Anthony Eric “Tony” James (born 12 April 1953 in Shepherds Bush, London) is an English musician, best known as the bassist for Generation X and Sigue Sigue Sputnik.
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.
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.
- 1978 – Generation X (Chrysalis Records)
- 1979 – Valley of the Dolls (Chrysalis Records)
- 1998 – Sweet Revenge (Empty Records) (Originally recorded in 1979.)
- 2004 – K.M.D. – Sweet Revenge Xtra (Revel Yell Music) (Featuring bonus tracks.)
- Generation X Compilations
- 1985 – The Best of Generation X (Chrysalis Records)
- 1990 – The Idol Generation (Castle Communications) (Australia only.)
- 1991 – Perfect Hits 1975–81 (Chrysalis Records)
- 1999 – Live at the Paris Theatre ’78 & ’81 (EMI Records) (Reissued (and edited) in 2002 as One Hundred Punks – BBC Live in Concert.)
- 2002 – Radio 1 Sessions (Strange Fruit Records)
- 2003 – Anthology (EMI Records)
- 2003 – Live at Sheffield (Empty Records)
- 2005 – Live (EMI Records)
- 1982 – Animal Pleasure (Underdog Records)
The Lydons and the O’Donnells
- 1986 – Family Album (MBC Records)
Sigue Sigue Sputnik
- 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
- 1990 – The First Generation (Jungle Records)
- 1997 – The First Generation – Second Edition (Jungle Records)
- 1998 – The Ultimate 12″ Collection (Sputnikworld Records)
- 1999 – Flaunt It + Dress for Excess – French single CD edition of both albums (minus “Success” and “Dancerama”).
- 2001 – 21st Century Boys: The Best of Sigue Sigue Sputnik (EMI Records)
- 2003 – The First Generation – Vid Edition (Jungle Records)
- 2008 – 1984 Flaunt It: Demos and More (Cleopatra Records)
The Sisters of Mercy
- 1990 – Vision Thing (MBC Records)
Fin de Siécle
- 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)