Latest News from The Skids
|Posted on September 28, 2021 at 2:55 PM|
In the past few years The Skids have toured constantly to ecstatic audiences, sold out London's Albert Hall, and even hit the top 30 in the UK National Chart.
They have released two albums whilst Richard himself has written 2 fictional books and toured solo in the UK.
Martin's band the Filthy Tongues have had major praise for their two dark & dystopian LPs Back To Hell & Jacob's Ladder and has collaborated in various other musical guises, but the surprise of 2019 must have been the reunion of his big 1980's band Goodbye Mr Mackenzie who also toured to ecstatic crowds culminating in a sold out Glasgow Barrowland show in December 2019.
Martin also paints exhibits & has had a book of his artwork released.
Richard & Martin will perform some unplugged songs from the Skids & Metcalfe's back catalogue plus a few of their co-writes from the recent UK top 30 Skids LP 'Burning Cities' & The acoustic Skids LP 'Peaceful Times'.
Don't miss this unusual and enthralling performance.
Parking is limited at The Aurrie, please use the nearby public car parks @ The Temple @ Station Park.
You will be required to wear face masks, and check in to the venue prior to entry.
Doors open 7pm for 7.30pm
|Posted on September 23, 2021 at 12:55 PM|
|Posted on September 20, 2021 at 2:10 PM|
|Posted on August 14, 2021 at 2:30 PM|
"Songs from a Haunted Ballroom" themed merchandise is now available to buy :
- Limited Edition signed A3 print
- Teeshirt with album artwork
- Glass Coaster
Get yours now
|Posted on August 14, 2021 at 2:25 PM|
To celebrate the return of live music and the exhibition for our brand new book, we will play a special intimate full electric gig in PJ Molloys in August 27th.
Tickets available now: https://www.ticketweb.uk/.../the-skids-pj.../11289975
|Posted on August 8, 2021 at 6:15 AM|
SKIDS fans should step into the Fire Station Creative this week for an upcoming exhibition.
Richard Jobson, the frontman of the legendary Dunfermline band, has written a book on the story of the Skids and has collaborated with Dunfermline-raised illustrator Jonny Hannah.
Hannah is looking forward to getting his "messy painting jacket" on for a display of illustrations which will feature in the book and his artwork will go on show in Dunfermline next week ahead of the books' release later in the month.
Speaking ahead of the show, entitled Betrothed and Divine (the second line in Skids classic Into the Valley), at the contemporary arts hub, Hannah said: "I'm really excited about it all. A collaboration with another Fifer, using his words as inspiration.
"I'm going to have to do some of it in situ, so I'm looking forward to getting my messy painting jacket on and getting to work.”
Hannah, who now lives in Southampton, has worked with Jobson before, and both maintain a strong connection to the town having previously taken part in a group show together.
“If you grew up in Dunfermline and didn’t listen to the Skids, that would be quite unusual," Hannah remarked.
"I’m drawing pictures to accompany my favourite songs. It’s bliss."
Jobson's book, The Story of the Skids, will launch at the same venue on Thursday, August 19, and he is delighted to be working with Hannah once more.
He describes the collaboration as a "fresh pair of eyes to the story of the Skids," and added: "I love Jonny’s work, he has a strong musical influence in his unique take on life.
"The anecdotal approach (to the book) is new and suits Jonny’s style.
"I think people will see both the fun and serious side of the band.”
The exhibition will run from August 5-29 and entry is free.
The gallery is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.
|Posted on July 28, 2021 at 7:45 PM|
|Posted on June 17, 2021 at 11:10 AM|
As a kid, before I discovered punk, one of the ballsiest bands I ever discovered was Nazareth.
Years later when punk broke into my life it came as no surprise that another of such kicks to my rock and roll bollocks came from another band from the same Scottish township of Dunfermline.
