-The Foundation (March 1989 – December 1989)
Boize was a heavy metal band from Montreal, Canada, founded by guitarist Robert Kourie (aka Floyd Harem) and bassist and keyboardist Stephane Fania (aka Zany Shultz) in early 1989. Steph and Bob had been composing music together since 1986, after meeting at College Saint-Laurent in the Ville Saint-Laurent region of Montreal. Some of their early bands together 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 March of 1989.
All of the material written with vocalist Suzanne Madden in Leading Edge/Strike Anywhere would be recycled, evolving into the earliest Boize songs. After posting an ad in the Montreal Gazette newspaper and trying out countless singers, including a Bono-style singer coincidentally named Perry, the band auditioned Perry Blainey (aka Fyia Powers, an Ozzy Osbourne-style singer) in April of 1989. The audition was set up on a whim, taking place in Steph’s car in Ville Saint-Laurent where Perry lived. Due to Perry’s vocal similarity to Ozzy Osbourne, Boize’s fans eventually nicknamed them “Ozzy Osboize”. While Perry was in Boize Steph handled most of the backing vocals with Bob occasionally adding a few shouts in studio. Perry would also be responsible for coming 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”.
The trio continued practicing at Bob’s parent’s basement on Boulevard Leblanc in Duvernay, Laval, where a jam space had been set up in 1986. By the early summer Boize had two of the four Leading Edge songs reworked into heavy metal tracks. Between April and May they combined and reworked “Baby Come Back to Me” and “Running With Time” into “Can’t You See“, and from May to June “He’s Cracking” evolved into “I Need You“.
In June, a rehearsal was taped using a four-track recorder with Perry on vocals, Bob on guitar and Steph handling bass, keyboards and drum programming, as the band still had no drummer nor keyboardist. This rehearsal recording session was motivated by local hard rock radio station CHOM-FM’s brand new “Homegrown Music Search” contest. 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.
In July of 1989, 170 bands, including Boize, sent in demo tapes to radio personality TooTall, who put together the new contest through his CHOM-FM radio program “Made In Canada”. TooTall was to select six groups for a two-night battle of the bands at Montreal’s music venue Club Soda. The price package included major record label support and a state of the art recording studio session. To accompany the demo tape, Boize set up their first band photo shoot at the Laval Nature Centre park, where Bob’s girlfriend Johanne snapped some pictures.
In August another rehearsal was recorded with the same line-up, featuring three more songs written that summer. The first, “Out Too Deep“, was reworked from the last Leading Edge song, “Silent Eyes“. The other two would be Boize’s first original songs written from scratch, “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.
Unfortunately, Boize never heard back from CHOM-FM regarding their application for the “Homegrown Music Search” contest. Local hard rock band Cinema V (also spelled Cinema Five) won the contest later that year. Feeling that their chance at the radio station was prejudiced by their lack of professional studio recordings, Boize booked a session at Studio Works in Montreal. All five songs were digitally re-recorded with Mario Rubnikowich in late September/early October. Again Steph played keyboards and programmed a drum machine on the recordings. A friend of Perry’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 for the digital re-issue). By late October, 250 tape covers had been professionally printed and Boize started dubbing and handing out the cassettes.
After shopping around the demo, Boize landed their first TV interview in November. It aired 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 in Montreal. Steph and Bob were already familiar with the venue as Alter-Ego had performed there twice in 1988. However the band 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 fill the drummer position at the turn of the new decade, Boize posted a new ad in the Montreal Gazette newspaper. A ton of drummers responded and an auditioning day was setup one weekend in January. Steph and Bob took turns picking up drummers from the Henri-Bourassa metro station and driving them to and from Bob’s parent’s house to try out. Every hour a new drummer auditioned over their heaviest song, “Out of Your Mind“. One of these candidates was Scott MacDonald (aka Siegfried), who had previously played in the LaSalle band Physical Ace. A week after auditioning, Steph called Scott to tell him that he had been the best drummer and that they wanted him in the band. Steph asked him to meet up at Steinberg’s supermarket, where he was working, so that he could give him a copy of their demo tape to practice to.
