In 1975, Patto staged a brief reunion comprising just three benefit gigs. The reuniting of Ollie and Mike sparked the formation of the ill-fated Boxer.
Keith Ellis bass
Ollie Halsall guitar keyboards vocal
Mike Patto vocal keyboards
Tony Newman drums
All the Time in the World
Waiting for a Miracle
Gonna Work Out Fine
Town Drunk Terry Stamp|Jim Avery
All the Time in the World
Shooting Star was a sure-fire hit single, so whatever posessed them to release All The Time in the World?!
John Peel Show, Radio 1, 7th October 1975
Not entirely live. There seems to be some overdubs here and there.
Rich Man's Daughter
Big City Fever
Why Pick on Me
Love Has Got Me
A third album, Absolutely, was made after Ollie's departure
Live at the Roundhouse, London
21 February 1976
Recording: Andrea Pennesi
More Than Meets the Eye
Warm Red Glow [exceprt]
It has to be said that this not, unfortunately, the greatest example of the band's potential.
Unfortunately the cover of Below the Belt attracted far more attention than the music. Perhaps this might have been a more accptable sleeve:
More Than Meets The Eye
The thing I haven't mastered yet is a high energy thing where I can perform solos and chord work more spontaneously"
Ollie Halsall 1976
Recorded Boxer out at The Manor in Oxfordshire. Croquet on the lawn, dips in the pool and a banquet every night. Mike Patto's one of my all-time favs as well. Great sense of the absurd, as was the case with guitarist Olly."
Zooming in on Boxer
Ken Thornton charts the demise of Boxer and Ollie's aborted entry into 'The Last Chance Saloon'
Because very little was documented back then, we'll probably never know precisely when Ollie left Boxer or how his custom SG ended up permanently out of his possession. Here is a summary of what I have been told by various sources over the years including John Halsey and Tony Newman.
Regarding Ollie's guitar, the basic story is that Nigel Thomas confiscated Boxer's equipment due to their indebtedness to him when the band started falling apart.
For Ollie, Tony, and Mike, Boxer was thought of as a last ditch attempt to be rock stars. The aforementioned indebtedness was certainly due in part due to the intentional extravagance in trying to put forth the impression of being rich rock stars when launching the first album - limousines, press parties, etc. But, of course, they were not rich, and Nigel Thomas must have spent a lot of money on the illusion. In addition, there would have been the expenses of the live shows, and the aborted American tour must have cost a bundle.
They went to tour America but didn't get to play a single gig. Mike was diagnosed with cancer and ended up in an L.A. hospital. The others spent much of their time at the Rainbow Room on Sunset, partying in the Hollywood Hills, or sailing around until they all finally got sent home. They stayed together to record the second album to honor contractual obligations to Virgin records. But sometime around September of 1976, Ollie, Tony, and Keith were hoping to start a new band with Gary Holton of the Heavy Metal Kids called Stick-Up. It was reported in the press [opposite]
Tony told me that he doesn't have a very clear memory of exactly what happened, but he knows that Nigel confiscated all of their equipment - drums, guitars, amps, etc. That would include Ollie's SG. It is conjecture, but it seems likely that this move on Nigel's part was a result of the Stick-Up plans, and Ollie, Tony, and Keith probably didn't have the money to pay off Nigel. They likely had to just walk away from the mess and Boxer in general with just the loss of their instruments.
So, I think the original Boxer finally fell apart sometime in 1976, and that is why their equipment was confiscated and why Virgin did not release Bloodletting until three years later (using the original 1976 catalog number). There are rumors of some 1976 promo copies of the album being out there, but I've never seen even a picture of one. I've found one source that indicates it was released mid-April of 1979, a bit more than a month after Mike died.
Why would Mike carry on with Boxer after what Nigel did? I'm guessing that since it wasn't Mike's idea to walk away from Boxer, he wasn't targeted.
And since the other three were planning to start a new band with another singer, I don't think Mike would've had any second thoughts about continuing on without them, whether or not Nigel Thomas was still involved. It might have made him even more determined to press on with a new Boxer lineup.
I think it was Halsey that told me that at some point Nigel's company came into financial trouble and was ultimately liquidated. The equipment was auctioned off, most likely including Ollie's guitar. I got the impression that this happened not very long after the original Boxer split up.
Ken Thornton 2016
Editor's note: The Absolutely album came out around July of 1977 with the terrible Trio of Halsall, Newman and Ellis replaced by Adrian Fisher [guitar], Chris Stainton [keyboards], Tim Bogert [bass] and Eddie Tuduri [drums].
Gary Holton: "With the [Heavy Metal] Kids, the music took second place all the time. I wanted to get it really hot but I couldn't do that within the band, so I had to leave. In the end, I didn't enjoy working in the band anymore. It became a ritual.
There was a lot of cynicism in the band which rubbed off, and everybody started taking it seriously. I didn't like that. I like to enjoy my work." Holton, in fact, realised his predicament within HMK when he discovered that three members of Boxer (Ollie Halsall, Tony Newman and Keith Ellis) had been suffering a similar crisis of thought with their leader, Mike Patto, and had also concluded that they too would have to leave the band to fulfil ambitions.
The Boxer trio lived in a flat rented to them by Holton's girlfriend. They met and decided to form a band of their own called Stick-Up.
We're all very ambitious," Holton added. "We're not afraid of working. With the Kids, we were going out like a million-dollar band, with an articulated lorry full of equipment that wasn't really necessary and getting £300 or £400 a gig.
"There was too much overkill. I'd rather work hard with just the necessary equipment."
Melody Maker September 1976
This is a drawing by Ollie Halsall, it's of a band that never got off the ground - Stick Up: Tony Newman, Ollie Halsall, Keith Ellis, Gary Holton (Heavy Metal kids). John holding a bottle of Collis Browns compound...hahaha, and me when I was a skinny teen, nicknamed Rat (Terry Duran called me Ratso) - Deborah Ellis 2022