May 15, 2010
If I had ever worked with ANDREW ELDRITCH (born 1959), the multi-talented and highly intelligent primadonna of the Leeds punk scene who fathered The Sisters of Mercy, I doubt I’d be paying tribute to him here. His difficult personality and control-freakery have infuriated and alienated collaborator after collaborator in the 30 years of the band’s existence. The only constant and unquestioning apostle that Eldritch has had in all of that time is Doktor Avalanche, his trusty drum machine. Luckily, though, I’ve never had to work in a studio under his direction. Instead, I’ve been able to watch and listen from a distance and become enchanted with his songwriting brilliance, his literary lyricism and his haunting baritone voice. Because Eldritch stopped recording new material in protest at the alleged greed and stupidity of EastWest Records, The Sisters of Mercy have only ever put out three albums of original material: First and Last and Always (1985), Floodland (1987) and Vision Thing (1990). But this small oeuvre has been enough in itself to define the goth and industrial musical genres and spawn hundreds of imitators. A listener might even say that Eldritch’s pain-in-the-arse egotism is the special ingredient, since it is Floodland, the album which he composed and recorded with virtually no assistance from anybody else, that marks the zenith of the Sisterly orbit. Some have called it the greatest goth album of all time. But, whatever you do, don’t tell Eldritch that. He’ll probably get in a tantrum and insist that The Sisters of Mercy have never been, and never will be, a goth band.
PUNK, POST-PUNK & ALTERNATIVE on HILOBROW: Joey Ramone | Dez Cadena | Jello Biafra | HR | Mike Watt | Vivienne Westwood | Iggy Pop | D. Boon | John Lydon | Henry Rollins | Palmolive | Plastic Bertrand | Kira Roessler | Lisa Carver | Frank Black | Ari Up | Gary Panter | Mike Watt | Ian Curtis | Paul Simonon | Darby Crash | Penelope Houston | Exene Cervenka | Sid Vicious | Andrew Eldritch | Kate Pierson | Richard Hell | Paul Westerberg | Lux Interior | Ian Dury | Stiv Bators | Tom Verlaine | Colin Newman | Johnny Thunders | Poison Ivy | Green Gartside | Lydia Lunch | Mark E. Smith | David Byrne | Debbie Harry | Captain Sensible | Mark Mothersbaugh | Kim Gordon | ALSO: The Original Generation X (1954–1963) and the birth of DIY | The Original Stooge | Origin of the Pogo | Shocking Blocking: Rock’n’Roll High School | Punk fanzines from the 1970s | Post-Punk and New Wave on HiLobrow
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Brian Eno | Mikhail Bulgakov | Jasper Johns | James Mason | L. Frank Baum
READ MORE about members of the Original Generation X (1954–1963).
What do you think?
Funny that I should be poking around for Sisters stuff today (it’s not a frequent activity).
Indeed, anyway. In addition to the considerable talents you note, he also gives the best interview of possibly any pop/rock person past or present. As illuminating as they are viciously funny, more often than not.
wicked! now i want to listen to ‘floodland’.
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