Richard Jobson returns to music with Glasgow gig

An Evening Times Article Published on 4 Mar 2010
by Jonathon Geddes
click here for original source article.

Film director Richard Jobson is approaching 50, but he is preparing to return to his first love of music by gigging with his seminal punk band the Skids at the ABC in Glasgow tomorrow.

And he makes it clear he is still driven by the same passions as when he started with the band in 1977.

“In my head, I’m still 16!” he says. “I still have that energy and enthusiasm for doing things without wondering what the response will be. I think when you worry about the response, then you are doomed from the start.”

Richard has always done things his own way, from writing classic punk songs such as Into The Valley and The Saints Are Coming (covered by U2 and Green Day), to a stint as a television presenter on Sky, to directing films in different genres.

He has also recently shot the music video for former Verve singer Richard Ashcroft.

His next project is a film that takes its title from a Skids song, Into The Valley. It will look at the lives of soldiers in Afghanistan, and Richard admits it is the fact he believes the Skids songs still have an impact that has led him to reform the group again.

“It saddens me a bit that the Skids songs are still relevant,” he says.

“I wrote Into The Valley about kids having no prospects for work so the only road available to them was joining the Army. Then, 16 weeks later, they found themselves in Northern Ireland and came back very changed.

“Working For The Yankee Dollar, Charade, Masquerade were all about similar issues, and we are in the same situation again right now.

“A lot of the (Army) people I have spoken to do not think they are going to end up in Southern Afghani­stan, but they are. “So it has gone full circle and I am still singing the songs for a reason.

After breaking up in 1982, the Skids reformed for a few shows in 2007, including T In The Park, and then played a brief set as part of the 2009 Homecoming jamboree.

Had the passion not still been there at Homecoming, Richard is adamant he would have called it a day.

“This still means something to me – I’m not just cranking them out and saying nothing more than ‘isn’t it great to be here’.
“We always felt something in common with the people who came to see us and that was what made it such fun.

“We will be doing a lot of the songs in ways people will not expect – different versions of Valley, of Saints, and we will be using a gospel choir from Glasgow.

“We will be playing an array of different stuff, songs we have not played before.

A lot of these bands from that era just come along and chuck out the songs people vaguely remember, and do the whole greatest hits thing. We hope we can do more than that.”

Certainly, the band’s set at the Homecoming gig was one of the night’s highlights. They were joined that evening by a wide range of Scottish acts, such as Deacon Blue and Hue & Cry.

Richard appears unsure of whether the experience was good or bad.

“Homecoming was odd,” he says. “I tried my best to watch as many of the other acts as I could, but the idea we were on the same stage as Hue & Cry was peculiar to me.

“Given the choice, that is something I would never have taken part in because we are so different.”

He is not exactly blown away by a lot of current musical acts.

“Pop is sludge now. I have always hated Radio 1 because, aside from John Peel, it was awful songs and all that rubbish like Dave Lee Travis DJing.

“Now it claims to be the coolest station in the world – says who?”

While he believes pop is as bad as ever, he does feel music as a whole has shifted, to the extent the public are more willing to listen to all sorts of tunes.

“Music used to be very divisive, whereas nowadays people have very eclectic tastes.

“The background we are from, there were certain lines that you had – if you saw somebody with a Yes album they were the enemy – that is not really the case now.

“That passion and anger is not there, people have much more open ears for music.

“In some ways that is a good thing, but one of the great things about music is that it was a divisive thing, and if somebody had a Wishbone Ash album you knew you hated them.”

The Skids


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