The 4 Skins

The 4-Skins - sKINS!

Formed: London, England, UK

Do you remember the days in '69
Seeing all the skinheads standing in a line
Foaming at the mouth, waiting for a fight
High boots, cropped hair, what a fuckin sight

Come back of the skinhead, come back of the boot
People that we don't beat up, We're gonna fucking shoot
We are the new breed, we will have our say
We are the new breed, we are today

Down in East London, Trouble on the street,
On the street corners, the gangs do meet
Talking about the weekend, What they're gonna do?
If you ain't careful gonna do you!

Comeback of the skinhead, comeback of the boot
People that we don't beat up, we're gonna fucking shoot
We are the new breed, we will have our say
we are the new breed, we are today

Chaos in the city Civil war now,
Skinheads know what to do, skinheads know how
Skinhead with his boots on, nobodys fool ,
Skinheads taking over, chaos is the rule!

Chaos, chaos, chaos - dont give a toss
Chaos, chaos, chaos - dont give a toss!

Skinheads from London whose music was as subtle as their name, The 4-Skins were a great Oi! band which, despite being vocally anti-racist, suffered from being labeled as such anyway, especially after an incident in Southall, London in 1981, when fans of theirs were involved in a race riot during a triple-bill of Oi! bands in a local pub. Up to this point they were rising stars, and after it they became pariahs, loathed by the music press (Sounds excepted of course!) and feared by promoters, who anticipated violence.

Like Black Flag they were unable to hang onto their "singers" (and I use the term loosely!) for very long: original vocalist Gary Hodges was their harshest and most aggressive, but he departed after the Southall incident with just the impressively belligerent, largely tuneless and utterly superb debut single One Law For Them 7" and five tracks from compilation albums in his portfolio.

He was replaced by their roadie Panther in time for their recording tenure with Secret, and Roi Pearce from The Last Resort came in to see the band petering out on their very flawed second album. As with Black Flag, fans have their own favourite singers. Most agree, however, that Hodges was the man,

They made their vinyl debut on October 1980s Oi! The Album compilation, with Mick Geggus of the Cockney Rejects playing lead guitar, and followed this up with two more cuts on Strength Thru Oi! in May 1981. The classic, hilariously moronic and insanely carchy 'Evil' appeared on October's Carry On Oi!.

Here are the lyrics:

The 4-Skins liveI like breaking arms and legs
slapping faces, wringing necks
Now i'll knife you in the back
Kick your bones until they crack

I´m Evil, evil, evil, evil
Evil, evil, evil, evil

Jump up and down upon your head
Kick you around 'til your dead
Fill your body full of lead
See the roads turn to red

I´m Evil, evil, evil, evil
Evil, evil, evil, evil

I don't like trendy cunts who pose
Gonna punch you in the Nose
Stick my Marten in your crotch
Don't like you, you're too much

I´m Evil, evil, evil, evil
Evil, evil, evil, evil

I´m Evil, evil, evil, evil
Evil, evil, evil, evil

The One Law For Them single was recorded the day after the Southall riot. These recordings with Hodges (seven songs in total) are amongst the most brutal and intense Oi! had to offer: very fast (unlike a lot of Oi! which tended to be sluggish) and extremely ugly, with uproariously (hopefully deliberately) idiotic lyrics. Here's some more:

SORRY

Gary Hodges of the 4 SkinsI won't say sorry for what i've done
I won't say sorry for having fun
I won't take the blame
No I ain't gonna be ashamed
Won't say sorry for what i've done
I don't say sorry to anyone

Shout it out
Shout it out
I don't give a damn cos I'm proud of what I am
Shout it out
Shout it out
I don't give a damn 'cos i'm proud of what I am
I don't give a damn 'cos i'm proud of what I am

I won't say sorry to you
If you think I will you know what you can do
I won't apologise
and I won't put up with any of you lies
I won't say sorry to you
You can stick that up your arsehole too

Shout it out
Shout it out
I don't give a damn cos I'm proud of what I am
Shout it out
Shout it out
I don't give a damn 'cos i'm proud of what I am
I don't give a damn 'cos i'm proud of what I am

I won't say sorry for the way I act
I won't say sorry for the manners I lack
I won't say sorry at all
I won't say sorry 'cos it makes me feel small
I won't say sorry for the way I act
I won't say sorry and that's a fact

4 Skins - Punk Lives Interview

ABOVE: Interview from Issue 9 of PUNK LIVES

After the Southall incident, a revamped lineup signed with Secret and recorded a track for yet another compilation, the Bollocks To Christmas EP, and a second single, Yesterday's Heroes, which earned them a second Top Ten indie chart placing. The song - their most melodic so far - was re-recorded for their debut LP , The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins, which was split into a live side and a studio side in an apparent tribute to Sham 69's debut. (Or as some say because they weren't able to obtain the rights to record their own earlier material.) It stands as one of the best Oi! albums, although it is still a few rungs below Cock Sparrer or (latter day) The Business. Former drummer Gary Hitchcock (now their manager) took lead vocals on one song, probably their best moment, an all-out-ska assault called 'Plastic Gangsters'. Ending with a quick snippet of 'I Could Be So Good For You' (the theme from Minder), this primo track recalls the early days of Madness and suggests that, believe it or not, they might have made a top-notch ska band.

