Below is the true story about the Australian band BOYS first album that was released in 1980. Many times have the Del Roio boys tried to close my blog pages and web pages saying they own the rights to the FRONT COVER or they own a link to a song or YouTube video.. WE’LL THEY DON’T. The album and it’s images are owned by Warners and the songs were written by a non band member.. that’s right you read it correctly. Read the truth below from the horses mouth so to speak. Please read it, it’s worth it.
So they closed my BOYS links on this blog because I put up cover of the album and a link to a YouTube video.. hilarious.
This blog was created to promote the wealth of good Australian music that has been forgotten over time. In a word to keep those great songs alive and in our minds. Putting up a photo of a band or a record jacket is in NO way a breach of any copyright. The funny thing is that the Del Roio’s have taken my scans from this blog and placed them on their own including facebook.. how do I know? I can tell from the creases and dust marks of my original scans. So they try and try to close my blogs for putting up an image of a cover, then they take it and use for their own.. what a crock, Angry you never made it BOYS even 30 years on.. I think so.
Here’s the story behind BOYS by singer/songwriter Paul McCarthy.
Between 1978 and 1981 I worked with Perth band The Boys as their songwriter. My relationship with The Boys was an unusual arrangement. Though I wrote the songs I wasn’t actually in the band. The Boys were well and truly established as Perth’s most successful cover band before I came along. I meanwhile, was playing on the original scene as the singer songwriter in the splendidly named Christian Barnard And The Transplants. That band was first to perform many of the songs featured on this CD. It was thirty years ago and inevitably memories falter on some of the details, but this is my recollection of how it all came about.
Perth bills itself as the most isolated capital city in the world. It’s nearly 3,000 kms to the nearest capital city Adelaide, but lets face it, if you’re going to the trouble of travelling 3,000 kms you wouldn’t stop at Adelaide, you’d kick on to Melbourne – 3,500 kms, or Sydney – 4,000 kms. It may be one of the most beautiful cities but Perth is a long way from everywhere. In a world of instant telecommunications and cheap airfares the tyranny of distance has little effect on the local music industry of today, but that wasn’t the case back in the seventies.
At that time isolation was a very significant factor, the sealed highway that links Perth to the rest of the country was only completed in 1976. Some of the larger international acts were starting to include Perth on their tour schedules, but it was the exception rather than the rule. Few musical acts visited, as it was too far away and cost too much to bring shows here.
Local radio was limited (with the exception of a fabulous program hosted by Peter Holland on the ABC every Monday night). There were no FM radio stations, and there were no national commercial radio or television networks. Each state had its own radio charts and it was common to see songs that had never been heard in Perth top the Australian charts. There was also a kind of cultural cringe towards Australian bands, we’d see them on ABC’s Countdown (the only music program on television at that time) but we rarely heard them on Perth radio.
This then was the reality of the Perth music scene in the late seventies. An isolated city infrequently visited by musical acts from interstate or outside Australia. For most people regular access to music came via Perth’s incredibly conservative commercial radio stations. It had been that way since the inception of Rock n Roll in the mid fifties and over twenty years it had produced a music scene that was very different to the rest of the country.
Radio stations in other states played relatively diverse forms of music that in turn created a demand from audiences to see that music played live, a demand that was usually met by the artists that made the records. In Perth a demand was also created amongst audiences to see the music that they heard on radio performed live but the music being played on Perth radio was far more conservative than that being played in the rest of the country and the artists that created it rarely visited. Consequently local musicians filled the gap. In the late seventies in Perth cover bands ruled the roost.
