Kevin Stanton, founding songwriter and guitarist with Mi-Sex, a new wave band from New Zealand remembered for the late ‘70s hit “Computer Games,” died Wednesday night (May 17) after a long battle with health problems. He was 61.
“It is hard to fathom Kevin is no longer with us,” writes founding Mi-Sex keyboard player Murray Burns in a social media post. “Just last Sunday we chatted, arranging times together in the not too distant future, hoping for a new chapter in our creative partnership.” Stanton had just returned to Australia from France prior to his death. “Kevin really opened up the door to songwriting for me,” adds Murray. “He was my teacher in so many ways and gave me the confidence to explore my music and believe in my ideas. He brought the dark, dark edge to Mi-Sex that we all loved and were intensely intrigued by.”
Born on June 21, 1955, Stanton assembled Mi-Sex in 1977 with Steve Gilpin (vocals), Doc Martin (bass), Richard Hodgkinson (drums) and Burns. The group relocated to Sydney the following year and got to work on their debut album Graffiti Crimes. A later version of the set included “Computer Games,” which hit No. 1 in Australia in October 1979 and won Best Australian Single at the Countdown Music Awards.
Stanton wrote, played guitar and occasionally took vocal duties on a string of songs, including “But You Don’t Care”, “People,” “Space Race,” “It Only Hurts When I’m Laughing”, “Shanghaied!,” and “Castaway” (which hit No. 31 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart).
Stanton took leave from the band in the mid ‘80s and relocated to London where he produced soundtracks and worked on the Fairlight CMI, a pioneering Australian-designed digital synthesizer and sampler. An enthusiastic adopter of studio technology, Stanton was one half of the StanLee Productions team which programmed much of the sound library for the Fairlight Series III.
Mi-Sex continues to tour with Burns the only member remaining of the band’s classic lineup, though Stanton has not been involved in any recent reunions due to ill health. He suffered with cervical spondylosis which affected the use of his left arm and hand, and he had been recovering from major spinal surgery.
Mi-Sex vocalist Gilpin died in January 1992, two months after a car accident from which he never recovered.