The 4-Skins - A Fistful Of 4-Skins Advert

In late they released the Low Life single, an attack on glue-sniffing culture which failed to do much business in the Indies. Secret went into liquidation and the band started to unravel and no new recordings came out for nearly a year, by which time Hoxton was a 1-Skin and he had recruited another 3, including the remarkably untalented Roi Pearce, a terrible singer even by Oi standards. A Fistful Of 4-Skins came out in late 1983, carrying on the spaghetti western theme and coming in a lovely picture sleeve with an American soldier carrying a severed head in each hand. The LP did not repeat the success of the debut, but it boasted at least one songs which was a lyrical masterpiece.

5 MORE YEARS

Who wants to work when the cash ain't there
Who wants to get up where there's no where to stay!!!
Who wants a job when there's nothing about,
You can stuff employment, that's what we say

Sleeping all day, sitting up all night
poncing fags that's all right
We're on the dole and we're proud of it
We're ready for 5 More Years

Don't want to know about the privileged few
Don't want to know what its costing the land
Don't want to join the job hunting queue
I just want to sit here and hold out my hand

Sleeping all day, sitting up all night
poncing fags that's all right
we're on the dole and we're proud of it
We're ready for 5 More Years

You can keep the politicians and what they do
You can keep your songs about the down and outs
You can praise the politicians if you knew
They're responsible for us down and outs

Cheers to the Government who cause redundancies
Cheers to the Unions who make men strike
Cheers to the men who bring the country to its knees
And cheers to us layabouts, the life we like

One more studio track (the rubbishy 'On The Streets') appeared on November 1983's Son Of Oi! and the band bowed out with their last official offering, the missable "From Chaos To 1984" The 4 Skins Live (1984).

4 Skins 1983 Lineup

Gary Hodges and Steve Harmer joined up with two Cockney Rejects (Mick Geggus and Andy Russell) for a reactivated 4-Skins, recorded several tracks their homepage and appeared on the Kings Of Street Punk compilation.

Note: There was also a hardcore band from New York called the 4-Skins, who released two singles in 1981, 'I'm Mad'/'When I'm Gone' and the 'White Neighborhood' 12" EP, on Groove and Beatnote respectively.

Lineup 1 (1979-1980):

Gary Hodges - vocals
Hoxton Tom McCourt - guitar
Steve 'H' Harmer - bass
Gary Hitchcock - drums

This is the lineup responsible for 'Wonderful World' and 'Chaos' on Oi! The Album. After this Hitchcopk quite drumming and became the band's manager and Harner left to roadie for the Cockney Rejects.

Lineup 2 (1980-1981):

The 4 Skins 1981

Gary Hodges - vocals
Hoxton Tom McCourt - bass
Steve 'Rockabilly' Pear - guitar
John Jacobs - drums

This lineup recorded '1984' and 'Sorry' for Strength Thru Oi, and also the One Law For Them 7". Probably also 'Evil' for Carry On Oi!

Lineup 3 (1981-1982):

The 4-Skins 1982

Tony "Panther" Cummins - vocals
John Jacobs - guitar
Hoxton Tom McCourt - bass
Pete Abbott - drums

This lineup recorded 'Merry Christmas Everybody' for Bollocks To Christmas, Yesterday's Heroes 7", The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins LP, and Low Life 7".

Lineup 4 (1983-1984):

The 4-Skins 1983

Roi Pearce - vocals
Paul Swain - guitar
Hoxton Tom McCourt - bass
Ian Bramson - drums

This lineup recorded A Fistful Of 4-Skins and 'On The Streets' for Son Of Oi!

Lineup 5 (2007):

Gary Hodges - vocals
Mick Geggus - guitar (Cockney Rejects)
Steve 'H' Harmer - bass
Andy Russell - drums

This line-up recorded 'Chaos 2007' and 'Glory Days' for Kings of Streetpunk

Lineup 6 (2008-present):

Gary Hodges - vocals
Big Tom McCourt - guitar
Bacon - bass
Sedge - drums

This lineup recorded East Coast Oi! Fest 2008 Presents..., Turning The Past Into The Present and The Return

