Anthony Eric "Tony" James (born 12 April 1953, Shepherds Bush, London, England) is an English musician, best known as the bassist for Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
He was originally a member of the punk band London SS, along with Brian James (later of The Damned), and Mick Jones plus Terry Chimes (both future members of The Clash).
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. 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).
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.
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. 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.
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. In 2010, he helped Patch William produce a tour video for their single release.
He still tours today, and has reformed Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
After graduating from Brunel University with a First Class Honours Degree in mathematics and computing, Tony James worked as a computer programmer before playing music full-time.
During his tenure in Sigue Sigue Sputnik, James dated Janet Street-Porter. Prior to that relationship, he was living with Magenta Devine.
Text from this biography licensed under creative commons license