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Only 1 week left to go for Kickstarter bootleg project!

Posted by Skafish on

I’ve been trying to keep everyone updated as to how the “I WANT MY SKAFISH BOOTLEG!” project is going. So I thought you might be interested in this brand new behind the scenes video where I discuss the making of the bootleg, its history, and the Kickstarter project to fund its release. I think you’ll really enjoy this new video clip which was filmed and edited by Guy Rhodes.



If you’ve already financially contributed to the project, I deeply appreciate your support. If you haven’t yet, now is absolutely the time to do so, because the fundraising campaign only has one week left to go. If you would truly like to see this innovative and groundbreaking 1977 live concert released and in your hands, this project must be completely funded by Sunday, June 24th, at 1:47 PM Central Time.

I really need your financial help to make this happen. Anything you can do is greatly appreciated, and please spread the word! To learn more about this project and how you can participate in funding it, click here.

Thank you — Skafish

Back In The Day/News/Press

Skafish on WJOB Radio’s Music Underdogs Show on Sunday, June 10!

Posted by Skafish on

I would love it if you join me on WJOB Radio on Sunday June 10, 2012, from 9:00 PM United Stated Central Time through 11:00 PM, when I will be a guest on the show, “Music Underdogs.” On the show, host Rick Kubic and I will premiere never-before-heard tracks from my 1977 live bootleg concert, and discuss both the local and international history of “Skafish.” Make sure to call into the show at 219-845-1100, or post on the message board, and I will be happy to answer your questions. Throughout the world, log on to where the show will be streamed online, and in the Northwest Indiana area, feel free to tune into your radio at 1230AM.

As some of you may already know, I have launched a Kickstarter project to attempt to fund the release of the bootleg, where I am offering some very cool first-time limited-edition rewards for your financial pledges. If the bootleg gets funded by Sunday, June 24, 2012, it would end up becoming the first live Skafish album ever.

One of the things that is so exciting about the bootleg concert is that it features 27 songs, and 15 of those have never been released in any form before! Since the clock is ticking, please pledge to the Kickstarter project if you want to see the concert released. To find out more information about the project and how you can participate, click here:

Also, if you missed my appearance on the Razor and Die radio show in Chicago on May 25, 2012, you can listen to the entire broadcast by clicking here.

Your support is greatly appreciated — Skafish

Back In The Day/Musings/News

Remembering Donna Summer…

Posted by Skafish on

Donna Summer, who had been battling cancer, transitioned into spirit today at the age of 63.

Being referred to as “the Queen of Disco,” can have a semi-derogatory tone. That’s because in the musical world, the word “disco” is the equivalent of your kindergarten classmates chanting on the playground that you’ve got the cooties.

However, if we look at the pop music of today, a large portion of it IS disco, except almost completely done on machines, with auto-tune, and a more technology based production style.  Still, the stigma of being called “disco” is a hard one to break.

The reality, though, is that Donna Summer was a tremendously innovative artist. “I Feel Love” was one of the first hit records to use a deliberately mechanical computer based sound, with the music actually being performed on sequencers. She was perhaps the first artist to create an international pop sound, versus one that was regional or national. That sound, which incorporated a more global sensibility, featuring dance, American R&B, euro, synthesizers, and yes, even guitars, paved the way for artists like Madonna.

I connected with a lot of Donna’s work, but I especially loved “Hot Stuff,” which featured her commanding, sassy vocal. That track not only had a sexy groove (featuring drummer Keith Forsey, who also played on Billy Idol’s cover of “Mony Mony”), but an outstanding guitar solo. I use to perform “Hot Stuff” when I played music for strippers in the mid 1980’s, and as a cover during some of my solo shows.

Let’s salute Donna Summer, as not only the “Queen of Disco,” but as a truly groundbreaking artist who helped to pave the way for so many who followed her lead. Revisit the remarkably innovative hit, “I Feel Love” — Skafish

Back In The Day/Current Events/News/Press

Skafish to be Interviewed and Premiere Unreleased 1977 Bootleg Tracks on Chicago’s Razor and Die Show

Posted by Skafish on

I will be a guest on the Razor and Die Show in Chicago on Friday May 25, 2012 from 4:30 to 5:30 pm. On the show, I will be interviewed and also premiere several unreleased live bootleg tracks from my historic 1977 concert at Ratso’s in Chicago. Many of the tracks from the concert are Skafish compositions that have never been released in any form prior, and you’ll be the first to hear several of them.