A final role was left to fill and by chance Steph ran into a keyboardist while shopping at Diplomate Musique, a musical instrument store on Beaubien Street in Rosemont, Montreal. Vahe “Victor” Ananian (aka Zorba the Greek, nicknamed so for his physical resemblance to Anthony Quinn) was asked to come try out for the band in February and became their fifth member.
Throughout January, February and March, Boize adapted the eight songs written in 1989 from a three-member to a five-member band. They also wrote two more 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 them. To begin with they moved into a new jam space at 750 Boulevard Cremazie West in Villeray, Montreal, right above Taverne L’acadie (where Trophy’s Sport Bar is today). Then they booked their first live appearance. Salle L’Intro was having an open mic night on April 2nd and Boize signed up to play their newest finished song, “I’ll Still Love You“, in front of an audience. Immediately after this show they booked the venue again to headline it for an hour and a half 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“”). To celebrate to progress the band had made, five customized wristwatches featuring Eliane’s logo were ordered through a catalog and given to each band member. The logo was also used on their first posters that were printed to sell at their upcoming show. Additionally, they printed a supersized flag with this same logo to hang up above the drum set at their performances.
Wanting to round out their sound for their concerts, Perry asked his friend Pascal Trahan, a previous band-mate from his first band Bloody L (a play on “Bloody Hell”), to join Boize as their live rhythm guitarist. But before Pascal’s first rehearsal with Boize, Victor quit the band. Instead of finding a new keyboardist, Steph opted to handle the job, for the few songs that required it. By now, Boize’s music was already moving away from the 1980’s keyboard-driven sound and heading towards heavy metal influenced by Ozzy Osbourne and Iron Maiden.
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, agreeing to only perform at venues that allowed them to play what they wanted. On top of this, Perry’s friend, Rick Annett had just given him Corey Hart’s previous wireless microphone, allowing him to move freely during the event. This microphone later became a huge hassle (and a a 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 Bob’s cousin, Marcel Beaudoin) dressed in friars’ robes and holding candles while Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” (interpreted by Trevor Jones from the 1981 film “Excalibur”) played in the background. 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 Perry’s voice a break. Marcel, now dressed in an insect costume, ran out onto the stage with Perry coming back to perform “The Bug“. The song ended with Perry 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” once again. But the band was called 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 Perry came up with to get the crowd going at the show was to start stripping. It was topical during this era because Madonna was controversially coming on stage wearing lingerie. Although Perry 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 Perry throughout 1991 and 1992 when people were regularly coming to their shows expecting him to do it, which ultimately motivated him to drop the act from Boize shows.
-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 the Backstreet nightclub in Montreal. One of the people present was CHOM.FM’s radio personality TooTall, who had been a judge for 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 and release their first LP. Boize’s association with Imagination Records came through Steph’s uncle who knew the Stocola family.
Taking a break from composing, Boize began recording at Imagination Records’ private studio, Cherry Production Studios in July or August. Even though the Stocola brothers, Peter and Tony, were engineering and producing in their own studio, they still charged the band for their studio time. The recording featured the four official band members; Perry on vocals, Steph handling bass and keyboards, Bob recording all the guitars and Scott on drums. Pascal was still considered a hired musician who 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 due to poor noise isolation and returned to Bob’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“. Steph 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 (previously the Diplomate Musique store on Beaubien Street, which later reverted back to Diplomate in 1995). By then the whole band had spent thousands of dollars at his store and Franco agreed to back the posters. Steph’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 live shows.
But before the LP’s could be sent to the pressing plant, Imagination Records’ plans changed. The Stocola brother’s sister, Costanza Stocola, who was part-owner of Imagination Records, became extremely busy with her new band, “Boy Girl”. All of the label’s financing became reserved for her. Because of this, Boize’s LP was pushed back indefinitely. In order to see their music released, even by their own financing, the band was forced to legally break their contract with Imagination Records.
