Mark Stewart (English musician)  

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"One influence on trip hop came from a combination of the Tackhead sound system, On-U Sound Records, Mark Stewart and Adrian Sherwood who combined hip hop with experimental rock and dub music." --Sholem Stein

Western values mean nothing to her


She is beyond good and evil

--"She Is Beyond Good and Evil" (1979) by The Pop Group

"Somewhere there is a place for us."

--"This Is Stranger Than Love" (1987) by Mark Stewart

"... first to come to mind, along with the post-punk figures that Mark loved such as Ian Curtis, David Sylvian, Mark Stewart or Mark E. Smith — band leaders around whom a world is allowed to orbit, a new world other than the one we know."--Egress: On Mourning, Melancholy and the Fisher-Function (2020) by Matt Colquhoun

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Mark Stewart (1960 – 2023) was an English composer, singer and founding member of The Pop Group known for compositions such as "This Is Stranger Than Love" (1987) and "Hysteria" (1990).



A pioneer of post-punk and industrial hip-hop, he has recorded for On-U Sound Records and Mute Records.

Stewart was educated at Bristol Grammar School, one of Bristol's leading public schools, and was in the same year as fellow musician Nick Sheppard. Stewart began his music career in 1977 as a founder of The Pop Group, a band whose sonic experimentation, political conviction, and willingness to collaborate laid the foundations for his later work.

The Pop Group split in 1981, with Stewart and two other members heading off to London to hook up with the emerging On-U Sound "conspiracy of outsiders" as part of the New Age Steppers. On-U became a focal point of a diverse set of networks – punks, reggae players from both the UK and Jamaica and free-jazzers. His first post-Pop Group release was as 'Mouth 2', the 1982 single "Who's Hot". Two releases followed with On-U associates under the name 'Mark Stewart & The Maffia' – the Jerusalem EP in 1983, and the 1983 album Learning to Cope with Cowardice.

Stewart made several albums under his own name as well as collaborating with artists such as Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails fame, Tricky, Massive Attack, Chicks on Speed, ADULT. and Primal Scream. In 2005, he released a collection of his best work on Soul Jazz Records entitled Kiss the Future.

Stewart was well known in several European countries and Japan. He was involved in a documentary filmed by Tøni Schifer, "On/Off – Mark Stewart – from The Pop Group to the Maffia", which included interviews with Nick Cave, Daniel Miller, former Pop Group members, Adrian Sherwood, Skip McDonald, Doug Wimbish, Keith LeBlanc, Fritz Hart (23 Skidoo) and others. The premiere took place at the East End Film Festival in April 2009.

This track record of anarchic pioneering prompted Nick Cave to declare that Stewart as a member of The Pop Group "changed everything". Reflecting on his far-reaching influence, Mark says, "I thought I was making funk music, but a track on Veneer of Democracy supposedly inspired all the American [Sic] industrialists, like Front Line Assembly and Skinny Puppy, while another track supposedly inspired the Bristol kids. It happens all the time. I've got this nonchalance that nothing is sacred so I'll crash a Slayer guitar line with Rotterdam gabba beats. For me, it's like colours. I grew up doing montages; like I did this collage of Ronald Reagan's head on this gay porno cowboy. In fact, I've never really grown up at all. I'm still trying to put round things into square holes."

In 2011 Stewart collaborated with New York-based artist-writer Rupert Goldsworthy, forming The New Banalists Orchestra, a collective featuring a host of renowned artists and associates, including John Sinclair (poet), Youth (musician), David Tibet, Penny Rimbaud & Eve Libertine. Their sole output to date, entitled "Mammon", was released in 2011.

Stewart released his next solo single through Future Noise Music on Black Friday 25 November 2011. The Double A-side "Children of the Revolution" / "Nothing Is Sacred" features The Bug, Crass's Eve Libertine, Berlin's Slope and Pop Group bassist Dan Catsis. This paved the way for Stewart's 2012 album, The Politics of Envy, released on 26 March 2012, also on Future Noise Music. Tackling mass media, modern capitalism and consumer apathy, it features a cast including Kenneth Anger, Lee 'Scratch' Perry, Richard Hell, The Raincoats' Gina Birch, Primal Scream and Clash/PiL guitarist Keith Levene.

As well as music Stewart has been involved in conceptual art, collaborating once again with Rupert Goldsworthy on a show entitled "I AM THE LAW" displayed at Ritter/Zamet gallery in New York and London from January until March 2012. Dazed described the show as "an expo where found objects, wall paintings and scrawled writings come together in a ritualistic pile-on of effort to explore cultural myths, symbols, signs and 'radical brands' – the power of representation, charged with dystopian views, prison gates and rioting crowds."

