Richard Jobson: ‘We’re just angry old men, really!’

Skids frontman Richard Jobson. Photo: Steve Smith.
Skids frontman Richard Jobson. Photo: Steve Smith.

The anarchic 1977 lives on for Fife punk band The Skids who show no signs of slowing down.

Last year saw the band embark on their massive 40th anniversary tour and the celebrations continue into 2018.

The skids. Photo: Steve Gunn.

The skids. Photo: Steve Gunn.

“The tour was amazing, I was so pleased with the response we received,” frontman Richard Jobson said. “We only planned to do a one-off show to mark the occasion, but now we are back on the road in January and we have a new album coming out as well. It’s a great start to the new year!

“Perhaps in the old days, I might have taken all this for granted, but not now. Our fans have been like family to us, and we have such a great connection with them which has continued to this day. It really is a great feeling and one that I am really thankful for.

“I am still surprised by the reaction we received,” he continued. “It’s what has spurred us on to still be on the road. The tour has seen us play across the UK and across to Ireland, and to be be able to play large venues and sell out has been been just great.

“We played the Roundhouse in London, which was a complete sell-out. I didn’t ask beforehand how well the tickets sold; I don’t like to go on stage with any preconceptions.

“Whether we play to 50 fans or 50,000 fans, we still try to put on a fantastic show for our fans.

“But when we walked on to the stage, holy Joe, seeing all those people...”

The band– Richard, Bill Simpson, Mike Baillie and Bruce and Jamie Watson from Big Country – are also releasing their long-awaited new album, ‘Burning Cities’ in January.

The album was expected to be released in July this year, but Richard explains why it was pushed back.

“A company wanted to get on board and do a big release with it,” he said. “It was more than what we were going to do with it, which was just release it, so we thought why not?

“It’s quite a political album really, and the feel of it is something that you can tell by the song titles – ‘Burning Cities’, ‘A World On Fire’.

“Being brought up in west Fife, you are raised in a world of politics and it is something that doesn’t ever leave you. It is something that has come through in our songs since the beginning.

“I’m incredibly excited about this album. This music is at the heart of everything that the band is about – truth, revolution, loud guitars and a refusal to keep quiet as the establishment tries to smother chances for anyone other than its own.

“I guess it is quite an angry album – we’re just angry old men,” Richard laughed.

The Skids bring their tour to Dunfermline in February, and Richard is more excited than nervous about playing on home turf.

“Nervous? No! I’m more excited!” he said. “Our fans are very loyal and always welcome us with open arms. It’s playing in other places where the nerves can kick in and you don’t quite know what to expect. I love playing in Fife though, it’s always a great crowd with a great atmosphere.

“On this part of the tour, we will of course be playing the new album but with old stuff thrown into the mix as well,” Richard explains.

“We have die-hard fans who want to hear the more obscure stuff, and fans who may have just got into the band and younger people who might just know the more well-known tracks, so we try to cater for everyone. It will really be a mixed bag.

“I had different plans for next year, which didn’t include heading back on the road, but it’s nice the way that it has turned out this way, and something I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into again.

“Being onstage has helped me get back in shape as well – or forced me to, depends on how you look at it!” he chuckled.

And it’s not just an album and tour that Richard is looking forward to in 2018...

“I’ve written a novel, well, more like a novella,” he said. “It’s called the ‘Speed of Life’ and tells the story of two time-travelling aliens who arrive on Earth searching for the truth behind the words, music and changing faces of their hero David Bowie.

“It’s like a tribute to Bowie, as I’m such a massive fan of his. He actually appears in the book as a ghost. It’s great and I’m quite proud of it.

“It’s part Sci-Fi thriller part love letter to Bowie and that’s out in January as well, so there is lots going on at the beginning of the year.”

Richard also shares with us a little secret of what else to expect from the band later on in 2018.

“We’re doing a Skids convention in Dunfermline Museum in around April or May time,” he said. “It’s something that we are really looking forward to doing.

“We will be doing an accoustic set, I’ll be showing some of my films and reading from my book and there will be photos and memorabilia on display as well.

“We will also be talking the audience through some of our albums, track by track, and you can discover how each of the songs was put together.

“We thought about putting it on in a bigger city like Edinburgh or Glasgow, but something like this needs to be held in our home town, doesn’t it?

“Actually, I’m not sure if I should have told you that just yet... ah, well, never mind, the cat is out the bag now!”

There’s a lot of life still left in the Skids, can we expect a 50th anniversary tour?

“We will keep doing it as long as we and the fans enjoy it,” Richard said. “I’ve seen some of the bands that were around in our era and it seems to me that they are just going through the motions when they are up on the stage evey night.

“They’re just doing this to make money and sell some t-shirts and I want to make sure that that isn’t a route that we go down. As long as we are all still having fun, then that’s all that matters.

“Play the songs like it might be the last time. Give it everything.

“And then there’s the new stuff! The beginning of something new rather than the end of something old.”

• ‘Burning Cities’ is out on January 12 .

• The Skids return home to the Kingdom with a gig at Dunfermline’s Glen Pavilion on February 9 as part of their ongoing 40th anniversary tour.

• For tickets and album information, visit