On the bright side, Boize was booked to play all of the holiday events at Sam’s Rock Bar, starting with the Christmas show on December 23rd and followed by the two New Year’s Eve shows on December 30th and 31st. The December 23rd and 30th shows were accompanied by Barfly while the 31st was with 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 new 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, the best heavy metal and hard rock venue in Montreal’s east-end, had been 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 heavy metal band Barbarella. But Pascal 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, but he turned down the offer, explaining that his new Francophone band, Les Diables a Quatre, was taking up all of his free time. Pascal would also later play in another Francophone hard rock band, Les Moutons Noirs.
Looking for new exposure, Perry 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). Bill 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 Bill 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, was looking for artists to represent.
Bill liked what he heard and signed Boize to a production deal in late February of 1991. He and Gralf immediately took Boize to Morris Apelbaum’s Silent Sound Studio on Clark Street in Montreal, to rework four songs (“Out of Your Mind“, “I Need You“, “I’ll Still Love You” and “Boize Boys (We Ought to No)“) from the Cherry Production Studios recording session. 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 Morris Apelbaum himself engineering. But everything they tried kept sounding even worse. No one was able to get the guitars to sound the way they wanted and the whole session started falling apart so they decided to leave that studio.
After the session at Silent Sound Studio, Bill hired Diane Archambault to take an all new photo shoot of the band on Mount Royal. In March he then 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 Montreal and gave Bill the keys, telling him that he could use it any time he wanted. At Starbase Studio, Boize settled in with Gralf as technician, Bill producing and mixing and a young Trebas Institute student studying under Bill as the engineer. Through out 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. Bill had listened to Boize’s first demo from 1989 and was disappointed that “Out Too Deep” hadn’t been recorded for the Imagination Records 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 hated it by then. But Bill convinced them that this power-ballad could easily be sold to a major record label and could be 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 updated song’s title), Boize reluctantly recorded a new version at Starbase Studio. And to make sure that the song had an authentic mainstream appeal, Bill brought in the Sherwood brothers, Kim and Dorian, to record their famous backup vocals during the chorus.
By April Boize was done at Starbase Studio and Bill Hill Productions put together a five-song sampler 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 copyrighted and registered through Boize’s brand new publishing company, Klink Publishing (through SOCAN). This cassette sampler, packaged in a press kit with an introduction letter from Bill Hill and the photographs by Diane Archambault, was sent to all the major record labels and radio stations, hoping to land a big deal for them. One of the recipients of this promo tape was Bill Hill’s old friend, CHOM-FM’s radio host TooTall. He offered to interview Boize on the radio’s hit program “Made in Canada”. The interview aired on May 15th of 1991. Between segments of the interview, TooTall played three songs from the 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 shows at Sam’s Rock Bar. They also played once at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe on Mount-Royal West but were banned after their set 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 their original material, one of these locations being the Terminal, on April 15th with the band Anxiety.
On May 18th, after a successful show at Sam’s Rock Bar, 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) jammed with the band throughout the summer and was officially welcomed as a member in July of 1991. His first show with Boize was at Salle L’Intro on August 7th.
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 Steve 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 Perry’s voice a break mid-way through their concerts. But Perry later wrote lyrics for the song in August of 1991, entitled “Ever Get the Feeling?“. These lyrics however, were never used outside of rehearsal time and “Stalag 13” remained an instrumental.
With Steve, 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). For their upcoming EP, Boize also planned to re-record “Everytime You Come Home” as the release’s power-ballad and so the song was reworked slightly to include Steve’s rhythm guitar style.
Finding it hard to play new venues, Boize was forced to approach C.R. Productions, a major concert booking agency that controlled most of the independent venues’ bookings in Greater Montreal. C.R. Productions’ first booking for Boize was at La Brique on September 20th with Foreplay and Stone Valley. It was customary for venues to pay the bands directly, holding back a certain percentage for C.R. Productions. However Boize’s agent, David Byrne (or David Burns, the name is debated), was notoriously ripping off bands (including Cinema V which he was managing), asking for a cut of their profit, claiming it as a C.R. Productions payment. Steph initially refused to give him an additional cut, knowing that the promoter were getting paid by the venue, so Dave blacklisted Boize from playing any of C.R. Productions’ venues.
