City Boy questions

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by 1after2 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 1:08 pm

Thanks for the information Geir and Max, much appreciated. :cheers:
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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Max Thomas » Tue Aug 21, 2012 12:36 pm

"Do the Pose"?

Wow, I'd forgotten that one! As I recall, it was CB's attempt to salute the New Wave/Punk thing.

(IMhO, a wonderful occurrence to rid the world of what had become Pomp Rock - along with the complacency associated with it in the music industry; on the downside, I personally found most of the music in this category totally uninspiring - and that's putting it as mildly as I possibly can!)

I think we eventually decided that there was no point in us trying to associate with that bandwagon, and, anyway, the song wasn't that strong, so it was left off the album - obviously with some exceptions in odd countries her and there. I have no idea how or why that happened.

"Exit the Heavyweight" (One of my own favourite tracks: good tune - if I say so myself; excellent lyrics; and an outstanding vocal performance by Roy) Yeah, I puzzled about this a bit, and you have to know my memory is very dodgy (see this same topic 3rd. January 2008) sometimes.That's partly why I sometimes feel a bit uneasy about going into great detail about certain things - I wish some of the others would input their side of things to give a more objective (or even alternative) picture of some of the events that I've blathered on about from my own point-of-view.

I do actually remember presenting the music of "Exit" while we were still in the US - ie.at the end of 1979 or early 1980. When we left the US in the spring of 1980, we flew straight to France to record HAR, but, obviously, "Exit" was not on that album. I can't think why not... other than we may have had well enough material for HAR even before we left for France, and so we simply put it aside for the next album. I have to say that I'm really not sure - I can't remember. I know we did some demos of stuff for HAR in a local studio in New York State (around Nyack, where most of us lived), but I don't recall doing a version of "Exit," - but I could be wrong!

HEADS ARE ROLLING - a mixed bag of songs. It was quite strange with just the four of us, though it has to be said that some tensions were relieved.

I don't remember too much about the recording. Even though there was plenty of material, in retrospect (meaning that probably many of the others would disagree!),we were definitely feeling the loss of one of the main composers (Steve). Some of these songs are definitely mediocre, and wouldn't have made the album if we'd had more material to pick and choose from... plus it was our first album without Mutt Lange at the helm... Tim Friese-Green was good, but, again, had Mutt been producing, some things would have been different.

I love "Bloody Sunday," but the middle section ruins the song. "Sound of the Bell" falters also because of one or two weak sections. "Speechless" - well, if ever there's a song that could be covered, THIS IS IT. The funny thing is that I remember saying to the others that I was sure we could put some drums on it to give it some rhythm, but everyone said it couldn't be done. In the mid-90s I did record a very different version which had drums - it actually turned out really well (I even got Lol to sing on it!), but just when I might have done something with it, the cracks in my marriage and the subsequent turmoil torpedoed the whole initiative. I don't even have that version of the song any more, but I think it still exists.

"Domino" was a re-hash of a very early song I'd written back in around 1972/3 in my post madness era. It turned out OK - could even have been considered commercial, IMO, as could "You're leaving me". (But Phonogram released "Need a little Loving," which was slated in the UK, and never even made the top 100, as far as I know!)
"Life on the Balcony" - LOVE IT! It's so filmic, so atmospheric. Very proud of this one.

No excitement came from either Phonogram or Atlantic about the album - I think there had been a fairly negative attitude towards the split, and as the time passed it seemed like they were just honouring the terms of the contract with some vague hope that we might produce another "5705." And so we stumbled on towards "It's Personal" - well, you know the rest, and if you don't, most of it is documented somewhere back in the myriads of the past and the depths of El Presidente's wonderful website.

Let me assure you all of this:whatever you think or doubt about it, there WILL BE an eighth album. It may come as a bit of a shock to you all when it happens, but it will be... you'll see!

Max

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Laurelei » Sat Aug 25, 2012 3:12 pm

Hi Max,

I'm really enjoying these posts from you. The insider info and perspective is great. Looking forward to It's Personal. Question...will your reviews include any more preview info about number eight?

Jo 8)
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Re: City Boy questions

Post by bsnider8 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 9:09 pm

Hi all, I just joined this board. Just recently I searched for some City Boy songs I recall from the 70s, and began listening to them. You know, most songs you might want to hear are posted on Youtube. Now I bought two City Boy CDs and I am listening to them whenever I drive.

The music of City Boy is very great and I am proud to be a fan! I look forward to that 8th City Boy album! Hopefully there will be a tour also!

Thank you Max for your participation on this board! It is very facinating to hear your perspective on the history of the band and to hear the story of your life. I appreciate your Christian testimony also. I really enjoy your music!!

Best regards to all,

Bruce, Los Angeles, CA

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Max Thomas » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:42 am

Hi, Bruce, and welcome!
Thank you for your comments as well...