Stewart remained active in a number of other solo projects and collaborations. 2013 saw him write and contribute vocals to Primal Scream's "Culturecide", a track featured on More Light and in 2014 he produced and provided vocals for "Shame & Pain", a track which featured Thurston Moore and was collected on a Jeffrey Lee Pierce Sessions Project compilation.

The next year saw Stewart remix both "Space Junk" by The Membranes and "Death Trip To Tulsa" by the Mark Lanegan band whilst also providing vocals for "Schizoid Fairytale", a track by Jim Johnston (English musician). A couple of years later, in 2017, Stewart wrote several tracks for "London Town", an album released by ex-Sugarhill Gang and regular On-U Sound Records cohort Little Axe.

In 2018, Stewart remixed "Ndrangheta Allotment" by Meatraffle and wrote and featured on the track "Stratosphere Girl" on More Disco Songs About Love, the third LP from Los Angeles duo De Lux. He has also recently featured on the track "Fight Fire With Fire" by Lay Llamas taken from the upcoming Rocket Recordings release "Thuban".

Stewart died on 21 April 2023, at the age of 62.

Solo discography

Linking in at time of death

Adamski, Adrian Sherwood, After All the Wishing…, Alec Empire, Algiers (band), Ari Up, As the Veneer of Democracy Starts to Fade, Attitude (Rip Rig + Panic album), Bass Is Maternal, Becoming a Cliché, Bernard Fowler, Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair, Bought for a Dollar, Sold for a Dime, Bruce Smith (musician), Cabinet of Curiosities (album), Cem Oral, CEvin Key, Champagne & Grits, Citizen Zombie, Control Data (album), Crookers, Cypress Grove (musician), Dan Catsis, Dartington Hall, David Harrow, Deaths in 2023, Disconnection (album), Doug Wimbish, Dubblestandart, Edit (album), Eric D. Clark, Fats Comet, For How Much Longer Do We Tolerate Mass Murder?, For the Love of Money (album), Friendly as a Hand Grenade, Gareth Sager, Gary Clail, Grooves (magazine), Hard Grind, Heligoland (album), Honeymoon on Mars, Hypnotized (Mark Stewart song), Idealists in Distress From Bristol, In the Beginning There Was Rhythm / Where There's a Will..., Industrial hip hop, Jerusalem (EP), Jim Johnston (English musician), John Waddington (musician), Keith LeBlanc, Kevin Martin (British musician), Kiss the Future, Learning to Cope with Cowardice, List of dub artists, List of industrial music genres, List of trip hop artists, Little Axe, Maffia, Major Malfunction, Mark Stewart (album), Mark Stewart (artist), Mark Stewart + Maffia, Mark Stewart discography, Mark Stewart, Martina Topley-Bird, Maxinquaye, Meltdown (festival), Metatron (Mark Stewart album), Mind at the End of the Tether, More Light (Primal Scream album), Music of La Femme Nikita, Mute Records, New Age Steppers, Nick Sheppard, No Thanks! The '70s Punk Rebellion, Nun Gun, On-U Sound Records, Pigbag, Power Inc. Volume 1, Power Inc. Volume 2, Power Inc. Volume 3 (Live), Reality (Tackhead song), Recreational Records, Rockchester, Russell Haswell, Sex Pistols, She Is Beyond Good and Evil, Shoot the Boss, Simon Underwood, Slow Fuse, Sofa Surfers (band), Soul Jazz Records, Southern Studios, Stone Cold Ohio, Strange Parcels, Strange Things, Stranger than Fiction (Keith LeBlanc album), Tackhead discography, Tackhead Sound Crash, Tackhead Tape Time, Tackhead, The Beatnigs (album), The Beatnigs, The Boys Whose Head Exploded, The Chair in the Doorway, The Game (You'll Never Walk Alone), The New Age Steppers (album), The Politics of Envy, The Pop Group discography, The Pop Group, The Wolf that House Built, Things Falling Apart, This Heat, This Is Stranger Than Love, Ticking Time Bomb, Tricky (musician), Trinity Centre, Trip hop, Very Big in America Right Now, VS (Mark Stewart Album), We Are All Prostitutes (album), We Are All Prostitutes (song), We Are Time, What's My Mission Now?, William Blake in popular culture, Y (album)

See also

  • "These Things Happen" samples I Believe in Miracles by the Jackson Sisters and Theme from Shaft

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