“ROLL up, roll up . . . to meet the oddest, ugliest, freakiest pop star in the world! Would you let your daughter marry Jim Skafish?
Jim’s the leader of Skafish - a six-piece, Chicago-based rock band that made its first appearance on British soil a few weeks ago, supporting The Police at Milton Keynes.
The band was canned off-stage by a crowd of rock fans, put off their packed lunches by Jim’s freak circus appearance. And a week later at a gig in London half of the audience danced, while the other half stood with jaws gaping in disbelief.
But beneath the grotesque exterior lurks some great music. The band recently released their debut album Skafish, and already it’s one of my albums of the year.
When you’ve a face like his there’s not much you can do about it, so Jim replies to all the stares and taunts through the songs.
It makes compelling listening.
The Bobby Darin of the 80’s is Jim Skafish! Forget the nose and hear the album - that’s an order.
Or I’ll send him round to live next door to you.”
- “Meet the world’s ugliest pop star” - Sunday Mail - August 17, 1980
“…Skafish tottered into this country a little while back for a variety of reasons - the main one of which was to play the Police headlined gig at Milton Keynes.
But Jim ‘No Friends” Skafish found himself being bottled off the stage. Then a day or so later he found himself in Dublin, once again supporting the Police and this time found that none of his equipment was available on time.
Worse still the Irish cops kept him standing in the cold and rain for about six hours until they could establish whether he was a bone fide artiste or not.
So, what would you do if you were a big-nosed, semi-baldheaded and unloved American ministar? Go home, right?
And that’s exactly what Jim did. He left a note at his hotel apologizing for his departure to his record company - Faulty Products - and his band. He blamed it all on bad karma.
Needless to say, Faulty en masse freaked. They dispatched the wonderfully efficient Carolanne to Heathrow airport to catch up with Jim and made him change his mind.
And she did. Pulled him off the plane, made him see sense - the whole smear. Unfortunately the airline wasn’t too crazy about this.
See, Jim is a pretty odd looking chap - and when odd-looking chaps leave their bags on board an airplane the airline officials begin to wonder if these bags actually might contain a bomb.
So they strongarmed Jim Skafish back on the plane and flew him back to New York. When he arrived in New York he immediately turned around and caught the first plane back to the UK.
On arriving in this country he whipped straight over to Belgium to support Police at a festival. He’s promised to be good, so I’m afraid there’s every danger of seeing him play here again in September, as he was originally scheduled.”
- “Skafish On The Run” - New Music News - August 13, 1980
“If the plague of cans at Milton Keynes proved nothing else, it showed that even if Jim Skafish can be reviled, rejected, and viewed as leprous outcast, he certainly cannot be ignored. Six foot plus of gangling frame, enormous plates of meat, legendary facial promontory and a haircut which suggests recent brain surgery, Mr. Skafish always produces a reaction, usually violent.... Examining the rest of his lyrics uncover a lifetime catalogue of miseries: rejection by his parents, being ostracized at school, his father dying young, being unable to find true love and, of course, disgracing the family name. Not bad for starters, but for a boy unfortunately endowed with unwanted breasts and variously described as a transvestite, transsexual, and a hermaphrodite, it’s not so unusual...
...Jim Skafish began using music as a form of psychotherapy at an early age. …He’d make rough front-room type tapes of his songs and take them to Chicago’s WXRT-FM radio station, where cousin Bobby was an evening announcer, to try and persuade them to play them on the air. An acquaintance who worked there too remembers Jim well: “He used to come to the station and just sit there for hours, waiting to talk to someone about his tapes, but nobody wanted to know him, he was so weird and his tapes were just awful. Often he’d come and sit in my office, wearing just men’s shorts, a tube top and a pageboy haircut, twitching. Eventually we’d play a rough version of “Obsessions Of You” just so he’d go away...
...Skafish encountered his first journalist at a local punk nightspot; the editor of the local fanzine, Gabba Gabba Gazette. She recalls the meeting: “He scared me. He and his friends were the strangest people I’d ever met....”
...Miles Copeland discovered the band, and ‘ Disgracing The Family Name’ was released. “An epic of garage rock” said Al Lewis, Ed. Meanwhile back at the ranch, Skafish were recording their first LP...
...The LP, simply called “Skafish,” was released here in July. Try it, you’ll find it refreshes parts you didn’t know existed. Put it on the turntable and be Jim’s Samaritan. Roll up and listen to the human ashtray whine . . .or should I say trashcan...
...Maybe one day he’ll come out from behind that nose.”
- Betty Page - “Fish Fingered” -Sounds - August 16, 1980