In 1975 friends Garry Roberts, Simon Crowe, Johnnie Moylett, Patrick Cusack and Gerry Cott formed a band in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland. Bob Geldof was originally invited to be the band's manager, but he soon found himself nominated to take on the role of lead vocals by guitarist Garry Roberts, who originally had that job and didn't want it.
The band's early influences were Dr. Feelgood, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Doors and Bob Marley, among many others. Gerry and Pete arranged the band's first gig for Halloween 1975 under the name of The Nightlife Thugs, at the Bolton Street Technical College, where they - and Johnnie, were studying Architectural Technology. Just before the band went on stage, they changed their name to The Boomtown Rats, who were a gang mentioned in Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, “Bound For Glory”.
The Rats were soon causing a buzz throughout the whole of Ireland. In 1976 The Boomtown Rats relocated to England in search of a record deal. They turned down a million pound deal from Richard Branson’s Virgin Records, and decided instead to sign for a new label that had been set up by former Phonogram man Nigel Grange and DJ Chris Hill. The new label was called Ensign.
The Boomtown Rats played their first ever UK gig on May 6th. 1977 at the Lodestar Club, Ribchester, Blackburn, Lancashire. The supporting acts were Demolition, and Disco-Punk Chris Graham. Having undertaken a hectic schedule of touring including gigs with Tom Petty, and The Ramones, The Boomtown Rats debut single “Looking After Number One” entered the UK charts in it’s first week of release at No. 78. The NME made it their single of the week. The Rats did their first TV show, a turn on The Marc Bolan Show. Marc tragically died 2 weeks later in a motor accident. “Looking After Number One” peaked at No.11 in the UK charts and The Rats were invited to do their first TOTP appearance. The band had now arrived. The Rats released their debut album, the imaginatively entitled “Boomtown Rats”. The album reached 18 in the UK charts.
In 1978 the single “She’s So Modern” reached No.12 in the UK charts, more gigs, more tours, more exposure. Geldof was now becoming as well known for his motor-mouth as he is for his music, picking up the nickname “Bob The Gob” by the music press for his outspoken views. The Rats second album “A Tonic For The Troops” produced by Robert Mutt Lange reaches No.8 in the album charts and hangs around for 44 weeks. There was more TV, a promotional trip to America and November saw The Rats reach the top, when the single “Rat Trap” knocked John Travolta & Olivia Newton John off the No.1 spot.
The Boomtown Rats made history as the first Irish band to have a UK No.1 hit. “Rat Trap” is also recognized as the first New Wave song that made No.1 in the charts. In January1979 Geldof hears the story on the news of the Californian schoolgirl, Brenda Spencer who shot and killed her principal of the school and injured many of her school mates. When interviewed and asked why she did it, she replied “I Don’t Like Mondays”. This quote proved to be inspirational to Bob Geldof & Johnnie Fingers. The ensuing single became a smash hit world-wide, reaching the No.1 spot in 32 countries and quite rightly became an all-time classic. The Boomtown Rats undertook a world tour, taking in America, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. The American leg of the tour ended at The Palladium in New York. The Boomtown Rats third album “The Fine Art Of Surfacing” reached No.7 in the UK album charts.
In 1980, a Dublin court canceled a Boomtown Rats concert. Bob Geldof rejected the court's decision and The Boomtown Rats battled on for 2 weeks to be allowed to play in Ireland. The Boomtown Rats held the gig at Leixlip Castle to fourteen thousand fans... with Bob Geldof claiming a Boomtown Rats victory. In 1981 The Rats recorded their new album “Mondo Bongo” in Ibiza with producer Tony Visconti who had previously produced albums with T Rex, Bowie, Thin Lizzy, The Stranglers, Iggy Pop, to name but a few. The album “Mondo Bongo” went gold again. Now a recurring event for each new Rats album. The album featured the classic hit "Banana Republic" which has been called Irelands alternative national anthem! Lead guitarist Gerry Cott now left the band, who continued as a 5-piece. Geldof stars in director Alan Parkers classic film of Pink Floyd's The Wall. The Rats tour Thailand, India, Japan,Malaya, Hong Kong and Singapore.
