The Boomtown Rats were a punk rock / new wave group led by Bob Geldof. All six members (Gary Roberts, Pete Briquette, Gerry Cott, Simon Crowe and Johnnie Moylett) were originally from Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, Ireland. Originally called ‘The Nightlife Thugs’. The name The Boomtown Rats comes from a gang of down-and-outs from Woody Guthrie’s autobiography, Bound for Glory. They became known as a notable band whose record is overshadowed by the charity work on behalf of famine relief of their lead singer, Bob Geldof named ‘Bob The Gob’ by the media for his big mouth.
They scored several Top Ten hits in the UK charts (c.1978-79), their most famous being ‘Rat Trap’ and their biggest hit, ‘I Dont Like Mondays’. This was written on a tour of the US (1979) when Bob Geldof heard a telex machine spouting the story of Californian schoolgirl Brenda Ann Spencer’s wild shooting spree at a San Diego high school. She justified her killing spree with the excuse “I don’t like Mondays”.
Bob Geldof has been gifted with the art of story-telling through songs. Lyrics are mostly in third person, have clever double entendre meanings, often relating some story or incident, eg “Dave”. Geldof’s charity work has been centred around the issue of famine relief, and includes being the organiser for the Band Aid single, for which he brought a superstar pop lineup together to record a song to aid famine relief (at the time was the fastest selling single in Britain of all time) and organizing the LiveAid concerts, a 2-continent superstar live concert that raised over 100 million dollars for famine relief.
Guitarist Gerry Cott left the band in 1981 and the band became a quintet. They disbanded in 1986 following a charity concert in Ireland. Most of the band members have now moved on to solo projects or new bands.
The Boomtown Rats reformed in 2013 going on tour again and released a new best of album Back To Boomtown : Classic Rats Hits which includes two new recorded songs.