-The Foundation (May 1989 – December 1989)
Boize (pronounced Boys) was a heavy metal band from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, founded by guitarist Robert Kourie (aka Floyd Harem) and bassist and keyboardist Stephane Fania (aka Zany Shultz) in May of 1989. Fania and Kourie had been composing music together since 1986, after meeting at Saint-Lawrence College in the Town of Saint-Lawrence borough in Montreal. At the time, Fania lived with his parents in Saint-Leonard, an east-end district of Montreal, while Kourie lived, also with his parents, in Duvernay, a southern district of Laval (then called Jesus Island). Though it may seem like the two lived some distance apart, they were only a twenty-minutes driving distance from each others’ houses, with the option to use either the Pie IX Bridge or the Papineau-Leblanc Bridge, connecting the Laval and Montreal islands across the Prairies River.
Some of Fania and Kourie’ early bands together (pre-Boize) include Alter-Ego (previously known as Unmarked), a new wave project active from the summer of 1987 until September of 1988; and Strike Anywhere (previously known as Leading Edge), another new wave outfit, which formed in late 1988 and dissolved in April of 1989. All of the material written with vocalist Suzanne Madden in Leading Edge/Strike Anywhere, totaling four songs, was recycled and evolved into Boize’s earliest songs.
To find a new vocalist for their band, Fania took out an ad in the classified section of Montreal’s “The Gazette” newspaper. The ad ran for one week from May 21st to the 27th of 1989 and read: “Wanted, lead singer, female or male, with experience for original rock band. Serious inquiries only. Stephane 374-1916 please leave message.” The ad apparently prompted the response of over forty vocalists who called for an audition.
After trying out several singers, including a Bono-style singer coincidentally named Perry, the band auditioned Perry Blainey (aka Fyia Powers), an Ozzy Osbourne-style singer in early June of 1989. The audition was set up on a whim, taking place in Fania’s car in Town of Saint-Lawrence where Blainey lived. Due to Blainey’s vocal similarity to Ozzy Osbourne, Boize’s fans eventually nicknamed the band “Ozzy Osboize”. While Blainey was in Boize, Fania handled most of the backing vocals, with Kourie occasionally adding a few shouts to studio recordings.
The new trio continued practicing in Kourie’s parent’s basement on Leblanc Boulevard in Duvernay, Laval, where he and Fania had set up a jam space in 1986. By the end of June, Boize had two of Leading Edge’s four songs reworked into hard rock/glam metal tracks. Prior to Blainey joining, Fania and Kourie had already combined and reworked the song “Baby Come Back to Me” and “Running With Time” into “Can’t You See” (in April and May), and devolved “He’s Cracking” into “I Need You” (in May and June). When Blainey came in, he had already written some lyrics which were adapted to the new songs.
In late June, a rehearsal was taped using a four-track cassette recorder. The line-up on this recording (and on all of the band’s recordings in 1989) featured Blainey on vocals, Kourie on guitar and Fania handling bass, keyboards and a drum machine, as the band still had no drummer nor a keyboardist. This rehearsal recording session was motivated by local hard rock radio station CHOM-FM’s brand new battle of the bands content “Homegrown Music Search”.
It was at this time that Blainey came up with the band’s name and its distinct spelling, “Boize“, which unknowing to the other members, was later revealed to be an acronym for “Bottled Ordeals & Insane Zany Experiences”, a reference to alcohol (or booze). Blainey was a recovering alcoholic and included several references to his turmoil and rehabilitation in the bands lyrics. He later said that what you see is not always what you hear, referring that often the lyrics’ audible sound was different from the written ones. A prime example was the lyrics for “I Need You“, which on paper altered between “I needed you” and “I kneaded you”. Boize became Blainey’s most important project and being in a band initially helped him from falling back into comfortable habits.
In July of 1989, 170 bands, including Boize, sent in demo cassette tapes to radio personality TooTall, who who was responsible for putting together the “Homegrown Music Search” contest through his CHOM-FM rock radio program “Made In Canada”. TooTall was to select six groups for a two-night battle of the bands held at Montreal music venue Club Soda on July 26th-27th of 1989. The price package included major record label support and a state of the art studio recording session. After two years under the name “Homegrown Music Search”, the yearly contest changed name to “Rock Showdown” in 1991, then to “Music Quest” in 1992, and was finally immortalized as “L’esprit” for the next eleven years, 1993-2003, as one of the most prestigious “battle of the bands” contests in Canada.
To accompany the demo cassette tape, Boize set up their first band photo shoot at Duvernay, Laval’s Nature Centre park, where Kourie’s then-girlfriend Johanne snapped some pictures. Unfortunately, Boize never heard back from CHOM-FM following their application for the “Homegrown Music Search” contest. Town of Saint-Lawrence hard rock band Cinema Five (also spelled Cinema V and Cinema 5) won the regional contest and was escalated to Toronto, Canada in August to compete in the national competition “Rock Showdown”. Cinema Five won first place again and moved on to the worldwide “Band Explosion” showcase in Tokyo, Japan. Boize’s path would later reconnect with Cinema Five when one of their members joined the band.
In August of 1989, another rehearsal was recorded with the same line-up and featuring three more songs written over the summer. The first, “Out Too Deep“, was reworked from the last remaining Leading Edge song “Silent Eyes“. The other two were Boize’s first original songs written: “Out of Your Mind” (composed in June) and “The Bug” (composed in June and July). These three new songs were combined with the two from June and served as an early, unofficial demo for Boize.
Feeling that their chance at “Homegrown Music Search” was prejudiced by the lack of a professional studio recording, Boize booked a session at Studio Works (404 Saint Henri Street) in the Old Montreal district of Montreal. All five songs that Boize had to their name up to that point were “digitally” re-recorded (on a Digital Audio Tape) with studio engineer Mario Rubnikowich in late September/early October. Again, Fania played keyboards and programmed a drum machine on these recordings. A friend of Blainey’s, Eliane Goffoy, was then asked to design a band logo to be featured on Boize’s first official, self-titled demo (it was later re-baptized “The Bug” in 2011 when it was digitally re-issued). By late October, 250 cassette tape covers had been professionally printed and Boize was dubbing and handing out the cassette tapes. The layout for covers was designed by Fania and had a minor typo in the title of the song “Out Too Deep” (spelled “Out 2 Deed“). But the band didn’t have the money to get new ones re-printed. This typo was later digitally corrected in 2011.
After shopping around the demo, Boize landed their first TV interview in November on the late night talk show “Zone Rouge”, a program on TVRS. In the interview, the band announced that they were planning their first show in December at Salle L’Intro (911 Jean-Talon Street East) in the Villeray district of Montreal. Fania and Kourie were already familiar with the concert venue as their prior band Alter-Ego had performed there twice in 1988. However, Boize wasn’t able to find a drummer in time and the show was postponed. Instead, the trio spent the end of the year writing and demoing new songs: “Uhh Beauty” (written in August and September), “What’s Cooking” (which quickly changed name to “Give Me Your Love“, written in September and October) and “Into the Night” (written in October and November).
