Boy Oh Boy. It’s always nice to have a few words off one of the Boys and with a couple of special shows coming up what better time to catch up with Matt and see what’s happening. Ticket details and links are below the interview for their Lewes and London shows along with the posters with all the details.
Hi Dom. We’re always happy to play at the 100 Club. It’s almost a New Year tradition for us to play there now. It will also be great to hook up again with special guests Last Great Dreamers who we shared a festival stage with in Norway last year.
Not at all, we’re usually planning gigs a year or so ahead and there are only so many gigs we want to do per year in any particular city or country as we don’t want to overplay anywhere. But we are playing Brighton before the London gig as well as Rebellion in 2020 and there might also be one or two other gigs in the UK later next year.
Sadly, I think that’s the truth, which is why I have a soft spot for the 100 club as one of the few surviving venues in London that have been around since the beginning of British rock ’n’ roll. When we started out in 1976, there were probably 100+ small music venues and pubs in London where we could feasibly get gigs as a new band, I doubt there’s more than a handful now.
I have some early Boys’ recordings that I’d mixed down to cassette but all the original multi-track tapes went missing at some point and I don’t know who took them. If someone had stolen them to sell on or release as a bootleg I think they would have resurfaced by now so either they were stolen to record over or maybe removed by one of the bands who didn’t want their embarrassing early efforts aired. Who knows?
Most of the people that hung out in Warrington Crescent went on to greater things, including non-musicians like Magenta Devine, but one person who did impress me was the new guitarist with Chelsea who had only just started playing. I showed him a few guitar licks and he picked them up so quickly I thought this boy’s going to be a great guitarist. His name was Billy Idol.
All I can say is that we’ve started recording and it’s sounding good – but at the moment it’s just new tracks with as yet no specific end-use and we’ll work on them and possibly more tracks in the New Year.
Funnily enough, we never played the 100 club back in the day. I think after the first punk festival there when an audience member was hit by a thrown beer glass, they were a bit wary of booking punk bands for a while. Me, and I think Cas and John were in the audience for that gig. I also remember our debut at the Hope and Anchor shortly after, as it was such a relief to get our first gig safely under our belt after all the rehearsing. Mick Jones, Gene October and a lot of other fledgeling punk rockers were at the gig.
The Roxy was special because it was so short-lived. It was open only a couple of months but it that short time it gave punk its own home and helped to turn the UK music biz on its head and give the fledgeling punk bans the upper hand over the record companies, who were suddenly all desperate to sign a punk band. Also, venues, radio stations, recording studios, newspapers and music magazines were all forced to open up their minds to the punk phenomenon.
Re the Marquee, I saw so many great bands play there that it was a privilege for me to use the same stage and tiny dressing room. I’m still angry about the Marquee being lost forever after the developers promised there would still be a live music venue as part of the new development. I went to the opening of that ‘live music venue’ which was actually the basement area of a Conran restaurant. It was packed with tables and chairs for diners and had a tiny cabaret-style stage that you could just about fit a grand piano on. What really annoyed me was the ashtrays (you could smoke in restaurants back then), which were embossed with the names of some of the great bands such as Jimi Hendrix, Rolling Stones etc that had played the Marquee, implying that this was where they had played.
We are in talks about doing another South American tour and also Japan plus a few other things in the pipeline. I’d personally love to visit China again and tour there properly as we intended last time but it would be risky as we don’t know if we are still banned and probably wouldn’t know till we arrived there.
As you probably know John hasn’t been well for a long time. He is showing signs of improving. It’s a slow process so we don’t know if he’ll be able to be at the show but we do hope so.
I live in Swansea and the local museum recently had an exhibition to celebrate 50 years as a city and 50 years of music in the city and low and behold there is a feature from the 70s of Circles night club down the marina with pictures of yourself from when the Boys played on a Monday night. With a great bill poster advertising the show. Do you have any memories of that show which was bootlegged and the first Bootleg I ever heard of the band. Sounded like an electric night in an infamous local venue. Were they good memories of getting in a van with the band and togging it around the UK in the late ’70s.
I’d like to have seen that exhibition. Do you have any photos of that feature? It was indeed great fun touring in the 70s because in many cases we were the first punk band that anyone had seen so it felt like we were trailblazing. As to an autobiography, no plans at present but if I get bored maybe.