Skin were formed in 1993 by ex-Jagged Edge members Myke Gray and Andy Robbins (also formerly of Tokyo Blade & Shogun) along with former Kooga vocalist Neville MacDonald and drummer Dicki Fliszar, formerly from Bruce Dickinson’s touring band and band Vamp. Originally called Taste, they went through a number of names (Obsession, Bad For Good, Phoenix) as they played a smattering of small club dates throughout 1992. The band showed enough quality on these dates to be offered a management deal with Sanctuary Management, who also handled Iron Maiden and, ultimately, a record deal with Parlophone. Through Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson, the band came to the attention of noted American producer Keith Olsen who offered to produce their debut at his ‘Goodnight LA’ Studio. During 1993, the band flew to LA and began recording. Once the sessions were finished, the band listened to the finished product and decided more was needed so another three songs were recorded with Shay Baby producing.
Prior to the release of the album, the band finally decided upon the name Skin (someone had written it down on a wall) and embarked upon a 14 date UK tour supporting Little Angels. Another support tour, this time with Thunder helped swell their growing fan base and, in 1993, they released their debut single The Skin Up EP. This was followed by House of Love before their first UK chart single “Money”, which peaked at no 18. The debut album, entitled Skin sold even better, breaking into the top 10 and peaking at no 9. Another single from the album, Tower of Strength which was backed with live material from their Donington Monsters of Rock appearance, also broke into the top 20 and reached no 19.
1995 saw Skin consolidating their fan base by recording and releasing Live at the Borderline. A very limited edition CD of classic rock cover versions given away free with Kerrang! magazine, only 50 were available and it has become one of the most prized collectors items among Skin fans although a Japanese import version was released shortly after. In order to capitalize upon their appearance at Gateshead Stadium supporting Bon Jovi, the band also recorded and released Take Me Down to the River as a double CD along with some of the Borderline cuts.
The Bon Jovi appearance marked a high and low point in the career of Skin. A gig that would potentially give excellent exposure was marred by a fault with the band equipment as a voltage converter was incorrectly installed to USA settings by a stage tech. This resulted in blowing Myke’s guitar amp and Colin’s Hammond organ, and led to what was described by Myke later as “a disaster” of a gig.
1996 marked the first time that touring keyboard player Colin McLeod was featured in promotional artwork as well as the music video for single “Perfect Day”. Despite this, Colin was a part time member as he wanted maintain a funk orientated direction he was continuing at the same time.
Neither the second album, “Lucky” or the two singles, the first being “How Lucky You Are” and “Perfect Day” achieved the chart success of the debut album. The progression of British chart music at this time, along with the lack of backing for rock music in the mainstream media, led to the band being dropped by Parlophone.
Despite this, Skin still held a Japanese record contract and the third album “Big Fat Slice of Life” was finished and released in 1997. Awaiting a UK release, the band released a self-financed two track CD single “Degeneration” that was distributed through the fan club. Later that same year they released their fourth, and final, studio album Experience Electric on Snapper Music. “Experience…” marked a revised version of the Japanese release with several tracks being reworked. “Ride The Blue Wave” evolved into the title track from the album, but “Big Fat Slice…” and “Degeneration” were omitted due to the fan club release. The album went on to top the indie charts at number 1.
During this period, Skin toured relentlessly. The albums was shopped to several American record companies, and met with mogul Jonathan King. Following the culmination of the tour to promote the album, skin announced they would be embarking on their farewell tour in 1998.
The final Skin concert at the LA2 in London, was recorded and released as a double live album Hasta La Vista, Baby! on Reef Records (a subset of Snapper Music) and limited to 5000 copies. Following this, the band tied up their business dealings and went separate ways, embarking on a variety of careers in their personal lives.
Myke worked in a number of projects following Skin’s dissolution, notably writing and producing for for a variety of pop and rock artists including Harry (from Dirty Harry fame) and forming the pop-punk band Schism. The combination of Harry and the members of Schism were featured in an episode of Channel 4’s ‘Faking It’. Dicki moved to Los Angeles and became a drum tutor before finding success with alternative group “Deccatree“. Part time keyboards player Colin formed a band with his brother and now owns Moolah Rouge recording studios.
Not all band members stayed in music however. Nev went back to college and began working for social services in South Wales with disadvantaged children while Andy reverted to his former profession of accountancy and moved to Ireland.
An odd twist of irony was that after the final gig, both “Experience…” and “Hasta…” were released in North America for a limited time, and unknown to the band themselves. Despite this, Skin remained inactive from 1998, until it was announced on the 17th March 2009 that Skin would be playing their first live show since 1998 at the Download Festival 2009, UK. Warm up shows in London and Wolverhampton were announced, the London show quickly sold out and another London warm up show was added.
After Skin’s successful appearance at the Download Festival the band realised that the spark that kept them together those years ago was still there. Skin decided to record an acoustic album titled “Up Close and Personal” which was released shortly after with a brief UK tour in the winter of 2009.
Following this, Skin went back into the studio to record what is described as their ‘final’ album, “Breaking The Silence”. Unlike it’s precursor the previous year, “Breaking…” is a full blooded rocker. The album was recorded in the same guerrilla style of the acoustic album, with Dicki and Andy flying in to lay down the drum and bass tracks, and Myke and Nev traveling to the north of England to record and mix their parts on odd weekends. It’s a style of recording that has been described by Myke as “odd”.
Skin made another appearance at the Download Festival in 2010 and a UK tour in the run up to it. Although the last two years had been momentous for each of the members of the band, the realisation that personal commitments heavily outweighed the demands of touring and recording sank in. As a result, Skin announced a Farewell Tour for December 2010, which is to be recorded for release. The band are also to digitally release the song ‘Redemption’ from the “Breaking…” album as a single to coincide with the tour.