Skum Rocks Hollywood!

 

 

Skum really rocked the house at the Hollywood premiere of their rockumentary tour de force, Skum Rocks!  The first official US showing, held May 30th at the 17th Annual Dances With Films Festival on Hollywood Boulevard in LA, was a stupendous success. And with a theatre packed with fans, friends, and celebrities, the members of Skum couldn’t have been happier.

Skum’s lead guitarist, John Eaton, was elated. “The Chinese Theatre? Are you kidding me? I could get used to this. Tommy [Craig] and I stayed at the Roosevelt, and hung out in the Lair of the Hollywood Vampires at the Rainbow.  It’s been a great week, and it’s great to be part of Hollywood Folklore.”

“This was a huge step for the film, being screened here at the Chinese Theatre,” commented Clay Westervelt, the film’s Emmy-winning director. “And this is just the beginning. I’m very proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

“Tonight was great, being out with the band and all these fantastic fans”, added Phoenix Benjamin, the uber-talented guitarist, who, from time to time, rocks his guitar with Skum.

Master musician and friend of the band, Frankie Banali, agreed, stating simply that “Skum does rock!”

The roaring triumph of the band’s Hollywood premiere is not the last you’ll be hearing from the rockers of Skum. According to lead singer, Hart Baur, there may be another Skum big project in the works. “There’s been talk of a TV show,” Baur revealed after the premiere. “If that happens, it’ll be way over the top.”

For now, the members of Skum are taking things one day at a time, and they’ve had some pretty great days. Tommy Craig, Skum’s drummer extraordinaire, left me with this comment. “A few months back we had the world premiere at Raindance in London, and then cut tracks at Abbey Road. That was amazing. But now, being on the big screen in Hollywood? That’s really something. I can’t wait ‘til we play at the Whiskey later this year.”

We can’t wait either, Skum.

An Interview with Diana Laura Noris

by Robert Patterson

Diana Laura Noris is fortunate to possess a few natural attributes — she’s ridiculously funny, possesses an undeniable charisma, and she has an enchanting body.  The Puerto Rican/Argentinean native may have only recently become a household name, thanks to her outstanding performances in more than twenty films in the past three years, but she’s been a working actress for over twenty years, having gotten her start on Puerto Rican television.  And Noris really hit her stride in 2013 — having one of her best years in the industry.

Noris spoke to Inside Celebrities about being a Latina actress, the virtues of her beloved Puerto Rico and, well, being a MILF.

 I.C – Your son is 19.  Do you know what a MILF is?

DL – I’m sorry, I don’t.

I.C – It’s like the hot mom in the neighborhood.  Your son’s friends must have had crushes on you.
D.L – It’s not like I’m dressed sexy when I’m inside the house or anything.  I’m just a normal Mom.  His friends are very used to me.  I don’t know if any of them had a crush on me.  I really hope not.

I.C – You’re Latina.  Does it upset you that there aren’t more Latino actors working in the States?
D.L – It’s getting better.  You can’t compare it to the parts American actresses get, but it’s getting much better.  The doors are wide open for Latinas.  At least that’s my opinion.  A lot of TV shows now are looking for more Latin women.

I.C – What’s the one food from Argentina that Americans should know about?

D.L – Honestly, I think the steaks are what Argentina is known for — the best “asados” steak BBQ.  And since I was raised in Puerto Rico, I naturally love the dishes from there, like “arros con gandules”, “pinchos”, “bacalaitos”.   They are all just yummy!

I.C – You’ve been such a busy lady this year.  Tell us about your latest films.

D.L – I made several films this year.  One Moment, Repulsive, The Ticket Box, Krissy Belle, Runner Runner, Warm Bodies, Spilt, The Client List, and I’m in pre-production for Roller Dolls.

         

The busy actress has graced the pages of a large stack of popular magazines this year as well, including Us Latino, Lifestyle Miami, Gente de Miami, Inside Celebrities, Cosmopolitan, Gold Coast, Playboy Smoking Jacket, The Miami Herald, Sun Sentinel, Guitar World, Hidden Treasures, and the cover of Latin Times Miami.  This year Noris also expanded her game, becoming a celebrity columnist for the trendy new publication, Miami Fashion Spotlight.  Her featured column is entitled, “Miami Social according to Di.”

