Tampa, Florida 1976 – 1978
Just Boys was formed in 1976 by Terry Carolan; guitar/vocals/keyboards, Bobby (Woodrich) Allyson; bass/vocals and Gary Heslin; drums/vocals. For about two years the band played frequently in the Tampa/St. Pete area. The group also made regular trips to the recording studio, resulting in a single released in 1977 on the band’s Counterfeit Records label. Through great assistance of their quasi-manager/benefactor and friend Gary Littleton, the record had domestic and international distribution with both Bomp Records and Gem Records. Littleton’s efforts also helped spark the interest of Arista Records president, Clive Davis.
Just Boys circa 1977 -
Left to right:
Terry Carolan, Bobby Allyson (aka Bobby Woodrich) and Gary Heslin
Often mislabeled as a punk or new wave band, Just Boys were a melodic rock band with strong pop tendencies. Midway through the band’s existence the term Power Pop surfaced and it became a more accurate category to describe Just Boys’ style. They were primarily an original music group, anchored by the songwriting of Terry Carolan, but the group also performed unique renditions of select cover tunes in their live shows.
In 1977, shortly after the release of their record, Gary Heslin left the band to join Shades, another Tampa/St Pete group. He was replaced on drums and vocals by Roaul (Spera) St. James and the group continued to perform, record and shop for a record deal. Between late 1977 and mid 1978 there were two other short term members as Just Boys tried to expand to a four piece band to more accurately reproduce their recordings; Tim Scott McConnell, joined for a short time as lead vocalist/frontman, and Ritchie Quik joined later as lead guitarist and backup singer. Ultimately Just Boys remained a three piece band and settled for fuller production in the recording studio and pared down arrangements onstage.
Just Boys circa 1978 -
Pictured from left to right:
Bobby Allyson (aka Bobby Woodrich), Roaul St. James (aka Roaul Spera) and Terry Carolan
In mid 1978, on a wave of local recognition, some success from the release of their record, and serious interest from Arista Records, the group decided to go to Los Angeles to take advantage of the burgeoning punk/new wave/power pop scene, and to be in the heart of the record industry. In LA, Just Boys were signed to a management and booking contract with Gold Hill Music, which was co-owned by Malcolm Jones, ex-Blues Image bassist and songwriter. The company began grooming the group and booked them in a variety of LA area venues, including such legendary showcase clubs as The Starwood and The Troubadour.
Los Angeles proved to be difficult to adapt to for the young and somewhat naive band. Sadly, after a mere four months of performing in LA and pursuing a record contract, Just Boys started to unravel and all of their hard earned accomplishments unraveled along with them. By fall of 1978 the band threw in the towel, leaving only their debut single as a legacy.
The group had served as a nucleus for Tampa’s new wave/power pop scene and was significant stepping stone for the long term performing, songwriting and recording careers of Terry Carolan and Robert Woodrich, both of whom carry on individually to this day, refusing to grow up, and likely to always be… just boys.
Single: “Hook, Line and Sink Her” with “Thanks A Lot” – 1977, Counterfeit Records