We'll have our 4 new releases - including The Blitz Boys' Eddy's New Shoes 7" EP - up on our website sometime this week, but as a teaser, here's some photos and flyers the band dug up for us, along side a wonderfully written bio from guitarist Barry Phillips. Check it out!
1979. Punks were few and far between in the Forest of Dean - a remote, heavily wooded, former coal-mining area on the border between England and Wales. You had to be dedicated or stupid to survive the constant ambushes from local disco boys, bikers and rugby club drunks. Five teenage punks ('Topper' Toplis, Jer Phelps, Drew Smith, Jon Ralphs, Barry Phillips) united in a love of The Boys, The Ramones, T Rex and 60s girl-groups formed The Blitz Boys. A million miles from the narcissism of the deteriorating London scene the boys drew inspiration more from Northern Ireland - the tunes and escapism of Good Vibrations Records, of Protex, Rudi, The Outcasts and The Undertones.
It was DIY or do-nothing. Gigs were initially few and far between - and what gigs there were often ended abruptly due to fighting amongst, or with, the audiences...or equipment failure. Helped by incendiary Gloucester punks Demob, who gave them support slots, the boys began to pick up more gigs and press. In 1980 The Blitz Boys second studio venture yielded 3 tracks – live favourites Eddy’s New Shoes, She Told My Friends She Loved Me (But She’s Too Shy To Talk To Me) and Eddy’s Friend. Self-funded with the support of their loyal circle of friends and fans, and with outstanding artwork from the Inadequate Youth, the Eddy's New Shoes EP was released on the bands own Told You So Records – a dig at a journalist who predicted they’d never achieve anything. Within a week the title track was getting repeated plays by John Peel who also aired both flip-side tracks. The great man 'got it', commenting that he loved bands who created their own world. They met with Peel at the BBC and things momentarily looked bright with a second single planned and talk of a Peel session. But it wasn't to be. The band was always destined to burn briefly (and vividly). Eddy's New Shoes was a poignant legacy created from the chaos and the total lack of focus which would lead to the bands inevitable evaporation. Barry carried his guitar through various other bands eventually realising his ambition when The Rainsaints signed to Good Vibrations Records.
Meanwhile, Eddy's New Shoes became a cult track - pirated on a number of punk compilations despite the band’s ambivalence, but until now never legitimately re-released.
The Blitz Boys were:
‘Topper' Toplis: Drums
Jer Phelps: Vox
Drew Smith: Bass
Jon Ralphs; Guitar/vox
Barry Phillips: Guitar/vox (Demob, The Rainsaints)
Eddy's New Shoes: