I have some news to report regarding the re-mastering project for the 1st Skafish album. I sent Trevor Sadler two unopened LP’s. Using state of the art audio equipment, he transferred the albums. Taking the best of the transferred tracks, he sent me a single disc to listen to. The transfer Trevor sent me is a flat transfer, meaning that nothing has been done to alter the sound, change the sound, fix the sound, EQ it, compress it, or try to upgrade it. I have been reviewing the disc extensively, listening to it on multiple stereo devices, and comparing it to a digital copy of the album I had from years ago. I am excited because what I am hearing so far is excellent.
So, what is the next step in this the process? As I mentioned in this post, I also have a reel-to-reel tape copy of the 2-Track final album mix from PS Studios. That’s where the album was recorded and mixed in 1979. This tape had been transferred to a hard drive a while back and I will be sending a copy of it to Trevor. The idea is to compare the audio quality of the current flat vinyl transfers with the tapes. Whichever source sounds better will end up being the final master. That could be the never-before-played vinyl, the studio tapes, or a combination of the two.
The re-mastering process sometimes takes longer than expected, because there are a lot of technical aspects involved. After over 35 years, I think we can all wait a bit longer to see this through in the best way possible. Of course, I will update again when there is something newsworthy to share.
In the meantime, I ask all of you to spread the word about my music in every way you can, especially on social media. Also, please make sure to follow me on Spotify because I need 250 followers to gain control of my artist account there.
When it comes to any undertaking, no one can do it all alone and I certainly don’t pretend that I can. In short, I really need your help and I ask for it with an open heart. Together, I know that we can make this happen.
I just wanted to give everyone an update on the progress of the first Skafish album re-mastering project. So far, my mastering engineer, Trevor Sadler, has made several passes at transferring one of the never-before-played albums that I had. He is satisfied with the results, but he still feels that we can get a better master to build from.
I just sent Trevor a second, never-before-played Skafish album. He will perform transfers from this pristine vinyl record and that can be compared to the ones he already has done. He told me that he would like to see if he can get even higher fidelity and less noise. I can’t report how the transfers sound because I haven’t heard them yet, but I will keep you posted once I get them and start listening to them.
In a previous blog post, I talked about how we are going with a preservationist approach in re-mastering the first Skafish album; meaning, we’re trying to keep it as much like it was as possible. Even though we’re not trying to “reinvent the wheel,” the re-mastering part of the project is taking a little longer than I had originally expected it to. That’s because Trevor and I are leaving no stone unturned in order to get this done right.
In the meantime, I’ve been working on the album art, evaluating manufacturers and putting together a draft project timeline and budget. However, I will only be able to set the final project timeline and budget once the re-mastering is complete. Make sure to sign up for the Skafish mailing list to be notified of all the project developments. At some point I will probably do a survey to find out what formats (vinyl, CD, digital, etc.) that everyone wants.
I will continue to rely on all of you to keep spreading the word about this project, my music and supporting me on social media.
Again, I have to extend a profoundly heartfelt level of gratitude to all of you who have contributed to the re-mastering project. Your financial support, spreading the word, enthusiasm and joy means more to me than you’ll ever know. It has made this one of the most enjoyable projects that I’ve ever been a part of. I am forever grateful.
A while back, I had mentioned on Facebook that I was interviewed for an up and coming documentary film about Sid and Nancy.
On my blog, I had already written about Sid Vicious’ last public event, a violent brawl that he caused at my concert at Hurrah’s in New York on December 5th, 1978. This is something that has been constantly portrayed in the press and in other movies inaccurately. Nobody has gotten this right and before this film, no one ever even bothered to ask me what happened. So, it’s nice to finally be asked to set the record straight about the actual events of that night.
I heard today from the filmmaker that the documentary, titled Sad Vacation, is nearing completion. That is exciting news, because this film has been in the works for several years.
Not only was I interviewed for the documentary, but my song, Knuckle Sandwich (1975-76), will also be included. The track is a live 1977 recording from my 21st birthday party in Chicago and currently featured on the Skafish album Bootleg 21-35.
The filmmaker, Danny Garcia, from Spain, has also done some fantastic documentaries about Johnny Thunders and the Clash, among other things.
They still need a little help reaching their funding goal to complete the documentary, and if you’re interested in supporting the project, you can visit their Indiegogo page. Check out the trailer for the film and the incredible rewards being offered.
I am quite excited about this project and I will certainly keep you posted with more details to follow.
The project to re-master the 1st Skafish album has been fully funded. Words cannot begin to express the gratitude and appreciation I feel for everyone who has been so willing to donate, spread the word, and offer their support.
For years, people have been asking for a re-release of the first album. Now, the support of everyone who has so generously contributed to getting this done is helping to be able to make that a reality.
I am excited to take the next steps toward a proper re-release of the first Skafish album on vinyl, CD, and digital.
I will now be moving forward toward getting everything ready to go to the mastering engineer and begin the process of working with the source materials to get the best and most authentic sound possible.
I will be keeping everyone posted of the project’s progress. Again, from the bottom of my heart and spirit, thanks so much for your generosity and support!