Jo, I'll reserve talking about album 8 until the time for moving forward on it comes, but I'll get on with IP soonish!

Love to you all,
Max

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Laurelei » Tue Aug 28, 2012 2:02 pm

Well, you can't blame a girl for trying. Looking forward to IP.

Jo
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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Max Thomas » Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:02 pm

It's personal... yes, another hotch-potch of an album, really.
I think we all knew that this would be the last album, but as we recorded it there were definitely some bright spots, and looking back, I prefer this album to HAR.
"No Ordinary Life" has a real freshness about it (Lol originally had "Tunerama" as the title sung over the same melody as "it's no ordinary life," but with "choooooo-ne-rama" on the first beat of the first bar of the chorus, but it didn't really work, so he changed it).
Quite a few people both now and then felt that "Rat Race" would have made a good single in the US, but, as I said in the previous post, Atlantic had almost certainly given upon the band by this time, and the fact that the album was not even released by them says it all really.
We had such fun recording "The Blind..." I was so happy to get a full-tilt reggae song on the album! We even approached a Birmingham-based real reggae band (can't remember who it was... OH YES - "The Beat" - I knew their manager) with a view to them recording it, but they were writing their own stuff, and why would they have wanted to cover it anyway?!
"La Guerra..." hmmm, not my own favourite, I have to say.
"Lovers" another track that might have been a hit if it could have been placed with the right artist, in my opinion.
I like the title track: a nice, atmospheric heavy rock ballad...
"Delores..." I just remember the saxophonist not having any idea what to play in the solo (as no-one else did), and I just stood there, imitating a sax, and sang the first thing that came into my head (about two bars worth) and the guy said "Yeah," and then just did it - just like that.
"Names and Addresses" again, a good atmosphere on this one - a good, sound rocker!
I think I've covered "Exit.." - definitely one of my own favourites, and an aptly titled final song on the last album!

Well, Jo, I'll give you some track titles - provisionally, of course...
Get on the Right Side; Love Counts; Kind and Understanding; Too much to run away from; Alien (you might remember I wrote out the lyrics to this, but I don't remember where); There's a Time; Many Houses, Many Mansions; How Long can it go on? Who Makes the World go Round? Routine Statements; Fragile Heart; Smile on Your Face.... there are others, but a selection from these is most likely. Title track? WMTWGR or GOTRS,

Enough said!

Best wishes to you all.
Max

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Laurelei » Thu Aug 30, 2012 7:45 am

Many thanks, Max.

Jo 8)
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Re: City Boy questions

Post by 1after2 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:50 am

Thanks from me as well Max.

I still remember how excited I was the first time I played a CD-R copy of IP back in 1997. A "new" City Boy album after so many years !
The opener No Ordinary Life immediately grabbed me, and that would continue for 40 minutes (well, except for La Guerra which is indeed not a favorite of mine too).
The CD-R was sent to me by long time board member Stefan, in those days a CD-R was not so common yet, I still have it, a Yamaha disc with green surface 8) Great memories.

In the meanwhile I managed to obtain an original vinyl copy (found in a dark corner of a record store in Stockholm; the second time IP casued some excitement) and of course the official re-issue on cd by Renaissance records.
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Re: City Boy questions

Post by [email protected] » Fri Aug 31, 2012 8:09 am

It's amazing to realize that I could perhaps be the only one at the board (at least among posting members) to know about the existence of IP since 1981. What I read from an interview with Mike not even the band was aware at first that the album had been released by Phonogram? Your comments, Max?

As for "La Guerra", I think I'm also pretty alone to like that song! With the Latin American theme it sounds like a left over from HAR? Max, would you give us some memories from the writing of this song?
... and out!

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Robin_Shadowes » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:17 pm

[email protected] wrote:It's amazing to realize that I could perhaps be the only one at the board (at least among posting members) to know about the existence of IP since 1981. What I read from an interview with Mike not even the band was aware at first that the album had been released by Phonogram? Your comments, Max?

As for "La Guerra", I think I'm also pretty alone to like that song! With the Latin American theme it sounds like a left over from HAR? Max, would you give us some memories from the writing of this song?
I have also known about it since the early 80's. However, I have never owned the album myself. Because it so happened that some friends I knew back then happened to have it. They knew I was a huge CB fan so they wanted to prove to me that the new album wasn't any good. I think they said there was about 2-3 songs on it worth listening to. So they played it for me and I had unfortunately to agree with them (Sorry, Max). I have considered in later years to give it another chance though. But somehow it always makes me think of Uriah Heep's Firefly. I have tried to give that album a new chance over the years but it always ends the same. I have to stop after a song or two at most. What I didn't know at that time though was the fact it had only been released here and perhaps in some other country too.
"To hell with friends and NME's"

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Max Thomas » Sat Sep 01, 2012 5:37 pm

I really don't remember how "La Guerra..." came together. It tends only to be the songs that took time to come to full fruition that I can remember how the process took place. Like "Me and my Tarot" whose melody and original lyrics were written back in 1971/72, which Lol knew about, and then in 1979 insisted that I "release" for City Boy use... or "Young Men Gone West" which was originally my own "Breakfast in Bed" from about 1973/74. When Steve, Lol and I shared a house, one evening, they both went up to Lol's room to create (as they often did), and so I began developing what had been a little seed of an idea a few years earlier downstairs. They came down after maybe two hours having come up with nothing, and I played them what I had, and then, over the next few months, it turned into YMGW, even though it was to be about 3 years later that it became the title track of the third album.