This year was also full of humbling acknowledgements for the charitable actress.  Philanthropist Kimberly Shenker- Bacardi’s Karma Group recognized Noris as one of the “Eight Most Charitable Women in Miami.”  In October 2013, the American Cancer Association also bestowed an award to Noris for her charitable efforts, and she’s been recognized for her animal welfare advocacy work as well.  She continues to champion causes and events to aid those in less fortunate circumstances in Florida and around the world.

In 2010, Noris founded Women in the Arts Miami, an organization whose mission is to encourage, promote, and support the contributions of Southern Florida women in the creative arts.  The yearly recognition ceremony continues to grow each year, and now even includes men in the annual list of honorees.  Noris is busy working on the ramp-up for the 4th annual ceremony now in her role as president and event planner-in-chief for what is always a sparkling event.  “I’m blessed to be able to honor the best of the best in all the different categories of our artist community in Florida each year,” Norris said.  “There is so much diversity and range of talent and experience, and it’s a real honor to be able to share that with others and help build a strong creative community together.”

While 2013 was an extremely hot year for Noris, 2014 is set to sizzle even more for this Latina go-getter as she prepares to conquer the world and build a brighter, more colorful place for everyone around her.  If you want to keep up with Diana Laura, please check her out on Facebook and give her page a Like.  You can find the beautiful and talented Ms. Noris at www.facebook.com/dianalauranoris and at www.dianalauranline.com.

 

Photo Credits: Andrew King and Tony Vera.

 

LAUREN CONRAD ENGAGED

Lauren Conrad & John Eaton

Lauren Conrad, star of Laguna Beach and The Hills, and a long-time fan and  friend of Skum’s lead guitarist John Eaton, has announced her engagement to singer-songwriter boyfriend William Tell.

John was quick to offer his congratulations.  “Lauren is a doll and it was great to see her and Willy take this big step. He’s a great guy and they make a perfect couple.”

Conrad, who said she was “beyond thrilled” about the engagement, remained coy regarding a date —but did hint at a summer wedding. The actress and best-selling author (L.A. Candy, Sweet Little Lies), wouldn’t give specifics on the location either, but according to John, it will most certainly be in Southern California, where both William and Lauren grew up.

Any word on whether she will call upon her good friend to provide some entertainment at the wedding —perhaps in the form of a guitar solo wedding march?

“Sure I would do it,” said John.  ”Lauren’s a friend.”

MACHETE KILLS PREMIERES

By Inside Celebrites

 

On October 11th at the Regal South Beach Cinema in Miami Beach, Skum’s Hart Baur and John Eaton joined their friends Dan Trejo and Alexa Vega on the red carpet for the premiere of their new film, Machete Kills.

Just back from the world premiere of their own film, Skum Rocks! at the Raindance Festival in London, Baur and Eaton said they were happy to be there.  “Machete Kills is a great film,” said Skum’s lead guitarist John Eaton.  “Danny knocks it out of the park and Alexa was just awesome — both gave a wonderful performance — and it was great that we were back able to attend.  And it’s always good to see Danny and Alexa.”

Danny Trejo

 

Machete Kills made it’s premiere in Miami, which is quickly becoming a first choice for film premieres. “It’s great to be here in Miami,” said Vega.  When asked about their friends from Skum attending she replied, “It’s amazing to have those guys here — are you kidding me?”

The theatre was packed for the premiere,  and afterwards the fans were treated to a Q & A with Trejo and Vera, as well as with the director Robert Rodriquez.  When asked what he thought of Clay Westervelt’s work directing Skum Rocks! Rodriguez replied, “I liked his work on the film. It was tremendous.”