I just wanted to share a pic with everyone of me holding one of the two never-before-played Skafish albums that I will be using as part of the source material to be able to re-master my first album. Mastering from never-before-played vinyl will provide the most authenticity to the original recordings possible.
Especially because I am looking to re-release this record for the fans who have cherished it for over 30 years, I want to provide both the highest quality and authenticity to the project possible.
I am so excited that we are now 85% of the way there, and that we only need another $150.00 to be able to re-master the record. I am both humbled and grateful to everyone who is supporting getting this done!
If you wish to contribute to the project, you can buy me a cup of coffee.
For decades, I made several failed attempts to gain the rights back to my 1st album. It was both frustrating and at times debilitating, but something I refused to give up on. All along, the record company refused to re-release it, but at the same time, they wouldn’t sell it back to me so I could put it out, either. So, the album just sat there in limbo since the early 1980’s….
However, as many of you now know, I was finally able to gain all legal rights back to my first album. I achieved this through a US government law that allows me (and every other artist) to legally terminate the rights of the record company 35 years after the original date of publication. The termination process for the first Skafish album has been successfully completed and is properly filed and documented by the US government. On August 2, 2015, I let everyone know that I now had complete legal ownership of the album.
I am currently in the process of trying to create a project timeline to be able to re-release the record. However, I can’t finalize the time frame until the re-mastering is finished. Until I see what needs to be done, I don’t know how long the entire project will take.
There have been a tremendous amount of expenses and legal bills that I have already paid just to get the rights back. So many people have asked if there was anything they could do to help with the re-release of the first album. So I decided to extend an open invitation to everyone to be able to support the re-mastering project if they wanted to.
Since I first opened that door on March 5, 2016, I have been so grateful for the support I’ve received. The cost to re-master the album and get it ready for a vinyl, CD and digital release is approximately $1000.00. As of today, I have received $400.00 toward that goal. We are 40% of the way there and I am confident that this can get done.
If you’ve already contributed to supporting the project, you have been a Godsend. Your generosity has really touched my heart, deeply. If you’re someone who is considering supporting the re-mastering project, your help would be greatly appreciated. And, anything at all helps to move it forward.
Just so everyone knows, all the money donated will be used solely to re-master the album. I will keep you posted.
Today is the birthday of the Skafish album What’s This? 1976-1979! Eight years ago on April 1, 2008, it became the first release on my label, 829 Records. Featuring recordings from August 1976 through November 1979, this record, in part, documents the early period of the Skafish band, featuring many subterranean gems that have never been released.
The album captures a snapshot of a revolutionary, transformational and turbulent time. This fact is clearly documented in the liner notes written by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame legends Cheap Trick.
Some of the tracks are the early versions of the songs that made it to my first album, and some people were upset about that. They wanted the first album, which I didn’t have the legal rights to re-release at the time.
Still, I am very proud of What’s This? as an objective historical document. When it comes to What’s This? 1976-1979, this record stands on its own and is truly like no other.
Someone recently asked me what they could do to help get the first Skafish album re-mastered if they couldn’t donate money? It was a fantastic question, so I decided to talk about it a bit here in a post. Of course, financial support will get this project completed faster than anything, but there are still many things that you can do to help bring awareness to the project and help to move it forward.
HERE ARE SOME IDEAS: Leave a great review: If you bought one of my albums, or listen to my music, please leave a positive review. People need to know why and how you have connected to my work and what it’s all about. It really helps to spread the awareness about the music and what I’m doing, which then helps to build the interest and the momentum needed to move the 1st Skafish album project along.
Spotify: We all know how essential Spotify is, because it’s a place where people can stream and listen to music for free.
It’s really important tofollow me on Spotify. That’s because Spotify won’t give me control of my artist page until I have more than 250 followers. Having control of my artist page means I can directly communicate with fans there and let them know about the 1st album project.
Create and add my songs to a playlist. This helps to raise awareness of me as an artist and exposes the music to more listeners. Keep in mind that any increased awareness of me helps to promote the first album project overall.
If you can, share your Spotify listens of my songs on Twitter and social media as you’re listening. It’s a great conversation starter.
Spread the word and follow me on social media:
Follow me on social media, connect with me and tell a friend. The bigger my following, the more people I can get the word out to and the more chance there’ll be of getting the necessary support and funding for the re-mastering and re-release of the album.
It is important for people to know who I am, especially in relation to Chicago music history. If you were there back in the day, let people know how influential my band and I have been. Speak out about the context for the first album historically and how groundbreaking it was considered.
Let people know that I finally own the first album: Spread the word that I now own all legal rights to the album. A lot of people never realized that since I didn’t own it, I couldn’t put it out. I’ve got it back now and I want it out there – people need to know that. If the money is there, the plan is to re-release this as soon as possible.
Encourage others to help: Let everyone know that I’m trying to raise the necessary funds to re-master the record. If that can be done, then I can pursue the next steps to re-release it on vinyl, CD, and digitally.
