Always an absolute pleasure to get an earful off The Boys and this much-anticipated box set has come at just the right time in what has been or rather what is a bonkers year.
In a nutshell (or should that be clamshell), what we have here is Safari Records five-disc set of Boys material beginning with the fantastic ‘To Hell With The Boys’ followed by ‘Boys Only’ then the ones that will have fanboys salivating. One CD of Rarities (Granted many of which have already seen the light of day, here and there, like when Captain Oi! released the ‘To Hell’ they included five bonus cuts which are all present in one form or another.
These discs have been lovingly remastered by Matt and James Bragg and are a cornucopia of loud guitars and cheeky chaps doing what they do best… play exceptional Rock and Roll.  The five discs are all accompanied by a really smart  booklet with excellent notes from Matt Dangerfield which gives you a feel for where the band was at the time and corresponding pictures that help paint what the band were up to at the time.
From Cas’ swirling keyboards that sit on top of the mix of ‘Rue Morgue’ these songs could have been mastered underwater and they’d still sound sharp as a tack.  The fact that a lot of these songs still sit prominently in the live set would show how highly the band still regards the ‘To Hell’ album. Tunes such as ‘Terminal Love’, ‘You Can’t Hurt A Memory’ & ‘See You Later’ shows how versatile and creative the band was.
Man, they don’t make Rock and Roll bands like this anymore The Boys had everything, more than the one songwriter, a pair of great guitar players who had their own styles and a whole extra dynamic with more than one vocalist helps with some fantastic backing vocals.  They were never afraid to put a rocker like ‘See You Later’ next to such a mellow laid back and sweet song as ‘You Can’t Hurt A Memory’ with one of Matt’s finest vocal deliveries hitting the spot perfectly, a fantastic arrangement and getting John Mayall to hoot along on this was inspired and all for the price of a bottle of Vodka! Brilliant.  I love ‘Kamikaze’ for those honkin’ Sax breaks and I didn’t realise it was Johns first foray into lead vocals.
To be fair having this all pulled together in one place long after most of this is hard to get hold of unless you have deep pockets is an achievement in itself and the booklet with all the fantastic memorabilia is a great addition and well worth checking out even for the casual its the perfect gateway into the band and their music.
The BBC live album is a corker but then if you’ve ever seen the band live you’ll know they don’t do bad shows and this foray into the BBC and the heart of the establishment, mixes up their output thus far with old and new songs and spot-on delivery.
As the blurb says 71 tracks in all, 22 rare and previously unreleased songs, the X Rated Yobs Crimbo album just in time to play around the table as your nan tucks into her Christmas dinner round your house. Of course, I highly recommend you buy this box set, its a keeper and for those who are looking to tie up loose ends, this is perfect maybe 2020 hasn’t been a total bust after all its not every year you get a Boys box set.  Buy it!
“Anyone buying the Box Set directly from The Boys this month (September 2020) will be given a PDF document of Matt Dangerfield’s full Safari notes along with an unreleased 1979 demo of “New Guitar In Town”. For more information email The Boys at info@theboys.co.uk
Buy it from Cherry Red Here
Author: Dom Daley

To celebrate the 6th anniversary of The Boys critically acclaimed album “Punk Rock Menopause” as well as the album track “I’m A Believer” passing a quarter of a million plays on Spotify, Action Records will release a Special Limited Edition yellow & black marbled vinyl copy on 20 June 2020. The release is strictly limited to 100 individually numbered copies. This Limited Edition will also come with a free mp3 download of the whole album.
Action Records will also release “Punk Rock Menopause” on regular black vinyl, the original black vinyl release having been unavailable for four years.
 
On its release “Punk Rock Menopause” became The Boys first new studio album for 33 years and featured original founder members and creative core of Matt Dangerfield, Casino Steel and Honest John Plain. The album is packed with 13 iconic songs bearing the band’s classic trademark blistering guitars, hard-edged melodies, killer hooks and layered harmonies. 
Copies can be ordered from The Boys & Action Records
 
