Bob Geldof on Boomtown Rats, Meeting Paul McCartney for the First Time - Rolling Stone
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The First Time: Bob Geldof

The Boomtown Rats frontman recalls listening to Bob Dylan’s first record, playing his first gig and meeting the Beatles in 1964

The Boomtown Rats — best known in America for their 1979 hit “I Don’t Like Mondays” — are returning from a 36-year recording hiatus this month with the release of their new album, Citizens of Boomtown. And when Boomtown Rats frontman Bob Geldof stopped by the Rolling Stone office to chat about it, he also looked back at several first times from his long career, including the first time hearing one of his songs on the radio, playing his first gig, and even meeting the Beatles as an adolescent.

Amazingly, he and his sister pulled off the latter feat in 1964, Geldof reveals, simply by sneaking into their hotel after one of their gigs in Dublin, Ireland and knocking on their door. “The door answers and there’s this beautiful, 19-year-old boy in a black waist coat and a white shirt and his tie undone,” he says. “It was Paul McCartney.”

McCartney invited them into the room to meet the rest of the band. “They were sitting around one table,” he says. “They were personally answering the stacks of fan mail. George was a bit pissed off with Paul. Ringo just didn’t care, really. Were were numb and Paul was very kind and was like, ‘Do you want us to sign your thing?'”

Elsewhere in the interview, he looks back at the first Boomtown Rats show in October 1975. “A girl out of 30 people in the crowd walked over [at the end] and said she wanted to shag me,” he says. “Now I’d read about this in Protestant England and sort of porn mags, but I didn’t believe that girls just walked over and said they wanted to fuck you. The career choice wasn’t that difficult to make. Excellent drugs, beautiful girls…I was off.”

The Boomtown Rats currently have European dates set for all throughout the summer. “I do really want to play these [new] songs live,” says Geldof, “because that’s when songs are truly completed.”

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