So here now many eons later I sit working for the Loonie dollar and though I’m not scared to dance. I find myself a bit giddy as a young fan boy beginning this interview with Mr. Richard Jobson, vocalist, lyricist, and founding member of the Skids.
Billy Hopeless: First of thank you for this honor and privilege. I remember first hearing and seeing the Skids perform Into The Valley when I was a young lad on a local cable access punk T.V. show and have been a fan ever since. But enough idle worship, let’s get moving. Since you first put the pedal down in 1977 you’ve put on the breaks a few times but keep coming back and making new skids. What keeps you skidding ?
Richard Jobson: First of all, thank you for the kind words. It means a lot! The music and words still feel relevant and the energy makes me feel 16 years old again. Most importantly it’s great to meet and communicate with people from different backgrounds and share something we all love: Music!!
BH: And with these starts and stops you’ve had a few understandable blow outs and tire changes in the bands roster so who’s in the lineup now and where did you pick them up?
RJ: The band is made up of original member Bill Simpson on bass and the Watsons from BC on
guitars. They were both big Skids fans and have brought a freshness to the sound that I could never have dreamed of. It also means I don’t have to play guitar and leaves me free to jump about- some people call it dancing but I would never dare.
BH: BC? I’m from BC too. Oh you mean Big Country, of course... So I’m told via this age of modern technology known as the internet that you have a new album of cover songs on the way. Considering you’ve been covered by the likes of U2 and Green Day, it makes me wonder if you’ll cover either of them? Why did you decide to do an album of covers instead of writing a new album and what classics are you putting your own personal skid marks on?
RJ: We are working on a new album of original material but during the Covid crisis we wanted to do something that reminded us of how much our past history in Dunfermline was dangerous but fun. New material is on its way. I’m writing with the Watsons, Hugh Cornwall, Martin Metcalfe and Youth. The covers album is an eclectic mix of punk and beyond. Songs that meant something to us inthe context of our home town.
BH: Wow! Hugh Cornwall that’s Skin Deep indeed. Speaking of influential bands you’ve got some first place upcoming dates with some pretty big names. You’re opening for The Damned, heading a huge roster at Scarborough Punk Festival ( 999, Peter and the Test Tube Babies, The Vibrators, Menace and so forth ) as well as a few dates with yer departed and sorely missed bandmate Stuart’s band Big Country. Do you still get a kick out of playinglive? And if you could share a stage with any artist alive or deadwho would yer bucket list double bill be?
RJ: I love playing live. It’s where it all comes together and has real meaning for me. I love sharing stories and having a laugh with the audience.
We played with most of the great Punk bands but would have lovedto have shared the stage with Iggy. He is still my great hero!! He introduced us on his radio show recently as being a cool band from LA which was very funny!
BH: Now I’m not going to bring up the past controversy the Skids endured back in the 80’s but as in this modern world we have thing the new generation have called cancel culture going on.
As someone who went through the same sort of thing before it was fresh and ground breaking mainstream. Tell us your opinion on censorship versus artistic freedom or in today’s market “cancel culture”.
RJ: People should be allowed to express themselves as long as it does no harm to anyone. I don’t mean over sensitive bullshit but real harm like racism, sexism, and homophobia.
BH: Oh, shit I did just bring up your past controversy ever so slightly and with respect and grace didn’t I ? Well while the inquisition is google searching the bands history let me dance on the eggshells of time a bit more. It was during this situation I understand that British Columbia’s (hopefully they haven’t changed the provincial name before this comes out) own producer extraordinaire Bruce Fairburn was brought in as part of the clean-up crew. What do you remember of working with Sir Bruce of Fairburn?
RJ: Virgin Records didn’t like the Bill Nelson mix of Days in Europa. Bruce stepped in and did a fine job highlighting the guitar work of Stuart Adamson. The two mixes were always available. Some critics accused me of Nazi Fetishism because of the original sleeve. The same critics who loved JOY DIVISION and NEW ORDER!. The original album was never withdrawn because of the artwork.
