This band hardly needs an introduction, having formed in the mid 70’s when the punk movement was radically changing the music and fashion scene in London, the punk band The Boys came out of Maida Vale, north London, as the first punk band in the UK with an album record deal (NEMS). The Damned had a single deal with Stiff Records and the Sex Pistols had been sacked by EMI. The Boys made 4 albums and toured extensively, without really receiving the success that they deserved. Some have later said that The Boys were musically too good to be a punk band. They disbanded in 1981 and all the members of the original line up went off to do their own thing. Casino Steel (vocal/keyboard) left London for his native Norway and had a successful musical partnership with Gary Holton (Heavy Metal Kids) with a genre of music they called ‘Rig Rock’, which was basically punking up old country covers, amongst other projects.
In 1999 The Boys were asked to reform for a tour of Japan. They had fans there who were eager to see them play live. Casino told me in a previous interview for Mudkiss that all the members (with the exception of Jack Black who had a back injury) wanted to visit Japan and if it totally flopped then they would be flopping on the other side of the planet and hopefully nobody in Europe would know about it. He remembers how amazed he was over the thousands of people who came to see them and the huge success this tour was; something that made them stay together as a band ever since and tour Japan, amongst other places, annually. Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid left The Boys last November, playing his last gig with them in Osaka, Japan and has now a solo career; Duncan Reid and the Big Heads.
This year The Boys have gone back into the studio to record their first album in 32 years, which will be released next year. Casino Steel turned 60 this year and is also celebrating being on the road for 40 years, with three concerts in Norway; Oslo, Halden and Trondhiem. The latter being two concerts in one day at the Rockheim Music museum. I caught up with The Boys at the sound check prior to tonight's show for a little chat.
TEDDIE: Happy birthday Cas, you are now celebrating your 60th and having been on the road for 40 years, is this a time for reflection for you personally? Do you find yourself looking back, or are you still focused forward?
CASINO: Thank you. It’s so difficult looking back because I can’t remember it very well. No, I’m not looking back. I’m looking forward all the time. At the moment we are just concentrating on our new album and what we are going to do in the next few years.
MATT: A time for reflection? It could be a good time to look in the mirror (laughs)
TEDDIE: You have come a long way together since The Boys started out in the 70’s. What’s the glue that holds you together and keeps you going on?
MATT: I’m not sure. We get on well when we are on tour and we get on well musically too. That’s the main thing I suppose.
CASINO: That’s what surprised us when we went in to studio now. We are recording our first album in 32 years. John, Matt and I have been recording different stuff, but when we met up again in studio it just sounds like The Boys. The other stuff we have recorded individually doesn’t sound anything like The Boys. So when we get together we just sound like The Boys and it quite surprised me.
TEDDIE: Bassist Duncan ‘Kid’ Reid left last year, he’s now gone solo. Did you ever consider disbanding when that happened?
CASINO: No, not at all! It was just a case of ‘business as usual’. It wasn’t a complicated break at all. Duncan is more of a ‘pop artist’ and I think we are more ‘rock artists’. I think it was quite natural for him to leave. He wanted to do other stuff. I mean, he’s a pop artist and good luck to him.
JOHN: There was no problem at all when Duncan left. The problem could be that he might want to come back (laughs)
TEDDIE: You haven’t replaced Duncan so who’s on bass ?
CASINO: The bass player…..I can’t remember his name (laughs).
MATT: No, no, no (laughing) it’s Steve Fielding.
TEDDIE: So you have replaced him then. Who’s front and front vocals ? Is that you Matt?
MATT: Yeah me and John. We have never had a lead singer, so to speak. When we started out most of the band wanted me to be the lead singer, but I prefer to be in a band like the Beatles, if you like, where you don’t have one focus on a lead vocal.
TEDDIE: As you mentioned earlier, you’ve gone back into the studio to make the first Boys album in 32 years. Who wrote the music?
MATT: No change really. All the songs on the new album are written by myself, Cas and John – pretty much as they were on all our previous albums.
CASINO: So nothing has changed. We write the songs together, between us.
TEDDIE: When you say that you wrote it together do you mean that you all had ideas and then got together?
MATT: Yeah, we all have personal songs and we got together and we all throw their ideas in.
TEDDIE: I can’t wait to hear it, when is it out?
JOHN: April or May perhaps.