Share the link on the re-mastering project: Please share the link on why I’m re-mastering the album so people can learn the back-story and find out what’s currently going on with the project. That post also lets people know how they can help.
I am really thrilled about the project and I want to see it happen. So many people have told me that they’re excited, too. Share your excitement – it’s contagious!
To everyone who is sharing and supporting this project, thank you so much for your continued involvement. — Skafish
In my original post, “First Album News,” I talked about how I need to re-master the first Skafish album. One of my fans who loves the record didn’t understand why I needed to do this. He commented that he thought the record sounded just great as it is, so why in the heck would I re-master it. So, let me take a minute to clarify the re-mastering process and why it absolutely needs to be done.
First, here are the things I am NOT planning on doing in the re-mastering process:
1-I am not going to remix the album. Sometimes, people remix a record in an attempt to make it sound better, or different. I won’t do that. You’ll still be able to hear everything as you always have. The synthesizers won’t disappear and the drums won’t be louder, etc. I know in my heart that it is better to leave well enough alone.
2-I am not trying to change the sound of the original recordings. The album was recorded in 1979 and what recording technologies were at the time are just fine – and they will remain. I won’t add any fancy bells and whistles. There won’t be any pitch correction on the vocals, lol.
3-I am not trying to modernize the record. Since this record was quite different for its time and is still unique by today’s standards, it will be left as it is. It has never been nor will it ever be a trendy record.
This album stands on its own, as it was then and will always be. It is what it is – plain and simple. The fans who bought the record back then loved it for being outside the norm and that is one of the reasons why this album remains special decades later. It is an individual piece of art that should not be tampered with – and now that I own it, you can trust that I won’t let that happen. Now, here are the reasons why re-mastering is absolutely necessary:
Ideally, I want to ultimately re-release the first Skafish album on vinyl, CD, and in digital formats. To release the album in today’s technologies (which have obviously changed from before), re-mastering is essential. And, I actually need two masters: one to reproduce vinyl records, and one for CD and digital release. Done correctly, the actual mastering techniques and sound needed for each format are somewhat different.
To manufacture new vinyl records, there has to be a new master to reproduce from. Any old masters are now obsolete. And, the process is quite complex. Even though I am not going to attempt to tinker with and alter the sound, there are technical specifications that are vital to making vinyl records correctly. One example of this is that the treble and bass levels need to be absolutely correct, so as not to cause distortion or skipping.
For CD and digital release, a master was never done. As you may already know, that’s because the record company who used to own the first Skafish album never bothered to release it on CD or digitally. So, there needs to be a master, even to just be able to reproduce the album on CD and digitally, as well as getting those formats to sound as authentic as possible.
When it comes to the sources to master from, I have some options: I have two unopened copies of the album that have never been played. Many mastering experts feel that mastering from never-before-played vinyl can actually be notably better than doing so from tape. In fact, I learned that a Rolling Stones re-release was re-mastered from vinyl, versus tape, because the vinyl actually sounded better.
I also have reel-to-reel tape copies from the studio that were done as dubs back in 1979. Those tapes have already been digitized and might be a source to master from.
The reasons these sources are important is because I do not have the original master tapes to the album. That’s because the record company won’t give them to me. As some of you may know, legally fighting to get the rights back took decades and was extremely expensive to get done. However, acquiring those rights does not force the record company to turn over the master tapes. I could sue them, but it would be tremendously costly and at this time, the money isn’t there to launch such a costly lawsuit that could take years to resolve in court. That would also mean it would take that much longer until I could get the first album out there. Since it was originally released 36 years ago, I think we’ve all had to wait long enough. That’s why I am choosing to focus on getting it out there sooner.
I am sure that between the never-before-played vinyl and the tape copies I have, a state of the art master can certainly be made.
As the producer of the original recording and the person in charge of the re-mastering project, it is my commitment to honor the original art and intention of this album and give the fans what they want. Those who have this record often tell me just how much they love and cherish it. I frequently hear from fans how they still have their original vinyl copy and listen to it often.
At this point, I am trying to raise the necessary funds to do the re-mastering project. Some of you have already donated and that means the world to me. If I can indeed raise the money needed, I can complete this part of the project. If you’d like to support the project, you can use the link below to buy me a cup of coffee! (Account name is La Befana Records.)
Thank you from the bottom of my heart and spirit!
I wanted to let you know first that we are now offering the WHAT’S THIS FREAKIN’ $%&!? T-Shirt for sale exclusively through our Bandcamp store. This limited edition item, specifically designed to promote the What’s This? 1976-1979 album, has only been used for promotional purposes before. We have LIMITED QUANTITY AND LIMITED SIZES available.
T-shirt lettering says: WHAT’S THIS FREAKIN’ $%&!?
We only had 300 made, and after they’re gone, that’s it. No more will ever be manufactured.Currently, we have 200 T-Shirts left to sell. Normally, we would sell this T-Shirt for $25, but we are happy to offer this item to you at the introductory price of $20.
The T-Shirt is:
Black T-Shirt with white, distressed lettering
Machine washable and tumble dry
In a sealed plastic bag with air holes for freshness