Who are the HEAVY METAL KIDS and how did they get here?
In the beginning… there was Mickey Waller, Ronnie Thomas, Keith Boyce, Gary Holton and Cosmo… a gang of boisterous boys from South London and the East End. It was late 1972…
After a gruelling apprenticeship at the legendary Speakeasy Club, THE musicians' watering hole run by co-manager Laurie O'Leary, the boys were spotted by 60s icon Dave Dee, then head of A&R at the new London branch of Atlantic Records.
Around this time Cosmo left the band for a while and was replaced by Barry Paul on Guitar. Barry stayed until they signed with Atlantic but then decided to leave the band. The band then recruited Danny Peyronel on Keyboards.
Armed with a world-wide record contract with the home of Led Zeppelin and Aretha Franklin, in January '74 they went into London's Olympic Studios to record their first album, HEAVY METAL KIDS, with Dave Dee as producer.
They toured Britain and the continent to exhaustion, establishing their brand of rebellious, raucous rock 'n' roll… inspiring a generation of other rebels and setting the stage for an all-out revolution that would change the face of popular music only three years later.
They appeared in 'The Old Grey Whistle Test' on the BBC, broke every record there was to break at London's Marquee, did Reading Festival (as they did every single year they were around) and just played, played, played…
At this point Mickey Waller left the band to join Steve Marriott's All-Stars and Cosmo rejoined the band.
In January '75, the lads went in to Island's Basing Street Studios, to record ANVIL CHORUS, this time with producer Andy Johns. After recording the second album the lads finally hit the US on a whirlwind tour with the likes of Alice Cooper, Kiss and Rush. True to form, the tour was full of adventure! They got kicked off the Kiss portion, after Gary and Keith were spotted rolling with laughter on the side of the stage at the sight of Gene Simmons's hair catching fire while doing his 'fire-swallowing' routine.
Back in the UK, and after a tour of France, Germany and Scotland, Danny left to join UFO. Cosmo then found keyboard player John Sinclair, from The Jackie Lynton Band, to take his place. In an age of few truly rockin' keyboard players, he'd made an impression when Jackie played the Speakeasy. Manager Ricki Farr then took the band away from Atlantic and had them sign to Mickie Most's RAK Records.
Produced by the legendary Mickie himself, they recorded a third album, KITSCH. Cosmo was gone and Guitarist Barry Paul had rejoined the band.
More of the usual gruelling touring followed, peppered with a ton of TV appearances both in Britain and the continent. The RAK period was coming to a close and John would be the next to go, on his way to Uriah Heep. Guitarist Jay Williams was brought in to complete what was to be the last formation and record the single 'Delirious', before the Heavy Metal Kids' long tea-break started... Their cult status has grown over the years, around the undeniable influence they had on the birth of the punk movement and the new wave of British heavy metal… many claim they were the trigger for so much that came in their wake. A good look at today's bands from both sides of the Atlantic is enough to support this claim.
In 2003 Ronnie, Danny and Keith, the surviving heart and song-writing core of the HEAVY METAL KIDS, called time on their 26-year tea-break, and along with power-house guitarists Marco Guarnerio and Marco Barusso, recorded a walloping great album, "HIT THE RIGHT BUTTON". This line-up toured in the UK and Europe, and featured in several articles in Classic Rock Magazine, such as this one from October 2003.
Various line-up changes followed, including the return of Cosmo and new boy Justin McConville on Guitar and Vocals. They even had a stint with John Altman (Nasty Nick from EastEnders no less!) on Vocals. In 2012, as they set out on tour with rock legends UFO, Ronnie Garrity of Joe Elliott's Down 'N' Outz took over from Ronnie Thomas on bass duties, and also in 2011 Phil Lewis of LA Guns guested on vocals for a tour. In 2013 singer Paul Manzi was announced as a full-time member of Heavy Metal Kids, and sung his first gig with the band that August. PJ Phillips brought his supreme bass playing talents to the party and the Kids rocked on.
In 2022 Keith and Cosmo decided to make some changes. A new singer, Simon Gordon, was recruited along with Andy Fuller on keyboards. Some warm up shows in London followed and the new line up was embraced by fans as a fresh take on the classic Kids recipe. Two festival shows in summer 2022 were further confirmation of the strength of the new line up.
2023 is already shaping up to be an exciting year, with the release of a classic albums box set in the pipeline, along with some previously unreleased material. The band is planning live shows to coincide with the release.