Along with the Sex Pistols, Clash and The Damned, The Boys were part of the first wave of the mid-1970’s UK punk explosion. Armed with an arsenal of killer Steel/Dangerfield songs The Boys became the first UK punk band to sign an album deal in January 1977. Highly regarded by the music press and their contemporaries, their well-crafted songs, together with Steel and Dangerfield’s love of harmonies, led to them being described as ‘The Beatles of Punk’ but they could (and should) just as deservedly have been compared to the Ramones – fast, alternately brattish and tongue-in-cheek, and gloriously anthemic.
As Last FM puts it: “The Boys provided the template for superior Pop Punk before even the Buzzcocks had got out of first gear”.
The Boys were born in September 1975 when singer/guitarist Matt Dangerfield left Mick Jones and Tony James’s fledgling punk band London SS to form a new band with ex-Hollywood Brats songwriter/keyboard player Casino Steel. Dangerfield’s art college pal, guitarist Honest John Plain, was quickly recruited. The following year they held auditions for the bass and drum roles with Kid Reid and Jack Black completing the line-up.
Matt Dangerfield had converted the tiny disused coal cellar of his rented basement flat in Maida Vale into a home recording studio/rehearsal room and as a consequence, 47A Warrington Crescent became extremely important in the development of the UK punk scene in the mid-seventies. Mick Jones, Glen Matlock, Tony James, Rat Scabies, Brian James, Gene October, Sid Vicious and Billy Idol were regular visitors. Amongst others, The Sex Pistols, The Damned, London SS, Clash, Chelsea, Generation X and of course, The Boys, made their first recordings there. In this hotbed of creativity Steel and Dangerfield quickly forged a prolific songwriting partnership.
The Boys made their live debut at London’s Hope and Anchor in October 1976. Mick Jones, Billy Idol, Joe Strummer, Tony James and Gene October were in attendance for The Boys first performance. A mere handful of gigs later, they became the first UK punk band to sign an album deal when NEMS Records snapped them up in January 1977.
Having released two albums and three singles with NEMS, they moved to Safari Records in 1979 where two further albums and five more singles followed. At the turn of the decade, The Boys rocked on up to Brighton and played the Top Rank Suite on Wednesday 16th January 1980. They were supporting the Ramones!
Over the years countless bands have covered The Boys’ back catalogue – from Argentina to Germany and Japan to the USA – and even more artists have cited The Boys as a major influence.
Bringing us right up to date, The Boys have announced that they are playing at The Prince Albert in Brighton on Friday 5th January 2024. Tickets have gone on sale this morning (Thursday 10th October) and are available to buy HERE and HERE.
The Brighton & Hove News last caught up with The Boys on 4th August last year when they played to a packed Club Casbah at the Rebellion punk festival in Blackpool. Read our account of that performance below:
THE BOYS – CLUB CASBAH (9:30pm – 10:30pm)
We had a swift jaunt over to Club Casbah to see The Boys for a more sedate affair, having witnessed what the Circle Jerks had to offer. The Boys format was two guitars and vocals, bass with joint vocals, keys and drums. Their intro tape started at 9:29pm.and the lads took to the stage. They offer up old style early melodic pop punk with the added keys.
They had a backdrop behind them which changed for every song. It helpfully had the details of the song name, who wrote it and what album it is from and the year it was released, for example “‘See Ya Later’ written by Casino Steel/Matt Dangerfield, album ‘To Hell With The Boys’ 1979”. This was a novel idea and it gave the many fans an all encompassing performance factor, good job lads! ‘Weekend’ was rather good, even though it had a Beatles style chorus.
The Boys offer up tunes that are as melodic as say The Undertones, and at times it’s almost not punk. I would suggest they are at the outer edge of the genre. Set highlights ‘First Time’ and ‘I Don’t Care’ (both from 1977) and ‘Brickfield Nights‘ (from 1978). There was an unfortunate comedy moment during ‘First Time’ when the Hammond keyboard collapsed on the floor. I wonder if that was “oh oh oh oh the First Time’” that it has happened? That’s £1000 quid down the drain then. Their performance concluded at 10:24pm. I must dig out my two The Boys albums and reacquaint myself with them again.
Fans will be interested to check out our exclusive interview with The Boys founder member Matt Dangerfield from back in November 2019 – Read it HERE.