Skafish's Released Liner Notes

“Best Kept Secrets”
(2nd Independent release)
Released May of 1992

Jeff Mathews, solo show photographer, t-shirt designer and general supporter, just threw it up to me one day that I should record a new batch of pieces and release them. Since I had no budget, I just recorded these at home on a 4-track recorder with very limited equipment.  I always reminded myself that some of my favorite records were made in itty-bitty studios with no expensive equipment decades ago. 

The LP’s concept is similar to the 1st LP in that it’s a uncalculated document of an era. Yet the range of contradiction and eclecticism is stronger on this album than on the debut LP.  Sometimes I felt so delusional about what the world would accept.  Who’s gonna want a country gospel piece, a tribal rap song, and avant-garde piano on the same album? The few, the proud, and the twisted -- Skafish solo show fanatics, my loving “Fishheads.”

Animal:  I always had key pieces like “Disgracing” and “James Bond” that were stand-outs. Animal was another one of those showstoppers.  I had various strippers and exotic dancers that showed up and danced this one with me.  We had some choreography worked out, and the sexuality of this piece really broke through to the often-indifferent crowds.

Hear the callin’ of the jungle hear the callin’ of the wild
Hear the callin’ of your body and your savage desire
If I let my wild instincts tell my body what to do 
I can turn into a beast and I will satisfy you
The animal in me wants the animal in you

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights reserved

Am I Coming Or Going?:  The up-and-downess of people’s passive/aggressive behavior toward me was grating.  It seemed that throughout my whole life, almost everyone had confronted and challenged my mere existence.  But as I moved into adulthood, some of my relationships seemed to have an up/down, open/closed, love ya/leave ya tone.  I hated not knowing which version of my "friend" I'd meet on any given day.

I’ve got a life or so I’ve been told
I’ve got a lover they say
She can be sweet but then she gets cold
Oh It keeps me guessing each day
You build me up till you’re \re then knocking me down
We’re always off and on - no
Is this a kiss or a slap in the face?
I just don’t know
Am I coming or going?

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Vikki Is The Girl:  I originally wrote this for an opera, until the theme of the opera changed.  I wanted to create Vikki as this perfect and hip girl, in a wise-crackin’ street-smart way--a girl that most men would be intimidated by.  When the opera changed, I kept the song and did it in the solo show.

You could say I was scared before
 But I’m not frightened anymore
If you look right into my eyes
You will see that we’re meant to be lovers
Oh my God what did I just say to her
I wonder what she’s thinking now

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Say Goodbye To Johnny:  Sounding like it was plucked from Bye Bye Birdie with a slightly more distorted guitar, I guess "Say Goodbye to Johnny" would have fit better in a musical, but then when was I ever concerned with a better fit?  Since I knew so many girls with such “loser” boyfriends, it was relieving to sing about a girl dumping a “bad” guy.  If my friends wouldn’t listen, maybe an audience might.

He gazed into your eyes
And told you lovely lies
Said you’re the only one
His standard line of fun
You melted in his arms
Seduced by phony charms
He stole your trusting heart
And watched you fall apart
Girl, so what you gonna do to break his hold on you?

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Roseanne:  My friends and I had lived through so much poverty that it seemed like it would be endless and everlasting.  Scraping for cigarettes gets old after you’re 16.  I remember for about 4 to 5 years never having enough money to order a pizza or buy new shoes. Roseanne is just the character in the song that represented all of my friends and me—financial destitution was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to bear.

Here on the factory line the work just never ends
It’s everyday the same old way
The job that must be done
At home you feel the strain to be the perfect mom
From morning sun till day is done
The pressure’s all on you
As the night begins to unfold
Emptiness exposes your soul
As you watch all of your dreams just fade away
Roseanne I know it’s gettin’ hard to make it on your own
Tryin’ to manage a home
Raisin’ kids all alone
Workin’ hard but you’re just gettin’ by
And life goes on
Just gotta make it through another day

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

In God’s Hands:  A friend of mine that I taught piano to had a very talented brother, an aspiring actor who was working at a gas station to just get by.  One day while he was working there for pennies, he was robbed and murdered.  In the emotions I felt, I let it all come through the song, writing and crying, unable to stop the tears.

Disillusioned and scarred by our fears
From the loss of a friend who's so dear
But we'll all be joined once again
Reunited though we may not know when in time
Oh sweet release of fear and pain
The battle is over we've made it again
Even though we don't understand
We just let it go and rest in God's hands

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Dial L-o-v-e:  I was observing the social trend of TV talk shows, and the sense of trash media that I saw emerging.  "Dial L-o-v-e" is a commentary on those naughty telephone sex lines.  In the solo show, it worked well live with a phone prop.

