The Redskins were a 1980s English band, notable for their left-wing politics, skinhead image and catchy, danceable songs. Their music combined influences from soul, rockabilly, pop and punk rock.
The band formed in York, England in 1982 (from the ashes of punk band No Swastikas), with Chris Dean (vocals/guitar), Martin Hewes (bass/backing vocals) and Nick King (drums). Chris Dean wrote for NME magazine under the name X. Moore. Dean and Hewes were members of the Socialist Workers Party. The band members wore skinhead clothing styles and helped inspire the redskin movement.
The band released their first single, “Lev Bronstein”, on the CNT record label in 1982. They released one more single, “Lean on Me”, on CNT before signing to London Records. “Lean on Me” was ranked at number 6 among the top ten “Tracks of the Year” for 1983 by NME.
On 10 June 1984, a group of white power skinheads attacked the band and their audience during a performance at the free GLC-sponsored Jobs for a Change festival at Jubilee Gardens, South Bank. In November 1984, an appearance on Channel 4’s The Tube saw accusations of censorship after the band invited a striking miner on stage to deliver a speech during their performance, and his microphone connection was allegedly cut.
King was replaced in 1985 by Paul Hookham, although for the recording of the band’s first EMI/Decca single “Bring it Down”, Style Council drummer Steve White was brought in to perform. Shortly afterwards, Hookham took over full-time drum duties. Their next single, “Kick Over The Statues”, was rush-released on an independent label with an uncredited sleeve after London/Decca rejected its release as a benefit for the anti-apartheid movement. The band released one full album, Neither Washington Nor Moscow, and two final singles before splitting at the end of 1986.