Sheffield has lost a fine, honest lover of music. Martin passed away on New Years Eve at the crazy age of 62. During his years as a music journalist for the Sheffield Telegraph & Star, he worked tirelessly to promote all kinds of local bands, and recommended me as guitarist for They Must Be Russians.
His own label, Office Box records featured local talent and he played regularly as guitarist in the Wealthy Texans (through an AC15 that I foolishly sold him!) – their unique approach to sound livened up many a venue and released an LP “The Joy of Tex” and a single that prominently featured the sound of a cow mooing.
He lived a couple of roads away from me I valued his honest appraisal of any music I ran past him – a band I was in signed to Polydor and he told me frankly that our early demos were far superior to the records that finally came out (he was spot on!) He gave another of my bands, Dig Vis Drill, lots of great publicity.
The wall of his front room was a series of shelves bearing a vast pile of demo cassettes and I knew he had listened to all of them. He also had the honour of giving my partner (and now wife) her first ever joint! I last met him at the launch of a book about Pulp (see photo), shortly before illness forced him to withdraw from public life.
He wrote a fascinating book about the Sheffield music scene, called “Beats Working for a Living: Sheffield Popular Music 1973-1984” and my brother Simon put together the compilation CD that came with it.
A modest, unassuming individual, with great integrity, he was beloved by the local music scene and will be sorely missed.
There is a free download of the album ‘Beats Working For a Living – a tribute to Martin Lilleker’, which includes a track by my early 80s band Red Zoo – donations are welcome in support of Woodland View Nursing Home (where my wife used to work!) via Just Giving.
Contributing artists include The Wealthy Texans, I’m So Hollow, Pulp, Artery, Disease, The Everly Pregnant Brothers, Don Valley & The Rotherhides, Kafka Chic, smile baby, The Lovers, UV PØP, I Monster, The Box, Red Zoo, Vice Versa, Jono & the Vandals, David Claytonn, In The Nursery, Mark Miwurdz, Michael Eden, White Trash, Sieben, The Cuckoo Clocks, Devil’s Kut, Chakk, obLONG, Treebound Story.