The Skids first ever release epitomised the punk ethic.
Four teenage mates from a small town in the east of Scotland just far enough away from Edinburgh to feel isolated, they feel they have the songs, drive, energy and ambition to take on the world. The problem is, nobody from any record label will travel to Dunfermline – the London ones are completely out of the question and the Scottish ones want to concentrate on the capital and Glasgow. The solution, as advocated in the fanzines of the day, is DIY.
Four teenage mates scrimp and save all they have and get themselves into small studio in Edinburgh in October 1977 where they lay down three self-produced and raw sounding tracks. The tracks are in a fit enough state to go to a printing press to be turned into a 7” EP and so the next step is to form a label to host the subsequent release. The four teenage mates get help from the owner of a music shop owner in their home town who is able to create a new label and call it No Bad Records.
A cheap looking sleeve is designed to house the plastic containing the vinyl. The front of the sleeve has four grainy images from photos that look as if they have been taken in the booth you find in train and bus stations, together with a stylised take on the name of the band – Skids. The reverse lists the three tracks on the vinyl as well as the most basic information about the band members:-
Stuart – Lead
Richard – Vocals
Alexander – Bass
Thomas – Drums
The engineer, Dougie, is credited and thanks are given to Mike Douglas, Clive, Oscar, Conn, Sandy…….(the last-named being the music shop owner)
It also says ‘Released through Aim Enterprises Limited (Dunfermline) 28464’ which could well be a phone number. It was released on 24 February 1978
This is what you heard if you played the vinyl:-
mp3 : The Skids – Charles
mp3 : The Skids – Reasons
mp3 : The Skids – Test-Tube Babies
John Peel heard it and then played it. His listeners liked it a lot and Skids were suddenly on the radar of many in the music industry. It didn’t take too long for them to leave No Bad Records behind as they signed to Virgin Records just two months after the EP had hit the shops. A successful career ensued.
The next release on No Bad Records was in 2017 when The Skids released Burning Cities, their first new album in 36 years. A lot had happened in the intervening period.
The Charles EP is a fine debut. It did exactly what it was designed to do and that was act as the showcase and calling card for Stuart Adamson (19 years and six months old when they went into the studio), Richard Jobson (16 years and a handful of days when they went into studio) and the slightly older Tom Kellichen (23) and Bill Simpson (aka Alexander) (20).
They would record better and more memorable singles, but none quite as important.