1982

lan started visiting the skinhead shop in Petticoat Lane Market called the Last Resort and there he hooked up with some old comrades and got to know the shop’s owners Mickey and Margaret. It had become the place to be for all London skinheads. lan wanted to reform Skrewdriver for the NF’s Rock Against Communism project, but he never got the commitment from the NF he needed. It was four and a half years since the All Skrewed Up LP was released, and in that time a new generation of skinheads had appeared on the scene. Skinheads coming into the Last Resort shop would regularly ask Mickey and Margaret how they could get hold of Skrewdriver material. Mickey French, the shop’s proprietor, would often discuss with lan Skrewdriver’s music and the chances of lan putting a new group together. At first lan was reluctant to reform the band, not least because of his past experiences at the hands of the music industry, but because, lan didn’t have the necessary backing he needed to commit to such a project. Whilst at the shop that Ian was asked to reform Skrewdriver. Having been asked quite a few times to restart the band Skrewdriver, Ian thought it over once again and by the summer of 1982 decided to restart Skrewdriver again. Mickey persuaded lan that there was still a groundswell of support for the band and a very healthy demand for Skrewdriver’s music. Mickey further convinced lan by promising to help out anyway he could, financially or otherwise, if lan reformed the band. The shop’s owner Mickey French was prepared to back the group, and with the growing interest in Oi! and skinhead culture, he was assured that there was certainly a demand. It was around this time the Falklands War kicked off, and patriotic consciousness was on a high. Spurred on by the support of the Last Resort shop, lan quickly set about reforming Skrewdriver.

His first job was to find a new line-up and there was no trouble recruiting. Word soon spread through the skinhead grapevine that Skrewdriver was being resurrected. Martin Dean, a freelance photographer who used to frequent the Last Resort, told lan he knew a bass player who maybe interested in joining Skrewdriver. His name was Mark ‘Frenchy’ French. Frenchy used to play for the skinhead band The Elite, who had also been involved with the NF themselves. Frenchy then introduced lan to The Elite’s former drummer Geoff Williams. The band was starting to take shape, but they were still in need of a guitarist. The lads placed an advertisement in the music press. ‘Skrewdriver Needs YOU!’ screamed the advert placed in an August edition of Sounds magazine. The ad for budding skinhead guitarist promised a European tour and a record deal. Within days the vacancy was filled by Mark Neeson, better known as ‘Lester’ who passed the band’s audition with honours. With the help of Mickey French who had already set up a line of Skrewdriver T-shirts, the band went into the Workhouse Studios in south-London to record some new tracks. With Mickey French’s help the band released the very popular Back with a Bang maxi-single on Last Resort Sounds which found its way into the independent charts.
Two songs, Boots & Braces and a revamped version of Anti-Social, were recorded for a compilation LP called ‘United Skins’ and another two, Back With A Bang and a new interpretation of the 1977 song, I Don’t Like You, for a new single.

Riding on the success of the Back with a Bang single, it wasn’t long before the lads were back in the studio recording for the United Skins compilation LP, another Last Resort Sounds project.
lan and the lads laid down two tracks: Anti-Social, the old Skrewdriver classic and a new number called Boots and Braces. Boots and Braces soon became a crowd pleaser at gigs, but lan wasn’t to happy about the song believing it to be bland with a very basic tune and boring to play. Back with a Bang got a favourable review in Sounds, although the question of the band’s political persuasion was again under the spotlight. Even though Ian was by then heavily involved in the activities of the National Front, he was reluctant to make Skrewdriver a NF band. Back With A Bang became the skinhead anthem of the early 1980’s and the Last Resort shop was doing a roaring trade in selling the 12” single.

Skrewdriver played their first gig in nearly three years at the 100 Club in London’s Oxford Street on 7th October. The gig was a warm up to the widely advertised ‘Back With A Bang’ concert two weeks later at the same venue. Both gigs went well and earned the group regular gigs at the club. Nationalist tracks, such as Don’t Let ‘Em Pull You Down, were indicative of where Ian was taking the band. With no friends in the music press but a rallying cry to the NF and British Movement skinheads making up the audience. Ian also changed some of his older tracks by adding more nationalist lyrics. For example Government Action had the line ‘You’ve got to be old to get money’ changed to ‘You’ve got to be black to get money’. The band wore Union Jack patches on their flight jackets and after a couple of gigs, Ian had the group wearing all black uniforms. Much to his annoyance, Ian soon found out that he wasn’t the only one rewriting his songs. A report in Sounds wrote that the Manchester based band, The Urban Rebels, had redone Skrewdriver’s terrace anthem Anti-Social, but changing the chorus to ‘Anti-Nazi”. Ian was not impressed.
Skrewdriver then travelled to Holland for a three-date tour organised by Last Resort shops’ boss Mickey French. It turned out to be a disaster that saw the band escape a big fight at a gig by exiting out of a toilet window. The organisation was an absolute shambles and the band and crew was only too glad to return home. Skrewdriver finished 1982 with a sell out Xmas Show at the 100 Club.

Come the new year Ian began introducing new material to the bands practice sessions in the basement of an east London studio. After a few tentative songs before, these sounds would leave nobody in any doubt where the band stood politically. The new tracks were Tomorrow Belongs to Me, White Power, Smash the I.R.A. and Soldier of Freedom. Accompanying these new songs Ian took a more open nationalist presence at gigs. At the 100 Club lan raised his right arm and proclaimed “This one’s called Tomorrow Belongs To Me.” The crowd roared and thus began the true legacy of Skrewdriver. The music media continued to make criticisms of the band and tried with some limited success to get venues to ban them from playing. Faced once again with gig bans and no media publicity. But this time lan was now an active member in the NF and had a good working relationship with them. lan remembered his chats with YNF organiser Joe Pearce some 3 years earlier in the Hoop & Grapes Pub, Farringdon Street and lan met up with Joe again and the two of them reactivated Rock Against Communism.