Randall Skillet were a post-punk outfit formed in the early 1980s. They were originally known as The Screaming Abdabs until it was discovered this name had already been used. The basic lineup is shown above (Robert and Dave Houlden are brothers) but there were a number of lineup changes during the group's lifetime before they finally split in 1988 after two core members had emigrated.
By their own admission the band spent most of their time drinking and/or messing about so it comes as no surprise that they never managed to get a record release together, despite being around for several years and recording two demos. During the last 6 months of the band's life, in a last spurt of activity, they played a few times at UCD and had a regular support slot at the Baggot Inn. They played mostly original material. About a third of their repertoire was reworked covers of bands like the Sex Pistols, Velvet Underground, etc.
Randall Skillet recorded two demos. The first was done at Litton Lane Studios in Dublin in the Spring of 1984 with Robert Houlden, Merven Grealey and Neil Birbeck in the ranks. The engineer was Chris O'Brien. Four tracks were recorded, one of which ("Res-Ins") was played on Dave Fanning's show (Dave introduced it as "I'm not quite sure how to describe this one, except for... interesting"). The original tape probably still sits in the RTE archive, waiting to be liberated.
The second session was done at Lab Studios with the same engineer in 1986 or 1987. Three songs were recorded: "Under Cover" (which surfaced on the Comet Two sampler), "She's Under", and a reggae version of Burt Bacharach's "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" sung party in English and partly in Swahili... The line-up for this session was Robert Houlden (vocals), Declan Kelly (guitar), Merven Grealey (keyboards), Neil Birbeck (bass) and Dave Houlden (drums).
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