No April Fools Joke Here!

What’s This CD coverThe new SKAFISH CD, What’s This? 1976-1979 is officially released today, April 1, 2008. I remember when someone emailed me weeks ago on My Space and asked me if this new release just might be my little diabolical April Fool’s Joke! I sent back a strong no, no, no — of course not! I wouldn’t play with anyone that way!

Today, this very day of April 1, 2008, over thirty-two years after I first made my Chicago debut, this brand new CD, What’s This? 1976-1979 is finally released to all of you. Imagine how it might feel to be like a mommy in some sort of convoluted alien baby labor for over thirty-two years – that’s how I’ve felt: “The baby is going to come – it’s stuck – it hurts – it’s missing – there is NO baby — I’m gonna die…

Then, oh My God, my little extra terrestrial CD baby is being born! Look, the finished product is so very transcendent of the limitations of time and space and the physical plane and so, so beautiful — YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!” And no post partum depression!

First, a huge thanks and gift of gratitude to all of you out there who have pre ordered the CD – It is great to know that beings are out there who are tuned into this frequency and listening.

It has been a highly emotional experience for me, from the first recording session of August 1976, to finding the last master tape in October 2006, to finally seeing it dropped from the divine heavens to the world today! The strangest things spontaneously cause me to react; veering from elation to tears in seconds – especially hearing the track No Liberation Here, the end section of Work Song where the fantastic guitar playing of Larry Mazalan and Karen Winner explodes into high gear – the final vocal section of Tattle Tale and the entire track of There’s A World, to name a few.

Since it is my money and my record company, I was going to do it right: a 36 page booklet, 6 panel digi pack, 16 photos, most of which have never been seen, a great drawing of me behind the CD tray, the delightful Skafish baby as the record company logo and my spoken commentaries to set the record straight.

A huge surprise for me was when rock legends Cheap Trick (who really WERE there from my first shows), agreed to write the liner notes! Their manager told me that in the 9 years he has managed them, they never agreed to do anything like that before! Keep in mind, Cheap Trick, who are way more famous than I am, have absolutely nothing to gain by writing these liner notes, which they were not paid for – except to tell the truth as it really was, which is something that has been sorely missing in the current climate of Chicago’s revisionist history.

Since my band had not heard these recordings for such a long time, their reactions were also highly emotional – from tears to elation to great pride that we did it our way – in the midst of physical attacks, rejection, being mocked, criticized and made fun of, we stuck to out guns, even when a gun was being pointed at us, LOL!

I’m on really good terms with everyone who performed on this record, and I originally promised them that I would represent what we did in an unvarnished, unaltered and of course, uncensored way! (No clean versions here!) All of the band has been quite pleased with the results and final packaging, which means a great deal to me. Besides them, I wanted to make sure that Cheap Trick and their manager Dave Frey were OK with the way I put the project together and featured their liner notes – and they were also elated. Also, it was important to me what Glinda Harrison, my former manager Scott Cameron and Miles Copeland thought. When I sent an advance copy of the CD earlier this year to Miles Copeland and called him, he told me, “You’re one of the few geniuses I have ever met.” These are the only people whose opinions really matter to me as they were and are still like family to me. I am so glad the project didn’t disappoint any of them.

Whatever happens from here and whatever anyone thinks or says about it all is quite fine by me. This has been a very difficult journey for all involved in the SKAFISH project – the poverty, violent reactions, dreams that never came true back in the day and the sense that these recordings would never be found and ever see the light of day (as they were all lost before).

From a spiritual perspective, things have a way of working themselves out in exactly the way they are supposed to and I am just overjoyed that this project is finally born – today! We may have never got what we wanted back then, but instead, received what we needed — the learning experience with all it taught us in a tremendously deep, profound, and life altering way – both artistically and as people. When most kids were getting drunk and high, dating and discovering sex, my band and I were rehearsing constantly and brutally, and trying to travel throughout the United States, and conquer the world through our shocking new musical and live performance aesthetic, LOL. For the experience, insight, depth and camaraderie that was shared and all we went through — both good and bad, I am deeply moved, appreciative and eternally thankful.

4 Replies to “No April Fools Joke Here!”

  1. Got it and dig it!

    I found it interesting comparing “No Liberation Here” to the version on the IRS release. Even though the naughty words were gone from the IRS version, I think it was a much darker song – grittier, political, and more socially observant. They should have been more intimidated by that than a few four-letter words.

    Thank you for putting out the CD.

  2. I made the point in my spoken commentary on the new CD that every time we would record a song, I would try and change it, for a sense of evolution and new meaning. When I recorded my first LP, Miles Copeland allowed me to do anything I wanted. So the “dirty” words were not censored. The song, as you so clearly pointed out, went more political / social and less personal. The “dirty” words weren’t left out on purpose — the new version just evolved naturally that way.

    Now, for my second LP, it was a different matter. When I turned it in, in its original form in November 1982, Miles Copeland refused to release it, because it was too shocking for him and the record label. It was more “out there” than the first LP…
    Thanks for your comment –
    Much gratitude,

    Jim Skafish

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