Boxer was an English hard-rock supergroup that released two albums on Virgin and a third-recorded title on Epic between 1975 and 1979. The band marked the third pairing between vocalist Mike Patto and guitarist Ollie Halsall, who had previously played together in the bands Timebox and Patto.
Members: Mike Patto (vocals, keyboards), Ollie Halsall (guitar, keyboards), Keith Ellis (bass), Tony Newman (drums), Chris Stainton (keyboards), Tim Bogert (bass, backing vocals), Adrian Fisher (guitar), Eddie Tuduri (drums)
Patto got his start a decade beforehand as vocalist for R&B combo The Bo Street Runners. From there, he teamed with Halsall in Timebox, which released a clutch of singles and ultimately morphed into the band Patto at the dawn of the 1970s. After three albums, the two briefly parted: Patto to Spooky Tooth, where he sang on the band’s 1974 release The Mirror; and Halsall to Jon Hiseman’s Tempest, where he briefly rubbed shoulders with fellow axeman Allan Holdsworth and played on the album Living in Fear.
Just as Boxer was getting underway, Halsall and Newman played on the album Fatsticks by ex-Third World War frontman Terry Stamp.
Below the Belt (1975)
Signed to Virgin Records as part of the budding label’s attempt to broaden its roster, Boxer knocked out
In 1976, Boxer recorded a followup that wound up frustratingly shelved, only to appear three years later with the title Bloodletting. Augmenting the foursome for these sessions were the talents of vocalist Boz Burrell (King Crimson), guitarist Bobby Tench (Gass, Hummingbird, Streetwalkers, Jeff Beck Group), and keyboardists Chris Stainton and Tim Hinkley.
Switching over to Epic for 1977’s Absolutely, Boxer retained only Patto and a fully incorporated Stainton alongside guitarist Adrian Fisher (Sparks), drummer Eddie Tuduri (Wha-Koo), and bassist Tim Bogert (Vanilla Fudge/Cactus/Jeff Beck).
Though this lineup was contracted for several more albums, Patto fell ill soon after the release of Absolutely. Sadly, the vocalist died from leukemia in March 1979 at age 36. Predeceasing him was original Boxer-bassist Ellis, who died the year beforehand whilst touring Germany with Iron Butterfly.
Posthumously, Boxer’s former label Virgin issued Bloodletting in the summer of 1979 in tribute to the album’s two fallen players. Thirteen years later, Halsall succumbed to a drug-induced heart attack at age 43.
- Bloodletting (recorded 1976, released 1979)
- Absolutely (1977)
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