On a Friday night so lonely
And there is no one to love you
Till an ad comes on the TV
All you have to do is call me
Dial L - Dial O - Dial V - Dial E
Then you will reach me - Dial love

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Christy:  "Christy" is in some ways a sequel to "Dial L-o-v-e."  I had this great idea to use a blow up doll, and mime my head and body movements in perfect synchronization with the doll’s.  I used to pick the squarest person in the house, shove that doll’s crotch right in their face, then gyrate it and grind it into their flesh.  Most people liked it!

But on Labor Day in 1992, I performed a concert for the second year in a row for the Jaycees in Park Forest, Illinois.  I had no idea that the people in charge would totally flip out on "Christy."  I just did what I normally did—miming with the doll, humping it, spreading its legs—you know, the usual.  But what really pushed it over-the-edge was when I ran into the audience and shoved the crotch of the doll in the face of a mother.  Instantly, as if waiting for a cue, the lights and sound were cut dead.  For a couple of seconds, I was still jamming the doll’s crotch in the mothers face, and she was LIKING IT!  Then when the audience and myself realized that the show was stopped dead in its tracks, a few audience members started a little protest, but not enough to call in the riot squad.  Moments later a toddler was screaming bloody murder backstage cause he thought I was Freddy Kruger after I had walked by him. To top it all off, on the way home I was stopped for speeding, and in full stage makeup, I just couldn’t talk my way out of it.

If you’re lookin’ for a brand new friend
There’s someone who is waitin’ for you on the other end
 A soft smilin’ voice and it’s all the way live
No pre-recorded messages or group talk jive
Someone who is really right there for you
A one on one private conversation it’s true
She could really be the girl who does it all
C’mon just pick up the phone she’ll be waitin’ on your call
Christy talk to me
Baby  won’t you talk to me
What are you gonna say to me tonight?
Oh baby talk dirty to me
[Voice of Christy]:
Hello, this is Christy
What do you want me to be?
Share your deepest fantasies with me
Don’t hold anything back
Just say what’s on your mind

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Deception:  Mysterious and sleazy, I blended house and jazz improvisation in this track, and I almost had a young group on Warner Brothers Records cover it.  Sometimes in love, people just want to “get even” when they feel they’ve been wronged.  I wrote this from the point of view of the jilted lover who learns how to play the game.

A stranger who knocks on our door by mistake
Mysterious caller who won’t leave a name
A friend who will claim I was with him tonight
And evenings of lust in disguise
Deception is a game two can play

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Alien:  It’s one thing to be different; it’s another to not be from here.  When I learned that I was not of the physical plane, it was tremendously emotional for me.  Only Glinda understood the pain and disorientation I felt.  But “being from another dimension” was one topic I was reluctant to write about.  This was my first piece that dealt with it directly.

Able to blend in a crowd
Able to walk down a street
Able to act out a part
Able to clone what is seen
Social veneers can be learned
Used as a shield and a mask
If what is seen is believed
Questions may never be asked
Look beneath what is seen
Truth is not what it seems
Speaking in tongues that are foreign to you
Dressed as a clone so the people are fooled
Here in a world made of rules and norms
Walking alone even though you conform
Alien
Keeping the truth concealed

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

Carnival Of Souls ~ (solo piano):  I wanted to channel piano solos technically comparable to the European Classical pieces I had been doing in the solo show, but with a more eclectic sound-mix it all up-New Age, Jazz Improv, European Classical, and 20th Century Avant-garde. The first in a series of new piano works, I composed Carnival of Souls in a matter of a few hours, with my soundman Jim Flener sitting there.

 I Survived Catholic School:  This was sort of a sequel to "Sign of the Cross."  People would often ask me, “Why in the hell did you write "Sign of the Cross?”   It was as if they were looking for some eye-opening rationale to justify the song’s existence.  So I wrote "Catholic School" as a partial explanation.

I was beaten hard with a holy strap
I was beaten hard right across my back
I was locked and trapped in a school of fear
I was locked and trapped in school of tears
In the name of God I was abused
In the name of God I was accused
I survived the brutal pain
Survived the vicious game
I survived the things they did
Still alive in spite of this
I survived Catholic school with God as my witness

© Copyright 1992 Skafish Music - All Rights Reserved

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