Thursday, August 9, 2007

Hero - Boys Will Be Boys (1978)

Hero hailed from Los Angeles and came together after several years of gigging under various lineups in the early 70's. Formed by brothers Curt (keyboards) and Mark (bass) Houle, it was 1975 before the band's permanent lineup would take shape. That came with the addition of sixteen year old guitar whiz, Neil Citron and drummer Jeff Jones. When local heroes Hollywood Stars replaced their lead singer, Scott Phares, Hero became his new home. The band signed with Con Merten agency and within a year, producer Michael Lloyd had helped the band to sign with Mercury Records. Their self-titled debut was issued in 1977 and despite a few well written singles, the album stalled and Hero were quickly dropped from their contract.

Merten and Lloyd were unwavering believers in the band and vowed to find the band a new home. The following year, 20th Century Records added Hero to their roster and "Boys Will Be Boys" was released. Again, the band and label were unable to create a buzz and Hero found themselves without a label in 1979. Luckily, Lloyd was able to produce a sole single for the band in 1980, released on Australian label, Interplanetary Records. The single barely dented the charts and Hero's relationship with Merten and Lloyd came to an end. The band returned to the LA club circuit and actively performed there in various lineup until 1983. Citron went on to become a solo artist and session player. Jones and the Houle brothers began a production company and remain active in studio engineering and session work. Phares retired from the business altogether and relocated to Texas.

Hero were one of those bargain bin discoveries of mine while working in radio during the early 80's. I immediately fell in love with their sound and remain an ardent fan to this day. This, their sophomore release, is an energetic batch of songs that are just dying to be heard by the public at large. With emotive vocals from Phares and Houle's insane keyboard runs in full effect, the album creates a sound unlike anything that was popular at the time. Hammond organs were by and large a thing of the past by the end of the 70's and hearing them all over this album gives it an unusual vibe. One listen to the keyboard solo in "You Take My Breath Away" and it's evident that Hero were still tethered to their musical roots, but this works to great effect throughout. With the exception of the corny "Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay" and the drippy "It's Only Make Believe", the rest of the album is stellar. This is primo LA rock with a sound all its own. Snag this fantastic transfer from Rob and crank it up loud. This is a band you don't want to miss!


KISSMAR said...


micksguitar said...

great share. another fantastic old lp. thanx mick.

Unknown said...

WOW !!!!!!
what a blast from the past I remember this from when I was a kid
this is a great blog keep up the good/great work. Thanks for all your work !

PS Do you have the albums by the band Trickster from the 70,s ?

Thanks again

Unknown said...

The name was simple (HERO), but I couldn't remember it until recently passing through eBay, and purchased a never opened, DJ notched, "Boys Will Be Boys" album.

Your notes on the songs were spot on. I hung out with the "boys" back then, when most all worked with me at their day job, QC @ Thomas Organ Company!

I'll have to get back in touch with Mark. Had a lot of fun at all the LA club gigs back then: woo hoo, sex, drugs and R & R.

Jeff Jones was a pretty good tennis player, too.

Amazing to see this. Thanks!

Glenn R in Seattle