Formed: Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK
Liverpool's best punk band - not that there were many - the brilliantly named (by Wayne County) Spitfire Boys (actually formed as The Blackmailers) predated Big In Japan by a matter of months and came from St Helens, on the outskirts of the city.
The lineup famously featured Maggot a.k.a. Paul Rutherford (Frankie Goes To Hollywood) on vocals and Budgie on drums (back when he called himself Blister). They were popular at Liverpool's premier punk venue Eric's, but like so many bands at the time they never made an album and so their recorded legacy is limited to a couple of singles, only one of which really cuts the mustard. Yep, the first was a great one: British Refugee is mid-speed shouty third division punk (not a bad thing) and opens with a great couplet: "He came from Northern Ireland with anger in his heart/Just lost his family in a gelignite fart ". The B-Side is even better, an 80-second blast reveling in dodgy punk imagery (Hitler, WW2, Nazis etc). Unusually the record did not come in a picture sleeve although it was opportunistically reissued with one in the 80s, after Frankie Goes To Hollywood had achieved worldwide fame with 'Relax'.
The group split in late 1977, with guitarist David Littler going on to form The Photons, the lineup of which included Vince Ely (pre-Psychedelic Furs) on drums and, at one time, Steve Strange on vocals. By mid-1979 Littler had recruited three members of the unheralded Nylonz as his new backing band and resurrected the name Spitfire Boys for Funtime. The result was more new wave than punk, had horrible vocals, and nobody was very much interested.
Pete Wylie (of Wah!) was also briefly a Spitfire Boy, as were: Peter Clarke (Yachts/Nova Mob), Mike Rigby (lead vocalist briefly before Rutherford), and Peter Griffiths (Nova Mob).
Singles / Albums
Punk Diary 1970-1979 US CD 1994 (no label): Pre-Siouxsie Budgie [interview]
North By North West - Departure 1976 Arrival 1984 UK 2xCD 2006 (Korova): British Refugee
Bloodstains Across Europe LP/CD 1996 (Bloodstains): British Refugee / Mein Kampf
PUNK 77 - Lots of good shit here, folks
BORED TEENAGERS - Extensive band bio and great photos
BOMBSITE - Bombsite Fanzine 1977; Spitfire Boys