Skinny Lister

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Skinny Lister
Wiesbaden Folklore 013 Skinny Lister 1.JPG
Skinny Lister in Wiesbaden, Germany 2013
Background information
Origin Greenwich, London, England
Genres Folk punk, Indie folk
Years active 2009 (2009)-present
Labels Imperial Music, Sunday Best Recordings, Side One Dummy, Uncle Owen, Xtra Mile Recordings
Members Daniel Heptinstall (2009 - present)
Lorna Thomas (2009 - present)
Maxwell Thomas (2009 - present)
Michael Camino (2012 - present)
Sam Brace (2009 - 2013, 2014-present)
Thom Mills (2014-present)
Past members Dan Gray (2009 - 2012)
Dave Neale(2013 - 2014)
Andy "Slim" Black (2013 - 2014)

Skinny Lister is a six piece British folk band, based in London performing mostly original compositions. Started in 2009, the band were a five piece until October 2013 when they added a drummer. They are signed to Xtra Mile Recordings in the UK,[1] Side One Dummy Records in USA.[2] and Uncle Owen Records in Japan.[3]


The band were formed in London in 2009 having met through folk clubs in Greenwich. Prior to forming Skinny Lister, Dan Heptinstall, Sam Brace and Dan Grey had played together in Indie band The Alps.

Dan Gray left the band in the summer of 2012 and was replaced with Michael Camino from Hawaii, USA. In the spring of 2013 Sam Brace left the band and was replaced by Andy "Slim" Black; he has since rejoined. In the autumn of 2013 the band expanded to a six piece with the addition of drummer Dave.[4]

The band name is usually said to be taken from the nickname of someone Dan Heptinstall was at school with.

Early years and first album - 2009-2013[edit]

During their first year they put three tracks on iTunes - Plough & Orion, December, and The Kite Song.

During 2010 the band put out a two CD only EP's: 'Grand Union EP'[5] which was recorded on a canal boat as they toured down the Grand Union Canal network and the 'Homemade Tour EP' [6] recorded at friends and family residences as the band toured their hometowns.

In 2011, the band played more festivals than anyone else in UK and were officially crowned 'Hardest Working Band in UK' by PRS [7] and less officially by The Evening Standard[8]

Skinny Lister appeared at SXSW beginning of 2012[9] and then staged a short tour of the USA in April. During this time they auditioned for Side One Dummy records and Kevin Lyman in Los Angeles, California in the record label's car park and were immediately offered a place on the 2012 Vans Warped Tour.[10] The band signed up and appeared playing three times a day much to audience delight and critical acclaim, the Rolling Stone highlighting the band in a review of the tour[11] On return from the USA the band scheduled a number of dates in Germany including Haldern Pop Festival and Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg,[12] and a UK tour in October to coincide with the release of double AA side single, Forty Pound Wedding and Seventeen Summers. Before the band left for the States, they appeared on Terry Wogan's Sunday morning BBC Radio 2 show[13]

In 2013, Skinny Lister started the year with a tour of Germany [14] in January and then immediately flew to the USA to join Flogging Molly [15] on the first half of their annual Green17 Tour. The band will also be appearing at SXSW 2013 [16] and played Coachella[17] as well as a number of other major festivals internationally in summer 2013.

Skinny Lister have played a number of music festivals including Glastonbury,[18] Leeds,[19] Isle of Wight,[20] Latitude,[21] Bestival, Camp Bestival, Kendal Calling,[22] Secret Garden Party,[23] Vintage Festival,[24] Friends Of Mine Festival,[25] Festinho,[26] Festibelly,[27] Playgroup,[28] Summer Sundae,[29] Beautiful Days,[30] Leave Me Here Festival,[31] Summer Jam,[32] Leigh Folk Festival,[33] Winterwell[34] Moseley Folk Festival,[35] and End Of The Road Festival.[36]

Their debut album 'Forge & Flagon' was released in June 2012 in the UK and Europe[37] January 2013 in the USA [2] and July 2013 in Japan.[38]

Line up changes and second album — 2012-15[edit]

Between 2012 and 2014 Skinny Lister went through a number of line up changes. At the end of August 2012 Dan Grey left and was replaced by Michael Camino who the band had met on the Vans Warped Tour.

In April 2013 Sam 'Mule' Brace left the band and was replaced by Andy 'Slim' Black who made his debut with the band at South by South West in Texas.

In the autumn of 2013, the band expanded to a six piece by adding Dave Neale on drums. This six piece line up toured Britain and Germany in the autumn of 2013 before going into the studio to record the band's second album, Down on Deptford Broadway.

Skinny Lister's second album was recorded at Rockfield Studios in December 2013 and was released on 20 April 2015. It was produced by Ted Hutt.[39]

The band began 2014 with a tour of the USA supporting Dropkick Murphy's and a tour of the UK supporting Boy George. They then toured the USA and played a number of UK festivals during the summer.

