The Boo Radleys' Rob Cieka

On this day in 1968, Boo Radleys drummer Rob Cieka was born in Birmingham,

England. The Boo Radleys, who came together in

1988 in Liverpool, England, took their name from a character in the Oscar-winning film

"To Kill A

Mockingbird."

Schoolmates Martin Carr (guitar), Simon "Sice" Rowbottom

(vocals/guitar) and Tim Brown (bass) founded the band, which they began as

a melodic noise outfit, similar to the Jesus and Mary Chain. Steve Hewitt

was their first drummer and, with him, the Boo Radleys released their

indie-label debut, Ichabod and I (1990). The album attracted

attention from the BBC and helped the band get signed to Rough Trade Records. At this

point, Hewitt departed and was replaced by Cieka. The British press labeled the band

part of the psychedelic-pop "shoegazer" movement, but the Radleys soon evolved into a

more mainstream pop group.

In 1991, Rough Trade issued the Boo Radleys' Every Heaven EP, which dented

the U.K. charts. But the label soon folded, so the Radleys released

Everything's Alright Forever on Creation Records, a Columbia Records

affiliate. The album, which included the tracks "Skyscraper" and "Memory

Babe," received strong reviews in England, where it topped several year-end

critics' polls, including Melody Maker's "best of" list.

Giant Steps (1993) was a

branching out for the Radleys, as Carr's songwriting delved further into

Beatlesesque '60s pop/rock, but the album still retained some of the band's allegiance to

noise rock. Again, the Radleys pleased the U.K. critics; in America, the album spawned

the modern-rock hit "Lazarus." The Boo Radleys then joined the Lollapalooza tour in

1994, increasing awareness of the band among U.S. alt-rock fans.

Wake Up! (1995) was even more mainstream, debuting

at #1 in England. The peppy single "Wake Up Boo" was also a top-10

smash in the U.K. But in America, Wake Up! was released with no

fanfare and didn't sell well, prompting Columbia to drop the band in 1996. Later

that year, the Radleys released the less mainstream, more arty C'Mon

Kids in the U.K., but they weren't able to issue it in the States until

1997, when they signed with Mercury Records. The album caused a decline in

the band's British sales and didn't make a splash in the U.S. either.

Carr said about the Radleys' goals in 1993: "Our main objective then

was the same as now: get fucking famous, take loads of drugs and be the

Beatles."

Other birthdays: Frankie Ford, 59; David Carr (Fortunes), 55; Klaus Schultze (Tangerine

Dream), 51; Maire Ni Bhraonian (Clannad), 46; Ian Broudie (the Lightning Seeds), 40;

Graham Massey (808 State), 38; and Paul Reynolds (A Flock of Seagulls), 36.