Matthew Seligman, the bassist who played with the Soft Boys, the Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby, and more, has died of complications from COVID-19. Dolby announced yesterday that Seligman had suffered a catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke after being on a ventilator in an induced coma for two weeks, and the Soft Boys’ Robyn Hitchcock later confirmed that he had passed away. “Matthew is, was, and always will be one of the greats,” Hitchcock wrote on Facebook. He was 64.
In 1979, Seligman became a founding member of Bruce Woolley And The Camera Club, which also included his friend Thomas Dolby on keys. That same year, he left the band to join the Soft Boys, replacing original bassist Andy Metcalfe. “A joyous and funky bass player, he made Underwater Moonlight an exuberant LP to record and listen to,” Robyn Hitchcock wrote in his remembrance. “His manic bass run at the end of ‘Insanely Jealous’ and his stately propeller dive into the last chorus of the title track, as well as the insistent groove he brought to ‘Kingdom Of Love’ are some of the finest bass playing I have ever witnessed.”
The Soft Boys broke up in 1980, shortly after the release of Underwater Moonlight. Seligman formed another short-lived band, the Fallout Club, with Thomas Dolby before joining the Thompson Twins. When the Thompson Twins decided to cut down to a trio, Seligman began playing with Dolby’s solo group, performing on his early 1980s albums The Golden Age Of Wireless and The Flat Earth and his hit 1982 single “She Blinded Me With Science.” He was also a member of Local Heroes SW9 and the Dolphin Brothers and played bass on Robyn Hitchcock’s first two solo albums.
Seligman also found work as a session musician, playing for artists like Sinéad O’Connor, Morrissey, Tori Amos, Alex Chilton, the Waterboys, Transvision Vamp, Nan Vernon, Kimberley Rew, the Popguns, Sam Brown, and the Armoires. In 1985, Seligman and Dolby played in David Bowie’s backing band at Live Aid, and a year later, he played bass on Bowie’s Labyrinth soundtrack album and “Absolute Beginners.” He is survived by his partner Mami and his children Daisy and Lily.