1978 Press

Question: What have you been listening to lately?  Rick Nielsen - Cheap Trick: 1. Skafish...demo tape.

- Playboy Magazine

So out of bounds Skafish, in a yellow tank top and matching hair ribbon, arms jiggling out of sync with his fat.  The band slams into the one chord they can all play together, and the show is on.

Of course, the chemically enthused would-be punks were all over the dance floor in a hopping heap right away, but that’s no reliable measure of a band.  These people would dance to muffler knock.  Hopeless, in a word.  And there’s nothing like seeing a band more hopeless than yourself to make you feel better.

- David Witz – “The importance of fleeing Skafish” - The Reader - February 24, 1978

Oh, you can describe Jimmy Skafish physically:  He looks like the mutant offspring of Baby Huey and Lesley Gore.  He wears an embroidered blouse, which he later sheds to reveal a padded woman’s bathing suit.  He prances about the stage like a lumbering Shirley Temple. 

-Michael Huber - “Odd looks draw punks” Chicago Sun-Times – March 23, 1978

Everyone in the house was riveted to their seats; whether by Jimmy’s appearance and stage antics or by the steel edged precision of his band, it’s hard to tell.

- Lori Dana –“Skafish live:  Live at Whisky, Hollywood”  - Prairie Sun – March 25, 1978

There is something so new, so awesome, that it will take years before the electronic media can scrape deep enough to find it.  The underground is not dead.  It’s to be found in an unlikely a place as Chicago, Illinois - or Gary, Indiana.

No one goes to Gary, Indiana.  People just drive through and roll up their windows on the way.  The city stinks of steel mills and the sky is perpetually grey.  The smog is so thick you can taste it.  From this pit belches forth SKAFISH; the newest, weirdest, ugliest - and possibly the best new group in rock and roll.

- Mykel Board - “New Messiah Scores With Deviants”  - New Musical Express - April, 1978

...Skafish is afraid that his uniqueness would be exploited in the conventional marketplace.  But the hot breath of CBS and Warner Brothers is right on his tail...

- “Captains of the New Wave” - Genesis

Whether they love him or loathe him (and people tend to react to him one way or the other, there’s no middle ground), most folks who’ve caught Jim Skafish in action will agree he’s one of the most bizarre acts around town.

- Lynn Van Matre  - “14 acts that have what it takes to make it - Chicago Tribune - June 30, 1978

As a transvestite, Jim Skafish is decidedly failed.  Looking like Margaret Hamilton with a Prince Valiant bob, his tube top reveals a form more polymorphous than feminine.  Of course, a transvestite’s whole ruse is based on illusion.  Jim Skafish is concerned with confrontation, and he doesn’t seem to mind how blurry the distinctions get.  He’s not trying to fool you into thinking he’s something he’s not.  He is, literally, forcing you to either accept or reject what he is. 

- Tim Holmes - “Skafish: not mere swishiness” - Twin Cities Reader

...His tall, hermaphroditic frame lurches around the stage like a schizophrenic suffering from botulism. His songs are so intense, so personal, so crammed with messages and emotions that he seems possessed by them.  He mixes savagery and tenderness, attraction and loathing, love and hate and sex all together in one huge vat and hurls the contents deep into your cortex.

- Stefan Hammond - Minnesota Daily

...Its music is dissonant, choppy, and much too loud, the perfect backdrop for the bizarre stage presence of lead singer Jim Skafish, who, it seems, cannot decide whether he is a 12-year-oldboy or a 12-year-old girl.  What is certain is that he’s fat, miles from graceful, and full of bile for the bullies who tormented him (probably not without reason) in grade school.

- David Witz - “The new New Wave” - Chicago Magazine - October, 1978

Skafish can really write—when a tape of two of his songs was sent to Chicago’s WXTR-FM [SIC, refers to WXRT-FM], it became the station’s most requested airplay item within seven days.  His band sounds like Bowie-meets-the-Velvets and then some, and as soon as they find a record company courageous enough to sign them, they’ll be coming your way.  Hide your daughters, America - and stash away your sons, too.

- Kurt Loder - Skafish Stirs Up a Whole New Wave - Circus - October 17, 1978

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