-Expanding the Band & the First Show (January 1990 – May 1990)
Determined to find a drummer at the turn of a new decade, Boize placed a new ad in the classified section of Montreal’s “The Gazette” newspaper. The ad ran for one week from January 8th to the 14th of 1990 and read: “Hard Rock band seeking 4/4 drummer with style for recording, touring. Must be available. Stephane 374-1914.”
A ton of drummers responded and an auditioning day was planned for a weekend in mid-January. Fania and Kourie took turns picking up and dropping off drummers from the Henri-Bourassa metro station in the Ahuntsic district of Montreal. Every hour, a new drummer was dropped off at Kourie’s parent’s house in Duvernay, Laval and auditioned to Boize’s heaviest song, “Out of Your Mind“. While in the car, Fania and Kourie would play the band’s cassette tape for the auditioning drummer. One of these candidates was LaSalle-based musician Scott MacDonald (aka Siegfried), who had previously played in the hard rock band Physical Ace. A week after auditioning, Fania called MacDonald to tell him that he had been the best drummer and that they wanted him in the band. Fania asked MacDonald to come meet him at Steinberg’s supermarket, where he was working as a fishmonger, to give him a copy of their demo cassette tape to practice to. MacDonald remembers that Fania had to take off several pairs of rubber gloves before shaking his hand, to make sure that he didn’t get any fish on him.
A final role was left to fill and by chance Fania ran into a keyboardist while shopping at Diplomate Musique, a musical instrument store at 311 Beaubien Street East in the Villeray district of Montreal. Vahe “Victor” Ananian (aka Zorba The Greek) was asked to come try out for the band in February and became their fifth member. Ananian’s moniker, “Zorba The Greek“, was coined after his physical resemblance to Mexican actor Anthony Quinn, who had played several Greek roles in his career. Ananian, however, was not Greek. He was born in Aleppo, Syria and had moved to Canada in July of 1977. Ananian had previously played (and would continue to play) in the band Vahe & Krystal with his brother.
Boize spent most January, February and March adapting the eight songs written in 1989 from a three-member band to a five-member band. They also wrote two new songs: “I’ll Still Love You” (written in February and March) and “Everytime You Come Home” (written in March).
In March, things started picking up for the band. To begin with, Boize moved into a new jam space, located at 750 Cremazie Boulevard West in the Villeray district of Montreal, right above L’Acadie Tavern (now known as Trophy’s Sport Bar). At this location, it was easier for all of the band members to meet up. Then, Boize booked their first live appearance. Salle L’Intro was having an open-mic night on April 2nd and Boize signed up to play their newly finished song, “I’ll Still Love You“, in front of an audience. Immediately after their first live appearance, they booked a full show at the same venue, to headline an hour and a half event on May 26th.
During the rest of that spring, the band composed three new songs: “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)” (written in April), “Keep it Simple and Easy” (written in May) and “Once a Dream, Now a Reality” (which later changed name to “Once a Dream, “Then Reality“”, also written in May). To celebrate to progress the band had made, five customized wristwatches featuring Eliane Goffoy’s logo were ordered through a catalog and given to each band member. The band logo was also used on their first batch of posters that were printed to sell at their upcoming show along with the demo cassette tape. Additionally, the band had a super-sized flag specially printed with their logo to hang up above the drum set at their shows.
Wanting to round out their sound for their concerts, Blainey asked his friend Pascal Trahan, a former band-mate from his first band Bloody L (a play on “Bloody Hell”), to join Boize as their live rhythm guitarist. But before Trahan’s first rehearsal with Boize, Ananian quit the band. Instead of finding a new keyboardist, Fania opted to resume his position as part-time keyboardist for the few songs that required it. By that time, Boize’s style was already changing and beginning to move away from the 1980’s keyboard-driven music era. Though they were not yet the heavy metal band they later established themselves as, most of their new wave influences were gone and instead replaced by hard rock, glam rock and glam metal.
Their first full show at Salle L’Intro was something to be proud of; it featured strictly original material. From the get-go, Boize refused to play covers and instead accepted the compromise to only perform at venues that allowed them to play their original material. Blainey’s friend, Rick Annett, had just given him Corey Hart’s disposed wireless microphone, allowing him to move freely at concerts. This microphone later became a huge hassle (and the source of many inside-jokes) for the band as it required nearly-impossible to find, specially designed batteries.
The show started out with friends of the band (including Kourie’s cousin, Marcel Beaudoin) dressed in medieval friars’ robes and holding candles, while Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (interpreted by Trevor Jones from the soundtrack of John Boorman’s 1981 film “Excalibur“) played over the loud speakers. Boize then launched into “Out of Your Mind“, “I Need You“, “Uhh Beauty“, “Once a Dream, Then Reality“, “Into the Night“, “Give Me Your Love“, “Can’t You See” and “Everytime You Come Home“.
They then played an instrumental blues jam to give Blainey’s voice a mid-show break. Marcel, then dressed in an insect costume, ran out onto the stage with Blainey coming back to perform “The Bug“. The song ended with Blainey covering Marcel and the audience with Silly String/Spiderman web spray. The final part of the concert included the songs “I’ll Still Love You“, “Keep it Simple and Easy” and “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)” before signing off with “O Fortuna” over the loud speaker. The band was cheered back on stage for an encore, deciding on the spot to perform “Give Me Your Love” a second time. During the concert, Boize also announced that they were preparing to record their debut album, having no less than thirteen songs in bank. The whole show was filmed by Peter Molloy’s company Peter Molloy Productions.
One of the gimmicks that Blainey came up with to get the crowd going at the show was to start stripping. This was topical at the time because Madonna was controversially coming on stage wearing lingerie. Although Blainey only made it down to unzipping his jeans at the first show, by the end of the year he was regularly finishing Boize concerts in his boxers. This well-known stage antic wound up plaguing Blainey throughout 1991 and 1992 when fans were regularly coming to their concerts expecting him to do it. This ultimately motivated him to drop the act from Boize shows. Fania’s mother later designed and assembled a black and white medieval friar’s robe for him to wear at concerts.
-Record Label Interest & Recording the Full-Length (June 1990 – December 1990)
One Sunday afternoon in June, Boize played a five-song set for a major record label showcase at a nightclub in downtown Montreal. One of the people present was CHOM-FM’s radio personality TooTall (who had set up the “Homegrown Music Search” contest). But things didn’t turn out in their favour. Instead, Boize signed a contract with Saint-Leonard-based independent record label Imagination Records that same month, to record, publish, release and distribute their first LP. Boize’s association with Imagination Records came through Fania’s uncle who knew the Stocola family. The Stocola brothers, Peter and Tony, founded and owned Imagination Records, its music publishing imprint, La-Asa Music Publishing, and the audio recording studio, Cherry Production Studios. All three companies were operated from the same building on Champ-D’eau Street in Saint-Leonard.
Taking a break from composing, Boize began recording at Imagination Records’ private studio, Cherry Production Studios in July or August of 1990. Even though the Stocola brothers were engineering and producing the album in their own studio, for a release that they planned to put out through their own record label (and also publish the works through their own music publishing company), they still charged the band for the studio time. The band didn’t know better and saw no reason to complain since Imagination Records was the first record label to show them interest.
