For the tool, see Screwdriver. Template:POV check Skrewdriver were a punk rock band formed in Blackpool in 1977. Ian Stuart Donaldson, formerly of Rolling Stones cover band Tumbling Dice, got the band together after seeing the Sex Pistols in Manchester. Catering largely to a skinhead audience, they released a number of records on the Chiswick label including the singles "You're So Dumb" and "Antisocial" and the album All Skrewed Up. This incarnation of the band split up in 1979, however, Donaldson, using new musicians, resurrected the name Skrewdriver in 1982.
Although the earlier band had a reputation for attracting violence at their gigs (Bob Geldof was reportedly knocked unconscious at a Skrewdriver gig on one occasion), they had an apolitical stance. The 'new' Skrewdriver however were openly sympathetic and supportive of extreme right wing political groups such as the National Front and Combat 18, and raised funds for these and other Neo-Nazi organizations through their White Noise record label. They also released records on Rock-O-Rama Records, a label that is known for its far right sympathies, and were instrumental in setting up a network for bands promoting fascist ideas called Blood and Honour.
Members of the original Skrewdriver were not impressed by the direction in which Donaldson took the band, as this interview with Roger Armstrong of Chiswick Records illustrates:
- "It is a shame that the name was dragged through the gutter like that. The other three guys in the band were really pissed off too. Grinny the drummer came from solid Northern Socialist stock. When they made records for us Ian Stewart showed no signs of Fascism. The skinhead image was a - maybe in hindsight misconceived - fashion thing. It was cooked up by a bunch of us, including the band's then management and the Photographer Peter Kodik. The teeth on the back of the sleeve are Patti Paladin's of Snatch fame - NY art punk!" 
Donaldson died in a car accident in September 1993.
- 1 History
- 2 Skrewdriver Re-forms
- 3 Martyrs are Made of This
- 4 Events in Cottbus, Germany
- 5 London, September 1992: ‘The Battle of Waterloo’
- 6 The Flame That Never Dies
Born in the summer of '57 at Poulton-le-Fylde in Lancashire, England, Ian Stuart Donaldson was to become the godfather of Racialist music the world over.
Growing up in nearby Blackpool Ian felt the urge to do something other than conform to the boring and mundane lifestyles that surrounded him. In the early seventies he was drawn to the style and culture of the Skinhead. When he watched his good friend Grinny (John Grinton) play in a local band his heart set on forming his own.
His first group was called Tumbling Dice which played mainly cover versions of the Rolling Stones and The Who. An offer came from a London record label but the rest of the band refused to move to the capital and they disbanded.
It wasn't long before Ian formed another band, but this time he had the added influence of Punk. He had seen the Sex Pistols play their first gig in Manchester and was struck by their attitude and aggression. In early '77 Skrewdriver was formed and Ian, Grinny, Kev McKay and Phil Walmsley ventured to London to set up base near their record label, Chiswick Records. They went about promoting their band by playing regular gigs and with their debut single 'You're So Dumb.' At one gig a fight broke out involving one of the Skrewdriver crew which resulted in Bob Geldof being knocked out on stage. Skrewdriver acquired a reputation for violence and it spelled commercial disaster when a riot erupted at another London venue, this time with influential music business people present, and Skrewdriver lost various big deals and earned themselves a London gig ban at the same time.
From then on it was to be an uphill struggle and although their debut LP was given fair reviews, their Skinhead appearance was not welcomed by the music press and promotion became almost impossible. The band moved to Manchester on the recommendation of Chiswick Records and acquired a strong local following there but, due to their reputation and their change in musical direction, they found themselves dropped by Chiswick. They continued alone, and even produced a classic single 'Built Up, Knocked Down' for local Manchester label TJM, but by the end of '79 Skrewdriver was no more.
Back in Blackpool Ian became a major figure on the Skinhead scene which saw his involvement with the National Front and later the British Movement become a real focus for him.
He wanted to re-form the band for the NF but he never got the commitment from them that he so dearly needed. So it was in the summer of '82, while back in London, that he was persuaded to re-start the group. He recruited two South London Skinheads on bass and drums and placed an ad. in the music press for a guitarist. It wasn't long before they were rehearsing, and recording was under way with two tracks for the United Skins compilation and two more for the very popular 'Back with a Bang' maxi-single.