Drummer Dave Neal left to concentrate on another project and suggested his replacement Thom Mills. Thom made his debut on the Boy George Tour, but Dave chose the last night of that tour as his final gig with the band.

On 16 September 2014 it was announced that the band had signed to Xtra Mile Recordings and that the second album would be out in Spring 2015 [40]

On 17 September 2014, stage-right guitar supremo Slim spilled some vodka on a friend's sofa and left the band by mutual consent. He now works as a yoga teacher. He was replaced by his predecessor in the band, Sam "Mule" Brace.

During October 2014 the band played a short tour of Japan, followed by a tour of five English cities where they played the new album in its entirety for the first time. The first single from the album Trouble on Oxford Street is due to be released in January 2015. A video for the song was made available on 20 November 2014.

In the autumn of 2015 Skinny Lister supported Frank Turner in the USA and UK. In January 2016 they supported him in Germany.

On 20 November 2015 Skinny Lister released "This Christmas", a collaboration with Xtra Mile Recordings labelmate Beans On Toast with proceeds going to Homelessness charity Shelter.

In March 2016 the band played on Flogging Molly's "Salty Dog" cruise, they will also headline a short tour of the Eastern USA supported by Beans On Toast and Will Varley.

Third album[edit]

In May 2016 the band went into The Silk Mill Studio in Newcastle Under Lyme with producer Tristan Ivemy to record their third album. On the 23rd July the band announced via social media ans their web site that the Album was to be called The Devil, the Heart, and the Fight, and would be released on 30 September[41] The announcement was accompanied by a video for the first single fron teh album, entitled "Wanted".

The album release will be followed by tours of the UK and North America.


The band was originally a five piece, expanding to a six piece in the autumn of 2013

Current members[edit]

Former members[edit]

  • Dan Grey: double bass, vocals (2009- August 2012)
  • Dave Neale - drums (October 2013–March 2014)
  • Andy "Slim" Black - guitar, mandolin and vocals (April 2013–17 September 2014)

Guest musicians[edit]

  • Roger Wilson: Violin. Roger plays most of the fiddle parts on the Forge and Flagon album, and all fiddle parts on Down on Deptford Broadway. He occasionally plays live with the band on British tours and at festivals
  • Rosco Wuestewald: Drum, mandolin. Rosco regularly guests with the band in the USA.
  • Holly Cook: plays penny whistle on the Forge and Flagon album and Down on Deptford Broadway albums, and occasionally guests with the band on stage.
  • Kathryn Tickell: Plays Northumbrian smallpipes and fiddle on the track "Seventeen Summers" on the Forge and Flagon album.
  • Iain Wilson: Plays fiddle on "Plough and Orion" and "Colours" on the Forge and Flagon album
  • Hezi Yechiel: Percussion on "Trawlerman" and "Colours" on the Forge and Flagon album

The Skinny Sisters[edit]

The Skinny Sisters are a group of women who sometimes appeared with the band as dancers during 2011 and 2012. There are usually between four and six of them, although membership is not constant. They wear similar cotton print dresses to those worn by Lorna and dance both on-stage and in the audience. Their dancing is not choreographed, but is free form and, when not on stage, mostly takes the form of linking arms with audience members and swinging them round. The Skinny Sisters also appear in some of the band's videos.



  1. "If The Gaff Don't Let Us Down"
  2. "John Kanaka"
  3. "Rollin' Over"
  4. "Trawlerman"
  5. "Peregrine Fly"
  6. "Seventeen Summers"
  7. "Wild As The Wind Blows"
  8. "Forty Pound Wedding"
  9. "Kite Song"
  10. "Polkas (Jenny Lind / Girl In A Blue Dress)"
  11. "Plough & Orion"
  12. "Colours"
  13. "Bonny Away" (iTunes Exclusive)
  1. "Raise a Wreck"
  2. "Trouble on Oxford Street"
  3. "George's Glass"
  4. "What can I say?"
  5. "Cathy"
  6. "Six Whiskies"
  7. "This is War"
  8. "Ten Thousand Voices"
  9. "Bonny Away"
  10. "Bold as Brass"
  11. "This City"
  12. "The Dreich"


  • Plough & Orion (2009)
  • December (2009)
  • Kite Song (2010)
  • Plough & Orion / If The Gaff Don't Let Us Down (2012)
  • Colours / Rollin' Over (2012)
  • Trouble on Oxford Street (2015)
  • Cathy (2015)
  • This is War (2015)
  • This City (2015)
  • Six Whiskies (2015)
  • This Christmas (2015) - Collaboration with Beans On Toast


