Brid band back for reunion gig

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PURVEYORS of the punk rock scene in Bridlington and the East Riding in the early 1980s will certainly be aware of the band International Rescue.

And they will be ecstatic to hear that the band is set for a high-profile return to the town.

Formed in the first year of that decade, IR, as they became known, became the ‘must-see’ live act in the area, for their energetic music.

Four original members - Stephen Skinner, Dave Waller, Steve Bucknall and Chaz Cook - spent four years building up a large following both locally and nationally.

They came close to hitting the big time - although a deal with Polydor records fell through and their album wasn’t released into a mass-market.

But the band created their own label - Cowboy City - and produced an album and singles.

They toured constantly, playing dozens of gigs, and supported Scottish band Orange Juice on tour.

Singles You Need Shoes and Life In An Elevator were both crowd favourites when IR played live, but on the day the latter was released Skinner was invited to join Orange Juice.

Four years after the dream began, the band continued, but ultimately faded away following a change of musical direction.

Skinner, now a teacher at Hornsea School, subsequently went on to play with Orange Juice frontman Edwyn Collins - a legend in the alternative rock music scene to this day and a winner of an Ivor Novello award.

Now 25-years since the band split, they are back together, albeit with a new drummer, and are looking forward to a big night in February when they play at Bridlington Spa.

Steve, 52, son of Free Press sports reporter Cyril Skinner, takes up the story ...

“The idea for a reunion came about when I was looking at some old pictures. It occurred to me it was around 25 years since the band broke up, so I thought about getting the guys back together again and that is how it has worked out.

“We had played a one off gig back in 2002 at Leisure World which went really well - and that was the last time we had played together.

“I spoke to the others and they were all keen on a reunion, so we made plans to start rehearsing.

“Steve Bucknall had to drop out unfortunately due to other commitments, but Joel Cash has come in as our drummer - at ten years younger than the rest of us he helps keep our energy levels up!”

The Harbour Suite at Bridlington Spa is the venue for the reunion gig, and the night - Friday February 18 - looks certain to be a sell-out.

Steve said: “We have 200 tickets to sell and the indications are that we will sell that many. There are obviously still a lot of IR fans in Brid!

“And that has been done without much advertising other than on Facebook and a few posters.

“Our live shows backin the 80s were always fantastic - we had a good level of interaction with the audience. We are all really looking forward to the night.

“We’ve also got a special guest in Nick Tudor, and altogether a top night is on the cards!”

The four-piece will be rolling back the years, with renditions of their biggest songs.

You Need Shoes and Life in an Elevator will feature, along with This Is Opportunity and crowd favourite The Shining - so named after the Jack Nicholson movie.

“We will also have many other songs, and also a surprise cover if we get an encore!” said Steve.

And Steve says he hopes the band will continue after the gig, after the buzz of performance has bitten again.

He said: “We’ve rehearsed four times now and it’s been very enjoyable.

“We are going to sit and write some new songs, and hopefully another gig at the Spa will be booked for around Easter.”

Steve’s last live gig with Edwin Collins was at Wembley Arena, supporting Pulp.

But he says he will be more nervous at the Spa than he was at Wembley.

“There was 15,000 there that night,” said Steve, “But it wasn’t as intimate a setting as the Spa will be. That will be nerve-wracking, but once the first chord is played the nerves will be gone. I just can’t wait to get on stage now!”

Tickets for the show are available from the Spa Box Office, at a cost of just £5.