1984

By the start of 1984, Lester said his farewells who was soon followed by Frenchy leaving the band to join the Parachute Regiment. These positions were soon filled by two Aussies. Adam Douglas on guitar and ex-Quick and the Dead bassist Murray Holmes into Frenchy’s boots.

Skrewdriver not only now had an international lineup but was increasingly making an international name for themselves. From Europe and even the USA, which included Willis Carlo’s ultra conservative newspaper The Spotlight interviewing lan in their March 1984 issue under the heading “UK White Youths Proud of Heritage”. lan was now regularly getting fan letters of support from all over the White world. The NF decided that the bands coverage in Bulldog magazine was not enough and launched White Noise magazine and an organisation to run it. On 10th June 1984, the Greater London Council held a Jobs For A Change festival in Jubilee Gardens on London’s South Bank. Billed to play in front of 18,000 spotty teenagers high on drugs, new hippy students, perverts and queers of every breed, numerous freaks and social misfits and general do-gooders were the communist-homosexual group The Redskins, multi-racial Aswad, the outspoken communist Billy Bragg and freaks The Smiths. Also turning up were some 80 Skrewdriver skinheads and a firm of Chelsea Headhunters. Skrewdriver were banned from playing their music and voicing their democratic rights to freedom of speech, yet these bands were actively encouraged to take to the stage and sing in huge open air festivals and peddle their own opinions and vile political viewpoints. The Redskins were half way through the song Lean On Me, when a beer bottle was thrown at them, just missing Chris Dean. This was the signal, and our skinheads stormed the stage. With the echos of Sieg Heil, breaking glass and feedback, The Redskins were soon beaten down, covered in blood and begging for mercy. Heads were cracked and bones broken, the bass guitar even ended up going through the drums. Despite the massively overwhelming odds the skinheads and nationalists reigned triumphant. With the trendy students with their Free Mandela t-shirts running for cover. Shortly afterwards a group of anti-fascists punks, Class War and Red Action types joined up and tried to fight the skinheads. They were even slagged off by other left-wing festival-goers for being aggressive and spoiling their party! Running battles followed in the streets around Jubilee Gardens along Waterloo Station and it even in St. Thomas’ Hospital where the injured commies had been taken. The Redskins, their supporters and the rest of the race-mixing degenerates shit their pants.

With a new lineup the NF were looking for some investment into their White Noise Records branch. They didn’t see the bands are worthwhile investing in and were viewed as a quick money earner. From the amazing success of the White Power EP across Europe, a west German record label named Rock-o-Rama expressed an interest in Skrewdriver. Herbert the labels chairman realised the bands potential and contacted lan, offering him a contract to make one LP and a single. At the same time the NF arranged a deal with Rock-o-Rama to collect material for a compilation LP and take money from its pressing. Officially it was to be a Rock-o-Rama release.

Ian already had more than enough material for an LP and so went straight to into the studio. All the songs they’d played live were recorded to tape and Ian chose 14 tracks for the Hail The New Dawn LP, two for the White Noise/Rock-o-Rama Compilation LP and two for the Invasion single of Invasion/On Our Streets. lan was happy to accept Herbert’s deal and Rock-o-Rama was able to give Skrewdriver far more international exposure than White Noise Records ever could. The following partnership with Rock-o-Rama Record provided an inroad into the mushrooming German skinhead scene in making a far larger market for Skrewdriver’s recordings past and present.

Hail The New Dawn was then released in the summer of 1984. Hail The New Dawn contains nearly all the songs Skrewdriver did live in the early 1980’s and shows how the band moved on from punk to Oi! to a more Rock approach. Mad Matty Morgan of Skrewdriver Security contributed by writing track five – Race And Nation. Nicky Crane, did the LP artwork for the cover design, but wrote the lyrics to the song Justice, which tells the tale of his own dealings with British justice when he was sent down for four years for defending himself, along with a group of friends who happened to be British Movement members, against a bunch of rampaging niggers who were attacking them. Most agree it contains some of lan’s greatest work including for many Skrewdriver’s greatest song – Free My Land.