The core of the Boo Radleys consists of two childhood mates, Martin Carr and Sice (then Simon) Rowbottom, who met at age twelve. Each dreamed of being a popstar--not of the work, of course, but of the glamour and fame that it would surely bring. In the Liverpool suburb of Wallasey, the home of the famous Merseybeat of the 1960's, Martin and Sice grew up listening to bands such as My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr. Why? "Because it was loud and our parents hated it," as Martin is quoted. In 1989, the two hooked up with bassist Timothy Brown and drummer Steve Hewitt (who later would play for Placebo), forming the Boo Radleys. The name comes from the shady character in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, but was chosen (in a pub) just beacause they liked the sound of it. Their debut album "Ichabod and I," released on the local label of Action! Records, was sloppily recorded, but showed the band's "shoegazing" influences and potential. Shortly after the release of the album, Hewitt was replaced by Rob Cieka, and the foursome recorded three E.P.s, 'Kaleidescope,' 'Every Heaven,' and 'Boo Up!' on the now-defunct label Rough Trade. This "Study in Brutalised Melody" showed the band evolving toward a more melodic style, yet still wearing their shoegazing roots on their sleeves. These three were later compiled into a European import titled "Learning to Walk."
After Rough Trade went down, the band was picked off by Creation Records. Their second album, "Everything's Alright Forever," was their major label debut, and, though the band still remained noisy, their melodies were much easier to hear, and Sice's voice much sweeter. One song, "Spaniard," showed the Boo Radleys for the first time using a trumpet to flesh out their sound. It ended up becoming an integral part of their sound on following albums. Their next single, "Lazarus," released in November of 1992 started turning heads in the English indie-popscene. It eventually garnered a remix by Flood, became a minor Alternative rock hit, and earned them a spot on the Lollapalooza 1994 tour. Shortly after the release of Lazarus came their groundbreaking album "Giant Steps." This was a huge step forward for the band, showing them at an adventurous and varied peak. The album received extremely favorable reviews from NME, topped many album-of-the-year lists, and won them an NME Brat award in 1994. Still, the band received little attention in America. After Giant Steps was released, Carr promised in interviews that the next one would be a twelve song pop album.
It ended up being just that. "Wake Up Boo!," from the album "Wake Up" became the band's highest-charting single in 1995. The album's succinct three-minute-popsong style brought the shy Liverpudlian quartet a gold album, an appearence on the UK variety show Top of the Pops, and much deserved fame. In Britain. With no promotional push from Creation Records in America, it was left virtually unheard this side of the Atlantic.
Before entering the studio to record their follow-up to Wake Up, the Boo Radleys' Sice, recorded his solo album entitled "First Fruits" under the name "Eggman." It was recorded quickly and allowed him to prove to the world that he was a very capable songwriter. However, this did not signify turmoil in the band, as they quickly proceeded to record their next album. It ended up being their wildest and most eclectic album to date, "C'Mon Kids." The album showed the band shying away from the spotlight, and preferring a sloppier, more innovative style. Because of the wild experimentation, and lack of radio-friendliness, the album made little splash on either side of the Atlantic.
After touring C'Mon Kids with Better Than Ezra in the States, the Boo Radleys disappeared from the media spotlight completely. However, they have since released a two-part single, Free Huey, and the spectacular album, Kingsize. Despite only reaching #45 in the UK charts, the album has received favorable praise from many magazines, such as NME, Melody Maker, and Q. As of now, no US record label has agreed to release the album stateside, and no plans to tour have been announced.
Related LinksMerseyworld: Promoting Liverpool and its regions
Unofficial My Bloody Valentine Homepage: Excellent fansite
Freakscene: Dinosaur Jr. Audio/Visual Archive