That’s a myth. I was living in Berlin at the time and found an old poster in a flea market which we used. The album was originally going to be called The Olympian. I changed it to Days in Europa because I used to wait for my German girlfriend every day after work in Berlin at The Europa Centre where she worked.
BH: Sorry you had to bring that up again. Well, I’m sure that’s all-troubled water under the bridge now as Paul Simon says so let’s stay current. From my own bands personal experience this whole Covid spill happened with no warning. It was all smooth sailing and then whammo stuck I’m the muck. How have you been coping with the shit situation and have you been keeping yourself musically occupied ?
RJ: I’ve been writing lots. Finished two new books and the new Skids album Songs from a Haunted Ballroom. I move between the UK and Berlin and have been stuck in England during the pandemic.
The country is undergoing a massive political and cultural transformation, and it’s not good. Our politicians are lying bastards yet the Englishpublic love them. It’s terrible.
BH: I still haven’t found an honest politician and don’t think they exist. Thank God for the modern advancements, couldn’t imagine going through this without the computer phone. Speaking of which, once again via the interweb I keep seeing these posts saying vinyl is outselling digital music.
Since we both come from when the only choices of obtaining music were in physical forms such as the vinyl record and I see your albums are all out in vinyl past and present. Tell us do you still spin the sounds on a turntable or have you got down to the loaded files ?
RJ : I love vinyl. The amazing sleeves that we grew up with from different bands defined a new kind of graphic art. Especially punk.
BH: Especially Punk that’s a great album title. Well thank you again for your time tolerance and music. This brings us to the traditional reader email in question. Today’s question comes from little Steven Vincent of Scotland
Rocks Radio who writes: Hi Richard, did you ever think when you played that first ever gig at the Bellville Hotel that you would have themusical legacy you have now ?
RJ: Hi Steven. I’m surprised to still be alive and doing things. I have had the condition of epilepsy since childhood and I always thought I would never make it past 20. Each night on stage I treated it like it might be the last. That’s still the case today which for me at least makes each Skidsgig unique and full of unbridled joy!
Well kids, there ya have it, we’ve skidded out of room in this month’s column. So until the next case of hoplessness let me tell you this...After our conversation those swell people at Cleopatra Records sent me a play copy of the new Skids Cover album and it rules from the first ripping run from Ultravox’s Young Savage till the closing number. Not only do they do great classics by bands such as The Clash and The Adverts justice but they burn em with the eternal flamethrower of punk rock like a newly born bunch of anarchist arsonists!
So Good to hear a band that was there back in the birth nowhere ready to retire but screaming open
|Posted on June 17, 2021 at 10:50 AM|
I first saw The Skids play in Liverpool in 1978 and most recently on their last extended Fortieth Anniversary Tour in 2016. Boasting a set full of updated original material, lead singer Richard Jobson still dances every bit as energetically and communicated with the worshipping crowd with the same enthusiasm as he did in the New Wave era.
Pennyblack spoke to him about the new Skids covers album, ‘Songs from A Haunted Ballroom’. The disc essays several punk classics but also delves bravely into some unexpected anthems such as their reinvention of early 1970s David Essex classic ‘Rock On’. We also asked Richard about Scottish gang culture, hooking up with Legs & Co after ‘Top of the Pops’ babysitting for Sting, chilling with Ian Curtis and why the ghost of ‘Coronation Street’ icons Albert Tatlock and Ena Sharples can never leave him.
PB: Hi Richard, are you well?
RJ: Yes, thank you. Are you?
PB: Great thanks. Before we start, I just want to get out the way the fact that I don’t want you to think I’m some kind of new young Millennial reporter who has just left journo school. I first saw you at Eric’s in Liverpool on the 8th November 1978 followed by the 9th June 1979.
RJ: That was when we played with The Gang of Four? I remember because with Eric’s we played in the afternoon and the evening.
