Barry Adamson (born 11 June 1958) is a British rock musician who has worked with rock bands such as Magazine, Visage, The Birthday Party, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and the electronic musicians Pan sonic. Adamson has also remixed Grinderman, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Depeche Mode. He created the seven-minute opus "Useless (Escape From Wherever: Pts. 1 & 2)" remix for the latter band in 1997. He has also worked on the soundtrack for David Lynch's Lost Highway, and released numerous solo recordings.
Adamson was born in Moss Side, Manchester. He read comic books from an early age. In school he absorbed himself in art, music and film, writing his first song, "Brain Pain", at the age of 10. His musical influences were diverse, ranging from Alice Cooper to Motown to David Bowie.
Adamson left school and shifted into graphic design attending Stockport Art College but quit shortly after, preferring to venture into the exploding punk rock scene of the late 1970s. He joined ex-Buzzcocks singer Howard Devoto's band Magazine, playing bass guitar, scoring one chart single, "Shot by Both Sides"; in late 1977, he also joined Buzzcocks, as a short-term replacement for Garth Smith. He played on all of Magazine's albums, and contributed to Devoto's solo album and his next band, Luxuria. He also contributed to the studio-based band Visage, playing on the ensemble's first two albums, Visage and The Anvil.
After Magazine broke up, Adamson worked with another ex-Buzzcock, Pete Shelley, before joining Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. He appeared on four of that band's albums: From Her to Eternity, The Firstborn Is Dead, Kicking Against the Pricks and Your Funeral, My Trial. After his stint in the band, he went solo, releasing an EP, The Man with the Golden Arm in 1988, and his first solo album, Moss Side Story, the following year, the soundtrack to a non-existent film noir. The album incorporated newscasts and sampled sound effects and featured guest musicians Marcia Schofield (of The Fall), Diamanda Galas, and former colleagues from the Bad Seeds. Adamson's second solo album was the soundtrack to a real film this time – Carl Colpaert's Delusion, and he would go on to provide soundtracks for several other films.
Adamson's third album, Soul Murder, was shortlisted for the Mercury Music Prize in 1992.
His solo work is influenced by John Barry, Elmer Bernstein and Ennio Morricone. Later works have included jazz, electronica, soul, funk, and dub styles.
In 1996, Adamson contributed to the AIDS benefit album, Offbeat: A Red Hot Soundtrip, produced by the Red Hot Organization. His own album that year, Oedipus Schmoedipus, reached #51 in the UK Albums Chart.
In 2002, Adamson left his long-term label, Mute Records, and started his own 'production home', Central Control International. In 2006, he released Stranger on the Sofa, first for his Central Control International imprint, to critical acclaim. Back To The Cat, his second album for the label, was released in March 2008.
In 2007 it was announced that Magazine would reform for concerts in 2008. Adamson took part in the same band line-up that recorded Secondhand Daylight, with the exception of the late John McGeoch, who was replaced by Apollo 440 member Noko. However, Adamson has since withdrawn from the reunion and new recordings.
On 27 August 2010, Adamson released "Rag and Bone", as a digital download and as a 12 inch vinyl record. He then released his latest studio album, I Will Set You Free, on 30 January 2012.
Adamson rejoined the Bad Seeds for the release of their 2013 album, Push the Sky Away.
His "Refugee Song" was included in Derek Jarman's The Last of England. Adamson also contributed soundtrack material to Gas Food Lodging, David Lynch's Lost Highway and Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers. Back to the Cat's opening track, "The Beaten Side of Town", was featured in the hit video game, Alan Wake.
In the earliest Real Life Magazine videos, Adamson played a Rickenbacker JG, (although possibly a 4001 or 4003 model) and in Secondhand Daylight, a Gibson EB-3. However, his primary bass during Magazine was an Ovation Magnum 2. For the 2008 Magazine concerts, he alternated between the Ovation, a Fender Artist and a Fender Jaguar Bass.
|2012||I Will Set You Free|
|2008||Back To The Cat|
|2006||Stranger on the Sofa|
|2002||King of Nothing Hill|
|1999||The Murky World of Barry Adamson (compilation)|
|1998||As Above, So Below|
|1993||The Negro Inside Me|
|1988||Moss Side Story|
|1998||Can't Get Loose|
|1996||Achieved In The Valley Of The Dolls|
|1995||The Big Bamboozle|
|1992||Cinema Is King|
|1989||Taming of the Shrewd|
|2010||"Rag and Bone" ()|
|2008||"Straight 'til Sunrise" ()|
|2006||"The Long Way Back Again" (CD and 7")|
|2001||"Motorlab #3" (with Pan Sonic)|
|1999||"The Crime Scene"|
|1998||"What it Means"|
|1991||"These Boots Are Made For Walking" (with Anita Lane)|
|1988||"The Man With The Golden Arm"|
|2001||The World Of Interiors|
|1997||To Have And To Hold|
|1994||Natural Born Killers|
|1992||Gas Food Lodging|
|1987||The Last of England|