The Skids by IAN CRANNA

The Skids An introduction by IAN CRANNA

Time, 11.45am on a undistinguished grey Tuesday morning, winds light to variable. Place, Dunfermline, an unremarkable Fife mining town of some 50,000 souls, previous musical honour role, Nazareth, Barbara Dickson, Cado Belle's guitarist Alan Darby, Fay Fife of the Rezillos......and now THE SKIDS.

Stuart Adamson (20) guitar, writes all the music, cheerful wisecracker.
Richard Jobson (18), fast moving frontman, singer and lyric writer, the youngest and most talkative.
Bill Simpson (21) bassist, down to earth, laconic type. Tom Kellichan (24) drums.
Like most drummers, not given to eloquent discourse and prefers hitting things instead.

As The Skids, they've been together for just over a year now, having their origins in a long forgotten band called Tattoo which included Stuart and Bill.

It was pretty much unrelated to what they are doing now, they played Quo, Bowie etc, round the dance halls of northen Scotland. Latterly, however, the pair had been messing around in a pub in Cowdenbeath with six or seven of Stuart's songs and inevitably decided to form their own band.

A mutual friend told them about Richard, previously unattached, who was looking for a band to sing with. Richard made an immediate impression, he got thrown out of the introductory party at Stuart's house for being vicious!

A week later, however, more peaceful negotiations resulted in Richard being taken aboard.

The trio then advertised for a drummer which eventually resulted in Tom, previous experience playing what he calls 'me-oh, my-oh music in dance bands' completing the line up.

Like most bands in the summer of '77, The Skids started out as a punk band and will cheerfully admit to stealing everything from the early English bands, image, attitude, the lot, except (and its a big except) the music.
The punk mantle never did fit them well.

Mostly The Skids had jobs, they weren't bored, and ramalamadolequeue never was their musical line.
Moreover, they were never afraid to experiment, and their moody and atmospheric 'Scared to Dance' (featuring some fine controlled guitar work by Stuart) was a splendid contrast to most of the two minute blitzes that were going down at the time.

The Skids were new alright, but they were different aswell.

In due course came the 'Charles' EP, a three track collection of Stuart's songs which proved to be a Lightning Alternative Chart topper, and an impressive demo of what was to come.

A short tour of London was to follow, after which Virgin moved in and closed the deal.

Together, The Skids are typical Fife youth, reserved in company until they suss the stranger, reluctant to open up and given only to short definitive opinions to guard against hte bravado jibes from their pals until, of course they demonstrate their national weakness for alcohol when they become more, erm, extrovert.

This band's lyrics are distinctly different. Richard's mainman is Television's Tom Verlaine, with Leonard Cohen and Steve Harley both right in there too.

Stuart goes in for shorter, sharper songs. Nils Lofgren, Leonard Cohen again, and Lenny Bruce are his favourite people.

Take the inventive flair from the lyrical style of these gents, add a sharp dash of observant humour, and mix it all in with Stuart's amazing riffs and you've got something like the essence of The Skids.

The band as a whole are also into Bebop Deluxe and their sense of warmth and humour is renowned, take a listen to fans favourite 'TV Stars', for instance, which is nothing more than the names of 'Crossroads' and 'Coronation Street' characters chanted over an old riff!

It can be a tricky business, trying to pin these Skids chappies down. One thing they're unanimous about is that they do not want to be stuck with an image.

With an image you have to take a direction, and that's just what they don't want to do.

One criticism of their appearance at the Edinburgh Stiff Test was that their set was the most unbalanced of the night.

Ever eager to move on, The Skids loved that one! Here's one band that certainly won't be following a plotted path to ifinity, take a bow, Skids.

'To Skid', according to my dictionary, means to 'slide forwards or backwards or sideways'. I couldn't have put it better myself.

That's the beauty of The Skids, always on the move but theres no telling where they'll go next. Catchy tunes, rocking verve, vivid imagery, dance music, what more do you want? Choose another band to The Skids and you'll get the band you deserve..IAN CRANNA


the_skids | March 17, 2010 at 6:58 PM

very interesting :)

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