Throughout the world, listen to the entire broadcast online at If you’re in Chicago and want to listen on the radio, tune in to 88.7 FM.

Exclusively via Facebook, post your questions during the broadcast at  and we will try to answer them live on the air.

From the historical perceptive, to anecdotal stories and personal recollections, there is a great deal to discuss, and we will try to cover it all. Plus, we’re gonna play some really edgy and groundbreaking music! Please spread the word, and make sure to tune in!

Also, I just created the I Want My Skafish Bootleg Facebook page. Please visit the page at and“Like” it. You can always check there for the latest updates regarding the bootleg project.

Keep in mind that if you want to see the bootleg released, please pledge your support to my Kickstarter project, and in return, you can get some very cool first-time limited edition rewards. Here is the link for the Kickstarter fundraising campaign:

Your support is greatly appreciated!

Back In The Day/Current Events/News

Skafish Announces Kickstarter Project to Release 1977 Historic Chicago Concert

Posted by Skafish on

Chicago/Northwest Indiana-May 5, 2012: Jim Skafish announces a Kickstarter project for the release of the first-ever live Skafish CD set. The recording is a bootleg of a concert performed for Skafish’s 21st birthday at Ratso’s in Chicago on August 29, 1977.

Skafish’s proto-punk, avant-garde performances started shaking up the Chicago music scene in February 1976. By the time of the Ratso’s concert, the band had already created a buzz in the local and national media and had developed a devoted underground following. Skafish later went on to tour America and Europe with groups such as The Police, XTC, and Iggy Pop, and was featured in the cult classic film, “Urgh, a Music War!”

The recording features 27 songs, including 15 Skafish compositions that have never been released in any form prior. The planned two CD set will be a numbered, limited edition of only 2000 copies.

According to Skafish, he had no idea that there was a bootleg recording made of the show until he finally got the tapes a few years ago. “What’s so exciting about this,” says Skafish, “is that I can take my project directly to the people, and let my fans participate in the process.”

Fans are encouraged to visit the Kickstarter project page at The campaign lasts through June 24th. The anticipated official release date of the bootleg is on its 35th anniversary, on August 29, 2012.

# # #

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with Skafish, please email Glinda Harrison at


Skafish bio:
Skafish is a genre-defining and defying international pioneer who was the first American artist (and second worldwide) to ever be signed to one of the most groundbreaking independent record labels of all time, the now legendary IRS Records, for which he released two albums. He has toured with such acts as The Police, XTC, Iggy Pop, Ramones, Stranglers, U-2, Ultravox, Squeeze, and UB-40, to name a few. In 1980, Skafish was filmed in front of approximately 20,000 people in the south of France for inclusion in the cult classic film “Urgh! A Music War,” performing the first blatantly sacrilegious rock song in history, “Sign Of The Cross, which he composed in the spring of 1976.

As a heavily trained classical and jazz musician, Skafish first began piano lessons at the age of 6, and was regarded as a child prodigy/genius. He is months away from celebrating being a dedicated musician for 50 years, which includes his pioneering days in Chicago as the city’s Punk/New Wave Godfather, which started with he and his band’s debut there in February, 1976.

Artists such as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, and Stan Kenton (none of whom were rock-genre performers) have heralded Skafish, with Waters begin quoted by United Press International in December of 1981 as saying, “When Jim Skafish walks into the room, I could swear it was Mick Jagger.” Dixon referred to Skafish as “The best musician I know,” and Stan Kenton called him a genius after hearing an August 1976 Skafish rock demo tape.

International rock legends Cheap Trick (who attended many of Skafish’s earliest Chicago performances) wrote in the liner notes for the April 1, 2008 Skafish release, “What’s This? 1976-1979”: “Unpredictable, over the top, with life or death conviction and reckless abandon, Skafish created punk, new wave, and alternative rock in Chicago.”

