21 October 2015.
  2. ^ "We're not Nazis, says London SS, punk band barred from Upper Street venue". Islington Tribune. 
  3. ^ a b c d Strong, Martin C. (2000). The Great Rock Discography (5th ed.). Edinburgh: Mojo Books. p. 472. ISBN 1-84195-017-3. 
  4. ^ Thompson, Dave (2000) Alternative Rock, Miller Freeman, ISBN 0-87930-607-6, p. 615-617
  5. ^ Handelman, David (1986) "Sigue Sigue Sputnik: 'Fantasy band?'", Gettysburg Times, 8 August 1986, p. 26, retrieved 2010-09-25
  6. ^ Herrera, Dave (19 March 2008). "Q&A with Carbon/Silicon's Tony James – Denver Music – Backbeat". Retrieved 2011-07-14. 

External links[edit]