JAMES STEVENSON-CHELSEA/CULT SOLO ALBUM

 

Guitar hero James Stevenson has just completed his first solo album. Produced by Pete Walsh (Simple Minds, Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker etc.)

 

 

Everthing’s Getting Closer to Being Over features a stellar list of contributors, including :  Barriemore Barlow (Jethro Tull), Chris Bell (Thompson Twins, Spear Of Destiny, Specimen, Gene Loves Jezebel, Hugh Cornwell) Geoff Dugmore  (Killing Joke, Belouis Some, The Waterboys), Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop etc) , Craig Adams (Sisters Of Mercy, The Mission, The Cult,) Pete Rizzo (Gene Loves Jezebel), Mark Taylor (Simple Minds, The Alarm, The Cult), Steve Norman (Spandau Ballet), The Sexpistilettos –  Maggi Ronson (Mick Ronson’s sister) Elizabeth Westwood (Westworld, Moondogg) , Tracie Hunter (Tracie Hunter Band, Ian Hunter’s Daughter).

The 2014 album promises to put James’ solo talents at the forefront of the musical world. Packed with some sublime influences and sounds the ten track album is not quite what you may have expected. Not that James’ ever really left the forefront as part of a glittering 35 year career.

 

The 70’s & 80’s

James Stevenson got his first taste of playing guitar professionally when he joined punk band Chelsea in March 1977 whilst still at school doing A level exams. He was gigging all over England within a couple of weeks.  James stayed with Chelsea until May 1980, deciding not to go to university, and was regarded as a seasoned pro by the time he was 21. At the time he left Chelsea he’d played on their first two albums, numerous singles and performed gigs all over the UK and Europe. The band also ventured to the US for a tour in February 1979. Chelsea were also the first ever indie band to play on nationwide TV when they performed on BBC’s The Old Grey Whistle Test in 1979.

After leaving the band he played on UK Subs’ singer Charlie Harper’s first solo single "Barmy London Army" before being invited by Billy Idol and Tony James to join the freshly reinvented Gen X. This was to be a short lived stint, lasting less than eight months and incorporating just one UK tour before Idol quit for New York and a solo career.

Before he had time to wonder what would come next he was invited by his old school friend Henry Badowski to play on his critically acclaimed Life Is A Grand album and simultaneously by his friend Calvin Hayes, Mickie Most’s son, to play guitar in the video for his Dad’s hottest new signing, Kim Wilde. Kids In America was a huge international hit and James can be seen in the video wealding the white Les Paul Custom that became his trademark.

The 90’s to current

In September 1994 James was invited by his old friend Billy Duffy to play rhythm guitar with The Cult on their forthcoming world tour. "That’s where I first met Craig Adams, though he was legendary before," James confirms with some humour. "The tour was great fun for me, just stand at the back and play A and E all night!" The tour still had three months to run when Ian Astbury threw a wobbler in Rio de Janeiro in March ’95 and left the band.

Heavenly Bodies had been a huge hit in Portugal so GLJ regrouped and embarked on a tour of that country. Michael and Jay tried working together again in Los Angeles. James produced Jay Aston’s solo Unpopular Songs album for his own Pink Gun label in 1996 before GLJ tried a reunion with both twins in 1997. It ended with the twins failing to see eye to eye yet again and the final dates were finished without Michael. The bands seventh album – VII, came out later that year. Although originally recorded with Michael, his contributions were removed from the CD before its release. The situation became extremely confused when Michael started using the name Gene Loves Jezebel too, with a band of LA musicians.

When Mike Peters was putting together his new electric band in 1997 Billy Duffy suggested he met with James. The pair got on immediately and have been firm friends ever since. James’ first gig with Mike was at The Gathering VI in North Wales in January 1998. His first proper recording with Mike was the 5CD Bond set, available only through The Alarm website – although he had played lead on a track from Flesh And Blood, a play Mike wrote the music for. In 2000 Mike decided to use The Alarm moniker again. In 2004 they released the ‘In The Poppyfields’ album, which spawned the 45 RPM hit single under the fake I.D The Poppyfields. It got to number 28 in the UK charts. The new Alarm album, Under Attack, was released at the end of February 2006. The first single, Superchannel, hit the UK Top 50 at number 24.

James also still plays with Gene Loves Jezebel (Jay Aston’s version) and also Chelsea – who reformed in 1999 for the infamous Social Chaos tour across North America. In 2000 he also did a tour playing with his old friend Glen Matlock having participated in his Open Mind album. It was James who introduced Mike and Glen, which has resulted in their Dead Men Walking collaboration. In 2002 Gene Loves Jezebel released The Thornfield Sessions – atmospheric reworkings of some of their best known tracks and four new songs. Chelsea released their new album Faster, Cheaper And Better Looking – their first for 20 years with the 79 line-up, to great reviews, in December 2005 in the UK. TKO Records are releasing it with extra tracks in the US in March 2007.  James also plays in Glen Matlock’s solo band Glen Matlock And The Philistines and New York singer/songwriter Willie Nile’s band when he tours the UK. He also recently formed The International Swingers with Glen Matlock, Blondie drummer Clem Burke and singer Gary Twinn

In June 2013 Billy Duffy again asked James to play second guitar with The Cult and he can be seen on their Electric 13 world tour.

James has also played on numerous records as a session guitarist and is featured on albums by artists as diverse as Tricky (Maxinquaye), Jimmy Nail (Crocodile Shoes II) and Scott Walker

(The Drift and 2013’s highly acclaimed Bish Bosch)).

He also wrote the music for the UK top ten TV series Hollywood Man and has also composed for TV commercials – most notably for Cadburys Whisper Chocolate bar featuring Ant and Dec.

For more information visit : www.Jamesstevenson.info

 

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