New Zealand new wave outfit Mi-Sex has issued a statement following the passing of founding bassist Don Martin on Monday.
News of Martin’s passing broke yesterday by way of keyboardist Murray Burns, with the 66-year-old musician succumbing to a lengthy cancer battle.
In his post, Burns explained that a living wake had been held for the bassist back in February, with Martin performing his final show alongside his Mi-Sex bandmates and his granddaughter Tahya.
Now, Mi-Sex have released an official statement on Martin’s passing, confirming that he passed away due to prostate cancer in Northern New South Wales early on Monday morning.
“In mid ’78 Don arrived in Sydney with Mi–sex band members from New Zealand,” the statement said of Martin’s career. “Within a year their debut album had gone platinum and their blockbuster song ‘Computer Games’ had rocketed to #1 nationally (#2 in New Zealand) and was charting in countries around the world.
“Massive selling albums and more high-charting songs followed, putting Mi–Sex amongst the top grossing bands in Australia and New Zealand during the late seventies/early eighties.”
Mi-Sex toured the US and Canada in 1980, supporting the likes of Iggy Pop and the Ramones, while the band were later involved in a much-publicised war of words with New Zealand Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, who has dismissed the status of popular music as “culture”.
“Away from the Mi-Sex rockstar lifestyle, Don was a vegan, teetotalling family man, dedicated to partner Adele who he’d eloped with when they were teenagers,” the group’s statement continued.
“When Mi-Sex finally called it a day in ’84, Don got a job as production accountant with a film and documentary company. From there he was head-hunted to be General Manager of fledgling pastry manufacturing/distribution business ‘Bob & Pete’s 100% Yum.’
“Over the following 25 years Don’s organizational genius helped take the company to being the biggest privately owned bakery/distribution concern in NSW, with over 300 staff and a 1000 retail customers.”
Martin was ultimately diagnosed with cancer in 2010, with the band reforming to to play at the farewell party for the bassist’s retirement from Bob & Pete’s. This eventually resulted in Mi-Sex once again finding themselves as an active presence on the live scene following the recruitment of Steve Balbi as their new frontman.
As the statement explains, Martin was forced to retire from Mi-Sex in late 2019 after “the dreaded cancer bogeyman caught up with him”, leaving him unable to travel and perform at peak energy.
Martin’s passing follows on from the death of founding vocalist Steve Gilpin in 1992, and founding guitarist Kevin Stanton in 2017.