WHENEVER a classic band reforms after their lead singer has transcended to the proverbial rock’n’roll heaven, the question of “why continue” will always be asked.
It’s been no different for New Zealand ‘70s and ‘80s new wave outfit Mi-Sex. The band that spawned the classic Computer Games lost their lead singer Steve Gilpin in 1992 from injuries sustained in a car accident.
It was almost 20 years before Mi-Sex reunited in 2011 with Noiseworks bassist Steve Balbi on vocals for a Christchurch Earthquake charity concert. The success of the show prompted a full reunion and in February the band released Not From Here, their first new album in 33 years.
Balbi, who is also known for his David Bowie tribute show, has received warm reviews as Mi-Sex’s new frontman and the band delivered a sterling set at the Live At The Foreshore in Newcastle four weeks ago.
“Steve Balbi has a closer interpretation of [guitarist] Kevin Stanton’s lyrics, because some are quite dark and I don’t think Steve Gilpin even fully understood them,” Mi-Sex keyboard player and original member Murray Burns said.
However, not everyone is impressed with the Mi-Sex reboot. Uncanny X-Men frontman Brian Mannix recently said: “Mi-Sex without Steve Gilpin doesn’t make sense to me. Who would want to see Rose Tattoo without Angry Anderson, or Cold Chisel without Jimmy Barnes?”
Burns said he understands and respectfully disagrees with Mannix’s opinion.
“Brian was very close to Steve, so to Brian, Steve was Mi-Sex,” Burns said.
In order to make Balbi feel like a fully-fledged member of Mi-Sex lyric-writing duties for Not From Here were handed over to the new lead singer. Burns said Balbi was initially hesitant, but eventually infused the album with his own personality on tracks like the single My Sex Your Sex.
Original guitarist and primary songwriter Kevin Stanton was forced to leave the band in 2014 due to spinal surgery which prevented him using his left arm.
Mi-Sex perform at Lizotte’s on December 22.