  • On These Rotten Streets My Best Days Have Been Spent EP (2014)
  1. "John Kanaka (Live)"
  2. "Rollin Over (Live)"
  3. "Merry Old Dance"
  4. "Poor Old Horse"
  5. "Peregrine Fly (Live)"
  • Forty Pound Wedding EP (2012)
  1. "Forty Pound Wedding"
  2. "Seventeen Summers"
  3. "Colours (Psychemagic Mix)"
  4. "Plough and Orion (Sunday Best Mix)"
  • Grand Union EP (2010)
  1. "Rollin' Over"
  2. "Peregrine Fly"
  3. "South Australia"
  4. "Plough & Orion"
  5. "Poor Old Horse"
  • Home Made Tour EP (2010)
  1. "William Harker"
  2. "John Kanaka"
  3. "Trawler Man"
  4. "Kite Song"
  5. "Keep Yer Feet Still Greordie Hinny"
  6. "Farewell To Devon/Tattoo Tale"
  7. "Bye Bye Roseanna"


Several music videos have been made for Skinny Lister songs.

  • "If the Gaff Don't Let us Down" - This begins with the band on a beach in winter where they strip down to swimming costumes and swim in the sea before running through the streets of Hastings before finally going into a pub and playing the remainder of the song to an audience, including the Skinny Sisters, who dance and sing along.
  • "Plough and Orion" - This features the band preparing a meal on a trig point at the top of some moorland as a surprise for two recently engaged friends of the band, who are led there by a series of treasure hunt type clues. Towards the end of the video the couple have arrived at the hill top and are eating their candle lit meal while the band Serenade them with the remainder of the song.
  • "Rolling Over" - This features four Land Rovers (one of which contains the band) performing a Maypole dance.
  • "Colours" - This begins with the band and friends (including the Skinny Sisters) boarding a coach and follows the coach's journey through London and out into the countryside. During this journey we see the band singing part of the song at the back of the coach while the other passengers watch. When the coach reaches its destination, an airfield, the band draw lots which Lorna loses. She then changes into a flight suit and crash helmet and is seen to perform a wing walk while the coach passengers watch and applaud
  • "Seventeen Summers" - Arguably the most conventional video to date, this begins with Dan walking into shot at the end of a narrow alleyway where he begins to sing and play the song, joined by the rest of the band and guest musicians as they walk through the streets of Soho before eventually arriving in a square where the Skinny Sisters and others are waltzing in the street.
  • "Forty Pound Wedding" - This has the band performing the song inside their Land Rover where they are joined by Roger Wilson (playing the fiddle), George Thomas (Max and Lorna's father, and the composer of the original song) playing a tin whistle, and finally the Skinny Sisters. The band then perform the final chorus on the roof of the Land Rover after dark, illuminated by the headlights of a semi circle of other Land Rovers.
  • "Trouble on Oxford Street" - This video features the band playing the song on Oxford Street, mostly on a Central reservation, but also on the pavement and on a Number 25 bus. Part way through the song Dan collapses to the ground where he is lifted on to a stretcher by the other four male members of the band and carried round the corner to the back entrance of The 100 Club where he and the band complete the song as part of a concert at the club.
  • "Cathy" - This features the band members having a jellied eel eating contest in the Lord Nelson pub in Hastings Old Town.
  • "This is War" - The most straightforward video to date - this is purely live footage shot in Tokyo.
  • "What Can I Say?" - This featured Lorna filmed in a variety of locations around Hastings. In most shots she holds up a piece of paper with one of a number of selected words from the song, in other shots the paper has a question mark. Towards the end of the video she holds up a piece of paper with the word 'sorry' written on it instead. Unlike most of the other videos she does not wear her stage clothes, nor her red shoes, but is dressed in ordinary clothes - at least three separate outfits.
  • "This City" - This is a collaboration with a Taiko drumming group. The video focusses on the Taiko group, Kegemusha Taiko from Devon, playing their parts, while a screen behind them shows a sequence of city scenes, mostly of London. some of these feature individual members of Skinny Lister travelling through them.
  • "Six Whiskeys" - As with "This is War", this is made up of live footage, this time shot in the United States while on tour with Frank Turner. It is in black and white, and mostly in slow motion. Much of it is filmed on a Go Pro (or similar) attached to the various musical instruments. The footage, though edited to fit the music, does not attempt to synchronise the vocals.
  • "This Christmas" - A collaboration with Xtra Mile Recordings labelmate Beans On Toast. The video is footage of the band in the recording studio wearing Santa hats, although there are also images of family Christmas photographs - implied to be the band members as children.
  • "Wanted" - The video is based around footage of paper coming out of a printer. Some of the sheets of paper have lyrics from the song, while others have images including photographs of band members playing live, chord diagrams, and other images relating to the associated lyrics. Some shots are of the paper coming out of the printer, while others pan over the paper spread over the floor. Most of the sung words are matched to a piece of paper with the words on.


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  7. ^ "Liam Gallagher One Of the Hardest Working Artists of 2011". Xfm. Retrieved 2013-07-24. 
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External links[edit]