DISCOGRAPHY

Singles / Albums

The 4-Skins - One Law The 4-Skins - Yesterday's Heroes The 4-Skins - The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins The 4-Skins - Low Life 7" The 4-Skins - A Fistful Of 4-Skins
One Law For Them
(7", 1981)
Yesterday's Heroes
(7", 1982)
The Good, The Bad & The 4-Skins
(LP, 1982)
Low Life (7",1982) A Fistful Of 4-Skins
(LP, 1983)
The 4-Skins - "From Chaos To 1984" The 4 Skins Live The 4 Skins - East Coast Oi! Fest 2008 Presents... The 4 Skins / Evil Conduct - Turning The Past Into The Present The 4-Skins - The Return  
"From Chaos To 1984" The 4 Skins Live
(LP, 1984)
East Coast Oi! Fest 2008 Presents...
(CD, 2008)
Turning The Past Into The Present (7", split with Evil Conduct, 2009) The Return
(LP/CD, 2010)
 

Extranous Releases

The 4-Skins - The 4-Skins - Plastic Gangsters The 4-Skins - The Wonderful World Of The 4-Skins The 4-Skins - A Few 4 Skins The 4-Skins - A Few 4 Skins More Volume 2 The 4-Skins - Live And Loud!!
Plastic Gangsters (7", promo, as The Plastic Gangsters, 1982) The Wonderful World Of The 4-Skins
(LP, 1987)
A Few 4 Skins More Volume 1
(2xLP, 1987)
A Few 4 Skins More Volume 2 (LP, 1987)
Live And Loud!! (The Bridge House Tapes)
(LP, 1989)
The 4-Skins - Best Of The 4-Skins - Live And Loud!! The 4-Skins - SINGALONG_A-4-SKINS The 4-Skins - Singles And Rarities The 4-Skins - Clockwork Skinhead
The Best Of The
4-Skins
(CD, 1992)
Live And Loud!!
(CD, split with Infa Riot, 1993)
Singalong-A-4-Skins
(CD, 1998)
Singles & Rarities
(CD, 1999)
Clockwork Skinhead (CD, 1999)
The 4-Skins - Low Life LP The 4-Skins - One Law For Them The 4-Skins - The Secret Life Of The 4-Skins The 4-Skins - History Of  
Low Life (LP, 2000) One Law For Them
(CD, 2000)
The Secret Life Of The 4-Skins
(CD, 2001)
History Of....
(2xCD, 2004)
 

Bootlegs

The 4-Skins - The 4-Skins - Seems To Me        
Seems To Me
(7", 2003)
       

Various Artists

Oi! The Album UK LP 1980 (Sounds/EMI Records): Wonderful World / Chaos

Strength Thru Oi! UK LP 1981 (Decca): 1984 / Sorry

Carry On Oi! UK LP 1981 (Secret): Evil

Bollocks To Christmas UK 7" 1981 (Secret): Merry Christmas Everybody

Wave News 2 - Independent Smash Hits Germany LP 1982 (Intercord): Yesterday's Heroes

The Secret Life Of Punks UK LP 1982 (Secret): One Law For Them / Yesterday's Heroes

Son Of Oi! UK LP 1983 (Syndicate): On The Streets

The Sound Of Oi! UK LP 1986 (Link): Norman

Oi! The Resurrection UK LP 1986 (Link): Yesterday's Heroes

Oi! The Picture Disc UK LP 1987 (Link): One Law For Them

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 1 UK LP 1987 (Link): Clockwork Skinhead

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 2 UK LP 1987 (Link): Plastic Gangster

Oi!.. The Picture Disc UK LP 1987 (Link): One Law For Them

Oi! Chartbusters Volume 5 UK LP 1989 (Link): Summer Holiday

The Kids Are United UK LP 1980s (Music For Nations): Wonderful World

The Joys Of Oi! UK LP 1990 (Link): Betrayed

The Oddities Of Oi! UK LP 1990 (Link): Saturday

Oi! It's A World League! Italy LP+7" 1992 (Havin' A Laugh): A.C.A.B.

Secret Records: The Punk Singles Collection UK CD 1993 (Anagram): One Law For Them / Yesterday's Heroes / Low Life / Seems To Me

Secret Records: The Punk Singles Collection Volume 2 UK CD 1995 (Anagram): Brave New World / Justice / Bread Or Blood

Oi! The Singles Collection Vol 1 UK CD 1995 (Captain Oi!): One Law For Them / Brave New World

Trouble On The Terraces UK LP 1996 (Step-1 Music): Saturday / A.C.A.B.

Heroes And Villains UK LP 1996 (Step-1 Music): Norman / Plastic Gangster

The Best Of Oi! UK LP+7"/CD 1997 (The Harry May Record Company): One Law For Them / Yesterday's Heroes

Oi! The Singles Collection Vol 3 UK CD 1997 (Captain Oi!): Yesterday's Heroes / Justice / Get Out Of My Life

Secret Records (The Best And The Rest) Italy LP 1990s (Get Back): One Law For Them / Yesterday's Heroes / Justice / Get Out Of My Life / Norman

Kings Of Street Punk UK CD 2007 (G&R): Glory Days / Chaos 2007

Links

THE 4-SKINS Fansite


MYSPACE Official page

 

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