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Tom Shear is an musician and music producer, and is the sole member of the / group Assemblage 23.
He was born on November 12, 1971 in State College, Pennsylvania, where he lived until he was about six years old. After that, he lived in New Jersey for two years and then in New Hampshire for around twelve years. Shear currently resides in Seattle, Washington.

His musical skills are self-taught. After teaching himself to play the piano, he did take piano lessons for a couple of months, but he stopped when he found that they involved more "unlearning" of techniques he had taught himself than learning new techniques he could use. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1994 with a degree in TV and film production.

While still in high school in the late 1980s, he began creating instrumental synth-pop music at home under the name Man On A Stage, as well as playing bass live for a punk-influenced band named The Advocates. Shear credits the band Depeche Mode as having influenced him more than any other group towards the electronic music styles. Another significant influence came when he attended a Depeche Mode concert in 1988; Shear was astounded by the industrial dance music played by the opening DJ, and began incorporating industrial influences into his music. Man On A Stage was at this point retitled Assemblage 23.

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