Alexa Vega

Following the premiere, Baur and Eaton joined the movie’s cast, crew, and invited fans at the SoHo Beach House in Miami for the private after-party.  “Things got a little out of control — especially after John got thrown in the pool — but that’s to be expected when you  mix rock and roll with Hollywood,” said Skum lead singer Baur.  “But it was all good. An altogether great evening for Machete Kills as well as for Dan and Alexa.  Skum had our premiere moment in London.  It was great, and now I’m happy we could come out and support our friends for their premiere.”

 

 

Skum Makes Music History at Abbey Road

Jeremy Radnor – UK Music World

When the rock band Skum entered legendary Abbey Road Studios on the 26th of September, they were walking into history. No band had ever recorded in Memphis’ Sun Studios as well as London’s Abbey Road in the same calendar year. Ever. The occasion was momentous, to say the least.

Skum was in London for the Raindance Film Festival premiere of “Skum Rocks!”, the rock documentary helmed by notable director Clay Westervelt. And with their album still underway, they thought, “why not record some tracks at Abbey Road?” It was no easy feat booking time at the Beatles-famed studio, especially with a mere two weeks’ notice, but a few calls were made and a few generous artists — who wish to remain anonymous — swapped their studio slots to give Skum the needed time.

Skum rhythm bassist, Todd Mittlebrook, said, “It’s great that we made rock and roll history with these recordings. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a huge accomplishment and one we’ll be telling our grandkids about for sure…But we didn’t do this to get into the history books, we did this for our fans. We want these bonus tracks to be something special, and they are.”

By all accounts, the Abbey Road session was vintage Skum, laying down their tracks in one or two takes. In what has become an urban myth, Skum likes to do everything live. “There is so much more that goes into a good recording session other than recording,” said lead guitarist, John Eaton. “We figure if we knock the main stuff out in ten minutes or so we have a lot more time for what makes this band great. And that’s hanging out.”

While in the studio, the band recorded their underground 80’s classic, “We Are Skum,” which will be the opening track on their upcoming album, Lost at the Circus. They also completed a blistering cover of the Beatles’ “Back in the USSR”.


“We wanted to pay homage to the Beatles, especially the White Album,” said lead bassist Pat Burke. “The background vocals alone (performed by Victoria Rummler and Roveina) will knock this track out of the park. They made our job easy. This is simply a classic version of a great Beatles song. It may even be better than the original version, to be honest. With all due respect, of course.”

The session was intense as fans kept pouring into famed Studio 2. By noon there were over thirty people crammed into the control room to witness the madness unfolding below. Once the levels were set and Skum producer Mark Brasel was satisfied, the band knocked out their tracks, including a piano/accordion sonata lead-in for the Beatles track. Written and performed by Dr. Andrew and Peter Watson, “Drowning the Gypsy in the Volga” is a sad tale of life under the yoke of totalitarianism in an age when life was measured in days rather than years. “‘Gypsy’ tells a story no one wants to hear,” said Dr. Watson.  “It’s very much in tune with this album’s theme. Except this tale takes place outside of Samara in 1937.”

Musically, these tracks will blow you away. Skum’s powerhouse drummer, Tommy Craig, drives both tracks with a vengeance that will make even the casual fan turn his head. “I wanted to give the tracks an edge,” said Craig. “I played around with the intro, and Johnny just told me to go for it, so I did. I’m really happy with the results.”

Eaton was in epic form on both tracks, and his preparation showed. His solo on “USSR” was sharp and on target. “I had about eight days to prepare. I was ready,” said Eaton. “Besides, Abbey Road, are you kidding me? This is what this band is all about. Skum at Abbey? Next up, Electric Ladyland!”

Burke and Mittlebrook laid down the bass lines in one take, high fiving each other after, as they listened to the playback. “It’s what we do,” said Burke. “It’s just cool we did it at Abbey Road in front of our fans.”

“The importance of recording at Abbey Road really goes without saying,” said lead singer Hart Baur. “We wanted to give our fans and investors something special. The bonus tracks, from Sun Studios and now Abbey Road, deliver that. They’ve waited over twenty-five years for this album, and we’re giving them everything we can. Abbey Road is our thank you to the fans. But it’s also a thank you to the greatest band ever, the Beatles. They are why we have rock and roll today.”