PB: That’s right yeas. The afternoon for the kids and the evening for the big boys.
RJ: Yes, The Skids did that pretty much every gig, I think, because I was so young and a lot of the venues we played I would not have been legally able to go to. So, I demanded matinees, which we didn’t really like very much, but we did it everywhere and all over the UK. Next, we did a tour called “Skids for Kids” where we turned up at schools in the back of an old van. It was just great fun, turning up at some school on the back of a lorry after they had seen you on ‘Top of the Pops’ the night before. It left a fairly indelible imprint on my mind.
PB: How did you do your dance on the back of a lorry?
RJ: There’s always a way, there’s always a way.
PB: Well, it must have been a big lorry then.
RJ: (Laughs) I think they were called flatbacks or something.
PB: They had a very lumpy floor though not conducive to doing a “Jobbo Dance” I don’t think. (Jobson rivals his contemporary Andy McClusky for gloriously unselfconscious stage movements – Dance Ed)
RJ: It’s very nice of you to call it dancing! Actually, I have just finished a new song, and opening line is “I can’t dance, I can’t sing, I can’t do anything but what the hell…” So, there you go.
PB: (Laughs) I have j1ust been listening to the new soon to be released Skids album, “Songs From A Haunted Ballroom”. I’d like to talk to you about that. It is the first ever Skids cover album – what was the inspiration behind doing that?
RJ Well, the Skids always did covers when they payed live, I don’t know if you remember even when you see us at Eric’s we did ‘Violence’ by Mott the Hoople, sometimes we did ‘Janie Jones’ by The Clash, often a medley of songs. Every night we changed it at the sound check just to make it more fun for us.
We would learn another song that we loved and then just play it that night in the set, and it was not always punk bands it was often obscure stuff, something The Skids always did! Even on the recent tours we did a medley in the middle of the set, Buzzcocks and the Pistols mixed up with a whole array of different things. Sometimes there would be a couple of Stranglers songs like “Hanging Around” or “No More Heroes”.
PB: I remember that from the fortieth anniversary tour a couple of years ago.
RJ: Yeah, we have always done it. I don’t live in Scotland anymore, but I have been going back to Dunfermline a lot because the other guys I work with all live there and there is the place that really made us, the Kinema Ballroom, which was this legendary venue in the east of Scotland – it was like the Barrowlands of the East and everybody played there. David Bowie played there, Roxy Music played there, I think even Led Zeppelin played there.
Because that was our nest and that was our epicentre, we encouraged all the cool bands to come. We managed to convince The Clash to come and play, Richard Hell and the Voidoids and the Banshees. I mean it was pretty cool, we persuaded loads and loads of bands to come. I mean obviously the deal was that we would be opening act, so we got to play with them all.
My memory of Punk was always like it was never a competition between the bands; it was much more of camaraderie.
PB: A kind of Co-operative, yes.
RJ: We were local so were, in a sense. Kind of the headline act. The Clash were always very cool about that kind of thing, but Buzzcocks were sometimes a bit sniffy. I don’t know what that was about.
PB: So, the Kinema was your spiritual home in many ways?
RJ: t is yeah, absolutely. They allowed us to have our own club there on the Thursday night, so we got to take over the music and we got to play there and it was a pretty cool environment. We had to put up with other musicians who were a bit older.
AT: Everyone was older than you weren’t they, back then?
RJ: Ha, yeah, because they had to go to bed early so took over and it was great. We got to play the new music that coming out say, ‘Marquee Moon’ by Television or ‘Radio Ethiopia’ by Patti Smith or the new Magazine album. It was our own special little environment and as I said, through our contacts we encouraged a lot of the big punk bands to come and play there because we got friendly with them all and said, “You’ve got to come and play at this amazing venue”.