In October, Bill Hill agreed to finance Boize’s new EP, planning for a street date in the spring of 1992. With this plan in the works, the full-length was shelved and remained unreleased. This left the band the entire 1991-1992 winter to plan out the project. But Bill 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 grant them mainstream popularity.
Forced to reconcile with Dave Byrne, head of metal and hard rock bookings at C.R. Productions, Boize was finally scheduled to headline two nights at the Backstreet, Montreal’s top metal venue. After performing on Thursday, November 28th and Sunday, December 1st, Steph struck a friendship with the Backstreet’s manager and concert booker, Louis Adams. Louis became a huge fan of Boize and told Steph 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. This private deal alienated Dave once again, who this time found the excuse that due to their reluctance to play covers, he wasn’t able to secure them shows.
The promotional package for Boize’s new EP was to include CDs, cassettes, posters, t-shirts, caps, stickers, a music video and a new photo shoot. For the music video, Bill 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 in white.
A week later, Boize entered Mot-Tel Studio in Saint-Henri to track the five songs selected for the EP with Joe Vieira; “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 Bill Hill supervised the production, Boize was entirely responsible for the 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 then sent to S.N.B. to be mastered by Jean-Francois Chicoine.
While Steph 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 CDs, 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 again to CHOM-FM’s “Made in Canada” for their second interview with TooTall. In between discussing this new release, 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 the songs on the station and the EP was then picked up by radio stations CKRK and CIBL, who also spinned it regularly.
Boize started booking shows extensively to promote their new release. On April 30th they premiered it at Club Mystique in LaSalle and on May 1st they were allowed back at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe, now forgiven due to their importance. This time, the band had agreed to add a few cover songs to their set list, as 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“.
After their show at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe, Scott was approached by Mick Cody of Ace 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 Steph’s family friends owned a ceramic store on Metropolitain East in Saint-Leonard. The upstairs lot located at 5980 Metropolitain East, was vacant and was offered to Boize to rent for peanuts until the owner could find a suitable tenant. The band spent the next seven months in this comfortable location where Steph 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 CD. Boize was becoming a household name in the local Montreal heavy metal scene. They were even featured in graffiti on the Boulevard Côte-Vertu overpass of Autoroute 15 in Ville Saint-Laurent. Bill Hill felt it was time to get a major record label in the picture. Bill’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). Bill knew that Aquarius did 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 clubs such as Le Flirt in Longueuil and Club Sensation in downtown Montreal. This was topped by more shows at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe (one with post-D.D.T. band Adam’s Apples), La Brique and of course at the Backstreet. Then on August 14th and 15th, 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 Friday and Saturday evenings 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 Thursday afternoon, accompanied by Paolo Gattola, their lighting technician and video documenter, and Jacques Dionne (of the band Outrage), their soundman who famously ate hot dogs for every meal. Once there, they stayed with Perry’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 Friday morning, they were ecstatically surprised to see their band picture and show listings printed on the placemats and menus! The turnout for both shows was incredible. 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 they left Montmagny at the end of the weekend, they had sold out of every bit of merchandise they had brought with them. Save for a couple of boxes of cassettes left at their rehearsal space, Boize had sold roughly 500 CDs, 4500 cassettes, 5000 posters and several hundred stickers, t-shirts and caps, all in under four months’ time since they were pressed and released.
In late August, Steph’s family friend who was renting Boize their rehearsal space on Cremazie, found a new business willing to rent out the second floor of the building. Boize relocated to the basement of 5676 Jarry Street East in Saint-Leonard, where another friend of Steph’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 with Groovy Aardvark and Anxiety on September 12th, followed by more shows in October at Pub Fuzzy’s in Laval and a three-night headliner at Bar L’Enfer in Sherbrooke. Through Steph’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, also booked them. And of course Louis had booked them at the Backstreet for October 3rd. Boize was finally on a steady income with 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 was lackluster and Perry’s vibe hadn’t been into it. Later that week he called a band meeting at his girlfriend’s apartment and announced to the other four members that he wanted out. The reason behind Perry’s departure has been claimed to be spiritual, but it is believe that it was due to the band’s heavy partying habits.
