The Skids were band from Dunfermline, Scotland, founded in 1977 by Stuart Adamson (1958 - 2001, guitars / vocals / keyboards / percussion), William Simpson (bass guitar / vocals), Thomas Kellichan (drums) and Richard Jobson (vocals / guitar / keyboards).
They played their first gig on 19th August 1977. It was at the Bellville Hotel in Dunfermline, Scotland. Within six months they had issued "Reasons" on Dunfermline music shop owner, and then manager, Sandy Muir's No Bad record label. The record brought them to the attention of national BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. This led to a local support slot for The Clash. Virgin Records then signed up The Skids in April 1978. Sweet Suburbia and The Saints Are Coming both made commercial inroads, before "Into the Valley" reached the UK Top 10 in early 1979. The band also released their debut album Scared to Dance in 1979. It was recorded at Air Studios in London, England with its production & keyboards by David Batchelor. Adamson walked out towards the end of sessions before all the guitar overdubs were completed, but the album does showcase his unique guitar style which was later to come to prominence in the band Big Country. Session guitarist Chris Jenkins was brought in to complete it. In the meantime Adamson returned to Scotland while the recording was finished. He rejoined to the band for the live concert tour promotion of the album. The record also featured the song The Saints are Coming, it was also later recorded as a charity single by U2 and Green Day.
Despite criticism of Jobson's lyrics as pretentious, the Skids enjoyed a further year of chart success as "Masquerade" and "Working For The Yankee Dollar" reached the Top 20. Both came from their second album, also released in 1979, Days in Europa, with the records production & keyboards by Bill Nelson (Be-Bop Deluxe, Red Noise, Channel Light Vessel and solo artist). Nelson played an import role in polishing the Skids sound and in encouraging the development of Jobson's lyrics. Just before the recording of the album commenced Kellichan left the band, and was temporarily replaced on drums by Rusty Egan (ex-Rich Kids, later with the band Visage, and a New Romantic 1980s dance DJ at the Blitz club). Egan played on the album, and later on the live concert tour. Keyboard player Alistair Moore also temporary joined the band to perform live with them. He had been recruited to play Bill Nelson's keyboard parts from the record. Some of Jobson's lyrics, and the album cover caused controversy. It showed an 'Olympian' being crowned with laurels, by an Aryan-looking woman, and the lettering was in Gothic script. Some[who?] felt that this glorified Nazi ideology and it was presumed that the imagery was copied from the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Germany. After the original version of the album had already been released, Canadian record producer Bruce Fairbairn was brought into the project. The original cover and the track "Pros and the Cons" were removed. The sleeve was completely redesigned and the song "Masquerade" added. The album was also remixed and the tracks re-sequenced. This second version was released in 1980.
Simpson and Egan were replaced by Russell Webb (bass guitar / vocals / keyboards / percussion / guitar) and Mike Baillie (drums / vocals / percussion) respectively for the recording of the third album. The Absolute Game, released in 1980, and produced by Mick Glossop, proved to be the band's most commercial release. It reached the Top 10 album chart and contained the minor hit "Circus Games". A few of the tracks on the album also included a collection of fourteen adult and child backing vocalists, along with a lone didgeridoo player. Initial copies of The Absolute Game came with a free limited edition second album entitled Strength Through Joy, echoing the band's previous controversial themes. Jobson claims to have got the title from Dirk Bogarde's autobiography.
Soon after the release and live concert tour of The Absolute Game, Adamson and Baillie left the band. (Although Adamson did temporarily return to play on one more song from the album Joy, called Iona.) Adamson went on to launch the career of his new band, Big Country, and Baillie moved back to Scotland to live. It left Jobson and Webb, in 1981, to write and record the band's fourth and final album Joy, which Russell Webb also produced. The pair played multiple instruments on the album, and also invited a collection of seventeen musical friends to perform on various tracks with them. The Skids dissolved in 1982, with the album Fanfare posthumously issued by Virgin. It was a mixture of greatest hits and unreleased tracks.
Jobson and Webb then went onto form a new band called The Armoury Show. The group only recorded one album called Waiting for the Floods in 1985 before splitting up. Jobson went onto pursue a solo career as a poet, songwriter, television presenter and most recently a film director. He released albums on the Belgian record label Les Disques du Crepuscule, and the UK's own Parlophone Records.
In 2007 Richard Jobson, William Simpson and Mike Baillie, along with Bruce Watson (guitar / vocals) of Big Country, Jamie Watson (guitar), Brian Jobson (vocals) and Jane Button (vocals), got together to play three gigs. They were to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the group's formation, and as a final tribute to Stuart Adamson, who died in 2001. The shows on 4 July and 5 July were at Dunfermline's Glen Pavilion, where they were supported by Rosyth band The Draymin - outside of which The Skids had previously played only their second gig according to Jobson - and on 7 July, at the T in the Park festival.