The Redskins were an English band formed in 1982, notable for their Trotskyite politics and whose music combined influences from soul, rockabilly, pop and punk rock. The band formed in York, England in 1982 (from the ashes of punk band No Swastikas), with Chris Dean (vocals/guitar), Martin Hewes (bass/backing vocals) and Nick King (drums). Chris Dean wrote for NME magazine under the name X. Moore. Dean and Hewes were members of the Socialist Workers Party. The band members wore skinhead clothing styles and helped inspire the redskin movement.
The band released their first single, "Lev Bronstein", on the CNT record label in 1982. They released one more single, "Lean On Me", on CNT before signing to London Records. On 10 June 1984, a group of white power skinheads attacked the band and their audience during a performance at the free GLC-sponsored Jobs for a Change festival at Jubilee Gardens, South Bank. In November 1984, an appearance on Channel 4's The Tube saw accusations of censorship after the band invited a striking miner on stage to deliver a speech during their performance, and his microphone connection was allegedly cut.
King was replaced in 1985 by Paul Hookham, although for the recording of the band's first EMI/Decca single "Bring it Down", Style Council drummer Steve White was brought in to perform. Shortly afterwards, Hookham took over full-time drum duties. Their next single, "Kick Over The Statues", was rush-released on an independent label with an uncredited sleeve after London/Decca rejected its release as a benefit for the anti-apartheid movement. The band released one full album, Neither Washington Nor Moscow, and two final singles before splitting at the end of 1986.
Links To Peel
Peel was a supporter of the band and after hearing their first single, Lev Bronstein (Leon Trotsky's real name) he booked them for their first Radio One session. The session took place on October 9th 1982 and was broadcast on October 20th. The Redskins played 4 songs "Unionize", "Reds Strike The Blues", "Kick Over The Statues" and "Peasant Army". They also played the themed tune of Pickin' The Blues, as an outro to their first session broadcast on 20 October 1982.
The session was the first time the band had used a brass section. The line up for the brass section was later to settle as Kevin Robinson (trumpet), Trevor Edwards (trombone) and Ray Carless (tenor sax). In 1987 Strange Fruit Records released the session as a 12 inch single.
Peel was well aware of the band's politics and sarcastically introduced them as one of his loony left wing spots on his 14 May 1986 show.
Festive Fifty Entries
- 1982 Festive Fifty: Peasant Army #31
- 1983 Festive Fifty: Lean On Me #30
- 1984 Festive Fifty: Keep On Keeping On #10
The first session is available on The Peel Sessions (12", Strange Fruit, 1987)
- The Peasant Army / Kick Over The Statues / Reds Strike The Blues / Unionize & Pickin' The Blues (Outro)
- Young And Proud / Hold On / 99-And-A-Half / Take No Heroes
Other Shows Played
- 23 August 1982: The Peasant Army (single – Lev Bronstein b-side) CNT
- 21 December 1982: 'Peasant Army (7 inch-B side of Lev Bronstein)' (CNT Productions) FF #31
- 09 January 1983 (BFBS): Peasant Army (7" - Lev Bronstein) CNT Productions
- Karl's Tape 25 - August 1983: Young And Proud (session)
- 27 July 1983 (BFBS): Lean On Me! (Northern Mix) (12") CNT Productions CNTX 16
- 27 December 1983: 'Lean On Me! (7 inch)' (CNT Productions) FF #30
- Peel 001 (BFBS): 'Keep On Keeping On (7")' (Decca)
- 01 January 1985: 'Keep On Keeping On (7 inch)' (Decca) FF #10
- Peel Late 1985: Kick Over The Statues (7") Abstract Dance
- 17 March 1986: Go Get Organized! (LP - Neither Washington Nor Moscow) Decca
- 14 May 1986: It Can Be Done (7") Decca
- Peel Early 1987: Unionize (EP - The Peel Session) Strange Fruit
- 02 June 1987: Kick Over The Statues (12" - The Peel Sessions) Strange Fruit
- 16 June 1987: Unionize (Peel Session 12" EP) Strange Fruit
- 17 June 1987: Levi Stubbs Tears (Wake Up 12") Wake Up