In recent years, Skafish launched La Befana Records and 829 Records, with the mission of releasing the complete output of his past, current, and future catalogue.

Back In The Day/Current Events/News

Why $15, 000…?

Posted by Skafish on

I just got an email from someone who really wants my 21st bootleg birthday concert to be released, but he was wondering why it would cost as much as $15,000 to manufacture just two thousand CDs? That’s a fair question, so I thought I would let all of you know where the money would go.

These are all the things that your money would pay for, and let me assure you that I put a lot of thought into the amount I’m asking for, did the math over and over again, and $15, 000 just covers all of the expenses. 

Here is a list of everything that the money would pay for: 

*Manufacturing the two CD set with digipack

*Studio cost of recording new commentary tracks to be included in the CD package

*Filming the recording of the new commentary tracks to be posted online in videos

*Mastering the music

*Licensing costs for the cover song which is in the concert, the Bobby Darin classic, Splish Splash

*Domestic shipping costs for the rewards (I added some extra cost for international shipping, because it is quite high)

*The materials needed to ship them properly (Envelopes, labels and packaging materials)

*Photo licenses for the project

*Designing the artwork for the CD packaging

*Manufacturing high quality T-shirts (individually bagged) that are part of the Kickstartrer rewards

*Kickstarter and Amazon payment fees (These amount to 8-10% of the project funding, which is about $1500)

If somebody doesn’t feel that this is the right project for them to back, then of course, they shouldn’t get involved. This is certainly not an attempt for me to make a profit off of your backs, disguised as the cost of getting a project out there. I just wanted to clarify what the situation really was and where the money would go. I care deeply about this project, but it has to be able to pay for itself. 

Again, your support would be greatly appreciated — Skafish

Back In The Day/Current Events/News


Posted by Skafish on

If you’ve been following all along here on my blog, Facebook, Twitter, and on Google+, I’ve been talking about the fact of the existence of a bootleg audio recording of my 21st birthday concert from August 29, 1977 at Ratso’s in Chicago. Now, I want to release it as an official project in a limited edition numbered two CD set of no more than two thousand copies.

This is a very cool, edgy concert that features 27 songs, and 15 original Skafish compositions that have never been released in any form, totaling up to around 88 minutes of music. Keep in mind that this is a bootleg quality recording, and comparable to other official bootlegs that have been released in the marketplace.

As any of you who know my work would expect, the music incorporates many styles, and is for the person who likes subterranean underground rock music that is really “out there.” Most of the songs were written and first performed throughout Chicagoland in 1976. These songs (along with the music from my CD (“What’s This? 1976-1979”), gave birth to the Chicago punk, new wave, and underground scene. For the Skafish fan who likes the edgiest part of my work, this is the record for you!

Since I’ve always been supported by unique individuals, see how you can be a part of this grassroots project in a way that has never happened before. Your help in getting it out there would be greatly appreciated! To learn more what you can do to contribute to make it happen, click here:

I appreciate it — Skafish

Back In The Day/Contests/Current Events/News

Want Your Skafish Bootleg?

Posted by Skafish on

I’ve been thinking about something, and I would like to get your opinion. I now have a Skafish live bootleg recording from 1977 and I’ve been thinking of releasing it. If I put it out there, this would be the first live Skafish album to ever be released.

So, would a live Skafish bootleg album be something that you, the fans, are interested in? If this is something that you want, here’s how I would like for you to let me know. Grab your cell phone, or anything you’d like to make a video with, and record a video of yourself saying: “I WANT MY SKAFISH BOOTLEG!”

You can shout it, scream it, let me know your excitement, or any way you choose to express yourself. Send your video to over the next few days. I want to use the clips you send me in several videos to promote the bootleg project and you, my friend, get to be disgracefully immortalized!

Everyone who sends in a video also gets entered into a drawing where I’m going to give away several Skafish “WHAT’S THIS FREAKIN’ $%&!?” T-Shirts. This is a rare shirt that has never been sold. Only a few people currently have them, and I get asked for them all the time. I had just 300 of these shirts made, and there will be no more manufactured, ever. Keep in mind that by submitting your video, you’re giving me the legal permission to use it.