-Charly, the Boize’s Second Vocalist (September 1992 – December 1992)
Perry agreed to continue on with the band until all of their previously booked shows were fulfilled. Hoping to keep the momentum they had built, Boize placed an ad once again in the Montreal Gazette, this time looking for a new frontman. 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 Charly was a star, famous as the vocalist in Alvacast; South America’s equivalent to Iron Maiden. When Charly went to meet Boize at their new jam space, everyone knew it was an immediate match.
While Charly was learning the new songs, Perry performed the four-night headliner at Sam’s Rock Bar from September 16th to the 19th. A week later Charly was ready. Boize opened September 26th’s show at Sam’s Rock Bar with Perry on vocals, as if nothing had changed. But after finishing their first set, Perry announced to the fans that he was retiring from the band and handed over the mic to Charly. Boize started their second set with an Iron Maiden cover, leading the fans to approve immediately of their new vocalist. With Charly 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 next night they headed over to the Rockpile club 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 with your eyes closed, you would have sworn Bruce Dickinson himself was singing. The shows at the Backstreet on October 3rd and at Pub Fuzzy’s on the 6th, with Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne tribute band Crazy Babies, were equally successful.
C.R. then called Steph on a whim one day, asking if Boize would play a show at Les Retrouvailles in Montreal that night because another band had dropped out. Steph then called every member of the band to tell them the news, but when he got around to Scott, he found out that he had food poisoning and wouldn’t be able to drum for the show. Steph immediately called up an old acquaintance, Joe Morrone. Joe had grown up with Steph 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. Joe was versatile enough to jump right in to the position as a filler for the one-night event.
C.R.’s most important booking for Boize was the three-night headliner at Bar L’Enfer 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 on the Saturday night everything was redeemed. Boize was playing 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.
To start out their final set, the band began performing a cover of AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell“. When the drums kicked in, Charly 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 Charly. Bill Hill and “Gralf” Lamb also wanted to get them back in the studio as soon as possible, hoping to finalize the Aquarius Records deal with new material. Steph 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. Charly’s voice was lower in tone than Perry’s so Steph, Bob and Steve decided to detune 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. Bob also took over as backing vocalist because his voice was deeper than Steph’s. In November Boize provided Bill a live rehearsal tape featuring a few songs from the self-titled EP re-recorded with Charly, along with two new songs; “Far Away“, a new power ballad and “Right Now“, their new moshing and slamming anthem.
Suddenly, Steve, Boize’s rhythm guitarist, announced that he was moving away to the Gaspesie region to get married. He left on the morning of December 5th, after the other members helped him pack his car with his gear. A few days later, Bill and Gralf brought Charly and a couple of the remaining members back to Starbase Studio to demo new material. Using the February 1991 DAT tape of “In Too Deep“, Bill had Charly sing over the original power-ballad, still pushing to sell this single to Aquarius. But Charly had a strong Spanish accent and it became incredibly apparent on the new recordings. The new version of “In Too Deep” was was shelved indefinitely, and Charly was asked to work on his accent.
In December Boize started playing shows again as a four-piece. This included C.R.’s booking of two nights at Bar Le Repaire in Sainte-Rose, Laval on December 16th and 17th. On their second night, a certain Gabriel “Gabby” came to see them play after a friend had recommended them. Gabby was starting a new management firm and after being blown away by Boize, 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 they remained with Bill Hill Productions.
Before the end of the year rolled around, Charly’s old band, Alvacast, decided to reunite. All of its members had moved to Canada throughout the previous two years and the band decided to have another go in their new country. Charly’s love for Alvacast was naturally 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 the Third Vocalist (January 1993 – May 1993)
Steph, Bob and Scott decided to try once more at regrouping the band and they held vocalist auditions at their jam space after placing an ad in the Montreal Gazette newspaper. In January of 1993, they settled on 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, Ian seemed like a perfect match to complete the band, in both the vocals and rhythm sections, for the new year.
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. 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 spring, using the band’s recording equipment set up in 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 “Boize” because of everything they had built over the previous four years. So the band briefly became known as “Boize-Mormentum“. The new name only lasted a single show, afterwhich the band reverted back to “Boize“.
