Nobody likes the same music I do. That’s because they’re stupid. I like fast and loud songs with funny and intelligent lyrics. Nothing too long in case you don’t like that particular song. Then it’ll get over sooner and another, better, louder and faster song, will take its place. Overamped guitars and just enough of a Johnny Thunders type guitar solo to make the middle 8 kick ass for the chorus and a lively end to the song. None of that Jazz or Blues improvisation; never a weak fade-out ending, that’s for folk singers and singer-songwriters like the despised James Taylor. Something you can pogo to and get a nosebleed. Good times.
Even J.S. Bach knew this way back when (No, I’m not looking it up). They didn’t have electricity, so no electric guitar; no faster and louder; it was just a dream. Then they invented pipe organs. Don’t need electricity. All they needed was some dumb ass like you to keep the bellows going. Herr Bach knew what to do with it. Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Fast and LOUD. Creepy too. You can go beserk to Toccata like Keith Emerson before he became too pretentious (get out your dictionary). If you can climb into the pipe loft you can really go berserk. Louder than a Who and Ramones concert together. Blow your eardrums out. The pedal notes will make your chest vibrate better than a Kanye West rap in a 2010 Cadillac.
They knew what they were saying when they said: “Go for Baroque.” I bet they were sweatin’ in the pews. Toccata yo’ mama. Good times that 17th century. Kicked ass over the Middle Ages.
Fast forward to 1975. London. Kids sick of ’70s slower and softer music. Glam is dead. People want to hang hippies in effigie (I blame the ’60s for most of your problems). A bunch of guys come together and want to make some music but it’s gotta be faster and louder. They want to sound like the Beatles, only the good Beatles pre-St. Peppers Lonely Old Farts Band, or whatever. They want to make music like the Beatles, Herman’s Hermits, The Who, The Small Faces, all the good bands from the sixties, but it’s gotta be better. And you know what that means: faster and louder. The genesis of The Boys.
Soaring harmonies and punk rock guitars, but with intelligence, tongue in cheek, and what’s most important faster and louder; actual songs that have hooks that you can pogo to or just go wild. Forget poseurs like the Boomtown Crap or the Dead Boring Boys. We mean Jam and Who songs with a little Ramones thrown in. And actually singing, not some sod in a leather jacket screaming into a microphone like Dave Vanian. Real harmonies and background vocals but still faster and louder.
The problem was The Boys were too good. Too punk for the “New Wave” pop poseurs and too pop for the punks. What else can you say about a group that Joey Ramone and Paul Weller both said was their favorite band? Weller even had a Boys sticker on his Rickenbacker (look at the cover of All Mod Cons).
First there were the singles, then the eponymous (Did you put the dictionary away?)
The Boys. Next the magnificent Alternative Chartbusters, then their masterpiece, To Hell with the Boys, and finally the undeservedly maligned Boys Only. How could I forget the notoriously tasteless Christmas Album by The Yobs? Over the years a number of B-sides and throwaways have been reissued on CD, just proving that a Boys throwaway was a song most other bands would have killed for: She’s No Angel, Schooldays.
A pitiful lack of recognition by the trendy fruity uninspired synthesizer music industry that became the early ’80s caused the band to break up. Honest John Plain joined the worthless Lurkers for awhile, he wrote their best song, New Guitar in Town, and then went on to keep the flame alive in other places and with solo work with various backup bands. Well fast forward again to 2014, The Boys are back. Punk Rock Menopause. Great title, eh. Faster and Louder than even the old Boys.
I wish they would tour the States again. I’d drive a long way to see ’em, and you should too. Fly to London right now and catch a gig and pick up a Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic show on the side while you’re there.
I once drove 180 miles both ways on the same night to see a band, but that’s another faster and louder story.