aged 19 joined an essex glam-rock band the mighty plod as a singer and gigged in rough clubs, pubs and colleges for the next two years. in his early twenties he joined a hard rock /.prog band from ispwich called gypp and gigged in the uk as well as touring northern germany several times. in 1979, he won his first record contract and shortly afterwards his first single young jobless / sylvie in toytown was released, first on an indie label and then with liberty records. much radio 1 airplay and the record briefly charted but then sank after trouble of various sorts.

in the 1980s he formed the anarchic and wacky cleaners from venus, who after much defiance of music biz convention, signed to a london record company and began making proper records which were well reviewed and well-received. he began co-writing songs with captain sensible in 1986, a relationship which endures to some extent to this day. in 1989 he and his friend nelson, now of new model army formed the brotherhood of lizards, were signed to make an album and proceeded to promote it, touring the record by bicycle. this led to many tv appearances and some notoriety and amusement in the media. in 1993, with xtc's andy partridge in the producer's chair martin made what was to become his most successful album the greatest living englishman. this has been followed over the years by several other solo albums. now in middle years, still held in some regard as a great english songwriter and sometimes compared to syd barrett and ray davies, it is said that he never got the commercial success he deserved. while this may or may not be true he continues to make and sell good pop records with a degree of international acclaim.

 

text source: martin newell

 
 

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