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Boxer
continued

Ollie and Tony Newman

The name 'Boxer' was almost certainly a reference to Mike Patto's early amateur boxing career

 

The thing I haven't mastered yet is a high energy thing where I can perform solos and chord work more spontaneously"

- Ollie Halsall 1976

Recorded Boxer out at The Manor in Oxfordshire. Croquet on the lawn, dips in the pool and a banquet every night. Mike Patto's one of my all-time favs as well. Great sense of the absurd, as was the case with guitarist Olly."

- Richard Digby Smith in conversation with Martin Gordon

Way Ahead magazine article 1976
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Read text version

 

Trouser Press magazine August/September 1976

Read text version

Boxer

Mike Patto vocals keys
Ollie Halsall guitar keys vocals
Tony Newman drums
Keith Ellis bass

 

 

Below the Belt 1976

Shooting Star

All the Time in the World

California Calling

Hip Kiss

More Than Meets the Eye

Waiting for a Miracle

Loony Ali

Save Me

Gonna Work Out Fine

Town Drunk Terry Stamp|Jim Avery

Don't Wait

Halsall & Patto's final attempt at the big time. Shooting Star was a sure-fire hit single, so whatever posessed them to release All The Time in the World!?


single 1975
All the Time in the World

Don't Wait


Live at the Roundhouse, London
21 February 1976
Recording: Andrea Pennesi
California Calling

Dinah Low

Hey Bulldog

Loony Ali

More Than Meets the Eye

Save Me

Teachers

Shooting Star

Warm Red Glow [exceprt]

 LISTEN

Bloodletting 1976

Hey Bulldog

Why Pick on Me

The Blizzard

Love Has Got Me

Rich Man's Daughter

Dinah Low

Big City Fever

Teachers
The Loner Neil Young

 

A third album, Absolutely, was made after Ollie's departure


Please avoid the Akarma release Ducks in Flight - The Lost Jazz Album which is an unauthorised bootleg of the bonus tracks from A Sense of The Absurd [together with, perversely, Teachers from the later Boxer album Bloodletting?! ]


BBC Radio session
John Peel Show, Radio 1, 7th October 1975

All the Time in the World

California Calling

Shooting Star

More Than Meets the Eye

Not entirely live. There seems to be some overdubs here and there.


Mike Patto keys vocals
Ollie Halsall
guitar keys vocals
Tony Newman drums
Keith Ellis
bass


Photo: Andrea Pennesi

Shit, Muck, Err & Grolly - Tony Newman

 

 

More Than Meets The Eye

Stick-Up
continued

Ken Thornton charts the demise of Boxer and Ollie's aborted entry into 'The Last Chance Saloon'

Because very little was documented back then, we'll probably never know precisely when Ollie left Boxer or how his custom SG ended up permanently out of his possession. Here is a summary of what I have been told by various sources over the years including John Halsey and Tony Newman.

Regarding Ollie's guitar, the basic story is that Nigel Thomas confiscated Boxer's equipment due to their indebtedness to him when the band started falling apart.

For Ollie, Tony, and Mike, Boxer was thought of as a last ditch attempt to be rock stars. The aforementioned indebtedness was certainly due in part due to the intentional extravagance in trying to put forth the impression of being rich rock stars when launching the first album - limousines, press parties, etc. But, of course, they were not rich, and Nigel Thomas must have spent a lot of money on the illusion. In addition, there would have been the expenses of the live shows, and the aborted American tour must have cost a bundle.

They went to tour America but didn't get to play a single gig. Mike was diagnosed with cancer and ended up in an L.A. hospital. The others spent much of their time at the Rainbow Room on Sunset, partying in the Hollywood Hills, or sailing around until they all finally got sent home. They stayed together to record the second album to honor contractual obligations to Virgin records. But sometime around September of 1976, Ollie, Tony, and Keith were hoping to start a new band with Gary Holton of the Heavy Metal Kids called Stick-Up. It was reported in the press [opposite]

Tony told me that he doesn't have a very clear memory of exactly what happened, but he knows that Nigel confiscated all of their equipment - drums, guitars, amps, etc. That would include Ollie's SG. It is conjecture, but it seems likely that this move on Nigel's part was a result of the Stick-Up plans, and Ollie, Tony, and Keith probably didn't have the money to pay off Nigel. They likely had to just walk away from the mess and Boxer in general with just the loss of their instruments.

So, I think the original Boxer finally fell apart sometime in 1976, and that is why their equipment was confiscated and why Virgin did not release Bloodletting until three years later (using the original 1976 catalog number). There are rumors of some 1976 promo copies of the album being out there, but I've never seen even a picture of one. I've found one source that indicates it was released mid-April of 1979, a bit more than a month after Mike died.

Why would Mike carry on with Boxer after what Nigel did? I'm guessing that since it wasn't Mike's idea to walk away from Boxer, he wasn't targeted.

 

And since the other three were planning to start a new band with another singer, I don't think Mike would've had any second thoughts about continuing on without them, whether or not Nigel Thomas was still involved. It might have made him even more determined to press on with a new Boxer lineup.

I think it was Halsey that told me that at some point Nigel's company came into financial trouble and was ultimately liquidated. The equipment was auctioned off, most likely including Ollie's guitar. I got the impression that this happened not very long after the original Boxer split up.

Ken Thornton 2016

Editor's note: The Absolutely album came out around July of 1977 with the terrible Trio of Halsall, Newman and Ellis replaced by Adrian Fisher [guitar], Chris Stainton [keyboards], Tim Bogert [bass] and Eddie Tuduri [drums].



Gary Holton: "With the [Heavy Metal] Kids, the music took second place all the time. I wanted to get it really hot but I couldn't do that within the band, so I had to leave. In the end, I didn't enjoy working in the band anymore. It became a ritual.

There was a lot of cynicism in the band which rubbed off, and everybody started taking it seriously. I didn't like that. I like to enjoy my work." Holton, in fact, realised his predicament within HMK when he discovered that three members of Boxer (Ollie Halsall, Tony Newman and Keith Ellis) had been suffering a similar crisis of thought with their leader, Mike Patto, and had also concluded that they too would have to leave the band to fulfil ambitions.

The Boxer trio lived in a flat rented to them by Holton's girlfriend. They met and decided to form a band of their own called Stick-Up.

"We're all very ambitious," Holton added. "We're not afraid of working. With the Kids, we were going out like a million-dollar band, with an articulated lorry full of equipment that wasn't really necessary and getting £300 or £400 a gig.

There was too much overkill. I'd rather work hard with just the necessary equipment."

Melody Maker September 1976

 

Blue Traff - The Story of Ollie's Iconic Guitar

More information at:
www.pattofan.com

 

 

Let it Rock!

Michael d'Albuquerque