Tuesday, 1 October 2013

R.A.C. Encyclopedia - part 11

The 4-Skins

The 4-Skins are a working class Oi! band from East London, England. Originally composed of Gary Hodges on vocals, 'Hoxton' Tom McCourt on guitar, Steve 'H' Hamer on bass and Gary Hitchcock on drums, they formed in 1979 and by 1984 had broke up. Although new line-ups formed in 2007 and 2008. Initially the band members had known each other from football, or from following bands such as Sham 69 and Menace. Most of the original four band members were or had been skinheads. Hence the name. However, Steve Pear had a rockabilly style, and Hoxton Tom McCourt was a suedehead.
The first line up was Hoxton Tom McCourt on guitar, Gary Hodges on vocals, Steve H Harmer on bass and Gary Hitchcock on drums. This lasted from 1979 to 1980 and in 1980 to 1981 saw Steve H Harmer replaced on guitar by Steve Pear and Gary Hitchcock replaced on drums by John Jacobs. From 1981 to 1983 Tony (Panther) Cummins took over vocals and Pete Abbot came in on drums. This line up was used for the 1982 LP The Good, The Bad and The 4 Skins.
The last early days line up from 1983 to 1984 was Hoxton Tom on bass, Roi Pearce on vocals, Paul Swain on guitar, and Ian Bramson on drums. This line up was on the From Chaos to 1984 album.
The 2007 line up was Gary Hodges on vocals, Steve H Harmer on bass, with Mick Geggus on guitar and Andy Russell on drums. The following year in 2008, the line up had changed to Graham Bacon on bass, Tom Brennan on guitar and Sedge Swatton on drums.
Prior to the release of the band's debut single, One Law For Them, The 4-Skins contributed songs to the first three Oi! compilation albums, alongside bands such asCockney RejectsCock Sparrer, and The Business. The 4-Skins went through many personnel changes during their five-year existence, with only bassist/songwriter 'Hoxton' Tom McCourt being present in every line-up of the band. Other former members include Roi Pearce, who was also the frontman of The Last Resort, and Paul Swain, a guitarist who later joined Skrewdriver.
In 2007, the band reformed with two original members, lead singer Gary Hodges and bassist Steve 'H' Harmer, plus guitarist Mick Geggus and drummer Andy Russell of Cockney Rejects. This line-up recorded two songs, Chaos 2007 and Glory Days for the compilation album Kings Of Streetpunk, released by the independent record label G&R London.
2008 saw Hodges form a new version of the band under the name Gary Hodges' 4-Skins, featuring Indecent Exposure members Tom Brennan on guitar, Graham Bacon on and Sedge Swatton on drums. This line-up played three gigs In Berlin at the Punk and Disorderly festival, in Allentown, PA at the East Coast Oi Fest and as the headlining act on the final day of the Blackpool Rebellion punk festival in August 2008. Two newly-recorded tracks were also released for free on The 4-Skins' official web page. Both were covers of Slade songs – Cum on Feel the Noize and Thanks for the Memories. Following this, the band decided to continue recording and touring.
On 4 April 2010, they released a studio album, The Return, on German label, Randale Records.

Indecent Exposure

Hemel Hempstead based Oi! band, formed in January 1984. The original line-up was Steve Reeve vocals, Tom Brennan on guitar, Colin Wright on bass and Sedge Swatton on drums. After a few practice sessions it was agreed that Wright was hopeless and he left. Tom Brennan switched to bass and Graham Bacon joined on guitar. They changed their name to The Real McCoy after being told that someone else were already using the name Indecent Exposure, but reverted back to Indecent Exposure when they found this to be false.
In 1984 they issued a seven-track tape and a 7” single, 'Riots', on their own label, Index Products. In March '85 they headlined a gig in Rotterdam, Holland, alongside Condemned 84 and Public Enemy, in which the second part of their set was as a five-piece, with Paul Swain, ex-4-Skins, on second guitar. In 1985 they released their debut album, 'Reveal All' on Rock-O-Rama Records, which had guitar contributions on one track from Paul Swain (Skrewdriver and 4-Skins) and was produced by Mark Sutherland. Rock-O-Rama asked them to change some lyrics on 'Reveal All' In particular the ones to 'England My England'. A line in the song went “England my England we are white forever” the line was changed to “England my England, we are right forever”. The band also played in Germany and Sweden. In 1986 they released their second album 'No Looking Back' on Rock-O-Rama, it was more rock sounding than their debut album and it had guitar contributions on one track from Richie, of Straight Up.
By late '86 the Oi! scene has seem to split between the far right and the left, it was turning ugly. That same year singer Milky got into a fight before a gig with some political skin and told him to fuck off due to his politics. Indecent Exposure continued to played the show, and after a few songs that same skin that Milky had an argument threw a bottle to his face and split him. Indecent continued playing their set till after they were done he jumped into the crowed looking for the asshole who threw the bottle at him, but he seemed to run away.
In 1987 Brennan moved to lead guitar and Dave Martin, ex-Tenpole Tudor, came in on bass, whilst Steve's brother occasionally helped on drums. They played their final gig in February '87 then split up.

The Ovaltinees

Originally formed in 1979 under the name White Youth the band featured members who went on to more recently form Eye Of Odin. At their first gig the band found difficulty booking a venue because of their name - White Youth. After recruiting a new bass player and guitarist they settled on the new name The Ovaltinees.
They were the first skinhead band to take on a hardcore National socialist stance and so are regarded as the earliest of the RAC bands. At the start the Ovaltinees played regularly supporting Oi! bands in London at the 100 Club, Skunx, Gossips, and the Red Lion.
Between 1980 and 1982 the band recieved offers from musical papers, managers, and record companies, all with the hope the band would drop their political stances, but the band had no intention of selling out. In 1982 they recorded a 10-track demo. 1982 also saw the rebirth of RAC and on 2nd April 1982 in Stratford, East London the first RAC concert was held since 1979. Featuring The Ovaltinees alongside Skrewdriver and Peter & The Wolf with some 500 skinheads.
Come 1983 the band released their EP British Justice containing four tracks. The line up for this release was Mick on vocals, G on drums, Billy on guitar and Dog Bone Idol on bass. This was credited as being the first RAC record just beating Skrewdriver's White Power EP which appeared shortly after. The Ovaltinees continued playing live RAC gigs with The Wolf, The Die-Hards, until late 1983 when the bands bassist and guitarist left the band. Attempts were made to finde replacements but without success and the band called it a day in 1984.

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