Boize showcased its new line-up 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, Steph 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 Steph was in touch with Steve Berger who had joined another metal band in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Slobber Pryd. With the help of C.R. Productions, Steph 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 Steve’s band Slobber Pryd. On April 12th Boize were 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 Perry or Charly 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, Steph, Bob and Scott asked Charly, 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, Charly 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 Charly on vocals in late 1992, and a few more covers.
The Backstreet show caused serious tensions within the band. Scott and Ian’s personal differences became irreparable and Scott 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.
Steph, Bob and Ian continued jamming together as a three-piece for the next few weeks but in May, Bob gave Steph an ultimatum; either Ian had to go or he was quitting too. It was an easy decision for Steph, after more than seven years of co-writing and performing with Bob, Ian had to be the one to leave. One afternoon that month, Steph made his way to Ian’s apartment 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”, Steph and Bob recruited André Chan, who was at the time also playing drums in Cinema V, the same band that had won the “Homegrown Music Search” contest in 1989. This trio had a few rehearsals but the vibe wasn’t there and André 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, Steph asked Joe Morrone to come jam with them again. Joe 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, Steph, Bob and Joe recruited Xavier Briand (aka Rjeen, an Elvis Presley-style vocalist). Xavier had just finished a successful run as the vocalist of Sarok Saroya, a local band who had played many of the same venues that Boize had performed at. With Xavier’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, now that 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
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-Charly 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 (work-in-progress)
1989-12-?? Salle L’Intro (Montreal, QC)
- 1990-04-02 Salle L’intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-05-26 Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-06-?? Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1990-12-23 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC) Barfly
- 1990-12-30 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC) Barfly
- 1990-12-31 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC) Red Tape
- 1991-02-16 Whiskey’s Rock Bar (Saint-Michel, QC) Ruff Edge, Barbarella
- 1991-04-15 Terminal (Montreal, QC) Anxiety
- 1991-05-18 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1991-08-07 Salle L’Intro (Villeray, Montreal, QC)
- 1991-09-20 La Brique (Montreal, QC) Foreplay, Stone Valley
- 1991-11-28 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1991-12-01 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-04-30 Club Mystique (LaSalle, 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 (Plateau, Montreal, QC) Adam’s Apples
- 1992-07-31 Backstreet (Ville Marie, Montreal, QC)
- 1992-08-14 Exposition Regionale de Montmagny (Montmagny, QC)
- 1992-08-15 Exposition Regionale de Montmagny (Montmagny, QC)
- 1992-09-12 Bar Chez Swann (Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal, QC) Groovy Aardvark, Anxiety
- 1992-09-17 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-09-18 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-09-19 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-09-20 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-09-26 Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-09-27 Rockpile (Saint-Leonard, QC)
- 1992-10-03 Backstreet (Montreal, QC)
- 1992-10-06 Pub Fuzzy’s (Laval, QC) Crazy Babies
- 1992-10-?? Les Retrouvailles (Montreal, QC)
- 1992-10-15 Bar L’enfer (Sherbrooke, QC)
- 1992-10-16 Bar L’enfer (Sherbrooke, QC)
- 1992-10-17 Bar 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, 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-??-?? Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC) Sublime Fine (from memory)
- 1990-??-?? La Brique (Montreal, QC) (unconfirmed source)
- 1991-??-?? Whiskey’s Rock Bar (Saint-Michel, QC) Sublime Fine (from memory)
- 1991-??-?? Sam’s Rock Bar (Saint-Leonard, QC) (played there so many times)
- 1991-??-?? Jailhouse Rock Cafe (Plateau, Montreal, QC) (late 1991, mentioned at photo shoot and on CHOM interview)
- 1992-01-08 unknown venue
- 1992-03-21 unknown venue
- 1992-05-?? Jailhouse Rock Cafe (Plateau, Montreal, QC) (from Ace Magazine interview)
- 1992-07-?? La Brique (Montreal, QC) (from memory of playing after seeing National Velvet there a week prior)
- 1992-??-?? Jackie’s Cafe (Saint-Leonard, 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)