These days, Bob Geldof is widely known for his planet-wide activism and humanitarian works. But he first came to notice as voice and songwriter with The Boomtown Rats, Dún Laoghaire’s premier punk outfit, via Dr Feelgood. The Rats have now reunited and play a UK tour in October, and while discussing the reformation and beyond with MOJO’s Mark Paytress, he added some trenchant observations regarding the state of contemporary rock’n’roll. “I think it’s lost its relevance,” he opines. “The rock’n’roll age is dead. Those cultural wars have been won. Elvis won. Little Richard won. And having won, it's Pyrrhic, ’cos rock’n’roll needs a context in which to exist.
“Maybe there will be a new rock’n’roll invented by the Chinese.”
“Maybe there will be a new rock’n’roll invented by the Chinese to let those 800 million in extreme poverty into ‘the Chinese dream’,” he continues. “When you have an autocratic, authoritarian regime that locks up anyone who’s got an alternative dream, it's ripe for rock’n’roll. But will it be as we know it, or will it be the blanded-out X-Factorisation? I don't know.”
As regards The Boomtown Rats, who have reformed with all original members barring guitarist Gerry Cott and nefarious pyjama-wearing pianist Johnny Fingers, Geldof declares himself revitalized and refixated – indeed the new songs that bookend the latest Rats best-of is a title track called Back To Boomtown and another simply entitled, The Boomtown Rats!
“I'd honestly forgotten what a f***ing great band it was,” says Geldof. “I started singing Looking After Number 1 and I thought, I still feel exactly like that.”
Read the full interview with Geldof in the new issue of MOJO, on sale now.