Monday, May 19, 2008

The Skunks - Chaos In Skaville!


Here's the recording: The Skunks - Chaos In Skaville

The Skunks were technically a DC Ska band, but I found out recently that their original singer Joe Hottel currently lives about a mile from my house in Atlanta, and I recently transferred their demo tape to CD, so I thought I would share it. I saw the Skunks with their original lineup twice, both times at the Masquerade. The first was them opening for the Toasters, and some of my friends went up to Athens the night before and caught the show at the Shoebox and were completely blown away. When the Toasters played, the Skunks were dancing in the audience and doing mambo trains - they were real fans of the music. When I saw them the next night, they opened with "Greyhound" and the place just went nuts. They had a huge horn section, even a clarinet player, and wrote some amazing horn lines to their songs. Very few ska bands from that time period wrote horn parts as good.



Later, I saw them again on April 18, 1993 at the Masquerade at a ska/oi fest with Bad Manners headlining (see flyer below). This was one of the last shows Joe played with the band, and I stole the set list (see also set list below). Joe moved down to Atlanta, and they replaced him with a new singer that was not nearly as good. The Go-Steadys played with the new lineup at the Somber Reptile soon after, and I was frankly a little disappointed. They released two albums on Moon with this singer before calling it a day, but this first demo is extremely difficult to find online - that is why I am posting it here. Enjoy.



Check out the lineup! I believe this is also the same day that I first ate at Tortillas.


They covered YMCA

34 comments:

  1. You are my hero! My cassette of this has long since disappeared, and I didn't think I'd ever hear the album again. Thanks! --Steve from DC

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  2. No problem Steve! I loved the Skunks myself, and posted this just for people like you who would otherwise never hear this album again. I thought it was amazing, and can't believe it was never pressed onto CD. Luckily Joe still had the cover, as I made these MP3s from a dubbed cassette tape, and didn't even know that song titles.

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  3. Nice! Haven't heard this in ages. Best live band.

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  4. Thank you thank you thank you thank you! I've been searching for this for a LONG time now (several years). This is a band/record that NEEDS to be heard. I originally first heard this album 14 years ago (when I was 15) and it really influenced me. I have tried to find a copy ever since. So thank you once again, you have really made my day! If you ever see the singer again, please tell him "thanks for the best ska album ever"

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  5. I was looking for this album myself online a while back, and then remembered that I had a tape of it, so it was transferred and uploaded. Joe Hottel the singer only had an old copy of the tape, and was scared to play it because he thought it would break.

    I agree that it's one of the best Ska albums out there - definitely the best unknown album for sure. I told Joe that the first Scofflaws album would have to be my favorite from this period, but his is not far behind.

    Glad you enjoyed it.

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  6. James, such a small world that you live down the street from Joe.
    I remember going with you to that show at the Masquerade to see Bad Manners. Had never heard of the Skunks at that time, but after seeing them play live I was sold. Great live band.

    I asked Joe to come up to Athens to do a song with us at the 40 Watt when I was playing in the Del Rays. We covered 'Walkin' (my favorite Skunks tune) and to be playing it with Joe up on stage with us was so much fun. Really wish I had recorded that show.

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  7. hey! that's my set list! actually that's my handwriting on that set list. i was the bass player in the skunks for the shows you saw. there is a slim chance that you might get to see the skunks again with joe. we've talking about doing some shows in the spring of 2009. if so we will have to play atlanta. thanks for the kind words. -tim

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  8. Thanks for this! I loved this album in high school, but can't find the old cassette. I played trombone with the Skunks in about 1997-98. Wow, 10 years ago, how time marches on! Tim, if you check this, wassup T!
    -David

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  9. yo i'm really diggin beyond failure even though i am unfamiliar with most of the music and i checked out your CL piece supa cool! you are an alien (but i believe you come in peace)
    -pam p.damn

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  10. I still remember the practice we had with Joe at James' house. I can't remember if it was our only practice, but it was right before the Somber Reptile show. That show was great.

    BTW Brian, I don't know if you've heard, but Somber Reptile is now a martini bar. So funny driving past it remembering all the shows, train hops, and general west marietta crazyness.

    And don't forget Dave walking around with a pitcher of beer in his hand at most times.

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  11. My name is Reginald Romain and I played drums on some of the tracks. Much respect to Dave Smallwood the bassist, Eric Morgan, my high school friend on keys, and all the Maryland boys.

