My mother never wanted me to be an insane over the top rock ‘n’ roller. Of course not. What mother would? Instead, she wanted me to be a non-threatening classical virtuoso musician, with a few show tunes thrown in for good measure. This I could do in my sleep. However, performing other people’s music, whether by Bach, or Rogers and Hammerstein, wasn’t ever going to be enough for me. I had a lot to say, and was thoroughly obsessed (at the exclusion of all else) with saying it. Mom hoped for the best, but any of her attempts of suppression only helped facilitate the very thing she dreaded most: her son becoming an international disgrace to the family name.
In 1977, it was her very words that lead to the actual and literal writing of the song “Disgracing The Family Name” when she barged into my room and proclaimed. “All you ever do is disgrace the family name!” Right then and there, I felt the anger swell up inside of me…I defiantly thought to myself that she just gave me the title and inspiration for my new song. That song, written with enough rage to kill anyone and a single guitar was “Disgracing.”
The journey of the song and now, its first music video is a story in and of itself. In July 1978, my band and I were packed like sardines into my sweltering basement — the same basement we rehearsed in 7 days a week. There were no days off, no salary, no sick days, and no paid vacation for the band; just hard work with brutal discipline. I would punish them whenever they made mistakes. What do you expect? I was raised in Catholic punishment hell, lol.
That “brutal discipline” was put to the test when we recorded the music live on a 4 track recorder to “Disgracing,” along with “Work Song,” and “There’s A World.” It was around 90 degrees that day in the ghetto of East Chicago, Indiana, and the band ripped into the tracks, giving a flawless high energy performance, and afterwards, we added vocals (plus a few musical odds and ends) in a proper studio that August.
In early 1979, music industry legend Miles Copeland stepped over drug addicts and prostitutes to see Skafish rehearse at Loncar’s Bar on 92nd street in South Chicago. He decided to release “Disgracing” on an unsuspecting UK and European public that November. Family values have never been same since, lol.
Almost thirty years later on April 1, 2008, the recording became available again on the international Skafish release: “What’s This? 1976-1979.” However, this time it was on my label, 829 Records, and on my terms.
Regarding the video, is has its own story as well. The clip features footage from multiple performances of archival, rare and never before seen Skafish performances covering almost 30 years. It starts on February 4, 1977 when my band and I opened for Sha Na Na at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, and the police halted the show, (as an audience member was pointing a gun straight at me). It ends on November 25, 2006 in Chicago, where I was invited to perform on the television dance show Chic-A-Go-Go (where I was passing on my disgraceful message to a whole new generation of unsuspecting toddlers). The clip, which lasts 5:05, has full credits of everyone who participated in this shameful act of defiance at the end of the performance, lol!
The video is Directed by Chicago director, editor, and filmmaker John Anderson, who witnessed Skafish performances as early as the mid 1970’s. Anderson’s credits include being a 2005 Grammy Award nominee as the director and editor for the legendary “Brian Wilson presents: SMiLE” DVD. Anderson has also worked with such artists as: Kayne West, Pete Townshend, Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney, Patti Smith, Eric Clapton, and The Residents, to name a few.
Currently the clip is also available on You Tube, here on skafishblog.com, and in addition, the video will be posted on skafish.com, my My Space page, on skafishwhatsthis.com and on 829records.com over the next week or two. In fact, we hope to let it soar through all of cyberspace and any space for that matter. For those of you who would like to post the song, absolutely feel free to embed it on your web page or blog!
Let it rock – let it rip – Skafish
©Copyright 2008 Skafish