The Party Boys was formed in 1982 by Mondo Rock bass guitarist Paul Christie along with Australian Crawl’s James Reyne. It played its first show at the Moby Dick Surfer’s Club in Whale Beach, Sydney. The plan was for The Party Boys to be a part-time fun supergroup project playing rock classics, using a revolving door of known musicians when their respective bands were off the road, a total of 36 players over the years.
These included The Angels, Rose Tattoo, Skyhooks, Australian Crawl, The Divinyls, The Models, Dragon and Choirboys, and international names such as Alan Lancaster, Joe Walsh of The Eagles, Eric Burdon of The Animals and Graham Bonnet.
But it became a runaway success, with hit singles and albums, and sell-out concerts.
One of the singles, a cover of John Kongos’ percussive anti-apartheid song from 1971 “He’s Gonna Step On You Again” went to #1 on the ARIA chart.
Originally Paul Christie played bass. But when Alan Lancaster, ex-Status Quo joined, he switched to drums as a two-drummer setup with former Divinyls member Richard Harvey who Paul played his first ever live gig with, this was the line-up that released ‘He’s Gonna Step on You Again’.
The follow up “Hold Your Head Up” from The Party Boys album, was made by the line-up that’s on LIVE at the Tivoli Sydney 1987.
This was the most commercially successful of the line-ups.
The Party Boys was a lucrative experience. Paul Christie was a shrewd businessman and he set up a business model that was ahead of its time in the Australian music industry.
“I took over the band’s management so we didn’t have to pay 20% commission to someone else,” Paul explains.
“In the first week we played, someone left a note outside the singer’s house, ‘If you guys value your arms and legs, you’ll stop this now!’
“We kept the production small, and we really looked after our crew, and they in turn were very loyal.
“We made a lot of money, some of the guys in the band could buy new equipment or cars, or pay off their houses.
“But we worked very, very hard. When the record went to #1, we went from playing four nights a week to six. Just one night off a week! But we became a great band as a result.”
Adds David ‘Strawb’ Quinn, their sound engineer who is responsible for the Tivoli tape, “We were playing to 3,000 people every night, in every Australian state and in New Zealand.
“It was an epic time of my life. I loved the band’s music, they were all on a peak as musicians, and Paul had such a shrewd business brain.
“The crew lived like kings, we earned big money, I never made that kind of money again!”