The recording solely featured the four official band members: Blainey on vocals, Fania handling bass, keyboards and backup vocals, Kourie recording all of the guitars and MacDonald on drums. Trahan was still considered a hired musician, and was paid a percentage of the revenue to appear live with them, so he was not present during the studio sessions. In August, the band moved out of their jam space on Cremazie Street West, partly due to poor noise isolation but mostly to save money for the studio recording sessions, and returned to Kourie’s parents’ place for the next five months.
By November, Boize had finished recording their nine-song album at Cherry Production Studios. It included the songs “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)“, “Can’t You See“, “Everytime You Come Home“, “Give Me Your Love“, “I Need You“, “I’ll Still Love You“, “Out of Your Mind“, “The Bug” and “Uhh Beauty“. Fania then designed a new band logo and worked on artwork ideas for the LP. With the new logo, he pitched the idea of sponsoring the pressing of their second poster to Franco Amante, the owner of Amanty Music (formerly called Diplomate Musique, where ex-keyboardist Vahe Ananian had worked). By then, the whole band had spent thousands of dollars at his store and Franco agreed to back the posters. Fania’s new logo was also used on Boize’s first batch of t-shirts and for a new backdrop flag that the band hung up behind the drum kit during their shows.
Before Boize’s debut LP could be sent to the record pressing plant, Imagination Records’ plans changed. When the band first agreed to work with the company, the plan called for the music to be recorded at Cherry Production Studios, the songs to be published through La-Asa Music Publishing, the 12″ vinyl record to be released through Imagination Records and distributed through BGM Records. But Peter and Tony Stocola’s sister, Costanza Stocola (who was part-owner in the family companies), became extremely busy with her new band “Boy Girl” and at once all of the label’s financing was reserved for her project. Because of this, Boize’s LP was pushed back indefinitely with no promise of it ever coming out. In order to see their music released, even by their own means and continued financing, the band was forced to legally break their contract with Imagination Records and reclaim the very recordings they had themselves paid for.
On the bright side, Boize was booked to play all of the holiday events at Sam’s Rock Bar (4278 Metropolitan Boulevard East), a new hard rock venue and bar in Saint-Leonard. It started with the Christmas show on December 23rd and was followed by both New Year’s Eve shows on December 30th and 31st. The December 23rd and 30th shows were accompanied by local hard rock band Barfly, while the 31st was with blues rockers Red Tape. After these three successful shows, Sam’s Rock Bar’s owner asked Boize if they would be interested in renting out the venue’s newly divided basement for their jam space. They jumped at the opportunity and became the first band to practice there. With this convenient set up, they wound up playing at the venue upstairs on a regular basis.
-Introducing the Management (January 1991 – May 1991)
The owner of Whiskey’s Rock Bar (8921 Pie-IX Boulevard) in the Saint-Michel district of Montreal, the most prominent heavy metal and hard rock concert venue in Montreal’s east-end districts, was very impressed by Boize’s Christmas performance at Sam’s Rock Bar. He invited Boize to perform at Whiskey’s Rock Bar on February 16th, with AC/DC cover band Ruff Edge and Montreal’s all-girl hard rock band Barbarella. But Trahan then announced that he could no longer commit to playing live with the band. Hoping to keep him in the lineup, they offered to make him an official member. Trahan turned down the offer, explaining that his new Francophone hard rock band, Les Diables a Quatre, was taking up all of his free time. Trahan would later join another Francophone hard rock band, Les Moutons Noirs.
Looking for new exposure, Blainey asked his friend Rick Annett, who was working for the major concert promoting company, Donald K. Donald, if he knew anyone who may be interested in signing Boize. Rick brought Bill Hill (born William Frank Hill), an acquaintance of his who had been in the music industry since the early 1960’s, to one of their shows (possibly the above-mentioned concert at Whiskey’s Rock Bar). Hill had initially gained considerable fame with his band J.B. and the Playboys, Canada’s equivalent to The Beatles, and he eventually became a studio guitarist, producer and engineer. He also played in and performed with Peter and the Pipers, The Jaybees, The Carnival Connection, Jerry De Villiers, Freedom of Choice, Freedom North, Graham County, Hydro, Richard LePage, Denis LePage & Station Road, Martine St-Clair and Gemini. In the mid-1970’s Hill opened up his own studio, Montreal Sound Studio, which rapidly became the most prominent recording studio in the city. In the late 1980’s he sold Montreal Sound Studio and opened a music management firm with his friend, the noted studio technician Garfield “Gralf” Lamb. Bill Hill Productions, along with its music publishing imprint, Rohill Music Publishing, were headquartered in the Mount Royal Plateau district of Montreal (3955 Saint-Lawrence Boulevard) and looking for artists to represent.
Hill liked what he heard and signed Boize to a music production deal in late February of 1991. He and Lamb immediately took Boize to Morris Apelbaum’s Silent Sound Studios in the Mount Royal Plateau district of Montreal (3880 Clark Street). Located less than a block away from Bill Hill Productions’ headquarters, the songs from the Cherry Production Studios recording session were brought it extensive re-working. For the next few weeks, the production team attempted to re-mix some of the poorly recorded material and even re-recorded some of the vocal tracks with Apelbaum himself engineering. Only four songs were selected to be improved, with the hope of securing a major record deal: “Out of Your Mind“, “I Need You“, “I’ll Still Love You” and “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)“. But everything they tried kept sounding worse. No one was able to get the guitars to sound the way that they wanted and the whole session started falling apart. So they decided to leave Silent Sound Studios and look elsewhere.
At the same time, Hill hired Diane Archambault to take an all new photo shoot of the band on Mount Royal. In March he decided to give the Cherry Production Studios recordings a second chance at his friend’s brand new, state-of-the-art studio. Frank Marino had just finished building his private studio in the Notre-Dame-De-Grace district of Montreal (2121 Hingston Avenue) and gave Hill the keys, telling him that he could use it any time he wanted. At Starbase Studio, Boize settled in with Lamb as technician, Hill producing and mixing and a young Trebas Institute student studying under Hill as the engineer. Throughout the next month or so, Boize re-recorded some of the drum and guitar tracks and properly mixed the same four songs.
They also recorded an additional song. Hill had listened to Boize’s October 1989 demo cassette tape and was disappointed that “Out Too Deep” hadn’t been recorded for Imagination Records’ planned LP. The band had deliberately dropped the song from their catalog because it no longer represented their musical direction. On top of this, “Out Too Deep” had never been played live and most of the band members had grown to dislike the song. But Hill was convinced that this power-ballad could easily be sold to a major record label and would make a successful single on radio stations. With Bill Hill Productions’ plan to release a CD-single and talk of filming a music video for “In Too Deep” (the song’s updated title), Boize reluctantly re-recorded a new version of the song at Starbase Studio. And to make sure that the song had an authentic mainstream appeal, Hill brought in Kim Sherwood and Dorian Sherwood, two brothers famous for providing gospel-styled backup chorus vocals.
By April, Boize was done at Starbase Studio and Bill Hill Productions put together a five-song sampler cassette tape featuring the newly polished songs “Out of Your Mind“, “I Need You“, “In Too Deep“, “I’ll Still Love You” and “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)“. The songs were then registered through Boize’s brand new music publishing company, Klink Publishing, split 50/50 with Hill’s own music publishing company Rohill Music Publishing, through SOCAN. This cassette tape sampler, packaged in a press kit with an introduction letter from Hill and the photographs by Diane Archambault, was sent to all of the major record labels and radio stations, hoping to land a big deal for Boize.