The Abbey Road session legitimized this album.  Lost at the Circus is destined to be one of the most explosive albums of 2014. This band is crazy. To the untrained eye, they may seem scattered at best. But without a doubt, these guys know what they are doing. And they’re laughing the whole time.  Skum: fun mixed with sinister brilliance.

 

 

 

Skum Rocks! Makes Triumphant Debut at Raindance

by Nigel Pandemonium

On the 26th of September in London, movie-goers both laughed and cringed as the documentary SkumROCKS! made its global premiere at the Raindance Film Festival.  During seventy-seven minutes of unadulterated, crazy fun, the true story of Skum delivered a winning charm that completely captivated the sold out crowd. Thanks to the charisma of the band members and the innovative story telling of award-winning director Clay Westervelt, Skum Rocks! is being hailed by many as the most important rock and roll film in decades.  Entirely original in texture and format, Skum, the band that burned brightly for eight years before its tragically hilarious implosion, totally rocked the big screen.  But the path to their success was not an easy one.

When I sat down with Skum’s Hart Baur, I learned it was a long and winding road that led to the documentary, SkumROCKS!   “The project started more than five years ago,” Baur said.  “When the band broke up in 1991, I never completely got over it.  So I put together some ideas, and then called Todd Mittlebrook.  He obviously felt like I did, because he flew to Miami and we stayed up for two days straight writing down everything we remembered about Skum’s twisted history — the good and the bad times.”

It’s that combination of good and bad times that make this film so dynamic.  As their origins are revealed, the viewer is captivated, among other things, by the unparalleled audaciousness of Skum.  It all began in Virginia in 1984, when the band was a “party-band-for-hire” punching above its weight at the College of William and Mary.  The brainchild of three soccer players – Hart Baur, Todd Mittlebrook and Canadian Scott Bell – Skum came into existence for one reason, according to Bell, which was “to meet girls and have some fun.”  But enthusiasm doesn’t long hide lack of talent, and in order to cover up Baur’s inability to play the guitar, the soccer threesome soon invited Jon Tarrant into the band.

According to the documentary, the musical results weren’t much improved after Tarrant’s addition, but it didn’t matter.  Skum managed to lie, manipulate, and trick its way into talent shows, local gigs, and newspaper headlines.  After a few years of playing the party circuit in Virginia, Skum left in order to reinvent itself in Miami. By 1986, Bell and Tarrant dropped out as the band brought in more musical muscle in the form of guitar virtuoso John Eaton and self-proclaimed “band quarterback,” bassist Pat Burke.  The Burke-Eaton combination, along with a series of different drummers, proved to be a winning combination for Baur and Mittlebrook.   “Playing with Pat and John was like learning to run for the first time,” Baur explained.  ”It let Todd and I concentrate on the stage show while they held down the musical fort.  This gave us a lot more freedom to perform on stage.”  The combination of gifted musicians and a killer stage presence resulted in Skum growing into a true Miami favorite during its five year reign.

Along with Baur, Burke, Eaton, Mittlebrook, and current drummer Tommy Craig, the original Skum members were in London for the film’s premiere.  Mittlebrook explained, “Hart and I felt it was essential to have Jon and Scott with us.  The four of us were together in the beginning, so it was important we were together again when the band’s story hit the big screen.”  Also on hand was Skum Rocks! director Clay Westervelt of Imaginaut Entertainment, who began work on the project three years ago.  I asked if he was surprised the film sold out at an independent film festival.  “Not at all,” he said.  “I’ve learned to always expect the unexpected with Skum.  When I heard that Raindance had to release twenty emergency tickets to satisfy the large number of American fans that flew to London for the premiere, I just smiled and laughed.  Nothing could be more typical of Skum.”

