“My Dad is the one who got me into proper music and who taught me to play the guitar. I have him to thank for my love of music and NUFC. Which are my two favourite things in life. Nothing else comes close!” says Jamie Boyle, Newcastle United fanatic and lead singer, songwriter and guitarist in The K’s, an up and coming band from Newton-le-Willows, St Helens.

Using a number of session drummers until April, Jamie confirmed they’ve “found someone who fits what we’re looking for,” when telling me Burnley season ticket holder Jordan Holden has been chosen as the backbone of the band. Long-standing band mates Ryan “Paddy” Breslin (Lead Guitar) and Dexter Baker (Bass) complete a line-up that, following a short hiatus, was reinvigorated in July 2017 following the release of the energetic single ‘Sarajevo,’ a song based on the murder of Franz Ferdinand that lead to World War 1. “They never give me any stick, they know what’s good for them” laughs Jamie as I learn these two are Man United supporters. ‘Sarajevo’ was recently heard booming from the Old Trafford P.A as players from the Red Devils and Swansea prepared to start the 2nd half.

I was first introduced to Jamie in the Newcastle Arms after The Mag’s 1-1 draw with Swansea on January 13th. A disappointing result but one that made it 3 unbeaten and a rise to 13th place, under the heavy influence of Moretti, conversation on Rafa’s Mag’s quickly turned to music as well as the familiar cherry-picking of nostalgia in the company of his Father Doug.

Dressed in a Fila tracked top still relevant today as it was in the days of a fire hazardous West Stand, George Reilly and the ‘Indian Warcry’ from Davey in the East Stand, Jamie continued to tell me of his Dads influence: “I’d always sort of liked music and the thought of being in a band, it’d be impossible not to with the stuff my Dad would always have us listening to in the car,” he’d reminisce, continuing: “At age about 11/12 I started playing the drums but then watching videos of bands like The Jam I knew what I really wanted was to be a frontman. We had a guitar or two at home because my Dad played so I got him to teach me some chords and off I went.”

“I was in awe of Paul Weller, bought everything and followed The Jam everywhere,” added Doug. “I’ve been obsessed with music ever since and formed a band in late 70’s called The End…free publicity every time a film finished was the theory…we basically just copied The Jam for a couple of years and did it very badly!” he’d say.

I first came across Doug as a regular and knowledgeable contributor to Newcastle related nostalgia threads on Twitter and soon became impressed with his posting of images showcasing his collection of United memorabilia.

From home shirts to scarves, pennants to door signs, Doug has it, and it impresses Jamie as much as it does yours truly. “I love it! I’ve grown up around it but I still love seeing all my Dads old NUFC stuff and even better for me and our Robbie to be adding to it with our own stuff from over the years!” he said.

Brought up and raised in Durham and then Whitley Bay, Doug’s “love affair with NUFC” began as a 7-year-old in April 1970. “Sat on my Dads shoulders in the Gallowgate watching us thrash Man United 5-1, all I remember about the game was picking 2 Man United ‘boot boy’ hitch hikers up in Gateshead and dropping them off at Durham,” he’d tell me. “They had no laces in their boots as the Northumberland police had removed them and refused them entry into SJP,” he added referencing common practice of that era.

Hooked on United from that moment, 4 years later the family would “devastate” Doug by uprooting to Merseyside where, surrounded by Liverpool, Everton and Man United supporters, he was “treat like an alien at first but soon gained respect for sticking with NUFC.” Sounding more positively, he’d add, “My Dad worked with Geoff Nulty’s Dad and got tickets for 1976 League Cup final…when Gowling scores…oh my God!” when talking of United’s 1-2 loss to Man City at Wembley.

“At this time, I had no interest whatsoever in the wishy washy Glam Rock bollocks of the mid 70’s,” he’d say when continuing discussing his teenage years. “The only record I owned was ‘Back Home’

by the 1970 England World Cup Squad. Then punk happened! Wow! I went from having zero interest to being obsessed.” Elaborating, he confirmed “The Clash, Buzzcocks, Sex Pistols – incredible sounds but it was the look, message & sounds of The Jam that infatuated me.”

When only 5 weeks old, first born Lauren was present when Kevin Keegan’s side made it 7 straight wins at the start of the 1992-93 promotion campaign as Bristol City were hammered 5-0. “We went in the Milburn Stand and Sir John Hall saw us,” recalled Doug. “Whatever people’s views on him, he was magnificent that day. He couldn’t do enough for us, took us down the tunnel and we had pics with KK,” he added fondly. Almost 30 years since Doug’s first Newcastle game, he took his two sons Jamie and Robbie to Goodison Park on March 19th 2000 and their induction into a life with United started with a 2-0 victory thanks to goals from Aaron Hughes and Kieron Dyer. “The away end that day was a bit wild as usual and not suitable for 2 very young boys,” said Doug whilst Jamie remembered more clearly, laughing “I think we just cried the whole time, but I think he then tried us at a home game where we were sound and then we just got used to it and now there’s nothing better!”

 

 

Without the stereotypical bad attitude that can come with being a front man, Jamie’s upbringing has clearly kept him grounded and you sensed pride in where his tender years took place: “‘Trees Estate’ is a song about where Paddy and Dexter grew up and with me being best friends with Dexter since I was 3, I spent half my childhood there too!” he’d say.

“In other ways our songs are about the bars or pubs, the people, or just the area itself. It influences us and our songs are just a collection of experiences that we have from growing up where we did,” he’d continue before indicating that the reason behind the writing of crowd favourite, first single and the aforementioned ‘Sarajevo’ was an exception rather than a rule, admitting “I just started writing away after reading about the assassination.”

