1977 Press

Large numbers retreated to the lobby halfway through Skafish’s set, while others approached the stage, threatening with missiles, gestures and denunciations....  Jim Skafish is a 20-year-old musician from Gary, Ind., who appears to be in transition between man and woman.  Skafish fronts a four-piece basic rock unit from behind a Univox keyboard, declaiming strange, inward-directed lyrics to a repetitious and often dissonant accompaniment. ....Skafish’s music might have been ignored, but not the fit of transsexual narcissism in which the performer moves about the stage, skipping, prancing, executing a demented mashed potatoes.  At a climactic point, Skafish sprawls spread eagle on the floor, strips down to a woman’s bathing suit and nervously applies lipstick to the face.  The height of the crowd’s revulsion came at this celebratory moment...

 - Alan Penchansky – “Talent in Action" - (Reviewing Skafish’s February 4, 1977 opening concert set for Sha Na Na) - Billboard Magazine  - February 26, 1977

The music is difficult.  Straight rock is okay, but some of the instrumentation sounds avante garde classical, quite far out for the message, whatever it is. 

- Kirb. - (Reviewing Skafish’s debut performances at CBGB’s on April 12 & 13, 1977 in New York )- Variety  - May 11, 1977

...Skafish, who shocked audiences a couple of months back with his theater - rock image, was a resounding success at a recent CBGB’s engagement in New York.  Maybe now Chicago audiences will take more notice... 

- Illinois Entertainer / Pandora’s Music Box

The impact this group has on audiences is almost indescribable on paper.  The band is both mesmerizing and horrifying, shocking in their ability to hit the essence of human emotions with their lyrical messages which are at once sensitive and totally brutal.

- Trudi Garber - Performance Magazine

Forget about God; I’ve just seen SKAFISH!!  The only word I can think of right now is passion; and I mean real fuckin’ passion!

- Mary Alice Ramel & Jeanne Genie – “Skafish”– The La Mere Gabba Gabba Gazette  - (Chicago’s first punk / new wave fanzine)

And like Iggy and Alice, like the Sex Pistols and punk rock, Skafish either turns people off - revolts them, in fact - or turns them on intensely. 

- Lynn Van Matre  - Chicago Tribune

(He strips down to a woman’s old-fashioned bathing suit toward the end of his act, while singing about hating his mother.)” 

– “It’s Official! City punkified”   Lloyd Sachs - Chicago Daily News - July 14, 1977

Jimmy Skafish, 20 years old and visibly hermaphroditic, began his first number.  The prevalent question seemed to be whether this was a freak show disguised as art, or vica versa.... Skafish sports brown hair in a butchered page boy, a hook nose to rival The Wicked Witch of the West, a milky white complexion and sizable build.  Beneath his woman’s yellow peasant blouse, he appeared to have breasts.  Or something.  Engaged in a dance step that resembled an intergalactic Watusi, he loomed over a tiny two octave Univox keyboard...

...At one point in his Vibes show, Jimmy broke into a rave-up rendition of “Splish Splash (I Was Taking A Bath),” which led into an original tune, “Home Invader.”  In this, he described the-womb-like solace of his mother’s living room as the band broke into a dissonant, siren-like wall of sound that sounded like McCoy Tyner rehearsing during an air raid.  The effect was startling, to say the least.” 

- Cary Baker - “Chicago’s bizarre Skafish”  - Prairie Sun - August, 1977 

Typical of the misfit rocker, Jim plays up his odd appearance.

He wears owlish glasses, a Prince Valiant haircut - and a woman’s two-piece bathing suit.  In a recent appearance at the Quiet Knight, he turned up dressed as a baby, complete with a yellow nightie and a hair ribbon.

One thing’s certain - once you see Skafish on stage, you’ll never forget them.” 

- Art Collins - From the cover story “Tangled Angles On Chicago’s New Wave- Triad Magazine - December 2, 1977

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