Skum’s week in London was a busy one.  Not only did Skum Rocks! premiere at Raindance, they also recorded new tracks at the famous Abbey Road Studio for their forthcoming album, “Lost at the Circus,” as well as additional footage with Westervelt that will be added to the movie.  Pat Burke commented, “London, the Raindance Festival, the folks at Abbey Road ­—everyone we came in contact with was welcoming and gracious.  From the reception we received at the Skum Rocks! premiere to the way both the Brits and visiting Yanks embraced us is something we’ll never forget.  It was a remarkable and memorable week for the band and the film.”

 

SKUM ROCKS US ROCKSTAR COVER

After their January 17th reunion show in Melbourne, Florida, Skum garnered the coveted cover on US Rockstar Magazine’s February edition. Written by Sunset Strip veteran insider, Johnny LeRue, the cover story captures the moment in a real time style article, that well, it is pretty rock and roll.

The very fact that LeRue ventured out of LA for the story surprised many colleagues, as he is known to rarely leave the sanctity of the Sunset Strip. “I had to be there,” said LeRue. “Nigel was slated to do the story, but I was talking with Gilby (Clarke) and he said I was crazy not to take the assignment. Then I heard that Frankie (Banali) was joining them on stage as was Martika and I thought hell, I need to be there. I called Nigel and asked if he would mind if I did the piece and he was so cool. He said ‘no problem mate, this way I can enjoy the show.’ So Boe flew me out.”

The show was more than just a concert, it was also the final scene in the massive film “Skum Rocks!’, directed by famed LA director Clay Wetservelt, which has chronicled the band and their subsequent comeback. “I was focused on the shoot and the show, but Pat told me backstage that Johnny was there, so I knew this was becoming a bigger story.” said Westervelt. “He never leaves LA. So yeah, we knew.”

“I’m pretty happy the way the piece came out,” said LeRue.  ”These guys put on one hell of a show, this could easily have been at the Whiskey back in 87′. It was a special event and I just hope I did it justice. Great night!”

“I was pretty pumped when I heard we were on the cover,” said lead guitarist John Eaton. “I am big fan of Johnny LeRue, so it was just cool that he was there.”

Look for the article in the February edition of US Rockstar Magazine or you can view it online at www.usrockstarmagazine.com

SKUMROCKS! LONDON PREMIERE SOLD OUT

SkumROCKS! will premiere tonight to a sold out house at the 21st Annual Raindance Film Festival in London.

The film is already heralded by some critics as among the top three at this year’s festival.  It chronicles the rise and fall of the rock band Skum, who gained widespread popularity in the 1980’s along the East Coast of the United States only to lose everything following the loss of the master tapes containing all their recorded music.

The band, now reunited after two decades of silence, is in London for the premiere of SkumROCKS!, a rockumentary by award winning director Clay Westervelt of Imaginaut Entertainment.  “The film is being well received,” Westervelt said.  “The house is sold out, and that speaks for itself.”

Todd Mittlebrook, rhythm bass player for Skum, added,  “It’s incredible to be here and to see how excited people are about the film.  Me and the rest of the band couldn’t be happier.”

The premiere of SkumROCKS! will be held at the Piccadilly Vue Cinema in London at 8:45 BST tonight.

Skum Band Members Embark for London as SkumROCKS! Global Premiere Nears

by Nigel Pandemonium

 

Skum is on the move to London! 

Members of the band embarked from across America yesterday en route to the U.K., as did a team of senior officers from the L.A. based film company, Imaginaut Entertainment — all in support of SkumROCKS!  making its global premiere at the 21st Annual Raindance Film Festival in London on September 26th.

I’ve learned that all the original members of Skum – including drummer Scott Bell and guitarist Jon Tarrant – are making the trip.  Rhythm bass player Todd Mittlebrook said, “We felt strongly about reaching out to Scott and Jon because they’re part of the Skum story.  Attending the premiere of SkumROCKS!  wouldn’t be complete without having them with us, and we’re elated they could make it.”

According to a representative from Vue Cinemas, there are less than twenty tickets still available for the premiere.  Clay Westervelt spoke about the attention the film has received over the past two weeks, saying, “I’m ecstatic to learn the movie will be well attended in London.  The pre-screening for U.S. film distributors in L.A. was at capacity, so I couldn’t be happier.  We have some excellent momentum building for this important film.”

