The Killjoys (UK band)
|Associated acts||Dexys Midnight Runners|
|Past members||Kevin Rowland
The Killjoys were a punk band from Birmingham, England, formed in 1976, with members including Kevin Rowland and Kevin "Al" Archer, who would later form Dexys Midnight Runners, and Ghislaine 'Gil' Weston who would later join Girlschool. Although their releases while still together were limited to one single, subsequent interest has seen an album of their recordings released.
Kevin Rowland (vocals, a trained hairdresser), Gil Weston (a.k.a. 'Gem', bass guitar), and Mark Philips (guitar) had been members of the mid-1970s Roxy Music-inspired band Lucy & the Lovers. With the advent of punk rock, Rowland wrote new songs and started The Killjoys, adding Heather Tonge (backing vocals) and Joe 45 (Lee Burton, drums). The band relocated to London and took up lodgings in a disused Barclays Bank. The band came to the attention of Raw Records boss Lee Wood, who signed the band for the single "Johnny Won't Get to Heaven"/"Naïve", which went on to sell 18,000 copies. The band recorded two sessions for John Peel's BBC Radio 1 show, the first in October 1977, the second in February 1978, by which time Keith Rimell (guitar) and Bob Peach (drums) had been recruited, replacing Philips and Burton, with Tonge also leaving. Rowland used his hairdressing talents to give the new members short haircuts. The tension between Rowland and the rest of the band was clear, Rimell describing the atmosphere as "us against him", and Gareth Holder of The Shapes noted "the level of hatred that the rest of the Killjoys appear to have for him". This line-up lasted for eighteen months, during which several recording sessions took place for a debut album. Rimell left the band after an argument with Rowland, to be replaced by Kevin Archer, who Rowland insisted should be renamed Al Archer as he would not have two Kevin's in the band. The band disintegrated when Rowland's enforced eight-hour practice sessions began to take their toll, and Rowland rejected a £20,000 contract with Bronze Records because it was only a singles deal, to the disdain of other band members. Peach, Philips and Weston left to form Out of Nowhere (later called Alternating, and then Luxound Deluxe), with Weston later joining Girlschool on the recommendation of Lemmy. Rowland, disillusioned with punk rock, immersed himself in vintage soul music, particularly the records of Geno Washington, and (with Archer) formed a new band, Dexys Midnight Runners.
- Kevin Rowland - vocals (1976-1978)
- Gil Weston - bass (1976-1978)
- Mark Philips - guitar (1976-1978)
- Heather Tonge - backing vocals (1976-1978)
- Lee Burton - drums (1976-1978)
- Bob Peach - drums (1978)
- Keith Rimell - guitar (1978)
- Kevin Archer - guitar (1978)
- "Johnny Won't Get to Heaven"/"Naïve" (1977) Raw (reissued 1978, and again later by Damaged Goods)
- Studio Demos 18 October 1977 7-inch EP (19??) Last Year's Youth
- Naïve (1992) Damaged Goods
- Raw Deal (1977) Raw: "At Night"
- Ogg, Alex (2006) No More Heroes: a Complete History of UK Punk from 1976 to 1980, Cherry Red Books, ISBN 978-1-901447-65-1
- Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0
- Reynolds, Simon (2005) Rip It Up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978-1984, Faber & Faber, ISBN 0-571-21570-X, p. 293
- The Killjoys at Punk77
- Kevin Rowland's account of his time in The Killjoys
- The Killjoys at the BBC's Keeping it Peel site