Matthew Seligman (July 14, 1955 – April 17, 2020) was an English bass guitarist, best known for his work with the new wave music scene of the 1980s.
Matthew Seligman was born in Cyprus, and his family moved to Wimbledon, London, England when he was eight months old.
He was inspired to learn bass by hearing the likes of Sir Paul McCartney, Andy Fraser from Free, and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads.
Matthew Seligman was a founding member of Bruce Woolley and the Camera Club, which also included his friend Thomas Dolby (English musician, producer, entrepreneur and teacher). He played on the band’s 1979 debut album “English Garden”, which featured a version of “Video Killed the Radio Star”, which Bruce Woolley had co-written with the English new wave band The Buggles.
After leaving The Camera Club in 1979, Matthew Seligman joined The Soft Boys, replacing founding bassist Andy Metcalfe, and performed on their second album “Underwater Moonlight”. The Soft Boys broke up in 1980, and Seligman next formed the short-lived band The Fallout Club, which also included Thomas Dolby again. After The Fallout Club disbanded after two singles, Matthew Seligman joined the Thompson Twins, and appeared on their 1982 album “Set” and its US counterpart “In the Name of Love”. Seligman was fired from the Thompson Twins later that year when the band decided to reduce to a trio.
Matthew Seligman then joined Thomas Dolby’s solo group, and played bass on his albums “The Golden Age of Wireless” (1982) and “The Flat Earth” (1984) and the hit single “She Blinded Me With Science”.
In addition to working with Thomas Dolby throughout the 1980s, Matthew Seligman was also a member of the bands Local Heroes SW9 and The Dolphin Brothers, as well as playing bass on the first two solo albums by his former Soft Boys band mate Robyn Hitchcock.
Matthew Seligman was also a session musician and performed on albums and singles by the Stereo MC’s, The Waterboys, Sinéad O’Connor, Transvision Vamp, Morrissey, and Tori Amos.
In 1985, Matthew Seligman and Thomas Dolby appeared as part of David Bowie’s band at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium, London. In 1986, Seligman played bass guitar on the soundtrack album for David Bowie’s “Labyrinth” and on “Absolute Beginners”.
He retrained as a lawyer at the beginning of the 1990s, initially working on personal injury and litigation cases, before switching to human rights.
In 2002, Matthew Seligman played at the Shanghai Festival with Snail, along with Chris Bell and Jonathan Klein, and in 2007 began working with the Fire Escapes. In 2011–12 he contributed to Thomas Dolby’s “A Map of the Floating City” also appearing with him on tours of the UK and northern Europe, at the Blue Note in Tokyo in February 2012 and at the Latitude Music Festival, Suffolk, the UK in July 2012. In 2014, with fellow Fire Escapers Mark Headley and Lucy Pullin, he completed the Magical Creatures’ Wishing Machine collection, also appearing live with them at a summer 2016 William Burroughs-inspired launch party in Brighton, UK.
Matthew Seligman always played a black Fender Jazz bass as his first choice instrument. He also has used an Ibanez with a C-ducer contact mic built into the back of the neck, close to the neck/body junction, for his fretless work primarily with Thomas Dolby, but also Peter Murphy and in the ambient collection Sendai, recorded with Japan/Hong Kong-based musician Jan Linton for the March 2011 Tōhoku earthquake relief fund, and released by Entropy Records in 2012.
After a lifetime in the UK, Matthew Seligman moved to Sendai in northern Japan in early 2005 and, after a four-year spell back in the UK, returned there in July 2012. He then practiced as a human rights lawyer in London, where son Deji and daughter Lily also live.
In early April 2020, Thomas Dolby reported that Seligman had been placed in an induced coma in St George’s Hospital London, after having been diagnosed with COVID-19 (coronavirus).
On April 17, 2020 Matthew Seligman suffered a “catastrophic haemorrhagic stroke” and died later that day, aged 64.
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