So, send me those videos to!


Back In The Day/Current Events/News/Press/Skafish Jazz

Skafish NPR Interview With Live Piano Performance

Posted by Skafish on

When my first holiday jazz album, “Tidings Of Comfort And Joy – A Jazz Piano Trio Christmas” was first released in 2006, I was interviewed on the Chicago National Public Radio show Eight-Forty-Eight with host Steve Edwards to discuss the record. On the show, I also played live piano versions of three of my album tracks. We also talked about my musical background, and the origins of the Chicago punk scene.

I’ve put together a visual compilation which helps to tell the narrative of the interview, and features many never-before-seen images.

Enjoy! Skafish

Back In The Day/Musings/News

Sid Vicious’ last Hurrah… again

Posted by Skafish on

Since Sid Vicious’  last public event occurred at my concert in New York at Hurrah’s in December, 1978, the story has never — not even one time — been reported accurately by anyone in the media. And not one person from the media has ever made any legitimate attempt to interview me about what happened back then, even though all the action took place at my performance, literally a few feet in front of me. No one could ever claim that I’m not easy to reach, and no, my band and I weren’t drunk or high that night either….

sid_vicious_1As far as for my part, I have accurately described this event on, spoke about it in the commentary section of my CD release “What’s This? 1976 – 1979,”  and have truthfully referenced it occasionally on my Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace pages.

I had that pesky little sneaking gut level feeling that, just like everything else I’ve ever read and heard about Vicious’ last public event, “Who Killed Nancy”  would also be filled with falsehoods, erroneous information, and omissions. Still, I wanted to keep my promise to my Facebook friends, so I finally watched the DVD on New Year’s Day, 2011. Just as I suspected, the film barely mentioned anything at all about what occurred that night, and, of the little that was said, much of it was startlingly inaccurate.

First, here is the miniscule bit of information contained in the film that was correct: This occurred at Hurrah’s in New York City. A band (merely referred to as a “loud band” in the film), was playing. Sid Vicious attacked Todd Smith (the brother of singer Patti Smith), and glass was everywhere.

Here are the “let’s make up whatever we fancy” falsehoods that were stated in the DVD: Todd Smith was referred to as “some drunk moron,” who deserved to be attacked. It was erroneously claimed that Sid was dragged out of the club by his buddies.

Now, for those of us who care about that old dinosaur, the truth: First, Todd Smith was absolutely not drunk that night. Of course, he didn’t deserve to be attacked, and was hardly just “some drunk moron.” He was unassumingly doing his job, which was to watch the stage so that he could help out in case any equipment malfunctioned or anything else went wrong at my show. Todd was his sister’s (the legendary Patti Smith) road manager; he was only working the Skafish show that night as a favor to us since Patti was not on tour at the time.

Secondly, Sid was not dragged out of the club by his friends or anyone else, but by then Skafish road manager, Jimy Sohns. At the time, Sid Vicious was out on bail for the alleged murder of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen on October 12, 1978. He specifically came to Hurrah’s to see Skafish play, even though in the movie, the actual name of my band was not mentioned even one time.

He was brought to the show by Danielle Booth, who hung around with my band back in 1976-1977. Danielle, who claimed to have been a groupie for The Rolling Stones when she was 14, was from Dune Acres, Indiana, and her family had money. When Skafish first played CBGB’s on April 12th and 13th 1977, she hitched a ride with us from the Chicago area to New York. A while later, Danielle and Sid Vicious became friends and bonded through doing drugs together.

skafish_1When Vicious came to see our show, he stood right at the front of the stage and was staring intensely at us during our set. Artist Robert Mag snapped the picture of Sid (above in this post) minutes before the attack. During our performance, Sid first began making gestures from the audience at my guitarist/vocalist Karen Winner. As our set progressed, Sid took notice of Skafish female drum roadie Tara, and started making flirtatious advances toward her, including pinching her.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tara, she once dated Cheap Trick  singer Robin Zander, and was brought to her first Skafish show in Chicago in the fall of 1976 by the band. She then may have become the first female drum roadie ever when she started working in that capacity for Skafish shortly after she saw us perform.

