23 Skidoo

23 Skidoo

23 Skidoo are a British band playing a fusion of industrial, post-punk, alternative dance, rock, and world music. The group was named after an early 20th century American slang phrase that appeared in the work of Aleister Crowley, William S. Burroughs, Robert Anton Wilson and filmmaker Julian Biggs. Formed in 1979 by Fritz Catlin, Johnny Turnbull and Sam Mills, and later augmented by Alex Turnbull and Tom Heslop, 23 Skidoo had interests in martial arts, Burundi and Kodo drumming, Fela Kuti, The Last Poets, William S. Burroughs, as well as the emerging confluence of industrial, post-punk and funk, heard in artists such as A Certain Ratio, Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, The Pop Group and This Heat.

Their first 7", "Ethics" was released in 1980, followed by the "Last Words" 7", produced by Stephen Mallinder and Richard H. Kirk from Cabaret Voltaire. A Peel Session was recorded on September 16, 1981 that included Richard. Their debut album, Seven Songs, was released in 1982 and is said to evoke the claustrophobic humidity of an African forest. An experimental EP Tearing Up The Plans was produced without the Turnbull brothers, who were traveling in Indonesia. Guitarist Sam Mills and vocalist Tom Heslop left the band soon after, and with the arrival of slap-bassist David "Sketch" Martin following the break-up of Linx, the lineup remained the same until their disintegration in 2003.

With the Turnbull brothers back from Indonesia where they were exposed to Gamelan, the band recruited Aswad's horn section for the "Coup" 12", which featured samples from Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. It has been alleged that The Chemical Brothers stole the bass line for their "Block Rockin' Beats" track. The Culling Is Coming (1983 - noted for featuring the band live at the first WOMAD Festival) and Urban Gamelan (1984) followed, criticized at the time for their shift towards more abstract sounds. After having been evicted from their rehearsal space at Genesis P-Orridge's 'Death Factory' the band shifted their focus towards hip hop and released a few singles and a compilation album Just Like Everybody in 1987.

In 1989 the Turnbull brothers formed the Ronin label, and released material by Deckwrecka, Roots Manuva, and Rodney P amongst others. They signed to Virgin Records in 1991 and were able to build a new studio with their advance. In 2000 they released a self-titled LP, which featured contributions from Pharoah Sanders and Roots Manuva. This was followed by a compilation of singles, The Gospel Comes To New Guinea in 2002, and for the first time on CD, reissues of Seven Songs and Urban Gamelan. In 2003 the Turnbull brothers liquidated the company. In 2008 LTM reissued the whole back catalog of 23 Skidoo.

23 Skidoo Discography Tracks


23 Skidoo Seven Songs (MiniAlbum, Album) Fetish Records UK 1982 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo The Culling Is Coming (Album) Operation Twilight Italy 1983 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Urban Gamelan (Album) Illuminated Records Japan 1984 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo 23 Skidoo (Album) Virgin, Virgin UK 2000 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Beyond Time Les Disques Du Crépuscule UK 2015 Sell This Version

Singles & EPs

FE 10 23 Skidoo Last Words(7", Promo) Fetish Records FE 10 UK 1981 Sell This Version
pulp23 23 Skidoo Ethics(7") Pineapple Products pulp23 UK 1981 Sell This Version
FE 11 23 Skidoo The Gospel Comes To New Guinea / Last Words(12", Single) Fetish Records FE 11 UK 1981 Sell This Version
FP 20 23 Skidoo Tearing Up The Plans(12") Pineapple Products, Fetish Records FP 20 UK 1982 Sell This Version
ILL 28 12 23 Skidoo Coup(12") Illuminated Records ILL 28 12 UK 1983 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Language (Single) Illuminated Records Japan 1984 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Vs. Assassins With Soul 23 Skidoo Vs. Assassins With Soul - 23 Skidoo Vs. The Assassins With Soul Illuminated Records UK 1986 Sell This Version
400 Blows / 23 Skidoo 400 Blows / 23 Skidoo - Fuck You G,I! Power Records (26) 1986 Sell This Version
FRESTR 1, FREST R001 David Grant / 23 Skidoo David Grant / 23 Skidoo - Sulphuric Beats '88(12", Promo) Fresher Records, Fresher Records FRESTR 1, FREST R001 UK 1988 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Dawning (Single) Virgin, Virgin UK 2000 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo The Gospel Comes To New Guinea / Coup (Single) Ronin Records, Ronin Records UK 2000 Sell This Version
RDP 3 23 Skidoo Untitled(12", TP, W/Lbl) Ronin Records RDP 3 UK Unknown Sell This Version


23 Skidoo Just Like Everybody (Comp) Bleeding Chin UK 1987 Sell This Version
none 23 Skidoo Compilation(CDr, Comp, Promo, Smplr) Virgin none UK 2000 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo The Gospel Comes To New Guinea (Comp) Ronin Records UK 2000 Sell This Version
RDCD 08 23 Skidoo Just Like Everybody Part Two(CD, Comp) Ronin Records RDCD 08 UK 2002 Sell This Version
CM6 23 Skidoo The Gospel According To...(CD, Comp, Promo) Chrysalis CM6 UK Unknown Sell This Version


FV2 23 Skidoo Seven Songs(VHS, Album) Fetish Records FV2 UK 1982 Sell This Version
23 Skidoo Seven Songs / Tranquiliser I & II Doublevision UK 1984 Sell This Version


none 23 Skidoo Peel Session(4xFile, MP3, 320) LTM (4) none UK 2012

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December 29, 2015
23 Skidoo's 'The Gospel Comes To New Guinea' is featured in our film Industrial Soundtrack For The Urban Decay www.industrialsoundtrack.com


June 6, 2010
If there ever was a musical equivalent to the concept of 'Total Football', 23 Skidoo would be the embodiment of that. Each musician capable of taking the position of the other without dropping a beat.


May 1, 2010
And based on their 1987 performance in Kortrijk Belgium, one hell of a live band too. They would re-interpretate their songs on the go while taking turns on bass, drums, percussion and electronics and play their music without any breaks between "songs". One big feast of avant garde funk and breakbeats spliced with musique concrete and cut-ups, without getting too academic, too commercial or too alternative.


May 10, 2004
edited over 6 years ago
One of these unique great early industrial groups. Mixing Industrial, Ambient, World Music, Funk , Hip-Hop and Dance, they established soundscapes and beats, which would later be know as Bigbeat or Breakbeat.
FSOL and the Chemical Borthers sampled them. The Chemical Brothers would later get a Grammy for their track "Block Rockin' Beats" which is mainly based on a sampled and ripped guitar-riff from 23 Skidoo's track "Coup".

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