January – Keyboardist David Prochazka leaves the Skafish band, and is replaced by Mark Winner, Karen’s younger brother. Beginning in January and continuing on and off throughout the year, Skafish returns to formal piano study with Dr, Ray Landers of Chicago State University, who authored two books on the Suzuki Method of teaching music.
February - Skafish headlines the Whisky A Go-Go in Los Angeles. The singer of the opening band, Doug Fieger, (one of many later to be successful artists to open for Skafish) shortly afterwards forms The Knack. At the Whisky, Fieger takes notice of Skafish female drum roadie Tara. Doug writes the song “Oh Tara” about her, dedicates it to her, and releases the track on the first Knack LP.
April - A feature story on Skafish written by journalist Mykel Board appears in England’s New Musical Express. Stunningly perceptive, Board notes that Skafish is so far ahead of his time that it will take years for the media to recognize him.
On July 16th, the Skafish band records 3 musical tracks in Skafish’s basement live in single takes, with vocals being added on August 3rd. Two of the tracks, “Disgracing the Family Name,” and “Work Song,” later become the1st Skafish record release. The recording captures on tape the incredible energy level the Skafish band exudes in live shows.
December - Skafish plays Club Hurrah in New York. Ian Copeland, brother of I.R.S. Records head Miles Copeland and head of F.B.I. Booking, is in attendance at the show. Sex Pistol Sid Vicious also comes to see the performance. Sid fancies Skafish female drum roadie Tara, who is now romantically involved with Todd Smith, the brother of punk singer/poet Patti Smith. As Sid begins making flirtatious advances toward Tara, Todd casually asks Sid to wait till after the show, as both he and Tara are watching the stage for Skafish. Sid suddenly strikes Todd over the face with a beer bottle, which requires stitches. Skafish road manager Jimy Sohns (singer of the 60’s rock group The Shadows Of Knight who had a mega hit with the song “Gloria” in 1966) punches Vicious, dragging him through the club, throwing him down a tall flight of stairs. Amidst the ruckus, the band continues their set. Two months later Sid Vicious dies of drug-related causes.
On this New York trip, Skafish is introduced to Ten Wheel Drive singer Genya Raven, who is producing a comeback record by the legendary Ronnie Spector. Raven and Skafish discuss Spector recording the Skafish song “Romantic Lessons,” but ultimately the idea does not come to fruition. In addition, Skafish meets writer Kurt Loder, who had been writing about Skafish in publications such as Circus Magazine. Later, Kurt goes on to work for MTV and co-authors Tina Turner’s autobiography.
By years end, certain members of the national press even speculate that the act might “make it,” but record companies stay away from Skafish like the plague. While at lunch with their record label, Cheap Trick tries to persuade Epic Records to sign Skafish. The request is met with a flippant chuckle.
All photographs copyright by the respective photographers