|Genres||New Wave, synthpop|
|Associated acts||Ken Lockie, The Clash, Public Image Ltd, Generation X, Department S, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Rema-Rema, Adam and the Ants, The Wolfmen, Neo, Radio Stars, The Civilians, The Fallout Club, Tiger Lily, Ultravox|
|Past members||Keith Levene
Cowboys International were a New Wave and synthpop band formed by vocalist and songwriter Ken Lockie that put out one album in 1979, the influential The Original Sin, and a handful of 45s before dissolving in 1980. The band can be considered as supergroup because they comprised many musicians with some trajectory in the punk and New Wave scenes.
In the late 1970s, Ken Lockie and Keith Levene were in a band called The Quick Spurts. Changing their name to Cowboys International, the members were Lockie on lead vocals, Rick Jacks on guitar, Jimmy Hughes (formerly of The Banned) on bass, Evan Charles on piano, and ex-Clash Terry Chimes on drums. This line-up, with a little help of Levene (who was in Public Image Ltd) recorded and released The Original Sin album in 1979.
After the releasing of the album and a tour, the band suffered important line-up changes: Chimes (who joined Billy Idol's Generation X) was replaced by Paul Simon (previously in Neo, Radio Stars and The Civilians); Jacks by Allan Rawlings and Marco Pirroni (Adam and the Ants member), who recorded some material in 1980 with the band, but they were replaced by ex-Ultravox Steve Shears; and Hughes (who joined Original Mirrors) by Lee Robinson of Boney M fame but later replaced by Pete Jones shortly afterwards; the last band alineation (Lockie, Charles, Jones, Simon and Shears) did the last band tour, which ended at the Kantkino Theatre in Berlin. The band split up in late 1980.
After the dissolving of the band, Lockie pursued a solo career, with collaborations of other former members, Simon and Shears, then other musicians who played in different bands with trajectory. Also by this time, and along with Pete Jones, he joined Public Image Ltd, reuniting with Keith Levene but his membership was brief, dedicating to producing music, but retired in the mid-1980s. Simon formed The Fallout Club, worked with John Foxx and Glen Matlock, and he now works with his brother Robin in AjantaMusic. Shears formed Faith Global, and later retired from the music business. Charles' whereabouts are unknown.
In 2003, Ken Lockie reissued his masterpiece of days gone by along with non-album material and alternate mixes on the compilation album Revisited. He also revived Cowboys International, and began to work on more original material on The Backwards Life of Romeo, which was released in 2004.
- Revisited (2003)
- "Thrash" (b/w "Many Times (Revised)") (1979)
- "Aftermath" (b/w "Future Noise") (1979)
- "Nothing Doing" (b/w "2 Millions") (Virgin, 1979)
- "Today Today" (b/w "Fixation") (February 1980)
Legacy and influence
- ripitupandstartagainbysimonreynolds.blogspot.com ...and played in The Quick Spurts, the first incarnation of Ken Lockie's group Cowboys International
- Gimarc, George. Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter's Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982. Backbeat Books, 2005. ISBN 0-87930-848-6, ISBN 978-0-87930-848-3. "COWBOYS INTERNATIONAL have had changes reported in this week's Sounds magazine. Leader Ken Lockie and keyboard player Evan Charles remain and are joined by newcomers Steve Shears on guitar (formerly of Ultravox), Paul Simon on drums (ex-Radio Stars) and Lee Robinson (ex-Boney M). That leaves ex-Clash drummer Terry Chimes to find a new gig as well as Jimmy Hughes and Rick Jacks. Speculation is that the band is headed in a dance-oriented direction."