Formed in Dunfermline in 1977, Skids enjoyed a number of hits, notably Into The Valley, before guitarist Stuart Adamson quit to form Big Country. Continuing with frontman Richard Jobson at the helm, they lasted until 1982, then reunited briefly to celebrate their 30th anniversary. Adamson took his own life in 2001. Now Jobson explains why the band are reuniting once again.
Reviving Skids must generate a whole gamut of emotions?
Like the thirtieth anniversary, this was intended as quite small, but suddenly we received offers to tour, which hadn’t crossed my mind. I didn’t want to be part of the nostalgia trail, so we’ve made a new record. Youth from Killing Joke got in touch and offered to produce and help to write some songs. With Burning Cities we’ve made something that’s fresh and contemporary but still reflects the band’s era.
At the age of sixteen you met Stuart Adamson and co-wrote the band’s hits. Were they the best days of your life?
No, though they were the beginning of a journey. I suffer from epilepsy, and of the Skids, everybody expected me to be dead by the time I was twenty-two. So in some ways my story is a triumph over adversity.
You insist that in spite of what’s been written in the past, your relationship with Stuart was mostly very good.
It really was. He was an incredibly talented musician and I wasn’t, but we connected in many different ways. Stuart was a thoroughly decent guy, and I respect his phenomenal success with Big Country because I couldn’t do that with my next band, The Armoury Show.
Where were you when you heard that Stuart had died?
I was working at Sky TV as a movie critic. I knew he has issues when we worked together, but no idea of their seriousness. The alcohol thing was a really big shock. I certainly didn’t foresee what happened.
You have a book on the way called The Speed Of Life that’s “part pop culture sci-fi thriller and part love letter to David Bowie”.
It’s about two aliens who come to earth to try to understand human creativity. They arrive on New Year’s Eve 2015, just before he dies, and go back to Hammersmith Odeon and the last Ziggy Stardust gig, and also revisit the Berlin years. If it wasn’t for David Bowie I would never have ventured into this musical world.
What do you say to the haters who will say there shouldn’t be any Skids activity without Stuart Adamson?
Positive voices will always drown out negative ones. People got an immense amount of joy out of the thirtieth anniversary. Were we to do it again, it had to be relevant, and I really think we’ve achieved that. It’s not cynical in any way.
The band’s 40th-anniversary tour runs until October.