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(Quire)Boys Will Be Boys

They had a ballsy singer and catchy songs. Sharon Osbourne was their manager, Guns N’ Roses were their mates. In 2004, Classic Rock asked: why aren’t The Quireboys living in mansions?

For the first of what would be many times this afternoon, Spike leans across our table at London’s Kensington Gardens Hotel and addresses me in friendly, conspiratorial yet unmistakably alcohol-charged tones: “You want the story of The Quireboys?” he retorts, slurring slightly. “That’s easy. We met all these journalists – Geoff Barton, Mick Wall, Krusher – and none of them had any work to do or any drugs to take. So we created a rock’n’roll band. If it wasn’t for The Quireboys, all of youse bastards wouldn’t have jobs. We paid for all your booze, birds and drugs, and still to this very day all you bastard journalists do is slag us off.”

Also for the first of numerous occasions this afternoon Guy Griffin winces and raises his eyes to the heavens. Better-known to his mates as Griff, The Quireboys’ guitarist is by now aware that nobody will change Geordie barfly Spike, nor is the singer likely to dilute his opinions for public consumption after having sunk a few. But then we wouldn’t want it any other way.

The Quireboys have existed on and off since 1985, having formed shortly after Newcastle-born Jonathan Gray had relocated to London. He was laying paving slabs outside Buckingham Palace when workmates dubbed him Spike, because of his Rod Stewart-style coiffure. The nickname stuck, although, strangely when one considers the style of music that he would sing for almost the next two decades, Spike wasn’t a fan of either Rod or The Faces.

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