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Left to right:  Keith Ellis, Mike Patto, Ollie Halsall, and Tony Newman

Approximately two years after the breakup of Patto, Mike Patto and Ollie Halsall reunited in 1975 to form Boxer along with Keith Ellis on bass (Van Der Graaf Generator, Juicy Lucy, Spooky Tooth, et al.) and Tony Newman on drums (Sounds Inc., Jeff Beck Group, Kevin Ayers, et al.).  

Keith and Mike were in Spooky Tooth together.  Mike left that band after a year and began working as a promotions man for Good Ear Records, owned by Mike's manager, Nigel Thomas.  Nigel would also become Boxer's manager and give them their name.  Ollie and Tony were playing together touring with Kevin Ayers, and when the touring stopped they got Mike to quit the record biz and form a new band.

This time the music Mike and Ollie brought to the table was straight-ahead rock that reflected little of their Patto past, except for possibly some of the songs on the unreleased Monkey's Bum album.  

The band released it's first album, "Below The Belt", in 1975.  "All The Time In The World" was released as a single with a great non-LP B-side titled "Don't Wait".  They recorded a great second album called "Bloodletting" that would for some reason not be released until 1979.  

Very little of the Boxer story seems to be documented, especially about the breakup of the original lineup.  Sometime in late 1976, Halsall is said to have quit the band.  But somehow Boxer's management ended up in possession of the band's equipment, including Ollie's guitars (as late as 1981, Ollie still didn't own an electric guitar of his own).  This is just hearsay, but the story is that the band was very deep in debt with Nigel Thomas, and he held on to all their equipment.  Then Nigel's company was liquidated, and Ollie's guitars were likely auctioned off by the official receivers.  Where is Ollie's white Gibson Custom SG now?

Mike put together a new lineup of the band to record one more Boxer album in 1977 called "Absolutely".  The new lineup band consisted of Mike, Chris Stainton on keyboards, Tim Bogert on bass/vocals, Adrian Fisher on guitar, and Eddie Tuduri on drums.  The album is not as raw and rocking as the first albums, but there are some fine moments of musicianship and songwriting on this album.  The Randy Newman-esque song "Everybody's A Star" was released as a single.  This album would be Mike's final release before passing away in 1979 with lymphatic leukemia (cancer of lymph glands).

They did some BBC sessions, and their tours, at least for the original lineup, were critically acclaimed.  Their first LP cover did get them some attention through controversy.  Many seem to remember their first album cover, even if they never did heard the contents.  But, as is typical of the Patto story, Boxer did not achieve a great deal of attention or success.  

The Music:
Below The Belt (1975)
Bloodletting (1976)
Absolutely (1977)

Articles and Interviews:
Melody Maker 10-4-75  "Boxer's punch"
Sounds  10-4-75  "Boxer:  Patto With Punch"
Sounds  1-24-76  "Prude or rude?"
NME 2-21-76  "Great White Hopes Crash"
Sounds  2-28-76  "Punch Funk"
    New Musical Express  4-10-76  "The nude, the boxing glove, and the wooden box"
   Rock Around The World  July, 1976  "In this corner...Boxer"
    Trouser Press August/September 1976  "Zooming in on Boxer"
Excerpt from Eddie Tuduri's book, "Sideman"

Concert Reports:
Sounds 11-1-75  "On The Road: Boxer, Marquee"
New Musical Express  11-8-75  "On The Town: Ace/Boxer"
New Musical Express 2-7-76  "On the Town: College of Food Technology, Weybridge"
Sounds  2-21-76  "On the Road: Boxer, London, Roundhouse"
Sounds 3-27-76  "On The Road: Boxer - dead weight champs"
Record Mirror 7-9-77 "Roadshows:  Moon / Boxer / Crawler - Bristol"
Record Mirror 7-30-77 "Roadshows:  Moon / Boxer / Crawler - London"
Beat Instrumental September 77  "Boxer, Crawler, Moon"

Press Releases:
1975 Press Release  Origin uncertain - presumably from Nigel Thomas, management.
1976 Virgin Records Press Kit  3 page bio with 6 photos


October 1975 Flyer from Marquee Club, London lists the band's debut performance at the venue.

The flyer also lists a show on October 20 for Neil Innes' Fatso, which included John Halsey on drums.

             Ticket stub courtesy of David Bird



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