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Thanks to Bob Peach for his help with this page.

The origins of Kevin Rowland's pre-Dexys band The Killjoys are, typical this, shrouded in mystery. Even before The Killjoys there was Lucy And The Lovers. Lucy And The Lovers were a bit jazzy, they were a bit rock n roll. I don't know, I never saw them. I can only repeat what I have read. Some say Kev caught a wind of change, some say Killjoys were formed after Lucy And The Lovers split, others that it was just a name change. Who knows for sure? It was a long time ago. Somewhere I have a photo credited to Lucy And The Lovers. It looks just like the Killjoys to me. Oh well. One thing is for sure, The Killjoys gave it their best shot. They played gigs and support slots all over the country. I was certainly aware of them. They played Liverpool and I'd heard their single, Johnny Won't Get To Heaven. How I regret now not going to see them and not buying the single. What a tale that would have made for this page.

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As well as releasing the one single The Killjoys did two BBC Radio One sessions for the John Peel show. There are only four months between the two sessions but it is like listening to two completely different bands. Already it is quite apparent that Kevin Rowland, the leader of the band, is focussed and searching for a direction. The first session is typical punk. Guitars hit hard, Johnny Rotten inflected vocals and easily recognisable influences. The second session has Rowland finding his own voice, female vocals, French lyrics, 50s rhythms, high octave basslines and a song, Smoke Your Own, which includes the beginnings of Liars A To E. [Refresh page to hear short clip.]

The Killjoys original line-up was, Kevin Rowland - vocals, Gil Weston - bass, Mark Phillips - guitar, Lee Burton - drums and Heather Tonge (Kev's girfriend and now rumoured to have passed away) - backing vocals. Burton and Tonge left the band, although Tonge remained Kev's girlfriend, Keith Rimell -guitar and Bob Peach - drums were recruited. Rimell and Peach auditioned together with bass player, Kevin Mangan. They had all played previously in the band Supanova. Although Mangan auditioned Gil Weston continued as The Killjoys bass player. The second line-up lasted around 18 months before splitting. At the time The Killjoys were making tapes for an album that never appeared. Their very last session at Riverside Studios in London included the track Definitely Down On The Farm which may or may not be the same as the unfinished and unreleased Dexys song Definitely Down On The Farm. The only known copy of this song was in the hands of Lee Wood owner of Raw Records the label that released The Killjoys single but he lost it. The Killjoys attracted little major press coverage but there is one known article in Sounds 21 January 1978. There are numerous gig reviews and other cuttings to be had if you look hard enough.

 

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Amid tension in the band (none of the Killjoys members have anything good to say about working with Kevin Rowland) guitarist Keith Rimell lost his temper at a rehearsal session and announced he was leaving The Killjoys. With a tour imminent he offered to play the gigs before going but Kevin told him to 'leave now'. At this point future Dexys guitarist Kevin Archer was recruited as Rimell's replacement. As the Killjoys weren't big enough for two Kevin's, Archer became known as 'Al' from this point. He played around a dozen gigs before the other Killjoys left to form Luxound Deluxe and the band was finally no more. The deciding factor in this move was when Kevin blocked a singles deal and advance with Bronze Records. Kevin wanted an album deal but this was not on offer. Bassist Gil Weston later appeared in Girlschool.

Another interesting point about the end of the Killjoys was that they were managed by Dave Corke of Endale Enterprises in a partnership with John Tully manager of Barbarellas, The Killjoys regular Birmingham gig. Despite their investment in the Killjoys seeing no return Corke, at least, became Dexys first manager before being sacked in favour of Bernie Rhodes.

Rights to The Killjoys recordings are now owned by Damaged Goods who re-released the single Johnny Won't Get To Heaven. This is still available from the Damaged Goods website. Damaged Goods also released a compilation which is now deleted, see details below.

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Killjoys Interview
(recorded in 1977)

A fresh-faced Kevin Rowland tells a German interviewer about the difficulties of being a punk band from Birmingham!

The Killjoys Discography

1.   Johnny Won't Get To Heaven / Naïve
 

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Label - Raw Catalogue no. - RAW 3 Released - 15 July 1977.

Notes - This single has numerous variations, different coloured labels which means paying a pretty penny to obtain a copy but if you want one it's fairly easy to obtain.



 2. Johnny Won't Get To Heaven / Naïve

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 Label - Damaged Goods Catalogue no. - DAMGOOD 165

 

3. Naive

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Tracks - Side One (studio) 1. At Night 2. Recognition 3. Naive 4. Johnny Won't Get To Heaven Side Two (live) 1. Johnny Won't Get To Heaven (edit) 2. Johnny Won't Get To Heaven 3. Interview 4. At Night 5. Trevor's Sob

Label - Damaged Records Catalogue no. - FNARR LP 10

Notes - The album was issued in a limited edition purple vinyl version limited to 500 copies, the lime green (very punk) vinyl version was limited to 1500 copies.

 

4. Studio Demos 18/10/77

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Tracks - 1. Recognition 2. Back To Front 3. At Night 4. Naive

Label - Last Year's Youth Records


Other Killjoys recordings:

BBC Radio One John Peel session - recorded 18 October 1977
Tracks - 1. Naive 2. Back To Front 3. At Night 4. Recognition

BBC Radio One John Peel session - 13 February 1978
Tracks - 1. Ghislaine 2. Spit On Me 3. Smoke Your Own 4. All The Way

Studio track, At Night is included on a compilation album, Raw Deal (Raw Records 1977)


Other unreleased/unrecorded songs by The Killjoys - Cut Me, Great Balls Of Fire, Dream Lover, It's All Your Fault, Is That What She Said, Definitely Down On The Farm, We Said Yeah.

 
THE ORIGINAL VERSION OF THIS PAGE WAS CREATED BY EDDIE METAL