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Today’s Question:
Jan. 5, 2009

Dear Straight Dope Chicago:

I recently met a man who calls himself Gil Piney. I know there is a man by that name associated with Gibson Guitars. However, this man tells my husband and me stories of touring with a band by the name of "The Biker Boys from Illinois" from the mid- to late 70s and early 80s. They supposedly were the opening act for many big name bands such as Ted Nugent. He said they had a manager and were on the Epic recording label.

He is very entertaining with all of his stories, but the fact that I can find nothing online related to this band seems odd. He said there were videos on Youtube. I only find a current band called Biker Boyz, which is all black males. I am just curious if you know or can verify this band existed back then and who some of the other band members were.

Thanks,

Shelley

Philip Montoro of the Reader replies:

Hi, Shelley. Philip here, music editor at the Reader.

I'm almost certain the band in question is the Boyzz
they were a subject of Steve Krakow's Reader comic The Secret History of Chicago Music in April 2008. This is the text of the strip (which I can't link to online, sorry):

THE BOYZZ
The Boyzz were among the last of a dying breed
the nasty, kick-ass, seasoned bar band. Formed in Fox Lake in 1977, the group was defined by leather-clad front man Dirty Dan Buck, whose fierce growl could curdle milk. For a biker-boogie group they were pretty unique, with a full-on horn section that featured a few former members of Blood, Sweat & Tears. The band only put out a single album, the fun, rough-rockin’ 1978 Epic LP “Too Wild to Tame,” but it was almost universally panned by criticsan oft-quoted review from the pages of the Reader said, “Too dumb to train is more like it. Boogie till you puke, fellas.” In retrospect, though, there’s no denying the frenzied power of cuts like “Lean n’ Mean” and “Destined to Die.” The band’s second album remains unreleased, alasdespite relentless touring with big acts like Aerosmith and Cheap Trick and famous fans like Meatloaf and Ian Hunter (both of whom would jump onstage to jam with the Boyzz on occasion), Epic unceremoniously dropped them. By 1979 the disenchanted group had splintered, with several members, including guitarist Mike Tafoya, defecting to start the more commercial and power-poppy B’zz, who released one LP, “Get Up Get Angry,” in 1980. Tafoya tried again with the Lost Boyzz, who are still active today, and Dirty Dan Buck carried on in units like Dirt’s Raiders, the Original Sinners, and Dan Buck’s Small Change. In 1999 Buck put together a new version of the Boyzz, which has opened for arena acts like Uriah Heep and Kansasand played a sold-out show last week at the House of Blues with UFO.

Some comments in response to Krakow's comic, although not the comic itself, can be seen at:

http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stories/shocm/

I found an entry in a MySpace blog that seems to confirm Gil Piney's participation in the band. (The account belongs to someone in Naperville calling herself "Peggy / Rock-It Babe.") The blog is set to private, so I can't include a URL, but she posted a report by Mario Salazar on a 2008 concert by Dirty Dan Buck and his band. Here's an excerpt:

On the beautiful evening of July 3rd, the eve of our Independence Day, I had the opportunity to see the legendary Dan Buck of The Boyzz perform in front of thousands at Naperville's Ribfest. Dan and his band had the daunting task of warming up the crowd for none other than Ted Nugent. Being the seasoned pros that they are, they took to the stage and gave a performance that will NOT be forgotten any time soon.

The band [was] made up by "Dirt" on lead vocals, John Abel and David Barhydt on guitars, Joe Gagliardo on bass guitar, Bob Blom on 'boards, 'Wild' Bill Glisson on drums and the backup vocal team of Traci Cassa and Jean Dalleska.

Here's the money quote as far as you're concerned:

As the show progressed, they brought in a special guest. Performing 2 classic songs from "back in the day" was Boyzz guitarist Gil Piney who joined "Dirt" and the band on killer renditions of 'Wake It Up, Shake It Up' and the fan-favorite "Too Wild To Tame". The performance was incredible and even Dan made the comment that it sounded " just like the album"  [W]ith great food, friends all over and one of Illinois greatest bands on stage, how can you NOT love that?!?

For additional information, future dates, photos, etc., on Dirty Dan Buck/The Boyzz, visit them online at www.myspace.com/dirtydanbucktheboyzz 

Hope this helps!

PHLP

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