In 2000, Nathan Nicholson left Tennessee, America after the death of his mother, and came to London. The band formed in 2001 through a chance meeting at London’s 12 Bar Club between vocalist Nathan and guitarist Todd. This quickly cemented into a firm friendship which resulted in them living and writing together. College friends Adam and Piers, were soon intrigued, and completed the line-up. All shared common influences, and a passion for epic, escapist music - The Boxer Rebellion was born.
In June 2003, after funding and releasing their own limited edition self-titled EP (The Boxer Rebellion, they bolstered their way onto glastonbury’s New Bands tent, and were soon snapped up by alan mcgee’s Poptones label, who put out first single Watermelon in the same year. Before the enormity of what they were doing had even registered, the Boxers spent months in the studio rehearsing and writing, before disaster struck for Nicholson, and riders and roadies were swapped for a hospital bed and saline drips. A twelve hour operation to remove a life-threatening growth from his stomach was successful. He was lucky. The result was the cancellation of tours with Razorlight and The Killers, among others.
2004 saw the release of singles In Pursuit and Code Red. The band continued pushed forward to release their debut album Exits in 2005 with significant press acclaim from the likes of Kerrang!, the Fly, NME and MusicOMH. Further interest from abroad saw the band playing shows in the latter half of 2005 in France, Italy and Japan with the likes of The Walkmen, before heading back to the UK to consolidate ideas for a second full-length release. The band was signed by major label Universal Music following Exits, who promised worldwide distribution and a free hand in continuing to create records of longevity and substance, that the Boxer Rebellion have in droves.
Instead, the deal proved more of a curse than a blessing, as Universal became reluctant to continue to finance the lengthy gestation of the next record. Financial difficulties led Poptones to drop the Boxer Rebellion in early 2007, with Universal following suit soon after; however, both continued to hold rights to the band’s catalogue and digital distribution. With the record nearly complete and invitations to tour from Editors and others still open, the band began a lengthy fight to get control back over them, which they eventually won in 2008. In January, an unmixed version of future single Evacuate was released on limited vinyl, but it would be a full year before anything approaching a full release was possible, and some of the band moved to Berlin in the same year.
|With the money nearly running out and so a physical self-release impossible, the band entered an exclusive worldwide deal with iTunes to put their new record Union out as well as a re-release of Exits. The album charted highly, reaching #2 on the Alternative chart and #4 on the iTunes UK Top 100, but is currently ineligible for the official UK Top 40 due to the lack of any physical release. The Boxers plan a physical and vinyl release later in the year.
The band subscribe to the perfectionist approach in making records; for TBR it has always been about creating albums that can be listened to from start to finish, that take you on a journey and let you escape the day-to-day mundanity. In the current climate of immediacy, and style over substance, The Boxer Rebellion prove that bands can still make albums that can be listened to long after those hogging the current spotlight have disappeared. The Boxer Rebellion have re-grouped and re-discovered what makes them tick. Recent, packed live performances in London show that TBR have amassed a solid fanbase, and one forgiving of the long waits between releases.