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The Payolas

The Payolas - China Boys / Make Some Noise - 7

China Boys / Make Some Noise - 7"
Slophouse - 1979

Michael Panontin
Those who associate the Payolas with their ur-wanker eighties hit 'Eyes of a Stranger' forget that the Vancouver outfit once enjoyed a decidedly hipper cachet thanks to their first single, the fetching pub-punk anthem, 'China Boys'. The nucleus of the band - Brit ex-pat Paul Hyde and Winnipegger Bob Rock - met up in high school, picking up drummer Ian Tiles and bassist Marty Higgs soon after, and entered Little Mountain studios (where Rock was employed) to lay down these two tracks. A thousand copies were pressed up and peddled at gigs and local record shops. 'China Boys' sold briskly, and why not? Its buoyant bassline, faux-Asian riff (which must have drawn comparisons to San Fran art-punks Pink Section and their 'Tour of China' seven-inch about the same time) and Hyde's best Nicky Tesco vocal were perfect for those beer-sloshed punk dives.

The suits over at A & M Records got hip too, signing the band to a multi-record deal and re-recording 'China Boys' for the 4-song 12" Introducing Payola$ (1980) and yet again for the In a Place Like This LP (1981). By the mid-eighties, though, the Payolas were already spinning their wheels - this despite the success of 'Eyes of a Stranger' (#8 in Canada and #22 in the U.S.) - and in 1987 hung up the guitars...but, alas, not for good, regrouping for the seven-song Langford Part One EP in 2007.

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