I remember Joe Strummer saying to me “But nobody will come and see us” and I said, “You’re kidding they will sell out in ten minutes”. And it sold out in ten minutes! I remember Joe coming to see us, because we opened his show, and we weren’t very good at that point, so we were trying our best and Joe and Mick Jones were standing and watching us, and they were so appreciative of the fact that we had encouraged them to come. I’ve got so many friendships from that year. I have just been writing songs with (former Stranglers frontman, now solo act) Hugh Cornwell for example for the new Skids album, so these people are still my friends, the ones who are still alive anyway.
PB: I have been though the album and there are obviously some great classics from Ultravox and The Clash but there are a few surprises that reinvent my youth and I want to talk to you about one of those. The greatest, but least appreciated, song of the 1970s, ‘Rock On’ by David Essex. Why choose that?
RJ: In the Kinema, on a Friday and a Saturday it became a different kind of place, it was like a disco, for want of a better term, but it was also a very working class area where we lived and lots of surrounding villages were mining villages, or full of dockers. They were tough guys, and all of these different areas had their own gang that identified with the area. There was one particular gang, from Dunfermline, called the ‘AV Toy’ and they were notorious all over Scotland. They were really pretty nasty and ‘Rock On’ was there theme song.
You always knew to keep clear when ‘Rock On’ came on. That was the signal that some shit was going to happen because they would go to the DJ and tell him to play ‘Rock On’ and the DJ would always do what they told him. That meant there was going to be some massive confrontation. We always went upstairs to watch because we were just kids. When we were talking about the songs we wanted on the album, I said, ‘Rock On’ and I expected the other guys to go “You’ve got to be kidding”. They all went “Of course, I love that song” and I was like, “So do I”. It’s a brilliant song and David Essex, unfortunately, was so good looking it got in the way of his songs.
PB: He was competing with David Cassidy then, wasn’t he?
RJ: Indeed, and he was obviously much more talented than David Cassidy, but they sold him as a kind of teeny bop pop star. He was more than that because he a good actor – ‘That’ll be the Day’ and ‘Stardust’ of course are really good films. I saw him once at (New Romantic hotspot) Blitz Club in London and was having a chat with him. I said to him, “Rock On was like a notorious gang song in Scotland” and he went “No Way” I’m like “Yeah” and he said, “I can understand that it’s got a kind of seething underbelly to it”. I went “Yeah, exactly”. The arrangement is weird.
PB: Talking about The Blitz I was speaking, last week, to your one-time drummer and Blitz impresario Rusty Egan.
RJ: Well of course it was Rusty who took me to The Blitz because I used to hang out with him, and I lived in a flat in Notting Hill with him. They were these bedsits. We lived above Sting who was with his first wife Francis Tomelty who was a Shakespearean actress. I was his babysitter sometimes!
PB: There are some stories there I bet?
RJ: My God, the things I saw in that flat, bloody hell! It was my education to London really, but those stories will die with me! Rusty drove me mad but he was an influence on the band because he had a sense what was coming. I didn’t really like the New Romantic thing, but I knew the music had to evolve so he was good with that and had a great sense of what music was about to happen.
PB: You’ve done a couple of your own megahits on the album, like “The Saints are Coming” and “Into the Valley” but where is Albert Tatlock?
RJ: (Laughs) Well I don’t think you could ever record another version of that song that would beat the original live version, from the Marquee in London. It is a song that been a bit like the white elephant in the room with the band. Sometimes you walk on the stage, and you’ve just done this new album full of quite interesting songs and suddenly people are shouting “Albert Tatlock!” and your heart just fucking sinks! But that’s why we decided, “Let’s just do it”. So, we do it, and its great fun and then we go into a medley of cover versions.
PB: Do you ever get away with not playing it?
RJ: No, no there’s no point, there’s absolutely no point now. I think it’s something that Skids fans have go indelibly printed in their DNA. I guess they just want it, so I appreciate that. We do it, but we do in the way that I want to do it. I’ve updated the people in the lyrics and the song now starts with, “Boris Johnson is a wanker”.
