Skafish Demo TapeĒ
Robin McBride really took note of the fact that the band and I had drawn beyond-capacity crowds of wildly excited kids to our shows in the summer of 1977. Robin also saw the musical and conceptual vision I held, and really believed that the project could go somewhere if the right record company got behind it. So he made an offer to produce 4 tracks in the studio, and see if Mercury Records might be interested. When we went in to record, I wanted to capture a mixture of hard rock and disorienting passages that were tonally abstract and jazz-oriented. We cut almost everything in one take as usual, and the bandís musical discipline really came through in the studio.
After the tape was so unanimously rejected by Mercury Records, it seemed obvious to me that no record executive or businessperson would even consider releasing this session. When I listened to the tapes for the first time in over 20 years, I was really amazed at how I perceived the songs as sounding current. Certain of these tracks would still be too shocking for radio even today. The energy level on ďYou Invited MeĒ is from some unknown, frenetic, other galaxy somewhere...
You Invited Me: I went to this stately, posh party in a mansion with the Winners and some of my strange friends. The party was infested with these pretentious Zsa Zsa Gabor-esque ladies my mother knew. But I was dressed like them-wearing high heels, an old-fashioned womanís shell, and their equilibriums were wrecked. They wanted the freak to LEAVE - so I blew them a good-bye kiss, and wrote "You Invited Me."
Tattle Tale: I started ditching school, hiding in my parentsí garage just to avoid the day-by-day physical attacks from other kids. In the midst of all of this, the school counselor called me into her office, sat me down, pointed her witch-like finger at me and cynically asked, ďJim, can you pleeease tell me why everyone in this school hates you?Ē Can you believe someone with a college degree would say such a thing? The lyrics are my Dear Diary.
Sign of the Cross: Years before Madonna, Marilyn Manson, and a slew of artists who dabbled in questionable religious and sacrilegious statements, I wrote ďSign of the CrossĒ as a good, reverent, Catholic teenage boy. Hereís a verse that wasnít performed in the live version of 1980 for "Urgh! A Music War:"
No Liberation Here: While other 20 year olds were discovering the joy of sex, I was completely ostracized, romantically and sexually. Other people were making free love and I wasnít. There was nowhere I could go with an imaginary sweetheart and be celebrated. I felt so guilt-ridden for having any sexual feelings at all. For a while, I didnít want anyone even touching me. These verses were deleted and replaced for the 1st LP version recorded in 1979: