Matthew Seligman (Soft Boys, Thomas Dolby) has died from COVID-19 complications
Matthew Seligman, who played bass with The Soft Boys, Thompson Twins, Thomas Dolby, David Bowie, Peter Murphy and more, died today after suffering a "catastrophic hemorrhagic stroke" after being hospitalized with COVID-19. He was 64. His Soft Boys bandmate Robyn Hitchcock just shared this tribute:
I’m writing this as Matthew Seligman slips out of this life and into wherever souls go next. Everybody goes, but none of us were expecting Matthew to leave us so abruptly, forever. It is strange and very sad to be talking of him in the past tense. I first met Matthew in 1976 in Cambridge, just before the beginning of the Soft Boys. He had nice dark hair and was very charming, with a slight break in his voice. A joyous and funky bass player, he made Underwater Moonlight an exuberant LP to record and listen to. 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.
Matthew truly believed in the Soft Boys and the record. It was early 1980 and the second Cold War was intensifying. I fondly remember stomping over to the pub after a session and him saying through the dismal spring wind, "We may all be about to be blown up, but at least we'll have made a classic album."
The band didn't survive too long into the bleak 1980s, but Matthew found a home as a bass player in many great musical shells. The Thompson Twins, David Bowie, Morrissey and Chrissie Hynde were all lucky beneficiaries of his intuitive and circular grooves.
As well as bass playing, he specialized in one-liners. “Pop music is about over-stating the obvious” and “What you’ve proved to the music industry is that you can’t sell records” are two of my favourites.
I’m profoundly grateful to have played music with him - you could really see his face light up like a full moon when he listened back to a take he enjoyed. Onstage he would lope and lurch and pace when the music moved him. Matthew is, was, and always will be one of the greats. My heart goes out to his partner, Mami; his children Daisy and Lily, and all who were close to him and his lunar intensity.
In addition to The Soft Boys, Matthew's fluid, often fretless bass work can be heard on a number of Robyn Hitchcock's solo albums, as well as Thomas Dolby's "She Blinded Me with Science," "One of Our Submarines," and The Flat Earth, Thompson Twins' In the Name of Love, Tori Amos' "China," Peter Murphy's Love Hysteria, Morrissey's "Ouija Board, Ouija Board," David Bowie's "Absolute Beginners" and more.
Rest in peace, Matthew. Listen to some of the records he played on, and read tributes from Thomas Dolby and Colin Meloy, below.