Paint My Name in Black and Gold: The Rise of the Sisters of Mercy

Unbound. Feb. 2022. 352p. ISBN 9781800180383. $26.95. MUSIC
Journalist Andrews chronicles the musical group the Sisters of Mercy, from their start in 1980 to their implosion just as they were poised for major label recognition and mainstream success in the United States. Grounded in Leeds, the narrative explores not only on the group but also the postpunk scene of Northern England. Drawing on accounts from former band members, support staff, record industry participants, and the Sisters’ superfans, Andrews examines the rotating lineup of the band, struggles with excess, conflicting personalities, and the toll that fame took on the young musicians. Andrews focuses on the original lineup of duo Andrew Eldritch and Gary Marx, who were soon joined by Craig Adams and Ben Gunn—and later Wayne Hussey—as well as the infamous drum machine Doktor Avalanche. Full of inside stories of wrecked hotel rooms, copious amounts of drugs, fights with heckling audience members, and tensions that eventually destroyed the band, this is one of the most comprehensive biographies of the early years of the Sisters of Mercy. Its strength is the window into Leeds and the narrative of a band that could have been if it weren’t for themselves.
VERDICT This thorough work will appeal not only to fans of the Sisters of Mercy but also to readers interested in English popular music and 1980s post-punk music history.
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