PB: That’s fair enough.
RJ: One of our greatest moments ever was when I who visited the corner shop in ‘Coronation Street’ on the tour and they had a radio on, and they were playing “Into the Valley” in the background. I couldn’t believe it; we were so excited. I never got to meet Ena Sharples though. Or Minnie Cauldwell
PB: Ena Sharples (actress Violet Carson - 70s Soap Ed) lived next door the school I went to in Blackpool, so I did meet her once.
RJ: Was she exactly like the character? Actually I heard she was quite posh?
PB: She was very posh. She didn’t speak anything like she spoke on The Street. She was a very nice old lady and liked all the kids. Talking about ‘Top of the Pop’s, when you did ‘Into the Valley’ on there, it was seminal moment. Do you actually remember doing that or do you have to look at YouTube to recall it? did?
RJ: No, I think about it so many times and I remember that particularly well. I don’t know if you know but I've got a health condition, I’m epileptic and I was being sick when we got to the BBC. I was really, really bad and I could feel the coming of seizure and so we didn’t rehearse because I was too sick. The other members of the band kind of stood in for me but I didn’t rehearse and then Stuart (Adamson, guitarist) said to me, “Listen we don’t have to do this, let’s not bother doing it” and I said, “No let’s just do it, let’s just go for it get it over and done with”. We said to the people at the BBC whatever happens we are only doing one take and that’s it, if you don’t get it, you can just drop us because I was not well. So, we did it and I think it was just a combination of feeling really low and suddenly the adrenalin kicked in and plus the fact (dance troupe) Legs & Co, were watching us so I was thinking, “Holy fuck, let’s go for this!” and we did. So, one take, a bit of insanity!
PB: Did you manage to hook up with any of Legs & Co. afterwards?
RJ: Indeed, but that will remain part of my private story. A gentleman never tells!
PB: Talking about Jobbo Dancing, how on earth do you keep it up for ninety minutes? I mean, you’re not quite as young as you were in ’78, and you’re still doing it now. What is the secret?
RJ: Well, as I said, I have a health condition which doesn’t unfortunately ever go away. I’ve had to lead a life that’s not as rock and roll as I would probably have liked to have lived. When I was young, I was never a big boozer, and I certainly never took any recreational drugs. If you have to take prescribed drugs you certainly aren’t going to take any recreational ones. The thing that held me back is the thing that held me together and kept me in good shape and it’s a kind of strange, isn’t it? The irony of it.
PB: Don’t you do a lot of rowing to keep fit?
RJ: I do, that’s right, yeah. There is a classic TV interview where I was being interviewed on some ITV programme where the female journalist said to me “You were a bit troublesome in your youth weren’t you, you were in a lot of trouble with gangs and stuff?” I said, "Yeah I was” and she carried on, “What stopped you?” and I told her “Music, and I found a different kind of gang with the guys in the band. It was just fantastic, and I left all that terrible violence behind”. Then she said, “But you liked a bit of row. I don’t understand because in your list of things that you do as hobbies, it says that you’re still rowing. I said I think you’ll find that it’s rowing, although I suppose its spelt the same!”
PB: What a muppet! Changing tack, you weren’t from a posh school or a posh town, you certainly didn’t come from any privileged background. How come right from the beginning you have been writing intelligent, artsy even classical lyrics?
RJ: I think there are a lot of people who would disagree with you about that, but if you look back into the health thing, I was telling you about, when you have that particular condition, you spend a lot of time on your own. I think other kids might be a bit freaked out by it. I spent a lot of time in the library on my own, the Carnegie Library in Dunfermline which was bestowed at the time by Andrew Carnegie and it’s a pretty amazing library and museum. I spent a lot of time in there just reading books and my oldest brother was big influence on the kind of things that I read. A mixture of Science Fiction and classics. I didn’t quite understand but I got a sense that they were something really important going on in them and it really all came from living in that library. Of course, if you liked certain artists like say, David Bowie or Lou Reed or something then they are always talking about literary influences and suddenly Bowie is talking about somebody called William Burroughs and you’re thinking, “Who the hell is that?” And then you go and find a book by him in the library, and you go, “I really don’t understand this but it’s pretty amazing and strange” and it’s by default really. The kind of things that you’re into start to seep into your world and have this influence on you.
