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The Controversies Around Skids Album Days in Europa

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On this date in 1979, SKIDS released their second studio album, Days In Europa, (October 12th, 1979). The Bill Nelson produced and widely misunderstood Days In Europa delivered the thicker, insistent churn of ‘Animation’, ‘Charade’, ‘Masquerade’ and the almost skippy journey through Apocalypse Now terrain of ‘Working For The Yankee Dollar’.

Following its release, Richard Jobson was at paints to explain the ‘controversial’ lyrics. Some of the press had labelled him a neo-Nazi after attempting to explain the lyrics on The Skids last album Days In Europa. “My lyrics have always been obscure, which is why there was all the fuss over Days In Europa. I can’t really explain lyrics, as I proved with Days In Europa, they’re just left open to one’s own translation. ”

“If you can’t understand them you can just look at them and look at them until you do. There’s much more fun in that, investigating something rather than being told what it is. That’s what I’d say to anyone who asked me about my lyrics — go and think about it, make what you want of them. ”

“Like when I explained ‘Dulce Et Decorum Est’ (off Days In Europa) I said it was about survival and strength, and suddenly I became some sort of local Goebbels figure and through that of course we had lots of problems with certain institutions. This came too late, however, to stop two members of the band leaving — the first drummer Tom Kellichan, and then, at the beginning of this year, bassist Willie Simpson. Their temporary drummer Rusty Egan left with Willie because both the band and he agreed they weren’t suited — Rusty wanting The Skids to be more like Ultravox and Kraftwerk, which Richard and Stuart did not want.

“And it’s Stuart’s band, ” Richard says, somewhat surprisingly. “He’s the founder member, he writes all the songs, he could write lyrics just as well, if not better, than me, and he’s a better singer — all he lacks is my talent as a frontman and in handling the audience. “

Former Zones bassist Russell Webb and Insect Bites drummer Mike Baillie, who were old friends of Stuart and Richard, joined The Skids not long after. On top of all this personnel upheaval, the band changed their management as well.

The LP itself was dramatic, fascinating and, in places, bleak, with a title track that Jobson was somewhat ashamed with. ‘Days In Europa’. . . we don’t play that song live, we don’t rehearse it, we’ll never play it again. It is the most dangerous song that I’ve ever written. It came out wrongly. I didn’t do it very well. I deserve certain criticisms. Certain things in that song left a horrible sense of purity and power and destruction. I don’t know what I was when I wrote that. There’s something in that song which is very evil. It is a very evil song. I think it’s horrible. . . bad. I feel badly about it.

“Haven’t you ever noticed the Europeans’ complexion? They haven’t got the industrial complexion of Britain. They have a complexion way ahead of ours. They have a natural confidence. Very powerful people – not physically, but self-pride. I’m proud of myself, physically and mentally, so I look after both faculties. “

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