In 1982 a new generation of bands breaks through and The Rats new album “V Deep”, again produced by Visconti becomes The Rats first record setback. The single House On Fire does well in the UK charts. The Rats tour of the UK to promote the album however is a complete sell-out.. In 1984 The Rats brilliant single “Drag Me Down” limps into the Top 50.. The Geldof masterpiece “Dave” sinks without trace, although Pete Townsend of The Who said Dave was “the best single of 1984”.
In late October 1984 Geldof watches he Ethiopian famine on the BBC News and decides to "do something".The other Rats wholeheartedly support him.
In 1985 The Boomtown Rats sing on the Geldof/Midge Ure penned Band Aid record “Do They Know It's Christmas”. In its first week of release the single became the UK's fastest seller of all time, entering the chart at number one and going on to sell over three million copies, making it the biggest-selling single in UK history up to that point. On July 13th 1985, The Boomtown Rats were just one of the greatest artists in rock 'n roll history to play the Live Aid Concert in front of billions of people. In 1986, and so The Boomtown Rats play their last gig in Ireland for Self-Aid.
Unlike 10 years previously when The Rats understood precisely what they stood for, who they were and what their intention were by '86 this had now become unclear. Where could they go musically after all that had been achieved as a group both musically and socially. There were few battles left to fight that they hadn't already won. And so they went their separate ways.
In 2013 The Boomtown Rats re-group and once again overwhelm the tens of thousands at the Isle of Wight Festival. The songs had not only lasted but had over the years attained a newer relevance and power. Hearing them afresh the critics were amzed at how contemporary the Rats, their music, their songs and their attitude -unchanged after all those years still were. And are!! And now, comes an unreleased live concert from Germany 1978 on DVD/CD!
Here is the undiluted towering energy, speed, anger and sheer joy of playing in one of the great British/Irish bands of our time at their peak and in their prime.
'Live In Germany '78' is a previously unreleased live DVD/CD by rock legends The Boomtown Rats featuring Bob Geldof. Witness the undiluted towering energy, speed, anger and sheer joy of playing in one of the great British/Irish bands of our time at their peak and in their prime...It has to be said that as the entire show then fades to black, as the performance is over, you are sitting there - as a fan - begging for it to just keep going and going ... and going! But, it doesn't and so we shall just have to be thankful that this brilliant, and previously unreleased live show is now out and available for us all to watch. www.annecarlini.com
This is a previously unreleased audio/video recording by the Boomtown Rats, one of Britain’s finest but after all the years still criminally underrated new wave bands. Well, for those wondering what the fuss was all about, all is revealed on this neatly packaged CD/DVD combo!
From a sleeve that portrays the band in their full flight motion, we are left with little doubt of a pending aural assault. The camera work is uninspired, which was quite the standard for 1978, nevertheless the motionless footage doesn't take the sting out of the Boomtown Rats' performance. Quite the opposite, actually. The DVD offers something of an intimate affair. It gets you up close and personal during the course of a show in Germany in front of an orderly seated, yet definitely excited crowd. Focusing on their early repertoire, the band works with apparent determination and absolute authority through punk imbued favorites like “Close as You’ll Ever Be”, “She’s So Modern” and “Mary From the 4th Floor”. A broader musical ambition is displayed with “Joey’s on the Street Again”, which is simply wonderful. But don’t get fooled. Further down the road, “Looking After No.1”, stuffed with impatience and belligerence, is a definitive Boomtown Rats statement - a perfect set closer.
Bob Geldof turns on the moves, splashing his Jagger inspired swagger all over the stage. It is all so timelessly cool it is almost comical. Throw in a watertight band performance, complete with a small catalogue of intriguing stage moves (particularly by Pete Briquette) perfectly complementing the frenzied rhythms, this is an unrelenting, unsophisticated and age defying example for us all.
9 out of 10
"I had completely forgotten how raw and pure punk the Boomtown Rats were at first. This scorching hot concert really makes that fact clear...This concert is a fun reminder of the fact that the Rats were a young, hungry band in 1978. I like the booklet that comes with this DVD. I really love the fact that an audio CD of the show is also included. If you want to remember what the Boomtown Rats were like in the beginning, get this. You won’t be disappointed. It’s a great blast from the past." G.W.Hill, www.musicstreetjournal.com