Blueboy Biography by Jason Ankeny, from the All Music Guide.
Reading, England-based indie-pop outfit Blueboy was led by singer
Keith Girdler and guitarist Paul Stewart, who previously teamed in
the little-known Feverfew.
Upon recording the first Blueboy demo
in a friend's shed, the duo sent a copy of the song "Clearer" to
the famed Sarah Records label, which agreed to release the track
as a single in the fall of 1991; with the subsequent additions of
second guitarist Harvey Williams (of Field Mice/Another Sunny Day
fame), singer/cellist Gemma Townlet, bassist Mark and drummer
Lloyd, the group returned in mid-1992 with "Popkiss," soon
followed by the full-length If Wishes Were Horses.
following year with the singles "Meet Johnny Rave" and "Some
Gorgeous Accident," Blueboy issued its second LP Unisex in the
spring of 1994; soon after Mark and Lloyd left the band, with
Townlet assuming bass duties and Martin Rose signing on to play
drums for the 1995 single "Dirty Mags."
When Sarah folded later
that year, label co-owner Matt Haynes formed the new Shinkansen
imprint, bringing Blueboy with him to release 1996's "Love
Yourself"; by this time the line-up was again reduced to the
original duo of Girdler and Stewart, with vocalist Cath Close,
bassist James Neville and drummer Ian Gardner completing the
lineup for 1998's The Bank of England, reportedly the band's
Girdler and Stewart also recorded as Arabesque and later Beaumont.
A Brief History by Clovis, Summer 1995.
Once upon a time in about 1983, Keith (Girdler) met Paul
(Stewart) at someone's party and started chatting about records. They
discovered that they liked the same kinds of music and decided to form a
band. Some years later, after recruiting three more people to join them,
Feverfew are formed. They play small gigs and enjoy local success in
their home town of Reading. Their existence is short-lived however, and the
only claim to fame of coming second in a talent show for Sky Television,
they finally disband.
Not content with piles of unsold Feverfew flexi-singles in their bedrooms,
the two boys decided to try again. This time they recorded a demo tape in a
friend's shed and send one of the songs to Sarah. The song is
"Clearer", and Sarah decide to release it as a single.
Soon after, Lloyd joins the band on drums, Mark plays bass
and Harvey (Williams) joins as second guitarist. Gemma
(Townlet) answers an advert she sees for a vocalist/cellist and the
line up is complete. After six singles, two albums and tours of England,
Japan and France, Martin (Rose) replaces Lloyd as drummer and Gemma
replaces Mark on bass.
Blueboy, The Unisex Band by Juan de Ribera Berenguer
Intimacy, fragility and melodic sense. Pop will be melancholic or won't
be... Have you listened to the sound of shyness sometime? Sarah lighted
the wick, but Keith and Paul were the ones who turn the feeble into
vigorous, without noise, without histrionic feelings. Only with songs and
sensitivity, because Blueboy are the point where mix well bossanova,
femenine sensibility, Pet Shop Boys, Dirk Bogarde, classic arrangements,
Picasso, indiepop and the rational side of masculinity. Yes, Blueboy cause
that él doesn't mean him but Unisex... like Souvenir. Do you
understand what I mean?
You have been recording music during five or six years. What were your
ambitions at the beginning?
Keith: Our ambition at the start was simply to release a single. So
after "Clearer" everything else... The LP's, tours, etc have been a bonus.
We never wanted to be proper pop stars. We just wanted to be as big as
The other day my brother saw the 'Unisex' CD and he asked me: "how does
this band sound?" I answered: "ah, Blueboy are the Pet Shop Boys meets
Bossanova, meets classical music, and meets indiepop." What do you think
about my definition about Blueboy?
Keith: Yes I suppose we're quite odd in that sense and not at all
interested in stuff like mainstream pop which seems dominated by the U.S.
ideals. I always felt a rapport with the Englishness of The Smiths or The
Sundays or Always.
I know that you aren't gay but Blueboy always pretend to show a gay image
(the gay magazines from the "Dirty Mags" sleeve, "River", your opinion
about Dirk Bogarde... some lyrics). Is the gay one your favorite
aesthetics? Do you think that the gay image is cool?
Keith: I think this is a very hard question to answer... I would
rather not to be specific. I suppose we're flirted with gay images but I
don't think it is cool, it might be to some people but to most they'd rather
see dull boring indiepop images of guitars and stars and girls.
