Steve Gilpin

Steve Gilpin
Steve Gilpin may not have had a traditional route into the world of rock but once there confounded critics by developing his own New Wave group in New Zealand and conquering the Australian market in record time. Responding to record executives who wouldn’t give the group a record deal in 1978 Gilpin let them watch as he delivered the biggest single of 1979.

Steve Gilpin was born in New Zealand in 1949 and began his journey into the rock world through the unusual route of cabaret singer, belting out standards while dressed up in his best tuxedo. Gilpin however was a good singer, winning the television talent show “New Faces” in 1972, he wasn’t a singer who had turned to cabaret as an easy option, he had turned to it as the only option. Despite releasing some singles Gilpin became frustrated with his lack of success and, in 1976, after watching the rock group “Father Thyme” perform he approached them with regard to working together.

When the group split the following year Gilpin formed “Fragments of Time” from the wreckage. The group faced a lot of competition with their style of music so Gilpin decided they needed a new direction – New Wave beckoned. Before the transformation could be completed however there was a change of personnel and the group needed a change of name – playing the Ultravox song “My Sex” in their set gave them the name they needed; the group “Mi-Sex” was born.

While the group’s live performances drawing large audiences and their popularity growing they released their first single in May 1978 – it disappeared without a trace. Gilpin decided that they needed another career change, the music was fine but the exposure wasn’t great enough and in August they moved to Sydney, Australia to begin their assault on a larger music scene. Once in Australia their live performances began to pull in record audiences on the Sydney circuit, by the end of the year they were rising through the ranks – fast.

In 1979 it all came together for Gilpin and Mi-Sex. With their first CBS single and debut album release both hitting the Australian charts, they consolidated their position by touring with both Talking Heads and Cheap Trick during the year. The high point however came with the release of the “Computer Games” single that autumn, it hit the top of the Australian charts and led to the group winning the 1979 TV Week/Countdown Awards for “most popular record”, “best Australian single” and “most promising new talent”.

The following year they recorded their follow-up album and completed a six week tour of the US, but by now their star was already on the wane. The releases weren’t as successful and their audiences were starting to dwindle. Gilpin couldn’t work his magic on the group again and, while they kept playing and recording, the writing was on the wall; the group split in 1985 with Gilpin remaining in Australia to play with a variety of bands.

  • Mi-Sex’s last single in 1985 was a medley of all their hits.

  • On their tour of the US Mi-Sex supported, amongst others, Iggy Pop and the Ramones.

  • In November 1979 Mi-Sex performed before 160,000 people as part of the “Concert of the Decade” at Sydney Opera House.




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