A vocalist named Jonathan Gray (commonly referred to as just "Spike") moved from Newcastle upon Tyne to London when he was just 17 years old. Spike met guitarist Guy Bailey in a bar, through his older sister Julie, the two moved in together as flat mates, but didn't even discuss playing music until a year later when a friend brought a guitar round and they began playing Chuck Berry songs.
By the mid-1980s the two decided to form a rock and roll band, the name chosen for the group was originally The Choirboys taken from the 1977 movie of the same name, but they soon changed it to the Queerboys. Gray and Bailey were joined by bassist Nigel Mogg (nephew of UFO's Phil Mogg), Chris Johnstone on piano and Paul Hornby who had previously played drums with Pete Burns in the Liverpool group Nightmares in Wax.
The Queerboys started to build up a following, playing at the Marquee Club. The band's drummer Paul Hornby soon left to form Dogs D'Amour, which contained future friends of the Queerboys, he was replaced by Nick Connell (known as Cozy). Connell, Bailey and Johnstone were old friends, having grown up together and attended Alleynes School in Stone, Staffordshire in the '70s. By 1987 the band's controversial name was starting to hinder them, it caused some of the gigs on their tour with Andy McCoy's band to be cancelled. They were also booked to play Reading Festival on the understanding that they would change their name.
Thus they changed it to the Quireboys and have kept the name ever since. They released two singles via Survival Records, entitled "Mayfair" and "There She Goes Again". Another musician from Newcastle was brought in on rhythm guitar, he was named Ginger and made his performing debut at the Hammersmith Odeon where the band were supporting Guns N' Roses. At the end of 1989, the band released the single "7 O'Clock", which entered the UK Top 40 chart.
A Bit of What You Fancy
Sharon Osbourne was appointed as manager and The Quireboys were signed to EMI for the release of their debut album, which was entitled "A Bit of What You Fancy". By 1990, the Quireboys had fired Ginger (who went on to form The Wildhearts) who they replaced with former Cradle Snatchers guitarist Guy Griffin, for the debut album Cozy was substituted by Ian Wallace who played with Bob Dylan.
The debut album was produced by a school friend of the band's Andrew Witham, and entered the UK Charts at number 2. "A Bit of What You Fancy" drew positive reviews and was compared favourably to legendary British rock groups such as Rod Stewart and the Faces, the album was even recorded with Stewart's guitarist Jim Cregan.
In support of the debut, the Quireboys toured relentlessly for the next year. They played with a vast variety of bands in different settings in the United States, from L.A. Guns to Soundgarden to The Cramps to Iggy Pop. After the tour, they also played some high key gigs in the United Kingdom; in Spike's hometown of Newcastle they were asked to support The Rolling Stones at St James' Park. Two months after the Stones show, they played in front of 72,000 people at Monsters of Rock at Donington with Whitesnake, Aerosmith and Poison.
The long touring schedule was finished off with a gig in Japan at the Tokyo Dome on New Years Eve in front of 50,000 people. A live album was released following this long touring, capturing their live performance, it was named "Recorded Around the World".
Bitter Sweet & Twisted
With a new full-member drummer in tow, Rudy Richman, they began working on the follow-up, "Bitter Sweet & Twisted", which was released in 1993; but the birth of Grunge changed the music scene and they were left apart. Axl Rose even asked them personally to join the "Use Your Illusion Tour" with Guns N' Roses and they followed the band for a while during their 1993 summer European tour, but they felt their music was out of style and decided to abandon the scene.
The band reformed for a number of low key gigs in the mid 1990s and found themselves with a loyal following. A new line up recorded and released "This Is Rock'N'Roll" in 2002 and followed it with the moderately successful "Well Oiled" in 2004. Ex producer, Andrew Witham, stated that the reformed Quireboys band "will be as good as new if they play their cards right."
Andrew Witham has now also quoted that Spike has been in talks with both himself and Bobby Dall of Poison, in producing a new album. However, Spike hasn't contacted either Andrew or Bobby since first mentioning this.
On May 12, 2008 The Quireboys released their long awaited album "Homewreckers & Heartbreakers" on the Jerkin Crocus label.
Talking about the inspiration for the new album, Paul Guerin said "It's a funny story. We were in Malmö, Sweden in the dressing room. It was just before the show and we'd had a few frothy quenchers. We were trying to come up with album titles, and everyone was laughing at the suggestions. A certain member of the band was regaling a story about something he'd done, and another member of the band said "you're just a home wrecker," and someone else said "yeah, and a heartbreaker". We were just having a laugh, and bang, there it was. It was as simple as that."