There was a fledgling original scene that featured great bands such as The Rockets, The Helicopters, The Scientists and The Triffids, but compared with what was happening on the cover band circuit it was a miniscule scene. The career path of most original artists in Perth involved leaving town; there were just too few people interested in what they were doing. Instead, cover bands playing to crowds that typically numbered 800 to 1,000 people dominated the local music scene. Venues such as The Charles Hotel, The Raffles, The Dianella, The Balga Inn, The White Sands, The Herdsman and later The Nookenburra and The Morley Generator were packed with that demographic bubble of humanity known as the baby boomers watching cover bands most nights of the week. The Fingerprints, The Frames, The Brats, The Rave and PJ Hooker had huge followings, but by far the biggest and most successful cover band of the time was The Boys.
Aged between sixteen and nineteen (hence the name) The Boys were incredibly proficient musicians. Drummer Frank Celenza, who would later tour the world as a member of Baby Animals, was ably assisted in rhythm section duties by Robbie Salpietro on bass guitar, brothers Camillo and Lino Del Roio were exceptional guitarists, and in Brent Lucanus the band possessed a great front man. They also weren’t hurt by the fact that in David Zampatti they had at their service the music industry’s rarest breed; an astute manager with their best interests at heart. Whilst other cover bands of the time were playing the songs of Perth radio with it’s heavy bias towards the sixties, The Boys had instead chosen to play a large number of Australian contemporary songs that were only seen and heard on Countdown.
During the course of a typical night The Boys would play two or three AC/DC songs, four or five Angels songs, a Sports song, and a Jo Jo Zep song, which they’d then supplement with more mainstream material; a Beatles song, ‘Paint It Black’ by The Stones was a big crowd favourite, a few classics like Pretty Woman, and a couple of cheesy tunes like ‘Why Must I Be A Teenager In Love’. Perth crowds of the time loved The Boys but there was more to it than the material, this line-up could really play and had great chemistry. Attracting crowds in excess of 1,000 people almost every night of the week they’d conquered Perth before the oldest of them was twenty. The question was what to do next. The obvious step was to take on the rest of the country but the problem was they didn’t have any original songs. That’s where I came in.
As I mentioned earlier I’d been the singer songwriter in a band called Christian Barnard And The Transplants. It was my first band and it featured Tony Pola who would later go on to play drums with Beasts Of Bourbon. We played the original scene for about a year but faced the same problem that everyone else in the Perth original scene faced, namely that there weren’t really enough people involved to call it a scene. Still, we had a great fun and during that period I wrote a number of the songs that would go on to form the foundation of the CD you are now holding.
The Transplants broke up and I remember having no idea of what I would do next. Fate quickly stepped in and made the decision for me. I found myself at a nightclub called Blazes, which used to be on Charles Street in North Perth where by chance I met up with The Boys lead singer Brent Lucanus who had gone to the same high school as I had. We talked and found that after leaving school we’d both gone on to become musicians. I told him that my band had just broken up and he asked if I had any songs on tape because his band The Boys were looking for some. I told him that I did and arranged to get a copy to him. The next day I dropped the tape off at his house not really thinking anything would come of it. I was spectacularly wrong.
What I didn’t know was that The Boys were leaving for Sydney within days and had been talking with various record companies for quite a while. It seemed that at previous meetings interest had been shown in the band. They were, after all, the perfect package, young, good looking, great musicians with a dynamic stage show; the sticking point was that they had no songs the record companies were interested in. A couple of friends had written them a few songs but the record companies had rejected this material. This time when they met with record companies The Boys showed them the songs I’d just given them and fortunately the representatives of the record companies deemed this material to have commercial potential. The tape that I’d given Brent contained the songs ‘Why’d Ya Do That’, ‘Waiting All Night Long’ and ‘Spend My Time, which all made it to the first album. The tape also contained the songs ‘Doesn’t Matter’ (which became a B side) and ‘Chances Are’, which appeared on a second album and a few others that didn’t make it to The Boys recordings.
The band came back with the possibility of a recording contract and within a couple of weeks I was signed up as their songwriter. It was agreed that they would pay me a weekly wage and in return I would give them a writing credit, which I was happy to do. Though I always wrote the music and lyrics prior to showing the band the songs their contributions to the arrangements were often significant and their writing credit was well deserved.
