In the immortal words of Arthur Fowler, “Who’d want to sink their teeth into a Tomato called Big Boy?”
To be honest, this has no relevance whatsoever to 1990s indie punk/poppers Big Boy Tomato, but it’s hard to know where to begin….
Originally formed by founding members Penny, Susan, Paul Gibson, and Ditch, in the late 1980s, the band was spawned from a mutual love of a good tune, a good drink, and a good laugh. Mainly taking their inspiration from ill-advised affairs of the heart and the continual pursuit of a bloody good night they were soon regulars on the London gig circuit – most often seen treading the swampy boards at the Robey in Finsbury Park, alongside the likes of Snuff and the Legendary Junior Manson Slags.
Despite getting great reviews from Steve Lamacq and others, and building a small but dedicated following, the band took a brief break from the live circuit, only to return in the early 1990s with a refreshed line-up, a renewed vigour but (some might say sadly) the same name.
Having ex-Lurkers Punk royalty on board in the shape of Arturo Bassick, meant that they were soon busy gigging alongside the likes of UK Subs, The Vibrators, and Sham 69. His work done, Arturo moved on, and Susan took time out to find both love and full-time employment in a brewery. After a few more personnel shuffles, the final 1990s line-up settled as:
- Penny – Vocals
- Ditch – Guitar
- Tom Spencer – Guitar
- Nik Peckham – Bass
- Andy “Bladder” Selway – Drums
Having picked up management somewhere along the line, in the form of the much loved Mark “Snog” Allison, the Tomatoes were now gigging pretty much constantly – both around the UK and continental Europe — and picking up an ever-growing band of followers with their raucous, ramshackle live shows and catchy brand of Pop Punk. Whilst touring with the likes of Stiff Little Fingers, Die Toten Hosen, and The Toy Dolls, a couple of EPs were released. The band had tracks appear on the first four issues of the iconic Snakebite City compilations until, finally, in 1994 a full album was recorded.
Sadly, (some might say mysteriously), despite a hugely successful recording session (involving only one broken bone), the album was never actually released. It was tragically stashed away on a dusty shelf in some godforsaken basement. As a result, the band started to fray at the edges and eventually, although still on good terms, the various Tomatoes headed off to pastures new.
Members have since been spotted playing in The Professionals, Sugarsnatch, The Yo-Yos, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, KMFDM, Serious Drinking, The Vibrators, and Some Dogs to name but a few.
All still in close contact and forever (just a little bit) Tomato, the band finally managed to regain the rights to the long lost album in 2016 and, thanks to the good folk at Foof Records, it can now finally see the light of day, dusted off and remastered by Ditch.
“Feel good Power-Pop anthems hit the mark” VIVE LE ROCK 8/10