1983

In early 1983 the NF publicly relaunched Rock Against Communism and arranged a gig in Stratford, east London. On the 2nd April 1983 over 600 people turned up to see Skrewdriver supported by The Ovaltinees and Peter and The Wolf. The gig was advertised by word of mouth only. Dressed in black Ben Shermans and sta-pressed with red braces and a Union Jack flag worn as a cape, Ian began the evening with a speech against the IRA and the traitors in the government. In-between songs he made mini speeches against the CND, the left and immigration. All received great applause and replies of Hail Victory! The atmosphere was electric and Ian singled out Sounds features editor and self-proclaimed godfather of Oi! Mr Gary Bushell. “This one is about a bloke who’s tried to stop us.” Ian announced from the stage. “Gary Bushell is a cunt. This one’s called – I Don’t Like You.”

The NF was happy and were quick to state Skrewdriver were the champions of this new musical revolution. Joining the band at one of their regular Tuesday night rehearsals was the NF’s Joe Pearce and Patrick Harrington. They had come down to discuss the possibility of recording a single. The NF were totally inexperienced in the business of recording music were going to need a bit of help. Scotty set up a four-track studio and recording began. The end result was less than perfect, but the power of the songs’ meanings was bound to make it a success in its targeted market. White Noise Records was set-up by Joe Pearce and Patrick Harrington and released the White Power EP. This featured the songs White Power, Smash the I.R.A. and Shove the Dove and was the bands first political works. The EP sent a shock wave throughout the music industry with one paper claiming that White Power was “The most evil record of all time.”

This one song was always Ian’s favourite and became the anthem for Nationalists and bands for many a year to come. “The lyrics, for me, apart from Tomorrow Belongs to Me, mean more to me than any other song we’ve done. It’s such a stark statement. It’s there. It’s very direct.”

It was around this time lan travelled to north London’s Islington area to watch a young punk band called Brutal Attack. The front man for the group was a tattooed skinhead called Ken McClellan. The band had previous had a few nationalist tracks from when they played back in 1981 as punks, but were now more or less skinheads. lan was impressed with the band’s set and Ken’s stage presence. Ian asked them if they would be interested in supporting Skrewdriver the following week. Ken was all for it, but others in the band weren’t so keen. The band ended up having a scuffle over it and two members left the band. Replacements were soon found and a week later Brutal Attack was rocking for race and nation alongside lan and Skrewdriver. The club owners were happy for Skrewdriver to fill their venues so all the media hounding came to no nothing. However by the summer Skrewdriver had a kick off at the 100 Club with the Rock Against Racism band Infa Riot from north London and their roadies. The music papers used this trouble to tell the clubs if they continued to book Skrewdriver they would suffer a media ban and be unable to advertise any of their events in the press. The 100 Club caved in and banned Skrewdriver. Much to the annoyance of the media music press, the club Skunx in Islington continued to book Skrewdriver who were their biggest attraction at the time. But due to Police pressure the club was forced to refuse future Skrewdriver gigs by the end of the year. Yet again Gary Bushell was very loud in his condemnation of anyone who was still prepared to book Skrewdriver for concerts, personally threatening them with a blackout of all their future Sounds advertising. For a long while he was enemy number one. As well as slagging Skrewdriver he began to heavily promote left wing causes.

Skrewdriver now added a few more nationalist songs to their set and from an earlier demo tape they chose the material for next White Noise release. The tape included the songs Nigger, Nigger (later known as When the Boat Comes In), Midnight Train (a song about their Dutch tour) and the White Power tracks. The release of Voice of Britain single was met with full skinhead approval. Ian’s enemies were now using all their powers to ruin him. The media reds wanted to destroy the band and its supporters. But the sales of the White Power EP were enormous with the single selling out in Britain, and doing extremely well in France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Sweden and as far afield as the USA and Australia! This success inspired other new and upcoming bands into the nationalist music scene. Skrewdriver played several more Rock Against Communism gigs in and around the London area with attendance’s averaging 500. This was truly fantastic when back then the concerts could not be advertised and the bands’ supporters only got to know about the gigs by word of mouth via the skinhead grapevine. This was a blow to the music press because here was a real underground movement thriving right under the noses of all who had tried to destroy it. No plastic punks here! With gigs each month and Ian continuing his street leafleting of NF newspapers as the NF organiser for Central London. Also receiving Branch recruitment cup from Chairman Andrew Brons. Whilst in the studio Skrewdriver recorded When The Boat Comes In, which was put out on WN3 – The This Is White Noise EP. Alongside three other RAC bands called the Diehards, Brutal Attack and ABH. Skrewdriver finished the year off by doing a RAC gig in Kensington on the 19th November and a White Xmas gig in Barking on the 16th of December.