Monday, January 30, 2006

4 Unknown Boys From Nowhere Tracks Surface!

LITG Superspy Matthew Specktor has discovered a mysterious website which hosts five MP3s by eighties Ohio's masters of garage revivalism, the Boys From Nowhere. In addition to their celebrated namesake DMZ cover are fine takes on the Kinks, Wailers, Sparkles and Music Machine. Matthew called main Boy Mick Divvens to inquire as to the provenence of this goldmine, and learned that Mick doesn't even remember recording these songs, but reckons they must have been laid down circa "Beg." And "Beg," for them that don't know, is just about the rawest slice of teenpunk animosity ever captured... or why don't I just let Matthew tell you all about it, in his essay from Lost in the Grooves?

The Boys From Nowhere - The Young Lion 45s

The Highway to Hell is paved with bad imitations. Discarded tubes of lipstick and the sloughed-off leathers of Stooges-wannabes stand by to warn the hopefuls who stagger along the time-honored—and widely dishonored—passage. In the late eighties, the LIE and Mass Pike were crowded with bands who fancied themselves the new Stones, or Dolls (allegiance shifted around 1985 from Pebbles comps to MC5 reissues), but these outfits disappeared in the hair-apocalypse that was Guns N’ Roses. Which is a crooked way of approaching Boys From Nowhere, the greatest garage band you’ve never heard.

While Lyres and the Chesterfield Kings were trying to drag us back to sacred-mono, Mick Divvens was shaking his mane to Uriah Heep records. While Jeff Conolly was struggling to accept the world hadn’t ended in 1967, Mick was on about the merits of Ratt’s first 45. Yet brushing aside specious punk notions of purism, the fact remains that Divvens recorded some of the finest singles ever waxed by a guy named Mick. Vaulting over the usual obstacles— slack-jawed drummers with lucrative sidelines in armed-robbery, feckless sidemen too busy griping to show up for practice—Divvens did it the hard way, playing organ, guitar, duck-call and hair-on-fire screaming for a series of self-released singles that needed to be heard to be believed.

Combining the pant-pissing heaviness of the best Detroit thug-rock with prime sixties ‘tude, these were a far cry from the fey recidivism of bands I won’t name, unless I already have; “Beg,” “Jungle Boy,” and (especially) “I Don’t Bother” approach Stooges-like levels of intensity without sacrificing melodic interest, and—with that duck-call—nodding towards the retarded art-punk of fellow Ohioans Pere Ubu. These were subsequently reissued on a series of Spanish, German and Australian 12-inches that sounded as if they were mastered in a laughing-gas factory. Tinny, cruddy (the original pressings were both, in a good way) and sped-up, they led some to wonder what the fuss was about. An album on Skyclad followed. But the best are still those early singles, and it’s a crime against humanity Divvens still has boxes of ‘em in his garage. He ought to be sending children to college on their backs. Maybe then someone could come forward to show the Hives, White Stripes, etc. how it’s done. (Matthew Specktor)

6 comments:

Blair said...

These guys were absolutely fantastic. I'm with you 100%, Matthew.

So... Howzabout putting me in touch w/Mick Divvens? I'd be more than happy to buy a couple extra copies of those BFN 45s.

eric said...

I agree, I think the Early Boys From Nowhere singles are amazing,I'd love to get my hands on more. I also totally love the cover of Mike Rep and the Quotas Rocket to Nowhere cover they did!
I second Blairs request,I'd love to get in touch with mr. Divens!

Matthew Specktor said...

Hey...glad to see I'm not all alone in this. I talked to Mick the other day and he has no memory of recording these at all. He reckons they're from the original, "Beg"-era lineup of the band.

I'm sure it'll be cool to put you guys in touch with him...he's a good egg, and will probably be tickled. He's just enough of a privacy nut though in general (albeit the least ornery one you could ever hope to meet) I should probably ask him before I dole out his email addy to, uh, legions of screaming fans (two of you? do i hear a third?)

Stay tuned, here....

Matthew Specktor said...

Hey...glad to see I'm not all alone in this. I talked to Mick the other day and he has no memory of recording these at all. He reckons they're from the original, "Beg"-era lineup of the band.

I'm sure it'll be cool to put you guys in touch with him...he's a good egg, and will probably be tickled. He's just enough of a privacy nut though in general (albeit the least ornery one you could ever hope to meet) I should probably ask him before I dole out his email addy to, uh, legions of screaming fans (two of you? do i hear a third?)

Stay tuned, here....

michaelrhoades said...

you hear a third here... i'd be very happy (very very) to buy these records straight from mick instead of from a record shop with a heavy markup... i mean, i'm willing to pay the markup, i'd just rather give it to mick, you know...? can you give me his contact info, or vice versa... i can give you my info to pass along to him... thanks!

Johnboy said...

Howdy!

Johnboy here!

I was fortunate enough to be hanging around Columbus, Ohio, and the same circle of audio engineers that Mick was, when he recorded this stuff. Doug Edwards and John Hetrick were the excellent engineers who recorded and pressed most of this stuff right there at Musicol Studios. I sat in and listened to quite a few of the mixes and takes over the years.

I met him in 1979 when he walked in on a pratice that he heard from the outside of a house on 13th avenue. He was a retro throwback to Jim Morrison, and he was just as talented.

Again, his level of success had nothing to do with how strong a writer performer he was.

I lost touch with him about 8 years ago when his phone was disconnected.

Can anyone put me in touch with Mick?


I would be thrilled to see him on my trips back to Columbus. The last gig I saw him play was at Chelsies when he had Mark Chattfield from Bob Seager as guest guitarist. That was an amazing show!

Blessings,



Johnboy


jmartin121@comcast.net