Wirral author puts pen to paper on life of innovative Japan frontman

Wirral Globe: David Sylvian biography, On the Periphery, penned by Heswall author Chris Young. David Sylvian biography, On the Periphery, penned by Heswall author Chris Young.

THE solo career of one of the music industry’s most innovative composers has been documented in a new biography, penned by former Wirral journalist Chris Young.

The 46-year-old, who lives in Heswall with wife Marie, has spent the last four years researching the solo career of David Sylvian – who is known to many as the frontman of 1980s pop group, Japan.

Although Sylvian has been leading a somewhat Quiet Life in recent years, that did not stop Chris from pursuing his dream of uncovering more about the composer and publishing it in his first book, ‘On the Periphery’.

“Japan were at the heart of the pop machine back in the day and my interest was centred around his decision to throw in the towel when fame and fortune beckoned, and set off on a journey of personal, musical and spiritual discovery that led some 30 years later to him being regarded as one of modern day music’s most innovative experimental composers,” explained Chris, who started out as a Sunday Times journalist in East Africa.

The book tracks Sylvian’s solo career from the end of the band in 1982 until the end of 2013 and explores his motivations, techniques and the decision to share his journey through music.

Chris, who had to travel across the globe as part of his research, said: “As the years have gone by, Sylvian has become more and more reclusive and therefore news and understanding of his work has become harder and harder to find.

“So I embarked upon the research and writing of the book over a four year period certain in the knowledge that he still has a large and devoted global audience that would feel starved of information about the motivations, meaning, and evolution of his work.”

Chris added: “He has lived in the United States since 1992 so much time was spent tracking things down over there.

“He also has a large following in Japan so I spent time there too – in fact, I was in Tokyo when the devastating earthquake hit back in 2011.”

Part of the royalties of On the Periphery – which has been selling rapidly all over the world since its publication in December - will go to the charity that helps with the continuing relief effort in Japan.

For more information, or to buy the book, visit sylvianbiography.com

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