 

A week after the Swansea game, The K’s played outside the Etihad Stadium before a Sergio Aguero hat-trick saw The Mag’s go down 1-3. “We were buzzin’. The response we got from that was overwhelming to have so many new people all liking our music who’d never heard us before,” he’d later tell me of the clearly well-received performance by a mixture of supporters.

2017 may have included credible gigs such as a performance at Wigan’s DW Stadium and another supporting The Ordinary Boys, their headline show at a sold-out Manchester venue named Jimmy’s Bar remains Jamie’s favourite gig to date. “It was our first proper headline gig and it was a baptism of fire in the best possible way,” he said. “I think that’s the night we all realised we could actually make a go of this.”

Doug admits a lot of his song writing in the early 1980’s “had an NUFC influence” to them which is apparent with the catchy title ‘Born in the Strawberry’ whilst declaring “I nicked an Orange Juice melody to write the not so classic ‘Peter & Kevin.’” But what are his thoughts on the K’s and Jamie’s song writing?

“I’m delighted he’s expressing himself through music,” he told me. “I love The K’s stuff…it’s loud, raw, pure and his song writing is exceptional. He has a gift of writing powerful stuff but with a great punky melody,” he added before admitting, “I love them but I’m also his biggest critic – if he lacks passion or starts writing sloppy love song shit I’ll be the first to bollock him!”

 

However, the recent announcement that the band will play the popular Kendal Calling in July suggests the big time is just around the corner. With the likes of James, Shed 7, Catfish and the Bottlemen and two of Jamie’s influences, Ocean Colour Scene and Libertines on the line up, Jamie would tell me, “Kendal’s massive for us, we’re really excited. It’s our first ever major festival and we couldn’t ask for more than to play it with a line up like this! Hopefully be the first of many for us!”

Listening to more of The K’s tracks it is evident The Arctic Monkey’s, a band Jamie admitted was “perfect to support at the moment,” play an influence in the lads writing style and in particular ‘Glass

Towns.’ “It’s as good as anything I’ve ever heard,” approved Doug while Jamie admitted it was a favourite to play live, saying, “It’s just everything I’m about in a song. From start to finish we give it absolutely everything and it’s such a buzz.” He’d bring another song called ‘Hoping Maybe’ to my attention saying, “There’s no feeling like when I can stop singing and have the crowd sing your own song back at you in full voice.”

But, as Jamie admitted, The K’s mix it up at times. “We always like to throw a cover into our headline sets just to keep things fresh. We did ‘Town Called Malice’ (The Jam) and it went down a treat so every time we play now, everyone wants us to play it!” Their stripped-down version of Aretha Franklin’s ‘I Say a little Prayer’ is simply sublime.

By the time this goes online, The K’s would have played their “biggest headline to date” at Gorilla in Manchester as well as on the BBC introducing stage at The Highest Point Festival, released a new single ‘Got a Feeling Coming’ on Beautiful Noise Records and Newcastle United survived an instant drop back to the Championship. You could say it’s been a good year so far for Jamie and a set of musicians who are certainly not the “amateur band rehearsing in a nearby yard” that Weller wrote about back in 1980.

Newcastle United fanatics travelling to almost every United fixture throughout a season, Jamie told me of his favourite memory to date, saying, “I’d have to say West Ham at home in 2015. When Jonas scored our second to secure our place in the premier league the same season he beat cancer. Such a great moment for any football fan, but especially for us.”

Unsurprisingly, Doug’s fonder of a time watching United before the current owner took control, saying, “There’s been so many fantastic times but favourites would have to be the 2 Wembley goals (Gowling & Robert Lee) Keegan’s home debut (QPR 1982) and going up ‘84.” Rolling back the years, he’d quickly add, “Meeting KK in ‘92, Milan 2003 – which was the actual day of my 40th where Big Al (Shearer) looks at me after his 2nd and says ‘Happy Birthday Mate’ – and of course Derby away in 1992, a 4-1 defeat but you had to be there to understand!”

When touching on modern day United, Jamie would swoon over Jamaal Lascelles almost as much as he continues to do of Alan Shearer, his all-time favourite player. “I’ve not liked a player as much as I do Captain Jamaal for a long time,” he told me. “The way he’s stepped up this year as a young player has been phenomenal.” Without hesitation, Jamie would say of Rafa, “I think he’s the best thing to happen to our club in a long time. He’s not had anywhere near the backing he deserves but he’s stuck around and is doing a good job with the squad we’ve got but we need to invest, I don’t think there’s anyone disputing that.”

There’s also no disputing that The K’s are going places and anyone attending Kendal or another gig can expect “A lot of energy and a room full of people having a mint night,” according to a frontman who is already appreciating the continuous growing of supporters, saying, “Playing gigs is what we live for and our connection and chemistry with the crowd when we’re playing is something that doesn’t happen very often. Our support from our fans is absolutely unreal.” ‘That’s Entertainment.’

But we will save the last word for Doug, a clearly proud man in so many ways: “Both my boys have the middle name ‘Newcastle,’ something I always wanted and my wife, bless her, agreed to it and the boys love their unique names.”

Howay The (Special) K’s.

Selected Festival Appearances:

Kendal Calling, 26-29th July

July Cotton Clouds, Oldham, August 18th

Neighbourhood Festival, Manchester, October 6th

Follow The K’s: @TheKsUK

Follow Jamie: @JamieTheKs

Follow Doug: @dougofthecorner

Follow Marc Corby: @NUFC_1980_1994