Genre/Influences: New Wave, Gothic Rock.
Format: Book (paperback) – also available as kindle.
Background/Info: The Sisters Of Mercy are still a cult-band nowadays, although they officially only released 3 studio-albums and started their career back in 1980. They are worldwide seen as one of the founders of the gothic rock genre and are also one of the most bootlegged bands ever. The American author Trevor Ristow was already a huge fan of the band in his teenage years and released a Sisters’ fanzine in the ’80s. He collected lots of press articles, stories from close friends of the bandmembers and his own live experiences to write this book.
Content: First we learned to know the importance of certain people in the beginning period of the band as Claire Shearsby (dj, keyboard-player, sound-mixer and ex-girlfriend of Andrew), Ruth Polsky (booker, tourguide, fixer, photographer), Kenny Giles (sound-engineer, studio-owner), Jon Langford (Mekons, The Three Jons) and many others. But most of all we experienced mastermind Andrew as the controlfreak inside the band which caused lots of conflicts with other people. The stories that are being told are not only about frontman Andrew Eldritch, but also about the other (former) band members Wayne Hussey, Craig Adams, Gary Marx and Ben Gunn.
Many other topics are covered such as The God Squad and The Sisterhood, the very strong Sisters-fanbases, the first American tour (September 1983) and the tough negotiations between Andrew and some major record-companies. The start and rise of the band is very well clarified, starting from the first gig on February 16th, 1981 (Alciun College – York) until the “final” concert at the Royal Albert Hall on June 18th, 1985. Here, the legendary video “Wake” was recorded and it was also the final concert for founding member Mark Pearman alias Gary Marx. Later the split with Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams would also follow, deciding them to continue as The Mission.
+ + + : We get a deeper look into parts of the private life of the band members at that time, as well as interesting stories of what sometimes happened backstage, the tension between the band members and also the relationships of the band members at that time with their girlfriends. About 50 rare pictures, very detailed information on gigs, special anecdotes, explanation of the deeper meaning of the lyrics, the founding of the Merciful Release label … it’s all there.
– – – : Most of the covered topics are about the genius Andrew Eldritch, always driven on amphetamines and not too shy to say how much he hates being labelled as “goth-band”. Some parts of the book are written from the own perceptions of the author, which can of course be different from your own point of view.
Conclusion: Every old-school Sisters-fan should own this 270 pages entertaining masterpiece for sure! The added context that the author provides to song-texts and many other topics is amazing! We are already looking forward for the release of volume II that will cover the ’90’s era.
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Original Source: SIDE-LINE MAGAZINE