Book (Our Generation)

Skin-Deep were formed in 1985 by Wayne Kenyon (vocals) and Mik Whitnall (guitar) with Andy State on drums and Shaun Parkin on bass. Wayne, Mik and Andy along with Carl Buckle (Buk) had previously played in a punk covers band called Chuckie Egg and the Soldiers and played one gig at Bentley Church Hall attended mostly by friends. (Doncastrians of a certain age may well remember 'Wayne Mik Buk Punk' graffiti in large letters painted in the entrance to the old Doncaster North bus station).
Skin-Deep did not play their first gig until Feb 1986.
"The main problem we have is that we can't hire a van as none of us are old enough." (Mick '86)
Shaun was replaced by Dean (Jud) Jordan in September 1986.

After only 3 gigs the band was approached by Link records and recorded a song 'Self Respect'  for the compilation album 'Oi! The Ressurrection.' The recording wasn't the sound the band were looking for but it was a start and got the band their first exposure on the skinhead/punk scene.
A year later they recorded a track for the compilation 'The Sound Of Oi!'. This song was 'My Life's Fine' and was a massive improvement on the previous recording.
It was also a good marker of how the Skin-Deep sound would be going over the next few years.
In September 1986 they became the first unsigned band to get a full page coverage in Scootering magazine  after sending in a demo of 'My Life's Fine.'
In 1987 The band were offered a tour of South Africa, but turned it down for obvious reasons... Apartheid!  No way were the band going to play in a 'racially divided state'.

They signed a recording contract with Link Records in late 1986, early 1987 (date uncertain) and the debut album 'More Than Skin -Deep' was recorded at The Billiard Room Studio in Leeds in January 1988 for the cost of just 650, and was released worldwide in July that year on Link off-shoot label Skank Records.
A brass section was added for several of the tracks on the album. Carol (Cal) Jenkinson on sax and Gav Miller on trumpet. Keyboard was also added to 2 tracks by Carl Rosamond.
The album included 10 songs. 'Our Own Way' a stompin punk/northern soul crossover opened the album followed by the poppy brass driven 'All The Fun', a song about your teenage years. 
Next was the instrumental 'Baddies Boogie' which Wayne named after a banner (Huyton Baddies) that he had seen at Liverpool FC European away games on TV  (Wayne and Mik were both Liverpool fans) followed by a cover of the old ska/reggae song 'Come Into My Parlour'. 'There's Much More' a harmonica driven powerpop number completed the A Side.
The B Side opened with 'I Wont Be Fooled' a song about being beaten up by a gang. 'More Than Skin Deep' the title track from the album was next, another powerpop/ska number. Then came crowd favourite Billy Bragg-esk come Ska ditty 'The Sycamores'. 'Another Way' was next with great guitar riffs and to finish the album was 'What Else Could We Do', a song about the 3rd term of the Tory government.
The album hit a major snag as all the band became ill during recording and the mixing suffered because of this.
After recording the album Andy was replaced by Mathew (Stig) Welch on drums.
Stig had done a bit of backing vocals and toasting on the album.
"We didn't really like it at first, but it has grown on us" (Link Records)
"It's the best album Link will ever release" (Wayne '88)
"Bursting at the seams with spunky rip-roaring pop" (Scootering mag '88)
"Skin-Deep could prove a formidable prospect possible of surmounting the obstacles of mere cult obscurity" (Scootering mag '88)
"Skin who ??" (NME, Sounds, Melody Maker etc)

Summer of 1988 saw the band make the national press. After England football fans ran riot in Germany at Euro 88, Gary Bushell wrote an article in The Sun newspaper which claimed that the band were the 'music of football hooligans' and were "followed by vicious fans of the Leeds Utd service crew." Much to the amusement of the band as they had not played in Leeds for nearly 2 years.

The band went out on a mini tour to promote the album. The first dates were supporting Laurel Aitken in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Finishing with a packed Scarborough Stage Door.
Skin-Deep played their final gig at Brixton Fridge with Bad Manners in December 1988. The band had already decided to split up after they had played at the Brixton show. The promoter tried to kick the band off the bill but had to change his mind after Buster Bloodvessel told them Bad Manners would pull the gig if Skin-Deep didn't play. The promoter got some revenge by putting the band on stage just as the doors were opening to let the first people in. What should have been the highlight of the band's career and a way to go out with a bang turned out a big let down for both the band and their fans that missed their final show. 

After 3 years and only 19 gigs and never playing in their home town Doncaster, they had made their mark on the skinhead scene world wide (mainly due to underground fanzines).
They did their own thing and had their own style which unfortunately was not ska enough for the rude boys and not punk enough for the oi! boys. Stuck in the middle as they say.
In the mid 1980s Skin-Deep were know by skinheads the world over. They were obviously hated by the far right boneheads but were embraced by non-racist skinheads everywhere.
Skin-Deep 1985-1988 RIP


"It goes more than skin deep."