 “An absolute belter” – Uber Rock
 “If you love music, give this album a home. This Menopause is red hot!” –  Rice Cooker
 “Matt Dangerfield, Casino Steel, and Honest John Plain, the writing nucleus of arguably the greatest punk-pop-power-pop band of all time, are back!” – Audio Ammunition
 “Comeback Album of the Year!” – Soundtrack 4 Life
 “Album title of the year” – Classic Rock
 “Ringing guitars, booming drums & bass, punk swagger and grit, mixed with pure pop melodies, vocal harmonies and most importantly great songs – A scorcher!” – Nippertown
 “Power chord riffs, harmonies and titanic choruses were always this outfit’s stock in trade and they’re not about to skimp on them now” – Vive Le Rock
 “It’s absolutely great, everything you’d expect from The Boys” – Bucket List
 “With the opening chords of ‘1976’ you recognise that distinctive guitar sound and when the vocals start, it takes you right back to the glory days of 1978. One catchy song after another, full of simple effective melodies, lovely harmony vocals, great chugging guitar and winning vocals” – Punky Gibbon
 “The Boys are indeed back in town, and it sounds better than ever” – New Noise Magazine
Spotify: Here

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 Matt.  The boys have been announced as headliners at Resolution Festival in the 100 Club this coming January. Having been two years since you headlined there was it an easy choice to say yes to doing it again?  It is a great line up as well with Last Great Dreamers and Menace playing as well.

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.

It’s already announced as the bands only show in London for 2020 is that an easy decision to make with it being so early on in the 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.

London is an ever decreasing hotbed of Rock and Roll with venues and gentrification closing down places is it harder to find suitable places these days compared to when the Boys started?

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.

It seems like a whole new world out there for bands what with the internet being so instant and making the world a smaller place.  Bands can record at home from anywhere is it a good or bad thing?  there seems to be less chance of there being a community or movement like when you opened up your flat in Maida Vale. Have those kinds of days totally gone do you think? 
The music business has always been changing. Other than live performance, income from music evolved from sales of sheet music to vinyl records, cassettes to CDs. and downloads to streaming. And even live performance evolved with the advent of music videos and once again with the arrival of the internet as well as audience smartphone recordings now all available online. The main problem now is that music is so easily available that it’s in danger of being taken for granted and devalued
Did you keep all the tapes from those recordings? Were there any particular people who impressed you who went on to great things in music that you could sense from the time? 

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.

A little bird tells me that The Boys in 2019 have also been busy recording is there any details you could reveal about that?

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.

Going back to playing the 100 Club.  Its such an iconic venue for many reasons its steeped in history and one of the only remaining places still standing.  How does it stack up playing the 100 Club in 2018 or 2020 compared to 40 years ago and which of the venues hold the best memories and why?  The Roxy,  Marquee club when it was on Wardour Street.  I guess the Hope And Anchor which is also still standing.  Wasn’t that the venue the band made their live debut?  What do you remember about that?

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.

When I go there (Hope & Anchor that is)  I don’t know why but I’m always slightly taken aback how small it is. Again its got a lot of attachment to some bands history like the Stranglers and The Damned playing there. The 100 club seems palatial in comparison.
Are there any plans to play further afield again in 2020? the USA shows went down well and I know bands and fans were thrilled with the experience of hearing you guys play live.  What about china is that due for a return visit or are you now banned?

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 for the band will John be playing the Resolution show?  It would be great to see him up there with you guys.

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.

With these memories in mind would you ever consider penning an autobiography?  The Boys history is an exceptional one and would make for a riveting read.

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.

Lewes Con Club 10 January –Tickets
Resolution Festival (100 Club) 11 January – Tickets

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of the release of The Boys critically acclaimed 2014 album, ‘Punk Rock Menopause’, the band has released a new promo video for album track ‘Keep Quiet’
 
The video was recorded during the band’s September 2018 Italian tour. Unfortunately guitarist Honest John Plain was unable to make the video shoot due to ill health.
 
Casino Steel comments, “It was filmed and directed by Lester Greenowski at the Ligera Club in Milan. Many thanks to Lester and the enthusiastic crowd who made this possible. We had a great time!”
 
Matt Dangerfield agrees and adds, “This is now the sixth track from ‘Punk Rock Menopause’ to be immortalised in video, which I think demonstrates just how strong the album is.”
The band’s five-year distribution deal with Wolverine Records for ‘Punk Rock Menopause’ expires later this month, which means that from now on it will be available to stream/download from Revolution RecordsSpotify
The band will be playing a series of live dates in Scandinavia in June & September:
Sat 22 June – Odal Rock Festival
Thurs 12 Sept – Gothenburg
Fri 13 Sept – tbc
Sat 14 Sept – Hova
Fri  20 Sept – tbc
Sat 21 Sept – Trondheim