It was with this press package that the band members first officially used their nicknames. Fania’s moniker, “Zany Shultz“, came from his adoration for the television show “Hogan’s Heroes“, which was often described as a zany sitcom, and featured the character Oberfeldwebel Hans Georg Schultz, portrayed by John Banner. Kourie’s moniker, “Floyd Harem“, originated from his time playing in the band Alter-Ego, and was given by the band’s front-man Joe Tunkendjian. At one of their concerts, Joe ad-libbed “Floyd Harem on guitar“, which he later explained came from a combination of the band Pink Floyd, and the fact that Kourie had a middle eastern family background, hence the “harem”.
Blainey’s moniker, “Fyia Powers“, was self-penned and reflected his love for The Doors, hinting at their song “Light My Fire“. MacDonald was originally given the moniker “Siegfried” by Fania because it sounded Germanic and fit in with the “Hogan’s Heroes” theme. But by the end of the year, he stopped using the moniker because his name Scott MacDonald sounded cool enough on its own. The band’s music publishing imprint, Klink Publishing, was also named after a character in “Hogan’s Heroes“: Kommandant Oberst Wilhelm Klink, portrayed by Werner Klemperer. The band played on theme further with at the very beginning of the recorded song “I’ll Still Love You“. The band can be heard shouting “Klink! You iliot!”, which was the way that Kommandant Oberst Wilhelm Klink pronounced “You idiot!” when insulting Oberfeldwebel Hans Georg Schultz. A year later, the band would name their own record label U-Iliot Records after this same reference.
One of the recipients of this promotional cassette tape was Hill’s old friend, CHOM-FM’s radio host TooTall. As a favour, he offered to interview Boize on his hit radio program “Made in Canada”. The interview aired on May 15th of 1991. Between segments of the interview with Blainey and Fania, TooTall played three songs from the cassette tape: “Out of Your Mind“, “I Need You” and “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)“.
-The Classic Line-Up & Mainstream Appeal (May 1991 – September 1992)
During the first half of 1991, Boize played more local shows at Sam’s Rock Bar. They also played once at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe (30 Mount-Royal Avenue West) in the Mount Royal Plateau district of Montreal, but were banned afterwards for refusing to play cover songs, as per the venue’s regulation. So Boize continued to perform at select locations where they were allowed to play strictly original material. One of these locations was The Terminal Showbar (1635 Saint-Catherine Street West), in the Shaughnessy Village district of Montreal, on April 15th with the band Anxiety. Hill was pushing for the band to go on the road and tour the promotional cassette tapes, posters and t-shirts, but the band felt that they had to establish themselves in Montreal first.
On May 18th, after a successful show at Sam’s Rock Bar, with local hard rock band Sublime Fine, an avid fan approached them offering to fill the empty rhythm guitarist position. It took Boize a few more practices and concerts before settling on the idea to bring in a new member under the legal fold of Boize, Klink Publishing and Bill Hill Productions. Steve Berger (aka Steve Bahr, or Minou) was originally from La Baie, Quebec but had recently moved to Montreal. He started jamming with the band that summer and was officially welcomed as a member in July of 1991.
Berger’s official moniker in Boize, “Steve Bahr”, was given to him by Fania and was a play on the fact that he was the band’s rhythm guitarist, playing “bar chords”. His unofficial nickname, “Minou”, which meant “Pussycat” in French, was first overheard by the band when they picked Berger up at his girlfriends’ apartment before a show. His girlfriend came outside to see him off and amorously said something along the lines of “Don’t be too late pussycat”.
Berger’s first show with Boize was at Salle L’Intro on August 7th of 1991. By then the band was already working on fresh material for a new EP they hoped to release in early 1992. The new songs composed with dual guitarists were much heavier and darker than what was written throughout the first two years of their existence. Prior to Berger joining, Boize had already written four new songs: “Bright Lights A’Bound“, “Stalag 13“, “The Riot Inside (The Rioting Side)” and “Rebel to Rules“.
“Stalag 13” was purposely composed as an instrumental to give Blainey’s voice a break mid-way through their concerts. But Blainey later wrote lyrics for the song in August of 1991, entitled “Ever Get the Feeling?“. These lyrics however, were never used outside of band practices and “Stalag 13” remained an instrumental. The title of the song, “Stalag 13” was another reference to “Hogan’s Heroes“, as the prisoner of war camp that the series was set at. With Berger, two more songs were composed in the late summer and fall of 1991: “Tired of Liars” (written in August and September) and “Get a Life” (written in September and October).
Finding it hard to play new venues on their own, Boize was forced to approach C.R. Productions, a major concert booking agency that controlled most of the independent concert venues’ bookings in Greater Montreal. C.R. Productions’ first booking for Boize was at La Brique (32 Saint-Catherine Street West) in the Ville Marie district of Montreal, on September 20th, with bands Foreplay and Stone Valley. It was customary for the venues to pay the bands directly, holding back a certain percentage for C.R. Productions, which was picked up by the agent. However, Boize’s agent, David Byrne, was notoriously ripping off the hard rock bands that he worked with (including Cinema V which he managed). Dave would ask for a cut from the bands’ payments, claiming that it was C.R. Productions’ share, pretending that the venue had not withheld any money for the company. The skimmed off cash went undeclared and right into Dave’s pocket. Fania was aware that La Brique had kept a percentage for C.R. Productions and he initially refused to give Dave a cut from the band’s payment. Because of this, Dave blacklisted Boize from performing at any concert venue that booked shows through C.R. Productions.
In October of 1991, after hearing pre-production demos, Hill agreed to finance Boize’s new EP. These recordings were made at the band’s rehearsal space in the basement of Sam’s Rock Bar and featured all five songs planned for the extended play: “Get a Life“, “Rebel to Rules“, “Tired of Liars“, “The Riot Inside (The Rioting Side)” and “Everytime You Come Home“. The band planned to work on the EP throughout the winter of 1991-1992 and release it in the spring of 1992.
But Hill had a condition; “In Too Deep” had to be re-recorded and included on the EP. He was an avid believer that this song would finally give the band mainstream popularity, even though the Starbase Studio version, recorded earlier that year, had failed to achieve that. The band initially argued; “In Too Deep” was an old song, with roots dating back to before Boize was even formed, and they much preferred re-recording the then-unreleased “Everytime You Come Home” as the extended play’s power-ballad. “Everytime You Come Home” had already been slightly reworked to include Berger’s rhythm guitar style. But the band eventually compromised. With the plan for new music to be recorded and released, the unreleased Imagination Records full-length was shelved permanently and remained unreleased.