Last minute preparations have been keeping the Skum team busy.  “To get our many supporters in the mood, we held a pre-screening party called, ‘Turn the Volume Up — Get Ready for the Jam,’ said lead singer Hart Baur. “  Going to see SkumROCKS! is a lot like getting ready for a concert.  We wanted to share that with our friends and get everyone in the mood to rock and roll.”

Skum once believed they were on the verge of creating their generation’s White Album only to lose everything — including the master tapes with all their recorded music on it.  Now, after more than twenty years of silence, the band is about to have their moment in the sun.

I will be in London to cover this evolving rock story for US Rockstar Magazine and Inside Celebrities.

Skum Album “Lost at the Circus” Nears Completion

Themed Album Analyzes the Fringes of the American Landscape

 By Michael Wench

In 1988, in a small, barren studio in Hollywood, Florida, about two miles west of I-95, the band Skum began work on what was supposed to become one of the great themed albums of the rock era.

Grunge music was already making a rumble in the American Northwest.  While it would be several years before Grunge decimated what we all loved with its self-pitying songs about rich white kids’ angst, the writing was on the wall.  The West Coast record companies were mostly to blame, with the signing of any band with a blond lead singer who had played at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go.  The power ballad and MTV heavy rotation was the result.  Gone were the straight up rock and roll albums like Houses of the Holy by Led Zeppelin or Fair Warning by Van Halen.  In vogue were mindless songs — ear candy.  Good for a moment and forgotten the next.  Themed albums such as Pink Floyd’s The Wall, Meatloaf’s Bat Out of Hell, and the Beatles’ White Album were things of the past.  Faded, like the vinyl album covers in our closets.  It was all changing.  No one had the guts to stand up to the modern, formulaic recipe for popular music.

When Skum first walked into Walker studios, they may not have fully understood what they were doing in terms of historical significance, but still they were doing it.  What they produced and then lost was an album filled with biting social commentary.  The album was aptly entitled Lost at the Circus.  It was a blistering look at the backstreets and alleys at the social fringes of America.  It took the listener into the rooms and the minds of common Americans – where few people dared to look — much less study.

Skum, then riding their wave of modest popularity, was taking a chance.  A band that had a reputation for fun and wildness was doing something remarkably serious.  Maybe they didn’t see it at the time, but in hindsight, this was a high watermark for the era of big albums.  In a way, Lost at the Circus was the Alamo for rock and roll as we knew it.

Lost at the Circus is an honest look at America’s outcasts and unwanted — the five percent no one dared talk about,” Hart Baur, lead singer of Skum, commented.  “The album is not so much a social commentary but an observation.  The title alone says it all.  You see a grown man holding a teddy bear, crying at the circus, and you know something has gone horribly wrong, but you don’t want to know the backstory, so you walk away.  This album discusses what would have happened if you’d stayed, and tries to analyze what went wrong.”

The album includes ten songs, with two more to be recorded at Abbey Road in London.  The songs are an offering from the band’s eight year period performing from Virginia to Florida.

The album starts with the musical intro “5 of Spades” and launches into the band’s signature opening song “We Are Skum.”  “5 of Spades” is a loud, brutal lead-in to the album,” said lead bassist Pat Burke.  “The five of Spades personifies the fact that sometimes you don’t get the cards you want, but you still have to play with the cards you’e dealt.”

“We Are Skum” is the first song written by Skum.  It is an existential offering that questions how as individuals we each may have faults, but is that any worse than a society of “skum” that has forgotten the individual?  Obviously, the band is playing with semantics here by using their name.  To many, this is simply a song about themselves.  However, digging through the lyrics, one finds it’s much deeper than that.  It tells the side of those who are deemed by society as unfit, unworthy of recognition.  The line, “’Chad came down and took the chord’ very well signifies life being taken by someone who deems this person as ‘less than worthy’.  John Eaton had this to say, “There is an element of homeless abuse in this song, and even though we cover this in “Jon the Bagman” there is a lot in here.  This song, I think, is the most layered lyrically of all of them.”

