Cowboys International

Cowboys International were an English New Wave/synthpop band that released the album The Original Sin with accompanying singles on Virgin in 1979. Drummer Terry Chimes had been Topper Headon’s predecessor in The Clash, staying long enough to play on that band’s 1977 debut album. He would rejoin for the tour in support of their 1982 release Combat Rock.

Members: Ken Lockie (vocals), Terry Chimes (drums), Evan Charles (guitar, keyboards), Jimmy Hughes (bass), Rick Jacks (guitar)


Cowboys International evolved from The Quick Spurts, a punk rock band that featured singer Ken Lockie and guitarist Keith Levene, an early member of the (pre-record) Clash. After Levene jumped ship to Public Image Ltd., Lockie’s group stabilized with guitarist Rick Jacks, bassist Jimmy Hughes, keyboardist Evan Charles on piano, and drummer Terry Chimes.

Hughes (under the stagename Tommy Steal) played in the second lineup of pop-punks The Banned. He appeared on the December 1977 Top of the Pops appearance for their UK Top 30 cover of the Syndicate of Sound’s “Little Girl,” recorded with a prior lineup that featured two ex-members of Gryphon.

Chimes served The Clash from July to November 1976 and rejoined in January 1977 to play on their debut album, which credits him as “Tory Crimes.” Later that year, he briefly drummed for London-based NYC punks Johnny Thunders and the Heartbreakers.

1979: Singles

In early 1979, Virgin Records added Cowboys International to its growing roster of new wave acts (The Human League, Magazine, The Members, Penetration, XTC). Their debut single, “Aftermath” (b/w “Future Noise”), appeared in March, produced by Mick Glossop (Camel, City Boy, Interview, Skids, Yellow Dog).

Lockie wrote both sides and all subsequent output, including the May single “Nothing Doing” (b/w “2 Millions”). The producer on that single, Colin Thurston, engineered 1977 albums by David Bowie (Heroes), Iggy Pop (Lust for Life), and Magazine’s sophomore effort Secondhand Daylight. Cowboys’ third single, “Trash” (b/w “Many Times (Revised)”), appeared in late September, weeks ahead of its parent album.

The Original Sin

Cowboys International released their singular album, The Original Sin, in October 1979 on Virgin (UK, North America, Oceania). It features “Trash” and a re-recording of “Aftermath,” plus nine new Lockie originals, including “Part of Steel,” “Pointy Shoes,” “Original Sin,” and “Lonely Boy.” Levene plays guest guitar on the album’s closing track, “Wish.”

The Original Sin was produced by Dennis Mackay, whose earlier credits include albums by Alphonso Johnson, Billy Cobham, Brand X (Unorthodox Behaviour), Curved Air, Gong (Gazeuse!), Judas Priest (Stained Class), Kayak (Phantom of the Night), Lenny White (Venusian Summer), Mahavishnu Orchestra, Pat Travers, Shakti, Spiders from Mars, and the Stomu YamashtaSteve Winwood collaboration Go.

The engineer, Laurence Diana, worked beforehand on Jeff Wayne’s all-star musical version of War of the Worlds. During 1979/80, Laurence also worked on titles by The Stranglers, The Yachts, Orchestral Manoeuvres In the Dark, Modern Eon, and Punishment of Luxury.

UK copies of The Original Sin are housed in a simple black sleeve with color-coded track numbers, titles, song lengths and credits, designed to resemble letters on a video screen. It was designed by Pearce Marchbank, who also did record sleeves for Mike Oldfield, Mr. Partridge, The Ruts, Sparks, and Skids (Days in Europa). US copies sport a black-background group shot of the short haired quintet, photographed by Red Saunders, also credited on the 1979 self-titled debut by Aviator.

“Aftermath” (titled “The Aftermath”) appears on the 1979 Ariola compilation New Wave (Wer Hat Angst Vor Den 80er Jahren?), a two-record set with tracks by 999, The B-52’s, Devo, Fingerprintz, The Flying Lizards, John Foxx, Pretenders, Talking Heads, and aforementioned Virgin acts.


  • The Original Sin (1979)


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