Forced to reconcile with (and pay up) David Byrne, head of metal and hard rock bookings at C.R. Productions, Boize was finally scheduled to headline two nights at the Backstreet (382 Mayor Street), in the Ville Marie district of Montreal, at the city’s top metal venue. After performing on Thursday, November 28th and Sunday, December 1st, Fania struck a friendship with the Backstreet’s manager and concert booker, Louis Adams. Louis became a huge fan of Boize and told Fania that he could book Boize directly through him instead of passing through C.R. Productions. This collaboration gave way for fans to nickname them the “Backstreet Boize” as they wound up playing the venue more often than any other band. Boize was also one of the few independent bands that were able to sell-out the venue and put money in their pocket from performing there. This private deal with the Backstreet alienated C.R. Productions’ David Byrne once again. While Dave was originally a strong supporter of Boize playing strictly original content at their shows, he was suddenly bothered by this fact and used that as an excuse not book them anywhere. He told them that until they were willing to play covers, he wasn’t willing to secure them shows.
The promotional package for Boize’s new EP was to include compact discs, cassette tapes, posters, t-shirts, caps, stickers, a music video and a new photo shoot. For the music video, Hill provided the band with a portable camera for them to film their own “behind the scenes” footage; a cheap alternative to hiring a full film crew. Trading places behind the camera, the band filmed some basic jams in the basement of Sam’s Rock Bar, some home footage and finally the making of the photo shoot on January 10th. Rick Annett had asked a couple of his friends, Judith Cezar and Keith Marshall, to take new pictures of Boize for the press kits and album booklet. One of these pictures would be reserved to create the band’s third poster. With it, Judith designed a papier-mâché background onto which she superimposed the cut out band members and their iconic trunk, which represented the EP’s “mainstream period”. The original poster designed by Judith Cezar was in sepia tones but the ones that the band autographed and sold at their shows were black and white.
A week later, Boize entered Mot-Tel Records’ audio recording studio in the Saint-Henri district of Montreal (4863 Notre-Dame Street West) to track the five songs selected for the EP. Sound engineer Joe Vieira was there to record “Get a Life“, “Rebel to Rules“, “In-Two Deep” (yet another update on the song’s name), “Tired of Liars” and “The Riot Inside (The Rioting Side)“. Although Hill supervised the production, Boize was entirely responsible for the mixing and final sound of the record. Everything was mixed to their liking. Once again, Kim and Dorian Sherwood were brought in to do their magic on “In-Two Deep“. The songs were mixed down to a DAT and sent to S.N.B. to be mastered by Jean-Francois Chicoine.
Somewhere along the way, however, Hill got into an argument with one of the studio’s two owners, Lucio Tomaro or Roberto Telaro. This resulted with Bill Hill Productions refusing to pay off the balance owed for the studio recording session. In turn, Mot-Tel Records kept the two inch reels and the band was never able to get a hold of them again. It is presumed that the studio re-used the tapes for another session.
While Fania initially designed a new logo and some artwork ideas for the EP, his cousin Riccardo Fania suggested they try out his friend Francois Da Fonseca for the job. Francois first came up with the idea of a skull, which evolved into a head, chained down to a brick wall. This was eventually developed into an arm breaking out of a chained trunk, referring back to the band’s photo shoot in January. The “fist” illustration would be imitated by Metallica on “St. Anger” eleven years later. Francois also designed a new band logo which was used on the t-shirts, caps and stickers.
After the recording session, it was decided that a full film crew should be hired to shoot a better quality music video for the chosen single, “Get a Life“. Martin Tanguay and his film company, Plouk Productions, were hired to film the band performing live, but unplugged, at the Backstreet. The Backstreet’s manager, Louis Adams, being a huge fan of the band, allowed them to fill the club to capacity on a usually closed Tuesday night in February to film the music video. Martin’s original idea altered between the band playing live and some additional footage filmed before and after the show. However when he checked the footage at the end of the night, he realized that the majority of the material was blurry and over developed, which rendered it mostly unusable.
Martin headed to Cinéfilm & Vidéo to see Andre Lavoie (aka Andy Mollition) and asked him if there was any way he could piece the footage together into a decent music video. Andy agreed to do it for free, working overnight as a favor to a friend of a friend, in just eight hours. He ended up needing to use digital psychedelic effects (reminiscent of the 1960’s, hardly a novelty at the time), to fill the missing footage from the song’s guitar solo section. When the band saw the finished music video they were understandably angry about the result, but by then the damage was done and they had to live with it.
On April 21st, the self-titled “Boize” EP was released. That evening, the band held a sold-out release party at Sam’s Rock Bar where the music video aired for the first time, before being sent to Canadian music TV stations Musique Plus and MuchMusic. The release package included a pressing of 500 compact discs, 5000 cassette tapes, 5000 posters, and several hundred (the exact numbers having been forgotten with age) t-shirts, caps and stickers. As part of the Bill Hill Productions agreement, the band was allowed to self-release their EP under their own brand new record label, U-Iliot Records, with their songs being published and copyrighted through Klink Publishing once again.
The day after the release party, Boize was invited back on CHOM-FM’s “Made in Canada” radio show for their second interview with TooTall. In between discussing this new release with Blainey and Fania, TooTall played four of the five songs from the EP: “Get a Life“, “Rebel to Rules“, “In-Two Deep” and “Tired of Liars“. CHOM-FM continued playing these songs on the station and the EP was then picked up by radio stations CKRK and CIBL, which also spinned it regularly.
Boize started booking shows extensively to promote their new release and finally conceded to playing cover songs, a compromise to play more locations. Some of the covers shuffled in their sets included Black Sabbath’s “Children of the Grave“, “Paranoid” and “War Pigs“, Judas Priest’s “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye“, Led Zeppelin’s “Communication Breakdown“, Metallica’s “Enter Sandman“, “Sad But True“, “Seek and Destroy” and “Wherever I May Roam“, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” and “I Don’t Know” and The Cult’s “Fire Woman“.
With covers in their sets, Boize managed to reconcile once again with David Byrne at C.R. Productions. But Dave wasn’t ready to give the band good shows right away and he started out booking them at small, remote venues on weekdays. The first of these was on Thursday, April 30th at Club Mystique (730 90th Avenue), a strip club in the LaSalle district of Montreal. As the first show performed after the release of their new EP, Boize was disappointed by the poor turnout, even though they had announced the show during their interview on CHOM-FM. The next day, on May 1st, they were allowed back at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe (playing some cover songs) and packed the place.
After their show at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe, MacDonald was approached by Mick Cody (pen name of Mick Côté) of Ace Rock Magazine for an exclusive interview. Boize’s interview appeared in the magazine’s June 1992 issue, along with an album review. Additionally, the May 28th 1992 issue of the “Montreal Mirror” magazine featured a write-up on the band’s new EP and a show listing, written by none other than the famous underground reporter Jenny Ross in her column “Notes From Underground”.
One of Fania’s family friends owned a ceramic store on Metropolitan Boulevard East in Saint-Leonard. The upstairs lot, located at 5980 Metropolitan Boulevard East, was vacant and was offered to Boize to rent for peanuts until the owner could find a suitable tenant. The band moved out of Sam’s Rock Bar’s basement and spent the next seven months in this comfortable location where Fania set up a mini recording studio to track the progress of their new songs.
