London Cowboys - biography

'Relapse' 2xCD

feat. Steve Dior & Barry Jones, with Jerry Nolan, Glen Matlock, Terry Chimes, Tony James, Mike Monroe, Arthur Kane, Sylvain Sylvain, Johnny Thunders and others.

The London Cowboys issue a double-CD: one disc being the highlights of their releases, the other comprised of unreleased material. In both categories there are bonus tracks from The Idols.

The London Cowboys were based around Steve Dior & Barry Jones who in 1976 were an integral part of London’s fledgling punk scene. They had loosely rehearsed with Chrissie Hynde and Keith Levene and others until Barry started co-promoting the first 100 days of The Roxy Club, booking the bands and designing the flyers. His teenage pal Steve came down to see the Heartbreakers on a pre-opening gig and fell in with the band. When Jerry Nolan left the Heartbreakers in August ’77, he formed The Idols with Steve and Barry; they soon moved to New York where Arthur Kane completed the line-up.

The Idols recorded demos for Track Records in London and made waves in New York, releasing a single on Ork Records. When Sid Vicious came to NY, they were his first choice of backup band (documented in recordings and Steve’s notes in ‘Sid Lives’, FREUDCD095), but the planned recordings with Sid never got to happen. The Idols folded in 1979 when Jerry had work-permit problems getting back into the UK. Barry then got a job with Max’s Kansas City; Steve rehearsed with the Sex Pistols' Steve Jones & Paul Cook’s new band, The Professionals.

The London Cowboys first incarnation was in the early 80’s, Steve together with the Sex Pistols’ Glen Matlock and singer Russell King, who issued a couple of successful singles in France. But when it came to an album, Steve fell out with King and brought back Jones and Nolan who both had returned to the UK, and took over vocals himself. The band continued for many years with Dior & Jones as the nucleus, with the Matlock/Nolan rhythm section substituted according to availability – Tony James, Pete Farndon and Terry Chimes amongst others filled those positions.

Later in the 80’s, the Cowboys’ brand of rock’n’roll found favour with record executives – Dolls-influenced bands had proved their dollar worth in the form of Guns & Roses and Billy Idol. MCA signed the London Cowboys with big plans that never materialised; then Chrysalis courted them. But no releases came out of that period, until now!

In late ’86 Jerry Nolan, Barry Jones and Glen Matlock teamed up again together with Johnny Thunders, for a tour of the world through 1987. Johnny had earlier guested on a unreleased Cowboys session; after he died Steve teamed up with Sylvain Sylvain for a tribute song – both included here. Steve & Barry must be the only musicians who’ve played with both four members of the New York Dolls and four members of the Sex Pistols!

Barry now lives in LA. Steve Dior took a break from music for a while but is back with a new band, The Delinquents.

FREUDCD094 Release date: September 3rd 2008 Info: Alan Hauser.