Science fiction was the thing for me as a kid though, I loved the sense of another world and the writers that I really liked were in retrospect the ones who applied sci-fi to the real world, like ‘1984’ by Orwell. He’s not a Science Fiction writer but of course ‘1984’ was within that genre, so it’s that kind of stuff that really influenced me and made me a bit braver. Again, the artists that I liked from Lou Reed to Bowie to even Patti Smith, had a huge influence on me. Some people thought I was pretentious, and I never did. I was always very proud of my work and then you meet other people who were lyricists like Ian Curtis. He was a friend of mine who had similar health issues.
PB: He was a big Williams Burroughs fan, wasn’t he?
RJ: He was, we got on really well. He had a girlfriend Annik Honore from Brussels. She was a music journalist that I knew, and she introduced me to Ian. The first time I met him, he was in a band called Warsaw and they played with The Skids at Rotters in Manchester. He was a bit standoffish at first, but I got on really well with him and Hooky. They were terrible by the way, absolutely rubbish, really crap. The next time I hung out with him was when I went to see him play in a cinema in Berlin. I was living there at the time, I think it was around January 1980, something like that. It was just a couple of months before he died, and he wasn’t in good shape. I mean it was a terrible gig, the sound was awful, but he was amazing, an absolutely incredible dancer and front man, not that he spoke to the audience. We were very different people, obviously I liked to communicate, and I don’t hide behind the songs. We just had a different way of doing things.
PB: One thing I do want to clear up, about The Skids, is the question of the ‘Days In Europa’ album cover. It was changed shortly after release and rumour had it, which I’m sure is completely rubbish, is that it was due to the Aryan, Hitler Youth undertones.
RJ: That is rubbish. When we finished recording the album, I went to Berlin with my girlfriend Caroline. She was from the city, we lived in a flat in a place called Kreuzberg in the Southern Eastern section of the West of Berlin. We were going to call the album ‘The Olympian’, at that point in time and that was the sleeve we agreed on which makes perfect sense of course. I used to pick her up from work at a place called The Europa Centre. That is where the title came from. So, I got in touch with the band again and said now we’ve got to change the title to ‘Days in Europa’ and that’s what at happened.
Then Virgin really didn’t like the mix that Bill Nelson did. They thought it was too heavy on synthesizers and it was a bit flat, and it didn’t have any of the dynamic that they associated with The Skids, so they got somebody else in to do a remix. We were pretty pissed off, so I said, “Yeah, you release the other album but the first one still has to exist”. So, it was a complete myth about the Hitler shit. The two albums have existed at the same time, and you can get the new remix version with the new sleeve, which I might add still has the old sleeve on it if you look. The imagery for that, I found in a flea market in Kreuzberg on an old magazine, which of course was probably from the ’36 Olympics and which will always be regarded as the Hitler Olympics. Some music journalists were curious as to what the hell I was doing, was I playing with some kind of fetish with fascism or whatever, which is completely ridiculous because Skids were always working class.
Why the hell were they asking me questions about that for and not asking Joy Division? And then Joy Division became New Order, and you’re thinking “Holy fuck”. Did you know the booking agent for Joy Division at the time was called Final Solution? I mean it just gets worse and nobody ever questions these things. We used a sleeve that was also part of the graphic quality of punk and of course the irreverence of Punk. Now you would never touch that imagery with a barge pole, but if you apply it to the time, the period, the punk mentality, and, the graphics and the irreverence and me living in Berlin then it makes perfect sense.
PB: I wonder what they made of ‘Holiday in the Sun’ and the single cover for that?