On May 30th Boize played one of their most anticipated shows. They opened for National Velvet at the Backstreet. The massive success of this concert gave them direct exposure to major record labels and garnered interest for national distribution of their compact disc. Boize was becoming a household name in the local Montreal heavy metal scene and the band’s name was even featured in graffiti on the Côte-Vertu Boulevard overpass of Autoroute 15 in Town of Saint-Lawrence (some have hinted that it was Blainey who spray-painted it). Hill felt it was time to get a major record label in the picture. Hill’s early 1970’s psychedelic rock band, Freedom North, had been signed to Aquarius Records. He then went on to produce the label’s next two hard rock acts, April Wine and Soma, and remained close friends with the owner Donald K. Tarlton (who also owned Donald K. Donald). Hill knew that Aquarius Records had done very well with the Canadian heavy metal band Sword a few years prior, and he was convinced that Boize would fit perfectly on the label’s roster.
Meanwhile Boize continued to promote their new EP at local clubs such as Le Flirt (460 Saint-Charles Street West) in Longueuil and Club Sensation (316 Saint-Catherine Street West) in the Ville Marie district of Montreal, both of them week-day C.R. Productions bookings. Le Flirt was played on Thursday, June 14th and Club Sensation on Wednesday, June 20th. The two shows had bad turnouts and the Club Sensation gig was even cut short. After performing an average first set that evening, the band left on their break to check out another nearby show, either at La Brique or the Backstreet. When Boize came back to Club Sensation to perform their second set, the owner told them that he was cancelling it and paid them $65 for the night.
A month later, their moral was regained when the Jailhouse Rock Cafe was packed for a double-bill with Adam’s Apples (formerly known as D.D.T.). That month the band also played at La Brique and of course at the Backstreet. Then on August 13th and 14th, they were invited to headline the Exposition Regionale de Montmagny (a.k.a. the Montmagny Festival, now known as the Exposition Provincial de Montmagny) on Thursday and Friday evenings at 9P.M. of the week-long ceremony. This was a huge deal and an opportunity for the band to play in front of thousands of heavy metal fans from the Quebec City region.
The five members drove east on Wednesday afternoon, accompanied by Paolo Gattola, their lighting technician and video documenter, and Jacques Dionne, their soundman who played guitar in the thrash metal band Outrage and who famously ate hot dogs for every meal. Once there, they stayed with Blainey’s cousin, Gaston, who had a house and an RV to accommodate the seven visitors. When they all went to the local diner for breakfast on Thursday morning, they were ecstatically surprised to see their band picture and show dates and time printed on the placemats and menus! The turnout for both shows was incredible. That year, the exposition welcomed over 50,000 people and Boize was the only band to perform for all of those ears. During Boize’s performance the local authorities had to rush to the scene and simmer down the audience who were moshing and slamming around so intensely that they were damaging the tent’s structure, which was constructed to house the concert.
By the time that they left Montmagny at the end of the weekend, they had sold out of every bit of merchandise that they had brought with them. Save for a couple of boxes of cassette tapes left at their rehearsal space, Boize had sold roughly 500 compact discs, 4500 cassette tapes, 5000 posters and several hundred stickers, t-shirts and caps, all in under four months’ time since the Boize EP was released in April.
In late August, Fania’s family friend who was leasing Boize their rehearsal space on Metropolitan Boulevard, found a new business willing to rent out the entire second floor of the building. Boize then relocated to the basement of 5676 Jarry Street East in Saint-Leonard, where another friend of Fania’s let them rent it out for practically nothing.
After headlining the festival, Aquarius Records was more willing than ever to sign Boize to a contract and they set up a meeting to discuss options in late September. C.R. Productions then booked them at Bar Chez Swann (57 Prince Arthur Street East) in the Milton Park district of Montreal, with bands Groovy Aardvark and Anxiety on September 12th, followed by more shows in October at Pub Fuzzy’s in Duvernay, Laval (only minutes from where the band first practiced at Kourie’s parent’s house) and a three-night headliner at Bar-Spectacle L’Enfer in Sherbrooke, Quebec. Through Fania’s own booking, Sam’s Rock Bar had Boize set to play two weekends in a row in September, one of which was a four-night headliner. Another Saint-Leonard venue, Jackie’s Cafe (5292 Jean-Talon Street East), also booked them. And of course Louis had booked them at the Backstreet for early October. Boize was finally on a steady income with full bookings planned a month ahead of time.
But just as things were looking as bright as they possibly could, Boize was to lose one of its founding members. The show at Bar Chez Swann, a venue in the Francophone quarters of Montreal, was lackluster and Blainey’s heart hadn’t been into it. Two days later, he called a band meeting at his girlfriend’s apartment and announced to Fania, Kourie, Berger and MacDonald that he wanted out.
The reason behind Blainey’s departure was announced as “spiritual” in press releases. But in fact it was due to the band’s heavy partying habits. As a recovering Alcoholics Anonymous, Blainey often found himself in struggles while the other four band members partied all night after their gigs. Out of the loop, this caused a void within the line-up and ultimately, just as the band was finally in full momentum, Blainey realized that he couldn’t take it anymore. He did however agree to continue on with the band until all of their previously booked shows were fulfilled, or until a new vocalist was secured. This included the our-night headliner at Sam’s Rock Bar from September 16th to the 19th.
-Charly, Boize’s Second Vocalist (September 1992 – December 1992)
Hoping to keep the momentum they had built, Fania once again placed an ad in Montreal’s “The Gazette” newspaper, this time looking for a new front-man. The ad ran for one week from September 16th to the 23rd of 1992 and read: “Singer wanted for signed hard rock metal band with E.P. and gigs. Immediate. 374-1916.”.
Luckily, Carlos “Charly” Lopez (a Bruce Dickinson-style singer) had moved to Montreal from Uruguay back in February of 1992 and was looking for a band. Back in South America, Lopez was a rock star, famous as the vocalist in Alvacast; South America’s equivalent to Iron Maiden. When Lopez went to meet Boize at their new jam space, everyone felt an immediate connection.
Lopez learned Boize’s songs and the required covers extremely fast and a week later he was ready. Boize opened September 26th’s show at Sam’s Rock Bar with Blainey on vocals, as if nothing had changed. But after finishing their first set, Blainey announced to the fans that he was retiring from the band and handed over the microphone to Lopez, in a symbolical passing of the torch to the new band member. The band started their second set with an Iron Maiden cover, engaging Boize fans the approval of Lopez immediately. With Lopez in the band, a few more cover songs were added to the set list, including Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills“, “Flight of Icarus” and “The Number of the Beast“, AC/DC’s “Back in Black“, “Hell’s Bells“, “Highway to Hell” and Faith No More’s “Epic“.
The very next night, they headed over to the Rockpile club (4740 Jarry Street East) in Saint-Leonard, only a few blocks away from their new jam space, to play an impromptu cover of Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills“. Again the fans went nuts for them, some even claiming that if you closed your eyes, you could have sworn that it was Bruce Dickinson himself singing. The shows at the Backstreet on October 3rd and at Pub Fuzzy’s (1600 Saint-Martin Boulevard East) in Duvernay, Laval on the 6th, with Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne tribute band Crazy Babies, were equally successful.