MATT: I’ll suspect later, late summer. Summer isn’t a good time to release an album anyway.
TEDDIE: Has it got a title yet?
MATT: No. In my head I’m calling it ‘Boys V’, but we don’t know yet. That will come later on.
TEDDIE: Or you could call it ‘Boys 2013’. I want credit for that [laughs]. How many years have you been at it?
MATT: Since 1976. We could call it ‘Boys 1976 – 2013’. No wait, that’s sounds like something on a gravestone.
TEDDIE: You’ve all got things going on individually. Cas, you have the CD/Magazine ‘Past The Point of No Return’ and Download compilation "60"out and somebody told me you are doing theatre work in Trondheim.
CASINO: I just had a message yesterday that the theatre thing was cancelled. All individual stuff comes second now, except for John’s new solo album, which is finished.
JOHN: Yeah it’s finished and that’s on the backburner too now as far as I’m concerned.
TEDDIE: John, you have’ Never Listen to Rumours’ single out. Is that also the name of the album that’s set to follow?
JOHN: No, I’m going to call it ‘The Rockfield Sessions’.
TEDDIE: I was talking to Glen Matlock about that a while ago. He said he’d played a gig with The Faces and Martin Chambers (The Pretenders) came down and they drove up to Rockfield Studio’s and they stayed for 3 days. He said you’d done about 15 tracks in three days, which is pretty impressive.
JOHN: Yes that’s right. The album features a lot of mates. In addition to Cas there is Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols/The Philistines/The Faces/International Swingers), Martin Chambers (The Pretenders), Michael Monroe and Sami Yaffa (Hanoi Rocks/New York Dolls), Darryl Bath (The Crybabies) and Verden Allen (Mott the Hoople)
CASINO: Hey do you know what Claudia (Scott: Norwegian singer) told me the other day? Martin Chambers was my neighbour in Los Angeles. He was living next door to me in that apartment complex - the room next door. The apartment next door and I never knew.
TEDDIE: You probably could have passed him on the stairs. Did you know him back then?
CASINO: No, but it’s still a small world.
JOHN: Yeah it’s a small world. Anyway the album is all finished. It’s all mixed but it’s not mastered. I’m still doing that.
TEDDIE: Who produced it?
JOHN: A guy called Tim who used to be in Spiritualized. He’s fantastic and one of the Rockfield engineers. They are all great and this was the first time I’ve worked with Tim, and he’s absolutely superb.
TEDDIE: You guys were at Rockfield for a couple of weeks weren’t you?
JOHN: I was there for three weeks and people came and went. I said to Cas to come along and play on a couple of songs and he ended up doing about 27 (laughs)
TEDDIE: Can’t get rid of him [laughs]
JOHN: [laughs] no!
TEDDIE: So Matt, have you done anything solo lately?
MATT: I did in the past, but no, I’ve done nothing really. I just concentrated on The Boys stuff.
TEDDIE: You’ve got three gigs planned now for Norway. Will there be more later when the album is released or will you be looking at Europe, Japan, South America and USA instead?
CASINO: This time around I have just three dates for Norway. One in Oslo tonight, that’s sold out. Halden tomorrow night and then two in Trondheim on the same night. One is a jubilee concert sort of with guest artists and all that. That’s to celebrate my 40 years on the road and 60th birthday. Then there is a dinner followed by a The Boys concert afterwards.
JOHN: To forget about the 40 years on the road.
TEDDIE: So are you going to push the album and tour next year.
MATT: Yeah absolutely. The new album should make it easier.
CASINO: I don’t know about Matt, but John and I don’t qualify for any pension so we will have to play to fucking get by.
TEDDIE: So it sounds like you are just going to keep going on until you are well into your seventies like The Rolling Stones ?
JOHN: I can’t see myself doing anything else. We’d love to do as many places around the world as we could. It’s quite a big thing. Well I think so. A new Boys album is quite a big deal, I think.
MATT: Yeah of course. We have always been touring a lot. We do Europe and the States and we go to Japan. But now we have a new product. A new album for 30 odd years, it should give us more scope to do that, I think.
TEDDIE: Well good luck with the new album and the concerts and I hope Norway can welcome you back next year on a world tour promoting you new album. Thank you and I’ll see you all tonight, can’t wait!Interview by Teddie Dahlin