I was not surprised that Sid noticed Tara, as people were often attracted to her. In February, 1978, when Skafish headlined the Whisky A Go Go in Los Angeles, Doug Fieger (who had yet to form “The Knack”), was at the time a member of the opening band, “The Sunset Bombers.” Fieger, like Vicious, took strong notice of Tara, and subsequently wrote the song “Oh Tara” about her, released it on the Knack’s debut LP “Get The Knack” and dedicated it to her. At the time, Tara completely rebuffed Fieger’s gesture of the song’s dedication to her, and in the same way, she was not in the least bit interested in Sid’s flirtatious advances either.

By the time Vicious was making overtures to Tara at our show in New York, we were all used to unpredictability at our concerts, so no one lost their cool. Todd Smith (who was dating Tara at the time, and subsequently married her) simply went up to Sid and politely asked him to just wait to flirt with Tara till after the show, as she and he were watching the stage for us that night. In addition to what I observed from the stage, Tara later confirmed to me that was exactly how Todd dealt with the situation, as he was not confrontational, upset, or territorial in the way he approached Vicious regarding his making advances toward Tara on any level.

That’s when Vicious, totally unprovoked, suddenly smashed a beer bottle right across Todd’s face. Smith did not fight back. As for the Skafish band, since we were so used to all kinds of violence at our shows, we just played on. Ironically, at the time of the attack, we were performing the rather sedate “She Lives For Love.” Sid’s ambush-style assault caused Todd to be rushed to the hospital to receive multiple stitches.

Reacting immediately to the attack, our then road manager Jimy Sohns (singer for the legendary “Shadows of Knight”),   rushed from behind the mixing board where he was doing sound. He punched and strong-armed Vicious, dragged him through the club and threw him down the flight of stairs that led up to Hurrah’s. Amidst the unpredictable insanity, we completed our performance that night, as usual.

Then, a little less than two months later, Sid Vicious unfortunately and sadly died on the morning of February 2, 1979 from a drug overdose taken the night before….

For me, as I look back on this event that happened a little over 32 years ago, it is still crystal clear to me. Since I’ve been victimized by revisionist history throughout my entire musical career, I once again felt it necessary to set the record straight after watching the DVD “Who Killed Nancy.”

In most versions of Vicious’ last public event, the majority of the actual story is simply left out, and the blanks are filled in any way that fits someone’s preposterous flight of fancy. I have read various contradictory accounts by several people who all claim that THEY were the ones who actually grabbed Sid Vicious that night and removed him from the club. Some associates of Vicious assert that it was HE who was the victim of an unprovoked attack by Todd Smith, and that the glass from Todd’s assault is what actually cut him, not Sid.

I’ve been in disbelief every time I’ve read that the person Sid flirted with was one of my band members, instead of Tara. I don’t know where people got this one, but I’ve read that the assault occurred at 2:30 AM, way AFTER my band and I finished our performance. Oops – and one more for the road: I’ve noticed multiple accounts that this occurred at Max’s Kansas City. The erroneous misinformation that’s falsely sold as “history” just gets more “colorful” all the time, especially the inaccurate and utterly ludicrous claims about Todd Smith’s role in all of this.

I learned a long time ago both as an artist and as a person that unfortunately, truth is not something that people as a whole value, even though everyone would swear that’s exactly what they want. After all, who would admit to lying and/or wanting to be lied to? What people perceive as truth, though, is often what is emotionally convenient to them, and bought into via those who know how to effectively manipulate the media and get their point of view out there, no matter how inaccurately.

I find it compelling that this piece of rock ‘n’ roll history unfolded right in front of my very eyes. It fascinated people in December of 1978, and as I’m sure that we’ll see even more “versions” of that night popping up from here on out, I’m more than willing and happy to tell anyone who genuinely cares to know what really happened back then the actual truth.

All photos taken by and courtesy of Robert Mag.

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