2nd Skin (not to be confused with the American goth rockers Second Skin who they predate) consisted of Ashley Cumming (guitar), Mark "Donny" Donovan (drums), Anthony “Milney” Milne (guitar and vocals) and Mark E. Smith (no not that Mark E Smith! bass). They practised in Donny's parents' garage in Shillington and were a serious phenomenon around Bedfordshire late 1980s early 1990s perhaps most notably when they filled The Angel's Reply Hitchin. They are, of course, named after The Chameleons' song: Second Skin. On 22nd March 2020 we bring you their 1992 John Etkin-Bell Matrix Studios Blow EP some tracks quite literally never having been heard outside the studio. Guitars to die for I promise you! And Milney is planning to do the odd gig with a new line up so watch this space!
"Nothing could have prepared the innocent bystander for the depth and class shown by these young scallywags from Bedford!" - Northamptonshire Telegraph
Cult Indie Rockers
Crystal Trip were a four-piece formed in 1990 in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, consisting of Colin Williams vocals and guitar, Emma Walker keyboards, Mike Groves bass and Toby Limbrick drums. Often to be seen showing off their guitar and keyboard driven indie pop around there and Bedford, they nicely bridged the gap between the Smiths, New Order, the Stone Roses and Britpop in the London venues ultimately “clocking in”, according to the NME, “somewhere between Hüsker Dü and Radiohead”. Managed by indie “face” and impresario Paul Dennis the band were also influenced by the emerging club scene being one of the first bands to release club orientated remixes of indie jangle receiving favourable reviews from Mick Mercer, Steve Lamacq and Simon Williams in the music press. They released 2 videos back then one starring Keith Allen and another on Seagull Records directed by Andy Pulver. In Colin’s words “There were an awful lot of drugs and nightclubs we survived back in the day including a particularly heavy night with the Haircut 100 drummer. Another standout moment was supporting Dodgy at Oxford University where they opened with Tainted Love. We drank their entire rider whilst they were on stage and there was a massive scrap and our label boss spent 2 nights in prison with an epileptic drugs dealer who’d set the fastest speed on a motor bike ever clocked by British police. There was also the trip with a freeload of journos to the Gibus Club in Paris where we were body searched by a machine gun wielding trans gendarme who thought we were MI5 intelligence operatives. I’m still not entirely sure how everything ended up. Our label boss disappeared off the face of the planet for 25 years and none of us new if he was alive or dead. A while ago he got back in contact very apologetically explaining the police had arrested him about 10 times in 10 years and had him sectioned in lunatic asylums and psychiatric hospitals during which crystal trips he wrote a book, Looking for Prince Charles’s Dog. Our songs Somewhere (our anthemic first single in 27 years, never released before) and Tremble (our “wave-your-arms-about-and-go-home-happy-fraggler” final song on our 12 song John Etkin-Bell produced Britpop album The Crystal Trip) are out shortly after and are on the soundtrack of the film he hopes to make of the book and he asked if he could he finish the job for us. Had nothing to lose really the master tapes having survived a decade of NHS antipsychotic side effect torture chaos. So here we are.”
"All the ingredients needed to break Bedfordshire's duck when it come to producing quality, successful guitar-pop music. At last we have a local band playing pop music to attract attention. The influences are spot on, the production slick (courtesy of John Etkin-Bell) and the songs stand their ground where others try (and generally fail) to emulate" - Kevin Bonfield, Splinter magazine