1983

Skafish and mother Violanda at Shrine of St. Jude
Skafish & his mother, National  Shrine of St. Jude
January - Skafish begins teaching music in a government granted program (the Suzuki Method under keyboardist Javier Cruz who is the program director) to inner city children at the Y.M.C.A. in South Chicago. He also plays classical music for various services a block away at the National Shrine Of St. Jude, frequently doing up to 25 church services weekly.

 

Skafish also begins private teaching, and one of his piano students, Anthony Molinaro, later becomes a world class, well known classical pianist. Anthony’s parents told Skafish that they had unsuccessfully tried a series of new teachers.   His parents brought the boy to Skafish when he was a pre-teenager as a final attempt to re-ignite the young boy’s faded interest in music.  Within months, Skafish had Molinaro excited and motivated, playing pop, jazz, and classical.  A few years later, Molinaro was on his way to music college.

Since the Skafish band is not touring, Skafish himself begins performing in South Chicago with keyboardist Javier Cruz’s group called Life.  Skafish takes another leap as an entertainer, becoming more physical and dominant in his presentation.  The tough, streetwise audience falls in love, adopting him as their own.

Spring - I.R.S. Records informs Skafish that he can record more “acceptable” material to complete the 2nd LP, or forget the album project entirely.  “Acceptable” in this instance means less offensive lyrics and songs that the record company deems “appropriate” for the general public.  Skafish is in a difficult position, as he and his band have been starving and flat broke since the band’s inception.  With no interest from other record labels, shelving the project means that Skafish and his band are at ground zero.  Skafish decides to make an attempt at completing the record with the hopes of something productive resulting.  The record company, not wanting to spend any more money, demands that these sessions last only a few days.

Stressed, pressured and hurried, Skafish frantically introduces the 7 to 8 new tracks to the band in the studio, recording almost everything on the first take.  Many of the new songs have tremendous potential, but lack of time to complete arrangements leaves many of the tracks sounding “half baked.”

body scene from Wild Night Tonight
On the set for "Wild Night" video
September - The 2nd Skafish LP “Conversation” is released.  Because Skafish has lost so much momentum by being largely out of view since 1981, the record receives less attention in the media than the 1st LP.   The reactions are mixed:  Many critics point out the greatness of Skafish’s voice and his writing, noting stand out tracks, while others label portions of the album as bland, uninteresting, and forgettable. 

Varying tracks on the record receive airplay worldwide, with songs such as “I Might Move In Next Door,” and “Made Up In The Dark” becoming minor hits in different European countries, while “Wild Night Tonight,” and “Lover In Masquerade” receive noteworthy radio play in Los Angeles.  The video to “Wild Night Tonight” is played once on MTV in November 1983, and removed from the channel partially because of a gun shot scene in the clip.  Without a performance tour to support the project or any long-range business plan, the record ultimately falls quietly by the wayside.  By year’s end, Skafish is quite uncertain of his future as an artist.

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