No Cause for Concern? Issue #9 | June 1984 | Page 10 | Boyd Farrell Interview
Black Market Baby
BLACK MARKET BABY is one of the forerunners in the Washington D.C. punk/H.C. scene. While they are not a hardcore band they do attract a hardcore audience. I guess it has something to do with the energy level put out by lead singer Boyd Farrell. The band recently completed their first album, "Senseless Offerings", and are planning to start on a second l.p. soon. Also included in their plans is a trip to play Canada. Here's an interview with lead singer Boyd Farrell done over the phone December 27, 1993.
DAVE: How did Black Market Baby come to be?
BOYD: Paul Cleary and I had been hanging around and going to the Atlantis and other punk shows in '78'79 so we started a band called "The Snitch". We then asked Keith Campbell, who had been playing guitar with D. Ceats, if he'd like to join us and then we pirated Tommy [Carr] out of the Penetrators and that was the original line-up. Paul stayed with us for a year then he left and we got Mike Dolfi and then the same thing happened with Keith and we replaced him with Scott Loga.
DAVE: So what was the inspiration? Was it just out of boredom?
BOYD: It was just something that was pretty exciting at the time and it gave us the chance to get out there and put all our points across, too.
DAVE: When did you play your first show?
BOYD: We played our first show in July, 1980, at the Psyche-Delly. We opened up for the Reaction.
DAVE: I guess some of the newer punks won't admit the influence but talking to all the older ones who have been around for a while, they all claim Black Market Baby as one of their biggest influences.
BOYD: Yeah, it's funny, I'm hearing a lot of that now because for a long time there was a lot of petty jealousies going back and forth between all the bands. But now everyone's grown up a bit, we're getting heralded as an influence to a lot of bands.
DAVE: From about the time the first single came out to the time the album came out it seems Black Market Baby went underground. What happened in that period of time?
BOYD: We did the odd show around here but for a time we broke up, that's why we couldn't get up to Canada to see you. A lot of it has to do with me getting married and Cathy having the baby. I had other responsibilities I had to take care of. Once I was pretty stable with that, I decided to regroup the band.
DAVE: How did the album come to be?
BOYD: Things weren't going well at the time so I felt before we split up we should at least get an album out.
DAVE: It seems to be doing quite well, even nationally.
BOYD: Yeah, we were pretty surprised. We thought it was just going to be a local thing.
DAVE: When you guys chose to cover "We're All in This Together" were you addressing the D.C. scene?
BOYD: Well, Keith was a real "Pirates" nut and wanted to do a "Pirates" song and I wasn't too thrilled with it but once I heard the lyrics I wanted to do it. It was always a good slogan song.
DAVE: While we're taking about influenced here, what were your main influences?
BOYD: I would have to say Sham 69. I thought we could be what they were: a punk band who knew what they were doing and who could play well. Other influences are the Ruts, Damned, 999, AC-DC, Iggy, Dead Boys and the Ramones. What we were trying to do was take a little bit of everything. A little heavy metal, a little hardcore, some of the '77 punk, a little '60s and mix it all together and I think we've succeeded in doing that.
Did I tell you about Harrington's review of us in the Washington Post? He said we had the most gung-ho philosophy this side of Quadaffi [sp?]. He also said we wanted to demean women totally because of "Gunpoint Affection". That's totally nonsense. The song is taken from a movie. The act of rape is a very brutal, graphic, violent crime and to get the point across you have to use brutal, graphic, violent description and that's pretty much what I did. After you listen to the song it leaves you with a scary feeling. I certainly don't want people thinking I'm condoning rape. It's ridiculous. I have a wife, a daughter, a mother and a sister all of whom I'm very close to and I wouldn't want them to go through that. I just want to make that very clear because I've caught a lot of flak for it.
DAVE: Okay. Let's talk about one of your earlier songs which also appears on the album in a live version. "World at War". Is that to be taken tongue-in-cheek?
BOYD: That song was written originally out of anger. This was at the time of the Iranian crisis and it was on everyone's mind. Everybody wanted to go over there and blow Iran off the map. After I calmed down a bit I rewrote it to take a tongue-in-cheek look at war but originally it was a patriotic reaction. It's kind of black humour.
DAVE: The lyrics to "America's Youth" always struck me as saying to kids everywhere: get off your asses and do something.
BOYD: That's exactly what that's about. You know, "sixteen forever, you never grow older" and I can't tell you how many kids have come up to me and said how much that song reminded them of the kids they went to school with. You can go to any suburban parking lot across the United States of America and the song would apply.
DAVE: The impression I get now is that that song could also apply to some of the new punks.
BOYD: Yeah, some of these new kids don't trace the roots. They figure if it isn't fifty miles per hour and the lead singer doesn't have a shaved head with muscles sticking out of it, then it's not good.
DAVE: That would bring me up to the next question which is about the song "This Year's Prophet" which was written about someone we know.
BOYD: That song was written about Jello originally but the more bands we've opened for the more I've realized it's deeper than that and the epitome of that is the Exploited. They're up there singing "Fuck the U.S.A." and all these American kids are slamming and singing along not realizing that they're condemning the country that's given them an education, let them live with Mom and Dad and given them money for albums. People have got to think. I called the Exploited a bunch of Scottish sheepshaggers.
DAVE: How do you avoid preaching on stage?
BOYD: Our songs aren't really conclusions. They are strictly observations. I leave it to the people who buy the album to make their own conclusions.
DAVE: Can you tell me what you see Black Market Baby doing six months from now or a year from now?
BOYD: I'd like to go back in the studio and put out a second album. We'd also like to do a tour if possible. Everyone in the band wants to go up to Canada.
DAVE: Final question: what are your impressions of Canada?
BOYD: Well, I've only been there twice when I was a kid. I thought it was a beautiful country and I think it's a lot like America without all the tension. I feel a strong bond with Canada being half English and half American. Both countries are tied very close to Canada. It's a country I'd like to see more of. I'm sure you have all the problems and hostilities America has but we'd all like to see it. Plus, I've never forgotten the fact that they helped get those hostages out of Iran. I'll never forget that.
Read more about Black Market Baby on this Senseless Offerings web site.