1992

Skafish and Tiny
Tiny and Skafish backstage

New Years Day - Skafish’s most fanatical fan, Tiny, dies. With only $20 to his name, Skafish collects donations from his small, devoted solo show following, and arranges a one-night wake as a tribute to Tiny. 

Skafish’s fan base has nicknamed themselves “Fishheads,” as they obsessively attend show after show.  “Fishheads” are as diverse as Skafish’s art.  From rough factory workers, gang members, to transvestites, “Fishheads” often protect Skafish from physical attack by hostile audience members. 

 

One of the most interesting aspects of the solo show is in watching people’s reactions to Skafish.  Besides his core following, most audience members only happen to be hanging out in the room before the show starts.  With Skafish literally in people’s faces, and on their laps, using his cordless microphone as a mock vibrator, he forces people to react.  On any given night, anything can, and does happen, with the tone of every single show being unpredictable.  On the negative side, certain audience members walk out, others throw things, some seemed dumfounded, others get physically violent, while there are those who totally ignore the affair, as if the performer wasn’t even present. 

On the other hand, some dance cathartically as though they are releasing a lifetime’s worth of pent up demons; others scream, certain audience members pensively focus on Skafish’s musical virtuosity, especially his dazzling piano solos, while others relish and participate in the theatrical outrage of it all.  Skafish has to and often does win people over solely on his talent, which is one of the most challenging tasks for any artist.  Most of Skafish’s following start off as innocent bystanders at his shows, then become excited, taken aback, and overwhelmed by his performance, which is unlike any other, with many fans coming back year after year. One fan, a well to do antique dealer named Big Red, frequently gives Skafish money to survive on. 

Skafish in glam rock look
Teaching "Glam" 
Photo by Rita Hale
January - Skafish teaches a “History Of Rock Music” class at Calumet College Of St. Joseph in Whiting, Indiana.  Skafish’s unique experiences as a part of rock history make the class exciting and interesting. His appearance changes weekly as he costumes in every rock music style presented in class—from rockabilly to glam to punk.  The class is quite well received by students and faculty. 

 

May - “Best Kept Secrets,” a cassette of 12 new Skafish tracks is released locally.  Playing all instruments, Skafish is more diverse than ever, blending everything from avant-garde piano, light pop, rap, and country gospel to punk.  Once again too eclectic for the commercial marketplace, the work sells to solo show fanatics.  The performance to celebrate the release of “Best Kept Secrets” is taped by a Chicago area cable channel, shelved, and then later broadcast.  

Skafish and blow up doll Christy
Skafish and Christy

Labor Day - Skafish plays an outdoor festival outside of Chicago.  Before the show, a female audience member tells Skafish that her relative, a guitarist in the groupL7, had learned to play guitar listening to his song “Disgracing The Family Name.”  During the show, Skafish performs the song "Christy," a number about telephone sex lines.  Skafish uses a blow up doll as a stage prop in sexually explicit ways. When he shoves the crotch of the blow up doll  into the face of a mother in the audience, authorities immediately pull the plug, stopping the show.  Some audience members protest the decision, but to no avail. 

Nov. - MTV award winning director John Anderson, a Skafish fan since the 1970’s, and a brilliant director who has worked extensively in the television industry, begins taping the solo show at length along with colleague Colin Carter.   

 

 

Jim Skafish and Barbie Goodrich at benefit
With Barbie at her benefit
Dec. - The Skafish band reunites for the only time to perform a benefit to raise money for former vocalist Barbie Goodrich, who is battling cancer.  Goodrich gives her final performance with Skafish, guitarist Ken Bronowski, keyboardist Javier Cruz, drummer Larry Mysliwiec, and Aleata Holloway, who fills in as the band’s bassist.  The group explosively blows through a variety of 1st and 2nd Skafish album selections.

 

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