The Boys are back in town: Hitchin punk band the Bleach Boys to play Bloodwise fundraising gig to celebrate life of founding singer Simon Kelly

The Bleach Boys line-up a few years ago: Frankenstein (Simon Kelly), Phnuff, Nuke and Rocket.

The Bleach Boys line-up a few years ago: Frankenstein (Simon Kelly), Phnuff, Nuke and Rocket. - Credit: Archant

A seminal Hitchin punk band who are still going strong after four decades of making music are coming home for a charity fundraising gig which will celebrate the life of founder Simon Kelly.

Simon Kelly, founder of the Hitchin punk band the Bleach Boys, who died in November at the age of 55

Simon Kelly, founder of the Hitchin punk band the Bleach Boys, who died in November at the age of 55. - Credit: Archant

The Bleach Boys, started by singer Simon and three other former Hitchin Boys’ School pupils back in 1977, will be playing at the town’s Club 85 on Friday, April 1.

And the proceeds will be going to Bloodwise, the charity which supported 55-year-old Simon and his family during his battle with leukaemia.

The band’s bass player, known to fans as Phnuff, told the Comet: “This is not a memorial.

“We intend it to be a celebration of Simon’s life in a format he would have liked.


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“Simon was a unique character and was very much the same guy both on and off the stage.

“He was also a classically trained opera singer from the Guildhall School of Music and was equally happy appearing dressed like someone out of A Clockwork Orange or wearing a floral patterned dress.

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“While he will never be forgotten by those who knew him, it’s time to put aside the sadness and recognise how lucky we have been to know him.”

The band, which claims to have been the first punk outfit in North Herts, started after Simon secured a gig at Hitchin College supporting Ultravox.

The original line-up was Phnuff on guitar, Jimmy Jesus on bass, Nuke on drums and Simon – using the stage name Frankenstein – on vocals.

In the month following the chaotic Ultravox show the Bleach Boys were banned by six venues, but they still appeared again at Hitchin College – this time supporting Siouxsie and the Banshees.

In 1978 they recorded the single Chloroform, written in a car on the way through Stevenage and released on Terry Friend’s North Herts label Tramp – the single today changes hands for more than £100.

Apart from a single session on the sidelines which lasted for about a year, the band continued uninterrupted into the 21st century.

Simon left the band in around 2010 due to work commitments and was replaced by the current singer Matt, with whom the Bleach Boys still gig today. Phnuff said: “On the night we will be our current line-up, which is Matt on vocals, me on bass, Rocket on guitar and Oz on drums.

“There will also be Nuke making an appearance and possibly a few other surprises.”

Also on the bill will be Monkish from London, Hitchin duo The Mighty Collider, and London singer-songwriter Sarah Pink.

Tickets are £10, and as the Comet went to press the band was already closing in on its £5,000 fundraising target.

If you would like to donate ahead of the gig or find out more about Simon’s battle, his wife Deb has set up a page at justgiving.com/Deb-Kelly3.

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