The single was well-received but the chattering classes were gossiping that Skrewdriver were a racist band. The press had to wait no longer than the end of the year to have the rumours confirmed. Skrewdriver played regularly at the 100 Club and on stage late in '82 Ian 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.
Albert Marriner, to whom ‘Sick Society’ is dedicated At 7:45pm on Tuesday 3rd May 1983, old-age pensioner and NF member Albert Marriner was walking to a National Front election meeting when he was struck on the head by a brick hurled from a "mainly black" mob of rioters. They had been mobilised by an unlawful election leaflet issued by Labour Councillors of the London Borough of Haringay. Albert was taken to hospital where he died the next day. The police refused to investigate the events which led to Albert's death.
Ian was working closely with the National Front who were keen to exploit the band's popularity, seeing it as a great way to recruit members. A record label was set up producing the band's first political tracks. 'White Power' sent a shock wave throughout the music industry - one paper claimed the single was "The most evil record of all time." All Skrewdriver's gig adverts were banned and pressure was placed on any venue with the courage to host them. For the NF, 'White Power' was a great success and they increased their coverage of the scene, with more bands emerging of the Rock Against Communism genre. This was real-life Rock 'n' Roll rebellion, an underground movement that was thriving right under the noses of all who had tried to destroy it. Skrewdriver struck a deal with German-based label Rock-o-Rama and despite bomb threats, government action and music business pressure, the partnership remained strong until Ian's last days.
Skrewdriver produced their second LP Hail the New Dawn in 1984 and while their line-up went through various changes, their popularity grew, not only in Britain but internationally. The NF decided that their coverage in Bulldog magazine was not enough and launched White Noise magazine and an organization to run it.
Martyrs are Made of This
Just before making Hail the New Dawn Ian was quoted as saying:
‘I am not the type of person to creep and crawl to a bunch of weak-kneed, pacifist lefties and two-faced Zionists. One must be honest to people about one's beliefs and especially when the survival of our very race is at stake. I have no doubt that anyone who expounds patriotic beliefs has a little black mark put against his name, and by now I must have a massive black mark near my name. C'est la guerre. ’
These remarks were to prove prophetic. It seemed as if Ian's hard work was beginning to pay off when he was arrested after a skirmish with a gang of Africans and then found himself sentenced on 11 December 1985 to a 12-month jail-term. Here are some reports of what happened:
Joe Pearce in Skrewdriver: The First Ten Years , 1987, p. 37:
‘Ian and I were sentenced to prison for twelve months. Ian's "crime" was defending himself from attack by a group of blacks who presumably didn't like his hairstyle. Needless to say the police, in their wisdom, refrained from prosecuting the blacks who instigated the attack. My "crime," on the other hand, was daring to report accounts of black attacks, like the one inflicted upon Ian and his friend and co-defendant Des Clarke, in a Young National Front magazine called Bulldog .’
David Browne in the Sunday Observer:
‘Led by Ian Stuart, who was jailed for 12 months in 1986 for a street attack on a Nigerian in the King's Cross area of London, Blood and Honour is planning to tour Holland, Belgium, France, Sweden and the United States later this year.’
Garry Bushell in the Sun , 6 March 1986:
‘Stewart, 28 - who changed his name from Donaldson - is serving 12 months in Wayland prison, Norfolk, for attacking a West Indian.’
Chris Dignan in a Derby local newspaper, 1993:
‘He was jailed for 12 months in 1986 for attacking a Nigerian woman on a London street.’
Skrewdriver's Blood and Honour LP was already recorded but it would be six months before he could hear it again. If the authorities had thought that Ian's imprisonment would halt his progress they were badly mistaken, for his popularity remained high and he received more mail than the rest of his fellow inmates put together. While in jail he wrote an article for National Front News and a lot of new songs, many of which appeared on the White Rider LP.
In 1987 White Rider was released and stands perhaps as his greatest work, outstandingly produced and with comparable lyrical content. At the same time as this supreme achievement however he became unhappy with the way the National Front were running things. Ian's feelings at the time are expressed in the song ‘The New Boss.’ The NF were attempting to censor his lyrics, no doubt in pursuit of the respectability all political parties crave, but which will never be afforded to Nationalist parties by the current media clique unless they disastrously compromise their perception of Jews. At the time the NF leadership dictated that there were to be no "Seig Heils" and no references to "niggers." Skrewdriver, Brutal Attack, No Remorse and Skullhead played gigs organized by the NF but were not paid, and Ian also suspected that not all of the money which the NF was making was being spent on the movement. That year he handed in a letter of resignation from both White Noise magazine and the National Front.
