Le Mat
Le mat band wikipedia duran duran discogs
Background information
Origin Southend, UK
Genres New wave, rock, punk
Years active 1980-1985
Labels Whaam! Records
Past members Gary Simpson
Pete Helmer
Paul Helmer
Rob Hollyoak

Mark Mifsud-Bonnici


Le Mat were a British new wave rock band formed in Southend in 1980.

The band were a support act for Duran Duran in 1982.

Background informationEdit

Le Mat emerged out of the ashes of their earlier mod outfit, The Leepers. The core of the band was Gary Simpson (vocals), Pete Helmer (guitar), Paul Helmer (bass), and Sav (drums), with Mike Mifsud Bonnici (violin and keyboards). This line-up was the key one that recorded the Waltz of the Fool album on Whaam! Records and whom played many local shows.

As the shutters were being pulled down on 1980, The Leepers were undergoing a tranformation into the band Le Mat. A wider range of musical and sartorial influences were coming to the fore and the band felt they needed to move on from their roots to incorporate this eclectic perspective. In 1981 and 1982, they found themselves embroiled in the first wave of the psychedelic renaissance, as forged by clubs like The Groovy Cellar and The Clinic.

This scene helped re-inspire Gary and Pete, and they began brushing up some old Leepers numbers as well as writing new songs. With Gary suggesting the name 'Le Mat' and everyone feeling it was right they started playing out as frequently as possible. The management at one point, in order to expose them to as large a potential audience as possible, got them in as support for Duran Duran.

1982 saw the band sign to independent label Whaam Records, and after 10 days recording on a budget of £2,000 at The Producers Workshop studios in Fulham, London, the band recorded the album The Waltz of the Fool. Though more polished than their live performances, which was always where the band truly excelled, the album nevertheless contained some strong songs, including: "The Message", "Sun Arise" and "Somewhere in the Night".

1983 started to expand on the previously laid foundations of the previous psychedelic renaissance. This year saw a couple of line-up changes with Rob Hollyoak (ex-Skyline Custard) coming in on keyboards. Also long time drummer Sav left.

In 1984 and 1985, the band found themselves moving in a slightly more Roxy Music-esque direction. Le Mat would undergo a further transformation too, undergoing a name change to reflect their changing sound, becoming 'Holy Joe and The Last Electric Showmen'. The band performed some shows and eventually split.

Past membersEdit

  • Gary Simpson - vocals
  • Pete Helmer - guitar
  • Paul Helmer - bass
  • Sav - drums
  • Mark Mifsud - Bonnici - violin, keyboards
  • Rob Hollyoak - keyboards