Robin, don't apologize about not liking IP! I can't think of one single album that I've ever owned that I've liked all the tracks! More often than not it's only 3 or 4, and maybe some that I've liked 6 or 7, but I doubt that even the most ardent of the City Boy fans who contribute to this website like ALL the tracks on ALL the albums.

But one thing that drives me to want to do an eighth album - apart from the fact that many people in the last few years have approached me and said I should do something to revitalize/reform the band - is the amazing number of young people that I have met over the years who, when introduced to the band, find the music "timeless," "inspiring," and just, plain, bloody good! I know this, and I have always been perplexed to some degree about the fact that, considering the way things were going around albums 3/4/5, we just didn't rise to the place that we deserved to go. Zomba said we should conquer America in 1979 - and we should have. Even this website sub-title refers to "...unsung heroes of 70s rock." Leave out the 70s, as far as I'm concerned.

I tell you the truth, this album will happen, because I've received a revelation from the Lord about it, and how to do it (in terms of preparing for live performance and new recording), and I know that within the not-too-distant future there will be more than enough funds available to proceed with it. My problem - as you all know - is bridging the gap between now and then. Struggling financially is the greatest killer of moving on with a creative project because one is constantly preoccupied with putting bread at the table, and that's been my situation for several years now - again, as you all know. But when that time comes - well, don't have too many assumptions about the line-up of the band, but rest assured that the sound I'll create will be very authentic.

[email protected], thank you so much for your suggestions. The thing is, I don't lack material, and I have many, many excellent musicians and vocalists at my disposal. I would even try to persuade Mutt to produce it, though that maybe a bit of a long shot unless I pay him a lot (which I will be able to). All I lack is the funds to proceed. While I'm awaiting that imminent occurrence, I'm really finding it hard to get work and I'm having to consider taking on work in environments and places that I'm not really very happy about - because we all have to eat. I've rambled on and on in the past about living in a tiny flat - not being able to run an office let alone set up the recording gear or really do any playing even of musical instruments. Many amongst you have been embarrassed about the fact that a band-member from a band that you all love should find himself on hard times, but you can read my testimony - shit happens!

Anyway, enough of that.

As I promised before, I will soon try and write down some stuff about memorable gigs.

Love to you all,
Know Christ - He is truly "The Way," "The Truth," and "The Life."

Max

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Eman » Sun Sep 02, 2012 4:04 pm

Hi Max,
I'm new to the board and I hope you and all the other members of City Boy are doing well. My question is I keep hearing "Speechless" was popular in the Philippines back in 1980/1981. However I recall hearing it on the radio, but never seeing a City Boy lp or 45 released locally. I remember having my Grandfather or Uncle who lived in Fulham, England buy the albums for me. So my question is did City Boy's records ever get released there and did you perform a concert or do a promo tour in Manila back then? Hope you keep in touch with the rest of the guys. Best regards, Eman

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by hitman5705 » Sun Sep 02, 2012 7:56 pm

Hello Max,

Really great stuff here. I appreciate you taking the time to fill us in on the City Boy history.

Just wanted to say, although much more commercial I enjoyed the Heads Are Rolling as much as The Day the Earth Caught Fire. Which are my two favorite City Boy albums. IP doesn't stand out quite as much to me, but I cannot stop playing it when I put it on - it definitely helps fill the missing void of missing City Boy music in the world. It definitely was great when I found out that I did not have all "6" of the City Boy albums. After all those years finding the albums on CD and then finding the new IP Album. There must be a loving God in this world.

It would be a great blessing to listen to an 8th CB album.

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Re: City Boy questions

Post by Max Thomas » Mon Sep 03, 2012 6:00 am

Hey, Eman and Hitman, welcome to the board!

No, we never did visit the Philippines, and to this day, I never realized that we had any radio play or any fans there! As regards the release of any albums there, I honestly couldn't tell you, Eman. "Speechless" was never released as a single - as far as I know - but, as I said a couple of posts back in this topic, I've always thought it to be a very commercial song... perhaps it would be good thing to do the type of version I did some years ago and put it on album 8.

Hitman, it's wonderful to read of your enthusiasm for City Boy - it's the same enthusiasm that is driving my determination to resurrect the band and record a new album!

Best wishes,

Max

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