RJ: Well exactly, (infamous Sex Pistols obscurity) ‘Belsen Was A Gas’, for fuck’s sake. That’s truly appalling, I mean Siouxsie was wearing swastikas for Christ’s sake and no one mentions these things. When I went to see Joy Division in Berlin it wasn’t very well attended, and they were already regarded as the coolest new band in the whole scene. They were playing to quite big crowds in the UK by then and I was thinking, “Why isn’t anybody here?” and my girlfriend said, “It’s the name”. In Berlin they were anti that kind of Nazi fetish thing. It was too close to home for them. It was the right band with the wrong name, at that moment in time. Strange, isn’t it?
PB: It is. I’m conscious of the time and I know you’re a busy man so a quick one to finish up with. You were a rebellious teenager from the outskirts of Scotland, how did you get started in music in the first place?
RJ: I think for me music and words were all I had really and if I hadn’t found the band then I dread to think what would have happened to me. It would not have been good. I loved music and I just felt fearless, because I had nothing to lose. I didn’t expect to be alive by 21 anyway so it didn’t matter or me. It has to do with the fact that I was fearless because I was absolutely convinced because of epilepsy that I wouldn’t be around for long anyway and I just felt, “Fuck it, enjoy every minute of it”. So, the idea when they said to me, “You know you’re not a very good singer, but you’d be a good frontman for this we’re band starting up. I thought, “Yeah exactly right I agree, I’m a terrible singer but I’ll certainly be able to do the frontman stuff because I love that, and I actually still do, I really do love it”.
PB: Thank you.
|Posted on June 17, 2021 at 10:45 AM|
Maybe we'll break a myth, but let's face it: Punks can be nostalgic too! Let's take as proof “Songs From A Haunted Ballroom” , the new album by the cult Scottish Punk Rock gang Skids . It's hard to get more melancholy than this collection of titles paying homage to the Kinema Ballroom in Dunfermline, the local concert hall which gave the members of the group their first musical emotions.
Formed in 1977 in the Kingdom Of Fife region of Scotland, Skids (NDR: sometimes called “ The Skids ”) raged through the British Punk Rock / New Wave scene with varying degrees of success before throwing in the towel in 1982. During this period the group recorded four studio albums. One of them ( “The Absolute Game”, 1980 ) even reached the top 10 for UK album sales at the time of its release. The group reunited briefly in 2007 and 2010 to give concerts. He officially reformed in 2016 and released two albums ( “ Burning Cities “, 2018 and “Peaceful Times”, 2019 )since. Released in early June 2021 on the Californian label Cleopatra Records, “Songs From A Haunted Ballroom” is therefore the third release of the Resurrected Skids.
As the group explains in their album libretto, the Kinema Ballroom was a nightclub that from time to time turned into a concert hall. After having been the den of catatonic hippies for a while, the venue had the good idea to give voice to the gangs of the brand new Punk scene. The Skids had attended the sulphurous performances of the biggest groups of the genre. They had also played there at the opening of The Clash .
To remember this time that they consider to be blessed, the Skids offer us an album of covers of groups they have seen perform at the Kinema Ballroom. There are therefore covers of The Clash , The Adverts , Ultravox , Sex Pistols and Magazine . The group completes the album with songs borrowed from the repertoires of artists who have influenced their style, including The Stooges , Mott The Hoople , David Essex , Nick Lowe and many more. The end of the album is devoted to some new versions (rather well put together) of his personal hits:“Into The Valley” and “The Saints Are Coming!”.
“Songs From A Haunted Ballroom” is therefore a pleasant and rather successful album. A little too much maybe. Because if we can blame him for one thing, it is precisely, for having been recorded with love and passion for a bygone era, rather than with the healthy anger which, at the time, brought the punk movement to the side. dangerous which made it successful. A Punk Rock more quite Punk, therefore, but still intensely Rock.