The White Noise debacle was yet another setback in a life of so many ups and downs but Ian's resilience was to prove yet again why he was Number One - plus of course there's not many people who can lay claim to having stuck the boot into Iggy Pop. Blood and Honour was formed but this time the organization was to be independent of all political parties and run by people involved in the music scene.
Ian was branching out and decided to form the Klansmen with the intention of encompassing the Rock-a-Billy scene the way Skrewdriver had with Skinheads. The Klansmen drew together various musicians and proved a great success. The project would have gone a lot further had it received the right investment from Rock-o-Rama.
The Jewish Board of Deputies gave Stuart the accolade of "most anti-Semitic man in Britain" and the police seemed determined to stitch him up. He became a cult figure in fashionable Carnaby Street when stores there began to stock his records. It was the police intimidation that proved too much, however, and Ian packed his bags and left for Derbyshire. There he could again play regularly and in a short time had built a large dedicated local following.
Ian had long wanted to experiment with the Skrewdriver sound and create a more polished feel to his music.A meeting with a talented young Rock guitarist and patriot,Stigger,gave him the chance to turn some of these ideas into reality.
Stigger became a close friend of Ians as well as the bands lead guitar player and they were to work together right up until Ians death.
Events in Cottbus, Germany
Internationally the band's reputation was growing and Skrewdriver were invited to play all over Europe, and especially Germany, where they had become enormously popular. A concert was arranged in Cottbus, in the former East, to celebrate Germany's unification. Several days before the event Skrewdriver were arrested after a riot erupted in the town. Ian was released but the remainder of the band stayed in jail for over a month, being moved to top security Moat Prison in Berlin. The story was headline news on both sides of the English Channel and, on arrival back in England, Ian set about recording a mini-LP entitled 'Justice for the Cottbus Six.' The rest were released on bail and charges were eventually dropped after two years of stop and start trials.
Ian continued to produce Skrewdriver LP's adding solo compositions to his ventures. The Klansmen and White Diamond were two more bands organized by Stuart intended as distinct projects separate from Skrewdriver. Spreading his influence even further, Ian and Stigger released a full-length CD or two of acoustic classics, Patriotic Ballads .
London, September 1992: ‘The Battle of Waterloo’
In 1992 it was thought that Blood and Honour's profile needed boosting, so a massive concert was planned. Posters advertising the Waterloo redirection point went up in every major British city, there was newspaper coverage and Ian was given a radio interview which concluded with him being wished well. The night before the gig Ian was glassed in face by a Negro saying "That's your gig over then Nazi" and he lost two teeth in the attack.
The Communists were out in force on the day of the gig but no-one could have forecast how far the police would allow them to go. Around 1,000 Reds gathered to cause trouble, although most Skins had heard by word of mouth that the actual venue was in Eltham and made their way directly there. Thus the Reds massively outnumbered about 200 Skinhead stragglers, mostly Europeans who had come from abroad specially for the gig; several hundred more had been turned back at the ports. The clash was dubbed in the following day's press as "The Battle of Waterloo." But despite all this the concert still took place. In between songs Ian said:
‘You have to do your bit for Britain, some of you in here tonight may not be members of any political party, but you must do your bit for Britain, gather information of all the parties and choose who's right for you, but don't do nothing.’
The venue was policed by the British Movement Leader Guard and Ian pulled off one of his best performances since the 100 Club days:
‘We, the Leader Guard of the British Movement send our congratulations to you, your fellow National Socialist Skinheads and other comrades that joined in the "Battle of Waterloo." Despite the best efforts of the Red scumTemplate:POV-check, that were well-armed, not searched by the Police and allowed to attack as a mob, the gig that they said would never happen went ahead and was a tremendous success.’