C.R. Productions then called Fania on a whim one day, asking if Boize would play a show at Les Retrouvailles (1729/1709 Saint-Denis Street) in the Ville Marie district of Montreal that night because another band had dropped out. Fania then called every member of the band to tell them the news, but when he got around to MacDonald, he found out that he had food poisoning and wouldn’t be able to drum for the show. Fania immediately called up an old acquaintance, Joe Morrone. Morrone had grown up with Fania in Saint-Leonard and had been a member of Sublime Fine and Ruff Edge, two bands that had played a few shows with Boize during their early days. Morrone was versatile enough to jump right into the position as a filler for the one-night event.
C.R. Productions’ most important booking for Boize was the three-night headliner at Bar-Spectacle L’Enfer (154 Wellington Street South) in Sherbrooke, from Thursday October 15th to Saturday October 17th. The first two nights turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment, with an average turnout due to the bar’s promoter failing to advertise the concerts. But everything was redeemed on Saturday night. Boize played three sets that evening and the crowd kept growing with each one of them. By the end of their third set, the bar was packed to capacity and the crowd wouldn’t stop cheering for them. The owner couldn’t help but ask them to play a fourth set until the bar’s closing time, just to keep the crowd happy.
To start out their final set, the band began performing a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell“. When the drums kicked in, Lopez swung the microphone stand in the air and accidentally hit a spotlight, causing an explosion and a temporary blackout. Needless to say, the crowd loved it and the party carried on well into the night.
Having fulfilled all of their booked shows, Boize was ready to regroup and start writing new material with Lopez. Hill and Lamb also wanted to get them back in the studio as soon as possible, hoping to finalize the Aquarius Records deal with new material. Fania had already set up the mini studio at the new Jarry jam space and they began recording rehearsals. They even set up the drum set behind a Plexiglas box to isolate the sound and get near-studio quality. Lopez’s voice was lower in tone than Blainey’s so Fania , Kourie and Berger decided to de-tune their guitars down a whole step, from standard E to D. This made the new material a lot heavier and even darker than the previous EP. Kourie also took over as backing vocalist because his voice was deeper than Fania’s. In November Boize provided Hill a live rehearsal cassette tape featuring a few songs from the self-titled EP re-recorded with Lopez, along with two new songs: “Far Away” (a new power-ballad) and “Right Now” (their new moshing and slamming anthem).
Suddenly, Boize’s rhythm guitarist Berger announced that he was moving to the Gaspé Peninsula and get married. He left on the morning of December 5th, the remaining members of the band helping him pack his car with his gear. A few days later, Hill and Lamb brought Lopez and a couple of the band members back to Starbase Studio to demo new material. Using the February 1991 DAT of “In Too Deep” (since they no longer had access to the 1992 reels kept by Mot-Tel Records), Hill had Lopez sing over the original power-ballad, still pushing to sell this single to Aquarius Records. But Lopez had a heavy Spanish accent and it became incredibly apparent on the new recordings. The new version of “In Too Deep” was therefore shelved indefinitely and Lopez was encouraged to work on his accent.
Looking to fill the vacant rhythm guitarist role, Fania and Kourie asked their old friend Paolo Gattola. Gattola already knew all of the songs from jamming around, sitting in on rehearsals, and travelling with the band over the years and he eagerly agreed to become an official band member. Gattola brought his electric guitar to a luthier and had it set-up a whole step down tuning, ready to jam with Boize and looking forward to playing their upcoming shows. This included C.R. Productions’ booking of two nights at Bar Le Repaire (297 Cure-Labelle Boulevard) in Sainte-Rose, Laval on December 16th and 17th. But on the night of December 15th, just a day before what would have been Gattola’s first show with Boize, Fania called him to let him know that the band had instead decided to continue on as a four-piece. Although disappointed, Gattola remained a close friend of the band and members.
On Boize’s second headlining night at Bar Le Repaire, a certain Gabriel “Gabby” came to see them play, by recommendation of a mutual friend. Gabby was starting a new management firm and was apparently blown away by Boize. He started negotiations to become their new manager. A couple of meetings were set up at his office but his offers didn’t reflect where the band wanted to go and Boize remained with Bill Hill Productions.
Before the end of the year rolled around, Lopez’s old band, Alvacast, decided to reunite. All of its members had moved to Canada over the previous two years and the band decided to have another go at it in their new country. Lopez’s love for Alvacast was understandably stronger than his loyalty for Boize and he quickly announced his departure. Without a singer, the Aquarius Records deal fell between the cracks and was never spoken of again.
-Planning a Mini-Tour with a Third Vocalist (January 1993 – May 1993)
Fania, Kourie and MacDonald decided to try once more at regrouping the band and they held vocalist auditions at their jam space. In January of 1993, they selected Ian ([last name still missing, please get in touch if you know him!], a Robert Plant-turned-metal-style singer) who also played the 12-string acoustic guitar. Fresh in Montreal from Vancouver, British Columbia, Ian seemed a perfect fit to complete the band, filling both the vacant vocalist slot and the empty rhythm guitarist section.
Boize spent the next two months reworking their entire set list, as Ian refused to sing lyrics written by previous vocalists. Every song that was kept had to be completely re-arranged musically and Ian wrote brand new lyrics for them. Thus “Far Away” became “Alone“; “Right Now” became “Mental Cesspool“; and “Everytime You Come Home” was revamped into an even more melodic tune which included a 12-string acoustic guitar accompaniment by Ian. A Led Zeppelin cover was added and no less than two brand new songs were composed: “Eyes of Love” and “A Friend“. Most of the songs were demoed extensively throughout the winter and spring, using the band’s recording equipment set up at the Jarry Street jam space.
With its new line-up, Boize’s sound changed considerably and Ian proposed a name change. He was particularly interested in using the name “Mormentum” but the core members didn’t want to completely give up the name they had worked hard to build up over the previous four years. So with a compromise, the band briefly became known as “Boize-Mormentum“, hinting that the band had a second wind, a new energy, new momentum. The new name, however, only officially lasted a single show, after which it reverted back to “Boize“.
The single show played under the name Boize-Mormentum, showcasing its new line-up, took place on March 20th of 1993, headlining a benefit concert for Claude Messier, a playwright, poet and novelist fighting against the rare disease muscular dystonia. The show was held at Place Bert, inside the Grand Prairie Flea Market (Marché aux Puces des Grandes-Prairies) in Saint-Leonard. The benefit was entirely organized by the band and they managed to sell almost 100 tickets in advance. But on the night of the show, a massive snow storm took the city by surprise and the turnout was poor. Thankfully, the event was filmed by Marcel Beaudoin for preservation.
By then, Fania had already booked dates for Boize’s first mini-tour. The fans in Montmagny wanted to see Boize again, since their headlining festival performance in August of 1992, and Fania was in touch with ex-guitarist Steve Berger who had joined another metal band in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Slobber Pryd. With the help of C.R. Productions, Fania booked a series of shows in mid-April that took Boize all the way to eastern Quebec and back. Unfortunately, some of the tour dates have been lost with time. But of what could be found, April 9th and 10th were to be played at the Sainte-Anne-des-Monts high school auditorium with Berger’s band Slobber Pryd. On April 12th Boize was booked at the Lavironde Amphitheatre at the Louis-Jacques-Casault high school auditorium in Montmagny. C.R. Productions had also booked the band to play at Quebec City’s most prominent rock and metal venue, Chez Dagobert.
