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Surfing With Style On The Big New Wave...

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Sep. 26th, 2006 | 02:02 pm
location: Boomtown Rats, the Gods Of New Wave
mood: crazycrazy
music: Rat Trap


www.AllAboutDance.com


Moody, miserable and sneering like Billy Idol, the front man of The Boomtown Rats was the vastly opinionated and occasionally angry Bob Geldof. After forming his band in a small, sleepy town near Dublin, Ireland in 1975, he led the way for the era of meaningless new wave. With Johnny Fingers on keyboards, Simon Crowe on drums, Pete Briquette on bass, they were joined by Gerry Cott and Garry Roberts on guitars, they originally called themselves The Nightlife Thugs. Thankfully after reading Woody Guthrie’s ‘Bound For Glory,’ they changed their title to the name of a gang mentioned in the story.

The highlight of their relatively short career was with the release of this 1979 album, ‘The Fine Art Of Surfing,’ heralding the number one single, ‘I Don’t Like Mondays.’ The late seventies saw the fusion of punk and something resembling senseless pop. Guitars were juddery and lacking in talent and the songs were fast and jumping with little tune and virtually no bass. The lyrics were meaningless and superficial but yet catchy enough for this strange genre to take off, albeit, rather briefly. New wave was a loosely based term for anyone who had a hit after the mid seventies other than disco or glam rock. Guys in suits and mop hair cuts, the image visualised new wave in television characters such as Mickey Pearce in Only Fools And Horse. The branch off new wave eventually was Ska which, fundamentally was the fusion of beat and reggae. It was new wave that was the fore runner of Ska but using Mersey beat’s shallow themes and American pop rock. Bands rarely survived from this genre to thrive into anything else that followed. The best example of success was probably with bands like U2. Vocals were strained and tuneless and most leads sounded as thought they were suffering from a cold. Short lived, it actually was quickly dated and many bands faded out just as quickly. It was Ska that seemed more survivable.

Geldof took the right course of action. Perhaps realising immediately that the band were going to be short lived, he extended his morose identity into a political stance thus making him the ultimate missionary for all of humanity when the music failed. This album marked the end of their career although other albums followed in moderate fashion, they featured more middle of the road pop rock. The band split in 1984 and Geldof slipped quietly into the shadows of the music industry and into his obsessive involvement of saving the world from poverty.


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