Ex-Generation X bassist Tony James formed futuristic glam band Sigue Sigue Sputnik (allegedly named after a Russian street gang) as a kind of latter-day Monkees with cheekbones, coloured hair and space outfits.
James poached from cyberpunk novels and films – especially Blade Runner (1982) – for the band’s image, and the group were showered with publicity and record deals before they had even played a note.
Hyping themselves as “Hi-tech Sex, Designer Violence and the Fifth Generation of Rock ‘n’ Roll”, the group signed with EMI for a fee reported – by themselves – as “not unadjacent to $4 million”.
In February 1986, they released their debut single, Love Missile F1-11 (produced by disco impresario Giorgio Moroder), which sailed on a sea of hype to #2 in the UK charts.
Although 21st Century Boy also made the Top 20 (and their debut album, Flaunt It, actually sold advertising space between the tracks), James’ moneymaking ruse soon ended.
Despite an avalanche of intentionally lurid press, the band dissolved, and James joined the Sisters Of Mercy in 1991.
Kavanagh would go on to Big Audio Dynamite, though James would make an attempt at resurrecting Sigue Sigue Sputnik later in the 90s.
Martin Degville recorded the dreadful solo set World War Four in 1991. He reunited with James and Whitmore in the late 90s, buoyed by Sigue Sigue Sputnik’s continued popularity on the internet.
The trio recorded a new album, Piratespace, and toured in 2001.
Degville has performed since as Sputnik2, Sputnik2 – The Future, and Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic (SSSE). Neal X has been playing with Marc Almond. Tony James later formed the group Carbon/Silicon with Mick Jones – formerly of The Clash.
Neal X (Whitmore)