SKIN were formed in mid '91 when Neville MacDonald, a renowned vocalist and frontman (previously with Kooga) joined forces with guitarist Myke Gray and bassist Andy Robbins (both formerly of Jagged Edge). Dicki Fliszar, who had previously played with the band Vamp and also Bruce Dickinson on his World Tour was enlisted on drums and the lineup was complete. They split up in April 1998 but have recently reformed after being invited to play the main stage at the Download Festival 2009.
In the space of 18 months SKIN went from being relative unknowns to tremendously successful, leading a resurgence of Hard Rock.
The collapse of Jagged Edge led Myke Gray (b. 12 May 1968, Fulham, London, England) to form Taste with Jagged Edge bassist Andy Robbins, ex-Kooga vocalist and guitarist Neville MacDonald (b. Ynysybwl, Pontypridd, Wales) and drummer Dicki Fliszar, previously with Bruce Dickinson 's live band, in 1991. They started writing and recording demos and in early 1992 were playing small clubs under a variety of names such as Phoenix, Bad For Good, Taste & Obsession. This led to a management deal with Sanctuary Music (Iron Maiden, Helloween, WASP etc. and ultimately to a recording deal with Parlophone/EMI. Whilst in Los Angeles, Bruce Dickinson played a SKIN demo to Keith Olsen (Whitesnake, Scorpions etc. who loved the band and contacted Sanctuary offering to produce their debut album at his Goodnight LA studios. This was done in spring 1993. After hearing the album the band felt they were 2 to 3 songs short of the quality they wanted on their debut album. More songs were written and three were selected and produced by Shay Baby (Bruce Dickinson) and mixed by Chris Sheldon (Therapy?, The Almighty). By October 1993 the album and band were ready. In early December 1993, the band were ready with a new album. But were the fans? At the height of Grunge and Alternative Rock, the media and many others gave SKIN little chance, despite the quality of the album and despite the fact that as a live band they were superb.
As Myke Gray said: "All the hype was on alternative and grunge. We were looked on as an anachronism. However, we felt strongly about our music. We didn't wish to compromise this by incorporating 'trendy' elements. However the way the trend was going, we felt that SKIN was now about as alternative as you could get and we felt that a lot of people out there would like us. We just had to prove it." They did - and quickly.
They took up the name SKIN - the result of hundreds of potential names scrawled on studio walls, then they embarked on a 14 date tour as guests of The Little Angels. The band were proved right. Many people wanted this music as illustrated by the ecstatic reception they got from the Little Angels' fans despite being unknowns.
The band were content to ignore grunge trends and instead developed a more traditional melodic hard rock style, at times reminiscent of mid-80s Whitesnake, but with a fresh, contemporary edge both musically and lyrically.
Near-constant touring, including support stints with Thunder and Little Angels, helped the band develop a strong UK fanbase, and Skin built on this, with the Skin Up EP and 'House Of Love' both doing well before 'Money' pushed them into the UK Top 20. Their self-titled debut album displayed the band's songwriting and musicianship to the full, with strong, bluesy vocals from MacDonald, and it deservedly hit the UK Top 10. The band successfully transferred their electric live show to the second stage at Donington in 1994, and enjoyed another Top 20 single with 'Tower Of Strength', confirming their status as one of Britain's most popular rising rock bands.
In 1995 they released a strictly limited edition (50 copies) album of classic rock 'n' roll cover versions, available solely to readers of British metal magazine Kerrang! Recorded live at the Borderline, London, in October 1994, the material included classics from Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, Montrose, Golden Earring, Beatles, Deep Purple , the Who and EMF. The long-standing live favourite, 'Take Me Down To The River', was also released in more conventional form.