The whole idea of Blueboy is to appeal to both boys and girls and I've
always liked singers who are camp, amusingly so, Edwyn Collins, Momus,
Morrissey are a few who spring to mind.
Do you think pop music needs ambiguity?
Keith: Yes... If it's a straight boy meets girl love song I find
that so tedious. My songs are about anyone, a bit of mystery and a touch of
What does it mean pop music for you? Is it the centre of your
Keith: No, it's not the centre of my life, or Pauls. It's important,
we try to do our best, write carefully, record the correct sound but at the
end of the day pop music is only as big as pop music, which is up to each
individual. That's not say it's totally inimportant, because it can be
beatiful, sad, happy and more people... which is a brilliant thing! but
you have to get things in perspective!!
Most of the bands hate to talk about the music that they listen and their
influences. But I like to talk about records, bands, films, books... I'd
like you to tell me your current favourite records because I now that your
taste are exquisite and wonderful.
Keith: I suppose Paul and I are basically pop fans we love records
full stop! We have everything from The Wake to Vivaldi. At present Paul is
very keen on the Morrisey single "Alma Matters" and he's also besotted with
The Cardigans. Me, I'm into the usual nonsense Marden Hill, Popinjays,
Vini Reilly, House of Love, Simon Turner, New Order, 70's disco, Girls At
Our Best, Heidi Berry. Books... books... I read sometimes very little then
I'll be reading three books at once! I like biographies: Kenneth Williams,
The Pet Shop Boys, film stars, etc. The last book I bought was: "Patient"
by Ben Watt. The last film I saw and enjoyed was Charlie Bubbles but I
love much from the 60's, 70's... The Family Way, The Carry Ons...
Do you need to feel melancholic to write a song? A Blueboy song will be
a melancholic song or won't be?
Keith: Much of the last LP was written whilst drinking too much and
being too negative. The new songs for the new LP are less morose... more
positive. 'Unisex' was a very self indulgent LP which I regret, the new
songs are much more... forward looking.
I love Arabesque too. What are the most important differences between
Blueboy and Arabesque?
Keith: Arabesque and Blueboy are two separate bands, with different
band members. Arabesque is Paul, Richard, Rob and Jo. I write the lyrics
and I'm obviously there at he studio and help out. Blueboy is Paul, Cath,
James, Ian and me. Different bands, different labels.
In "Love Yourself" Blueboy became a duo again. What happened with Harvey
Williams and Gemma? Where are they now?
Keith: Harvey and Gemma are still doing things with Bob Wratten, as
far as I know. (Paul and I recorded "Love Yourself" with Keris on
keyboards). We just felt we were going in a different direction to Harvey
and Gemma. We miss them though, they were excellent and gifted
Could you dream a little? Blueboy are the most popular band in the
world, and you can choose a productor, invite your favourite artists
for collaborations and choose the record label. Who would be
Keith: Label - Sarah or él or Factory or Cherry Red,
Bands - Would Be Goods or The Cocteau Twins... or Morrisey,
Producer - Mike Alway.
What is the most terrible sentence that you've ever heard/read about
Blueboy? and the most beautiful one?
Keith: I can't remember, it's just personal taste at the end of the
day... I'm amazed people actually like us to the extent they say they do.
I've read beautiful things about us and horrible things... but I treasure
the letters from actual Blueboy fans... who write such wonderous things...
I have a single called "Remember me" by Blueboy, but I'm afraid that
they aren't the Blueboy from Reading. What Do you think about this? Where
is your lawyer?
Keith: Ask Matt, I don't dislike "Remember me" though Paul hates
it. I actually got it secondhand it's very up-beat but the words are rather
dull: "...remember me, dig a dig a dig dig dig ..." (yawn)
Do you also think that "Never mind the truth... get on with the legend"?
Keith: Umm... yes it you say so
Finally, tell me what these words suggest to you:
- Best record label, best support, very loyal and excellent records...
Keith (according to Paul)
- Paul thinks I buy too many secondhand clothes!!
- I'm socialist... I hope it's obvious.
- The best record label of the 80's. Mike Alway is a genius.
Fave él LP
London Pavillion Vol 1.
- Rain, work, friends, Slowdive.
- Michael Fish.
- Pop, Fashion, Art, Football.
- Matt's new dream!
- I think Paul is fab!
- Siesta, football, sunshine, beaches, good wine and excellent
- see above... excellent.
souvenir e-zine reprinted by kind permission.