Boys Don’t Cry to rock out for local schools

Nick Richards, Malibu resident and front man for the ‘80s group Boys Don’t Cry, is throwing a party at the Canyon Club in Agoura and he’s invited some of his top-charting friends to join him.

Roy Hay from Culture Club, Deon Estus from Wham, Bones Hillman from Midnight Oil and Fee Waybill from The Tubes will help Richards rock the house Saturday night, along with, Richards promised, some special guests, to help raise funds for Malibu High and Juan Cabrillo Elementary Schools.

“When I was in England, my kids attended these very expensive schools,” Richards, who has seven children, said in an interview with The Malibu Times. “Now that we’re here in California, they are getting this great education absolutely free and I’m feeling a little guilty about it.”

Richards enlisted the help of old colleagues, who have left most of their bad-boy days behind to raise families, to join him for what he hopes will become a larger effort to help local schools in touring across the country.

MTV legendary “V-jay” and Malibu neighbor Martha Quinn will host the evening and the set list will cover many of the No. 1 hits of the ‘80s, including Richards’ “I Wanna Be a Cowboy,” which became a huge MTV success in 1986.

“We shot that video in a park in the middle of London,” Richards said. “Funny thing about that song. MTV hated it. But when the song charted in the Top 10, they had to play the video. The next day, they had 280,000 requests to play it more.”

Richards recently teamed with his old band mates to record again, this time including his son (and former MHS student, who looks exactly like his father), James Richards, on guitar.

Their newly released “Don’t Call Me A Country Singer” peaked in the Top 10 on Friday Morning Quarterback, the nation’s leading trade magazine for radio and music, and scored a Grammy nomination, leading some industry wags to speculate that the group will shed its “One Hit Wonder” moniker-25 years later.

For Saturday’s concert, Richards said, “We’ll be singing some new stuff that I’ve collaborated on with Brian [Chatton] and my son, James. Martha will do a ‘80s trivia quiz. Then the rest of the show will be just a tribute to the ’80s classics that you know from Culture Club and Wham and the others. These guys are amazing musicians. Our aim is to keep people on the dance floor.”

When Boys Don’t Cry started making noise, Richards owned the busiest recording studio in London, Maison Rouge, where era-defining groups like Genesis, Duran Duran and Tears for Fears recorded. Richards said the music business has changed dramatically since 1986.

“Record companies are a different thing now,” the rocker said. “Touring is different. I’m probably too old to do a whole new band thing. Boys Don’t Cry will probably tour as a “Best of…” thing, ultimately. But this [Saturday’s concert] is a fund-raising concept that I hope raises some serious money for our schools. They are just being annihilated.”

Richards has brought some heady talent to the stage for the fundraiser. Hay wrote the music that Boy George lyricized for Culture Club. Estus wrote chart-topping R and B hits in the ‘80s and played bass for the likes of George Michael, Marvin Gaye and Frank Zappa. Waybill was lead singer and songwriter for The Tubes and played with another ‘80s megaband, Toto. The Mary Jane Girls will open the evening.

“All the songs we are doing have someone attached to the original recording on board,” Richards said. “But it’s a funny thing about a lot of the ‘80s bands, particularly English bands. Live, they all sounded like crap. In recording, they worked their magic. So we’ll be putting in our own touches.”

Quinn said she was on board the minute Richards asked her to host.

“God, I remember when Boys Don’t Cry showed up and they were so funny and refreshing,” Quinn said, her voice still sounding like a teenage groupie.

“I’m really grateful to Nick for working so hard on this for our schools. We lost Measure A, so, like Patti LaBelle says, we gotta have a ‘new attitude.’”

Quinn currently hosts a program Mondays through Fridays on Sirius/XM, “Big ‘80s on 8.” She said that wherever you hear Duran Duran, she’s not far behind. She also said that if anyone is unsure of what to wear to the concert Saturday night, just watch a Pat Benatar video. “If I see anyone in a Nirvana flannel shirt, I’m throwing them out,” Quinn said.

Boys Don’t Cry and Friends will appear at the Canyon Club, 28912 Roadside Drive in Agoura Hills, Saturday, June 12, at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online at www.wantickets.com or at the Juan Cabrillo Elementary School office. The age limit has been lowered for this concert and children 12 and older can attend for half price. After concert expenses, due to Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District gift fund policy, 85 percent of monies raised will go to Malibu High and Juan Cabrillo, and 15 percent will go into the district’s equity fund of which monies are distributed to all district schools.

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