The following year Ian and the band recorded his and Skrewdriver's last LP, Hail Victory . It was their best offering since Warlord five years before but tragically Ian would not live to see it released. On the night of 23 September 1993 Ian was involved in a car crash that would result in his death, as well as that of friend of the band Boo (Stephen Flint). It was Ian's car but Robert Sherlock was driving, and at the inquest he described how it had felt as if the steering wheel "was 'snapped' from his hand." Derby Coroner Peter Ashworth concluded:
‘We are still no nearer finding out what caused this tragic accident. All we can say is that because of the car's two defects the car became less easy to control. But there must have been some other factor which contributed to the crash, even if Ian had not grabbed the wheel in a way many others in the same situation would have done.’
The suggestion is that Ian's car had been tampered with. Whatever the origins of his death, it was a tragedy that the Blood and Honour movement has yet to recover from.
The Flame That Never Dies
Everyone who ever knew Ian, saw him play live, or has heard his music on tenth generation tapes in every far-flung corner of the globe, will appreciate the contribution he made to the cause of White pride. He sacrificed his life, untempted by money, undaunted by prison and intrepid in the face of violent opposition, because he knew that what he held inside was something more precious than anything on this planet. He held a fire in his heart that burned for the pride and convictions of his race and nation.
What was Ian like as a person ?.This seems to be something that is seldom addressed in the many tributes to him that have appeared in the years after his death.
Those of us who had the honour to know him can say that he was a genuinely kind and loyal person,often quietly spoken,highly intelligent with a real sense of humour.
Ian never displayed any egotism or arrogance-often he would turn his humour on himself.He always had time for the people around him and would never fail to greet a comrade or say some words to a fan of the band.
As we remember Ian the Political Prat we should also remember Ian the racist scumbag.
- All Skrewed Up (1977) (Chiswick) (later re-issued as The Early Years w. extra tracks)
- Hail The New Dawn (1984) (Rock-O-Rama)
- Blood & Honour (1985) (Rock-O-Rama)
- White Rider (1987) (Rock-O-Rama)
- After The Fire (1988) (Rock-O-Rama)
- Warlord (1989) (Rock-O-Rama)
- The Strong Survive (1990) (Rock-O-Rama)
- Freedom What Freedom (1992) (Rock-O-Rama)
- Hail Victory (1994) (ISD/White Terror)
- Back With A Bang/I Don't Like You/Boots & Braces (1982) (SKREW label)
- Boots & Braces (1987) (previously released tracks) (Rock-O-Rama)
- Voice Of Britain (1987) (previously released tracks)
- You're So Dumb/Better Off Crazy (1977) (Chiswick)
- Antisocial/Breakdown (1977) (Chiswick)
- Built Up, Knocked Down/Case of Pride/Breakout (1979) (TJM label)
- White Power/Shove The Dove (1983) (White Noise)
- Voice Of Britain/Sick Society (1984) (White Noise)
- Invasion/On The Streets (1984) (Rock-O-Rama)
- After The Fire/Sweet Home Alabama (1988) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- Land Of Ice/Retaliate (1988) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- Their Kingdom Will Fall/Simple Man (1989) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- The Evil Crept In/Glory (1989) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- The Showdown/Deep Inside (1990) (White Pride Records)
- You're So Dumb/The Only One (1990) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- Streetfight/Where's It Gonna End (1990) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- Stand Proud/Backstabber (1991) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- Warzone/Shining Down (1991) (Street Rock'n'Roll)
- We've Got The Power (1987) (Viking) (live) (reissued on CD w. bonus live & demo tracks)
- Live & Kicking (1991) (Rock-O-Rama) (double album)
- Live At Waterloo (1995) (ISD/White Terror) (recorded 12 Sept. 1992)
- This One's For The Skinheads (live, recorded 23 April 1987)
- White Noise: Inside the International Nazi Skinhead Scene. Edited by Nick Lowles and Steve Silver, London 1998. ISBN 0952203839
- SKREWDRIVER (site dedicated to Skrewdriver)
- A TRIBUTE TO IAN STUART (from the Combat 18 Website)
- Opposing views: Neo-Nazi Skinheads and Racist Rock: Youth Subculture of Hate
- Fascism in the United Kingdom and Europe 1997
Sites where you can purchase "hard-to-find" Skrewdriver CD's and merchandise as well as related bands:
- Final Stand Records
- Free Your Mind Productions
- Resistance Records
- Micetrap productions
- White Devil Industries
- Die Hard Records
- Vinland Winds
- White Rider Records
- Sturm Records
- United And Pissed
- MSR Productions