What most people forget when they look at The Boys story is the risk that the band took in transitioning from cover band to a band playing original material. With the benefit of hindsight everyone agrees that it was the right move but that was not the case at the time. Most people thought they were crazy, original music just didn’t sell in Perth in those days. Every time they added one of my songs their crowd got smaller. Within a few months of me writing songs for the band their regular 1,000 plus crowd halved. When they’d been a cover band it had been a case of money consistently coming in and little going out. Now as they attempted to establish themselves at a national level it was money constantly going out as their revenue base back home diminished with every new song I wrote for them.
To their credit The Boys stuck to their plan. We were perhaps the only ones who really believed we would achieve success but it didn’t matter. It was a great time in our lives. The crowds in Perth were dwindling but the bands reputation was growing throughout the rest of the country. They were in awesome form and rated by those that saw them as one of the top live acts in the country. We remained hopeful that Perth would pick up again once that first single came out. Eventually that’s what happened but not in the way we’d anticipated.
We recorded the first single ‘When You’re Lonely’ at Festival Studios in Sydney. The plan was that we’d release it and promote it in Perth where, if events went according to plan, it would move up the charts and then using that success as a springboard we’d move on to the rest of the country. It didn’t work out that way. Perth radio refused to play it; they said it was too heavy. It wasn’t until the band appeared on Countdown and people started requesting it that the radio stations reluctantly relented. Once it started to get airplay sales really took off. By that stage the band was touring the rest of the country so whilst we’d get reports that the song was moving up the charts and finally made it to number one, the first West Australian song to do so, we didn’t really comprehend what a big deal it was but we soon found out.
The greeting the band received on their return to Perth was in stark contrast to the treatment they’d received prior to leaving a couple of months earlier. At that time the general opinion was that in attempting to become a recording band they’d blown it. The first single had come out and initially got no airplay. Crowds had continued to dwindle; the consensus was that the end was nigh. That appearance on Countdown changed everything.
The band’s first gig back home was at Scarborough Beach; it was hoped that as many as 2,000 people might show up, from memory it was closer to 12,000. That’s how it was from then on. Everything began to exceed expectations and as it did the pressure on the band grew. The record company who’d previously had a “wait and see if they have success” attitude to The Boys now threw the full weight of their publicity machine behind the band. Over the next few months another single ‘Hurt Me Babe’ was recorded in Sydney and released to even more success than ‘When You’re Lonely’. As crowds throughout the country began to grow in numbers, the band became more popular than they’d ever been.
It should have been a golden time but that wasn’t how it worked out. Most bands have a level of tension within them and The Boys were no exception to this general rule, but now those tensions rose to unworkable levels. Significantly this coincided with David Zampatti ceasing to be the band’s manager. He felt he had taken the band as far as his experience allowed and was of the opinion that the band needed new management to take them the rest of the way. The band found new management; good people but wrong for The Boys. Within months it all unravelled. The Boys kept it together long enough to record this album but that was it. Later attempts to recreate what had been were never the same. The combination of people that created the songs on this recording was the one with a touch of magic.
Thirty years on the Perth music scene has changed radically and it can be argued The Boys made a significant contribution to kick starting some of those changes. Following their success cover bands in Perth began to add original music to their repertoires. Within a few years it became the norm for aspiring musicians to choose a career path playing original music rather than covers. That had not been the case before the success of The Boys. They were also perhaps the first band on a major label to record in their hometown, choosing to record their first album at Planet Studios, at that time located in Murray Street in the centre of Perth. Every few years this album seems to garner new fans, it was transferred from vinyl to CD and sold steadily until well into the nineties. Something that all who were involved in its creation can (SHOULD) be proud of.
Paul McCarthy – Singer/Songwriter 2009
There you go. This was written for a book I was working on but since all the bullshit I decided to show it to my blog followers who like the BOYS music where it came from.