Rhythm bassist Todd Mittlebrook added: “Sadly, ‘Lost at the Circus‘ and the stories of the common man struggling are more relevant today than they were twenty years ago.  The average American is having a more difficult time today than they were in 1988.”

The song “Hanging Out with Fred” is the tale of a man who toils at his menial job as a laundry cleaner and finds his ‘kingdom’ is illicit sex with co-workers.  Can anyone say they haven’t seen this type of situation, yet how many times have they turned a blind eye to this too common struggle?

“Bad Checks” is another brilliant gem.  It’s a song about the existential tale of a Dr. Andrew Watson.  Like other persecuted religious figures throughout history, he gave away what he didn’t own.  He paid for his friends with bad checks and then was betrayed by those he clothed.  He was forced to flee the country seeking a better world elsewhere.  It is a song that revels in the guilt of those who persecuted the very man who gave his name on their behalf.  Is this a song that exposes treachery or poor decisions, or both?  The listener must make his own determination, and that is how the band wants it.

“Jon the Bagman” takes a serious look at homelessness.  The song, absent of emotion, simply points out homelessness as a part of everyday American life.  For better or for worse, Jon — the protagonist of the song — cannot find solace in the anonymity of the streets as he’d hoped.  What does leaving his job and his wife get him?  Cracked ribs and a beat-down by thugs.  No glory here, no hero in the song.  Just a guy who made bad life decisions.

I believe “16”, a song about an underage porn star, is the most important of the album.  This song approaches a social malaise that has plagued the adult film industry for decades.  Pretending it doesn’t exist is akin to being complacent.  We all are responsible for it, and Skum chose to take a stand.  This song alone merits an award.  “16” is a “sobering song that sheds light on a very dark corner of society,” said Baur.  “You can run from it once the light is upon it, but if you do, you’re allowing it to continue.  It is called the “adult” industry for a reason.  It’s for adults.  “Lyrically, this is a brilliant piece of work,” said Burke.  “It’s a simple take on a very serious topic.  And the music?  This song is going blow people away.”

The tale of a lost soul in the song “Shaken It” is certainly one of the most controversial rock songs of the past thirty years.  The song parallels the southern Gothic tale told by Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe” by using a narrator to speak about sexual frustration.  It’s about a young man not blessed with looks, wit, or intelligence, who was “still a virgin against his will” at age thirty-three.  The song addresses how he chose to deal with his sexual frustration.  It is a shocking song, but based on a true story.  It leaves you unsettled, but at the same time strangely fulfilled.

“Keychains and Cigarettes” — the only song with a writing credit by original guitarist Jon Tarrant — compares everyday living to that of life inside an insane asylum.  It is a composite of the unwell.  We see the demented — trapped in their minds by demons only they can see — yet we as a society are happy to drive past without caring.  For better or for worse, this is perhaps the most important song on the album, and Eaton lays down a blistering guitar solo that leaves the listener speechless.

The album is rounded out by “It Happened” and “Mace your Face.”  These two songs detail a bad night, one ending in childbirth and the other with a street criminal in ungodly pain.  Both are based on true stories, according to Baur.  “’Mace’ is a song where the victim is also the criminal,” said Burke.  “Johnny (Eaton) lights up the sky with that solo.  This is what rock and roll is supposed to be.”

Mittlebrook added, “In America, our generation is probably the first generation in a long time where the children will not be as prosperous as their parents…that’s a hard pill to swallow.  America is filled with stories about good people who have abandoned the American Dream.  This album is written for the common man in order to tell their side of the story.”

Lost at the Circus still doesn’t have a release date.  But, according to Baur, you can download “Jon the Bagman” and “Bad Checks” on a variety of platforms.  It’s interesting to hear a themed album that was written more than twenty years ago.  Sadly, the album is more relevant in today’s troubled world than it was in 1988 when it was written.  Skum hoped this album would speak for their generation, and who knows what might have happened had it been released then?

Thankfully it will soon get its moment in the sun.

 

“Bad Checks” and “Jon the Bagman” are now available for digital download.