Boize played its last local show, before leaving for the road trip, at the Backstreet on April 2nd. This was only Ian’s second show with the band and his leading man skills were completely different from what Blainey or Lopez had offered the metalheads that frequented the Backstreet. The differences became all too apparent during the show and there was a negative vibe coming from the audience. Halfway through their set, Fania, Kourie and MacDonald asked Lopez, who was in the audience with fellow Alvacast bandmates, to join them on stage and perform an Iron Maiden cover. The crowd went absolutely wild and, according to some people, and for reasons still unrevealed, Ian refused to return on stage after the Iron Maiden cover and ultimately stormed out of the venue. Stuck without a vocalist, Lopez gladly agreed to finish the rest of the set, which was improvised to include some of the songs from the “Boize” EP, some of the new songs composed with Lopez on vocals in late 1992, and a few more covers.
The Backstreet show caused serious tensions within the band. MacDonald and Ian’s personal differences became irreparable and MacDonald ultimately quit the band. The tour was less than a week away but the band had no way of finding a new drummer in time, one who would not only learn the songs extremely fast but also be ready to hit the road in a moment’s notice. So the tour was cancelled.
Fania, Kourie and Ian continued jamming together as a three-piece for the next few weeks but in May, Kourie gave Fania an ultimatum; either Ian had to go or he was quitting too. It was an easy decision for Fania, after more than seven years of co-writing and performing with Kourie, Ian had to be the one to leave. One afternoon that month, Fania made his way to Ian’s apartment on Saint-Urban Street and told him that he was out of the band.
-The Decline of Boize and Changing Name to “Emissary” (May 1993 – June 1993)
Determined to continue as “Boize”, Fania and Kourie recruited drummer André Chan, who was at the time also playing in Cinema V, the same band that had won the “Homegrown Music Search” contest in 1989 and was managed by David Byrne. This trio had a few rehearsals but the vibe wasn’t there and Chan soon left. He later went on to play in Défense D’afficher and Likwid (featuring the majority of his band mates from Cinema V). After auditioning a few more drummers, Fania asked Joe Morrone to come jam with them again. Morrone wound up sticking around as a sort of permanent but unofficial drummer, as he preferred to never commit himself to a band.
In early June, Fania, Kourie and Morrone recruited Rejean Xavier Briand (aka Rjeen, an Elvis Presley-style vocalist). Briand had earlier finished a successful run as the vocalist of Sarok Saroya, a local hard rock band that had played most of the same club circuit as Boize. Briand had also recently released some solo material. Briand’s moniker, “Rjeen” (pronounced R-Jean) was self-penned and a play on his first name being difficult to pronounce in English. Briand later legally changed his name to Xavier Briand.
With Briand’s wide vocal range, the material written earlier that year was slowly revamped into blues-rock/Black Sabbath oriented songs, more fitting of the mid-90’s. Before June was over, the new line-up decided to abandon the “Boize” moniker, since their sound had changed so drastically. But it wasn’t until July 2nd that they settled on a new name, “Emissary“, needing one to perform their first concert. The final traces of Boize material ended up on Emissary’s first demo entitled “Reach In“, which was recorded in late August of 1993. Emissary would remain active until February of 1996, at which time they changed name to “Breaking Violet“, during the recording of their full-length album. Breaking Violet continued on until the early months of 1999.
-The Boize Legacy (December 2010 – Present)
To be written very soon!
In the mid-2010’s, U-Iliot Records resurfaced to offer digital reissues of all the Boize material; the original 1989 demo, the unreleased 1990 album, the 1992 self-titled EP and a collection of b-sides and rehearsal demos. A commemorative music video was also put together for the song “I’ll Still Love You“. To date, none of the post-Lopez material has surfaced. If you dig Boize, like them on Facebook. If you have any pictures or memorabilia of theirs that isn’t in this article, please get in touch! We’d like to add it to the collection!
-Complete Show Listing and Flyer Archive
1989-12-?? Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-04-02 Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-05-26 Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-12-23 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) Barfly
- 1990-12-30 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) Barfly
- 1990-12-31 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) Red Tape
- 1991-02-16 Whiskey’s Rock Bar (Saint-Michel, Montreal, QC) Ruff Edge, Barbarella
- 1991-04-15 The Terminal Showbar (Shaughnessy Village, Montreal, QC) Anxiety
- 1991-05-18 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) Sublime Fine
- 1991-05-24 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1991-08-07 Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1991-09-20 La Brique (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC) Foreplay, Stone Valley
- 1991-11-28 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1991-12-01 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-04-21 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) Boize EP release party
- 1992-04-30 Club Mystique (LaSalle, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-05-01 Jailhouse Rock Cafe (Mount Royal Plateau, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-05-30 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC) National Velvet
- 1992-06-14 Le Flirt (Longueuil, QC)
- 1992-06-20 Club Sensation (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-07-24 Jailhouse Rock Cafe (Mount Royal Plateau, Montreal, QC) Adam’s Apples
- 1992-07-31 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-08-13 Exposition Regionale de Montmagny (Montmagny, QC)
- 1992-08-14 Exposition Regionale de Montmagny (Montmagny, QC)
- 1992-09-12 Bar Chez Swann (Milton Park, Montreal, QC) Anxiety, Groovy Aardvark
- 1992-09-17 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-09-18 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-09-19 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-09-20 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-09-26 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-09-27 Rockpile (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-10-03 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-10-06 Pub Fuzzy’s (Duvernay, Laval, QC) Crazy Babies
- 1992-10-?? Les Retrouvailles (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-10-15 Bar-Spectacle L’Enfer (Sherbrooke, QC)
- 1992-10-16 Bar-Spectacle L’Enfer (Sherbrooke, QC)
- 1992-10-17 Bar-Spectacle L’Enfer (Sherbrooke, QC)
- 1992-12-16 Bar Le Repaire (Sainte-Rose, Laval, QC)
- 1992-12-17 Bar Le Repaire (Sainte-Rose, Laval, QC)
- 1993-03-20 Place Bert, Marche aux Puces des Grandes Prairies (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC)
- 1993-04-02 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
1993-04-09 Auditorium de la Polyvalente de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC) Slobber Pryd 1993-04-10 Auditorium de la Polyvalente de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts (Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, QC) Slobber Pryd 1993-04-12 Lavironde Amphitheatre, Polyvalente Louis-Jacques-Casault (Montmagny, QC) 1993-04-?? Chez Dagobert (Quebec, QC)
- 1990-06-?? Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-??-?? La Brique (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC) (unconfirmed source)
- 1991-??-?? Whiskey’s Rock Bar (Saint-Michel, Montreal, QC) Sublime Fine (from memory)
- 1991-??-?? Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) (played there so many times)
- 1991-??-?? Jailhouse Rock Cafe (Mount Royal Plateau, Montreal, QC) (late 1991, mentioned at photo shoot and on CHOM interview)
- 1992-01-08 unknown venue
- 1992-03-21 unknown venue
- 1992-07-?? La Brique (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC) (from memory of playing after seeing National Velvet there a week prior)
- 1992-??-?? Jackie’s Cafe (Saint-Leonard, Montreal, QC) (from memory, possibly twice, after the extension, so May 1992 at the earliest)
- 1992-??-?? Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC) (Perry thinks they played after Montmagny)