Last month I packed up some gear, and drove to the Skekzi rehearsal space to have a few words over a drink with the band. We talked about the band, I got to hear some great tunes, made a few pictures, and learned about their connection with COLDCOCK American Herbal Whiskey. The interview was an informal gathering over a few glasses of whiskey – conversation style, just the way I like it.
Skekzi is a Columbus, Ohio rock band formed in 2011 and resurrected in 2015. Original members, Chad Grooms & Jeremy Payton recently teamed up with Chris Crum & Mark Bowman to renew Skekzi. With the EP “Sick” released in 2012, and the EP “Twisted” following in 2013, I’m sure the band is eager to share the next installment of ear-hole madness and sweet sounds of rock and metal infused with their unique sound.
As one would expect, when four musicians and a professional imbiber with a creativity problem sit down to talk music and booze the conversation has a tendency to run in different directions. A fact that I personally enjoy. I learned they will be releasing a full-length LP in mid to late 2016, and they’re currently working on their live set, and honing their chops. Columbus locals can catch their first show back in the public’s eye on January 30th, at O’Shecky’s!
I could make this a traditionally done transcribed “interview” with a band where I ask a question, and show the band’s answer. However, when I sit down with a drink, and talk with a band, I find the abstract thoughts and meanings are way more interesting and deeper in meaning than any question I could possibly ask. I recorded the interview with a few questions in mind and we just started a conversation. As luck would have it, my own “Thirsty Muse” whispered in my ear and sparked my creative soul to share the moments.
Seeing their bond as a band, and being invited into their space was a privilege I won’t soon forget. I’ll admit, I walked into the space blind because I didn’t know what to expect, and I had booze in hand. Our meeting could go great or it could go bad. Fortunately for me, it all went well and we got to share a few stories over a drink.
If you are wondering what happened between the release of “Twisted” in 2013 and the new line-up, you can blame Portland, OR and business. Chad moved to Portland and as one would expect, it was just not possible to keep the band going. However, with a lot of material, there was still something left unfinished. When Grooms returned home to Columbus, he and founding member Jeremy started working on getting the band going again, and as fate would have it, they found themselves at Mark Bowman’s studio to do some recordings. Mark, a friend, and non-member of the band, along with long-time member, Chris Crum helped Chad & Jeremy lay down some new work in the studio. Mark remained with the group, and by the end of 2015, Skekzi was once again a complete band.
I’ve always been a fan of local and regional bands who night after night put it out there for little to no money, often without a significant audience, and absolutely love what they do. Nearly everyone I know playing at this level has a regular job and little time to pursue their passion. Factor in the lives of your band-mates, and the fact that sometimes life simply gets in the way of creativity, these cats are already rockstars in my book. At COLDCOCK they have a saying, “Take Your Shot”. Yes, it can be about the booze, but it’s also in the spirit (no pun intended) of taking your shot at life. Doing what drives you to new heights – making the best of the world around you and doing it all your own way.
Bands tend to do this best. I don’t know if it is the camaraderie, the synergy, or something else, but bands often manage to create under the worst conditions for the worst payouts. Remember, there would be no national acts filling large venues without local bands! Skekzi may not be as well known as many other bands, but I would bet their hearts are as dedicated to the craft as any national act out there.
I am always asking the question about why man has raised a glass for centuries, I was reminded quickly that there is no clear answer. When I got to this particular question I soon realized the answer lies within us all, but hard to express in words. It is a subjective answer, but also like any other where one simply must be there, at that moment, with the right people, and the right reasons. Only then can the question be answered – I was able to answer it with Skekzi that evening. But you would have to have been there to experience the answer. Mark may have said it best when he compared it to breaking bread, or having a meal.
Go check ’em out…