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  12. You just made my year by posting this!! Words can not express the nostalgic feeling I get from hearing these songs. I lost my original copy over a decade ago and have longed to find this album that was so instrumental in shaping my boots and braces days. Again so many thanks. I wish I was 15 again back in Baltimore....

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  13. Awesome! I still have this tape floating around in a box somewhere. Brings back memories! I share your disappointment with the second singer..The original 7" version of Piñata with Joe singing was amazing, I remember being so disappointed when the Mixed Nuts album came out, it just wasn't as good without Joe.

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  14. HOLY SHIT. I lost this cassette like 15 years ago. NICE ONE! Seen these cats so many times @ Black Cat & 9:30 back in the hey day..

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  15. Wait, is this the same Joe Hottel that was in The Impossibles...that classic Atlanta ska band (summer 1995 - one month later)? They were legends...that one time.

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  16. Wait, is this The Robbie Fitzgerald from The Go-Steadys, et al? Send me an email! jejoyce77@hotmail.com.

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  17. Holy Shit I never thought Id hear this again. Thanx so much. None of the later Skunks compared to this cassette. Youve made my day to say the least.

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  18. Damn, I thought I had the only remaining copy of 'Chaos'... It was actually given to me by Eric Morgan once upon a time.... I really miss this band. Steve may not have been the same as Joe, but he truly loved being part of the band. I know that he appreciated the opportunity and the experiences he had.

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  19. ha ha, that is too funny. my friend Rai just told me about this tape, so i googled it and found this site. Good to see everyone. I wasn't on this album, but took good old George "Sergio Fuentes" Beronio's place when he left the band. Good to see Steve, Tim, Erick, and everyone else still kicking around. I lost my copy years ago. Thanks for putting this up. Now I can burn a copy for my son.
    Ely, trumpet, SF

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  20. I used to see The Skunks play in Morgantown, WV at The Nyabinghi whenever they came to town. I haven't yet listened to this tape, but I'm almost in tears because I'm so happy to have found *new* Skunks material.

    Merry Christmaska everyone!!

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  21. It's nice to know the spirit of the skunks is still alive! I played drums for the Skunks around 95-96. Loved Club Nyabinghi!

    Larry

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  22. Thanks for posting! I found this on a search for The Skunks, but I'm looking forward to browsing around the rest of the site. I was friends with Mike (guitar) in college. The band played a rocking party for us in spring 92 that unfortunately was shut down for noise way too early.

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  23. Thanks Jeff (and everybody) for the kind words and interest in the demo. It is really one of the lost gems of the early 3rd wave era.

    After reading back on the post, I feel as if I gave the guy who replaced Joe on vocals too hard a time. I think he did everything he could and they were still a great band, but I have a soft spot for Joe and what he brought to the group.

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  24. OMG!!! Thank you!!! I have so many times tolkd my kids about The Skunks and now I can prove they actually existed! Crofton Fire Hall will live forever in my head....

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  25. I saw The Skunks when the opened for the English Beat at the 9:30 Club sometime in the late 80's.

    I was really impressed and I thought they were really good. Coincidentally, while looking around in a thrift shop, I found a Skunks tshirt

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  26. I'm been obsessing a bit over The Skunks for quite some time now. I would give an arm and a leg for some Skunks merch.

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  27. Hi Sara - I do have a green Skunks shirt that I got at one of their shows, but it's one of my last ska shirts from the era, so I don't think I can part with it. You should send out a craigslist notice in the DC area.

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  28. Thanks James, that's a good idea. I'll do that.
    & I don't blame you for not being able with it, it sounds like a true gem. I'm just glad that at least I know that these shirts exist out there, so maybe between ebay and craigslist I'll be able to find one.

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  29. Hey great info on the Skunks, I was in Bad Manners back in those days. I have a copy of the poster from the NY Ritz, great night.

    http://www.badmannersontour.com

    Cheers,

    Stef

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  30. @beancounter - Crofton Fire Hall indeed! These guys were amazing live. I was a junior in high school when this came out. Used to drive around P.G. County with this blaring from the tapedeck. Thanks so much for posting this James! Like many here, thought I'd never hear these songs again...

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  31. You made my fucking day. Thank you so very much.

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  32. I've had this tape in my cars since 1993. My next car probably wont have a tape deck. Thanks so much for this!

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  33. Holy shit I'be been looking (very poorly)for this for YEARS!!!! This was the fucking tape from my teens (late 90's), and that Mixed Nuts album never did it for me.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!

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