Tracks

  1. Teddy Boys Picnic
  2. Mirror Mirror
  3. Pretty Boys
  4. Man Of Steel
  5. Dr Cairo
  6. Get Off My Cloud
  7. Queen Of Pop
  8. Heartbreak Hotel
  9. Brave New World
  10. They Won’t Let My Girlfriend Talk To Me
  11. Out of Phase
  12. Butchy Boys
  13. In Hell With Your Mother
  14. Babies On Fire
  15. Everybody Else
  16. Chattanooga Choo Choo
  17. The Cops Are Comin’

The Band

Ignatius Jones
(born Juan Ignacio Trapaga)  lead vocals (1976–1982)

Joylene Thornbird Hairmouth
(born William O’Riordan) – keyboards, vocals (1976–1982)

Scott Johnstone
drums (1976-1982)

Michael Vidale
bass guitar (1979–82)

Joe P. Rick
(aka Joseph Attala) – guitar, vocals (1980–82)

The Crew

Phil Dunesky
tour manager, lighting

Grahame “Yogi” Harrison
sound

Phil Cathcart
lighting

John Soane
front of house

Vince Sedgewick
monitors

Jimmy and the Boys were a Sydney cabaret/ punk band fronted by singer Ignatius Jones and keyboard player Bill O’Riordan who dressed up as drag queen Joylene Thornbird Hairmouth.

Their two studio album ‘Not Like Everybody Else (November 1979) and Teddy Boys Picnic (July 1981) had strong musicianship but it was their outrageous onstage antics and Top 10 hit ‘They Wont Let My Girlfriend Talk To Me’— written by Tim Finn and with a video based in a mental hospital – that made them one of the biggest live acts in Australia.

LIVE At The Astra Hotel 1982 was taped by “Yogi” Harrison who regards it as far superior to the band’s live album ‘In Hell With Your Mother’ recorded at Selinas from that time.

“The Astra tape is the live album the band always wanted. The place was a sleazy shithole from the 1920s which characterised Bondi as it was, and drew musicians and crews.”

It was also the last show ever by Jimmy and the Boys.

The tape includes ‘Teddy Boys Picnic’, ‘Dr Cairo’ about a surgeon who performed sex changes; stage faves ‘Butchy Boys’, ‘Babies On Fire’ and ‘Pretty Boys’; theatrical renditions of The Stones’ ‘Get Off My Cloud’ and The Kinks’ ‘I’m Not Like Everybody Else’, and of course ‘They Won’t Let My Girlfriend Talk To Me’.

LIVE At The Astra has two bonuses. It includes the band’s only live version of Elvis Presley’s ‘Heartbreak Hotel’, always a showstopper, and ‘In Hell With Your Mother’ which they had written for the live album of that name but never used.

The band’s onstage antics included blood capsules burning babies and effigies of politicians and a menacing tank backdrop.

Their songs covered leather’n’chain sadomasochism, violence, cross-dressing, individualism, mental health, self-mutilation, sex change, drug abuse, simulated sex and mock rape.

They were hated by Christian groups, cops and family associations.

Among the riots they caused were at an outlaw motorcycle gang’s music festival (Ignatius Jones goaded them from stage and had to hide in a caravan which the enraged bikers tried to topple) and a Christmas show in Brisbane after a local paper claimed that the Baby Jesus was to be set alight and Joylene was to appear as the Virgin Mary.

Part of Phil Dunesky’s role as tour manager was visits to police stations to bail out band members and emergency departments of hospitals. There was an overnight stay at Blacktown Hospital in Sydney after Ignatius put his arm through a plate glass window coming off stage. “He cut an artery. He was covered in stage blood so it was awhile before we realised he was in fact bleeding to death.”

As the live tape shows, Jimmy and the Boys had the musical chops. Bill O’Riordan, for instance, wanted to be a concert pianist and at 19 went to Paris to train. “I did auditions for the Conservatore there but I didn’t get in because 19 is the oldest you can be. Bitterly disappointed about that, I returned to Australia in 1976.”

The key members of Jimmy and the Boys had met at exclusive private schools Cranbrook and Riverview. The name ‘Jimmy’ came from a schoolboy slang for someone not too bright. Bassist Michael Vidale and drummer Scott Johnstone, for instance—highly accomplished players and well respected by other musicians — had their roots in jazz fusion, rock and the avant garde. Bill O’Riordan played in Vidale’s fusion band Stepps until a nasty motorbike crash sidelined the bassist for a time. The keyboard player then joined Jimmy and the Boys which already had Scott Johnstone in the ranks, and he later invited Vidale to join.

Scott: “We never made money, we were young and stupid, it was always about the music and being able to get up and perform.”

Ignatius Jones was among the last to join. Born in the Philippines to a multi-generational Spanish speaking family of classical music players, he moved to Sydney as a toddler. Later at school, fellow students were Mel Gibson and Tony Abbott. Jimmy and the Boys quickly made a name for themselves, especially at their spiritual home Windsor Castle, a Paddington hub which had live bands from Wednesday to Sunday.

By this stage Bill O’Riordan was experimenting with the Joylene character.

“Initially it was a very pragmatic choice. We had a residency at the National Hotel in Brisbane. The room had these huge glass tiles and I was able to see a reflection of myself of how I looked onstage.

“So the gestures had to change and some of the costumes. I’d been experimenting with drag for some time. More importantly, she was an incarnation of my inner self.  To me Joylene represented power.”

Johnston: “We were strong musically. But we also lived on the motto ‘Never under-estimate the lack of taste in Australian audiences!’”

One of their shows at the Windsor Castle was The Night Of The Raw Meat where they hurled sausages and mince at the crowd. “It was summer, and the time the pub reopened the next week, the whole place was stinking because there were fragments of meat still stuck to the roof.”

Michael Vidale remembers how quickly Jimmy and the Boys grew as a live act. “We played some massive shows, we were always on the road. There was a lot of satire in what we did, we were always pushing the envelope. “Unfortunately these days a lot of what we did would see us end up in court. Mind you, the first time the band went to New Zealand, our reputation preceded us and the cops were waiting for us!”