Seven Inches of Throbbing Pink Jesus
Skin Yard was formed in Seattle in January 1985 by Daniel House (bass), and Jack Endino (guitar). They were joined by Matt Cameron (drums) who had previously played with Daniel and Tom ("Nerm") Herring in an instrumental power trio called Feedback. Ben McMillan became the band's singer in April '85. Their first show was in June of 1985 opening for the now legendary "U-Men Leave Home" show.
Feedback recorded a handful of songs in Daniel's living room. One song from those sessions was later released on the Pyrrhic Victory cassette, which also included material from Soundgarden and Skin Yard. At the same time that Feedback was active, Daniel played in Ten Minute Warning (after Duff McKagen left the band to become a rock star as the bass player in Guns 'n' Roses). After both Feedback and Ten Minute Warning disbanded, Daniel wanted to start a band which would be a successful merging of the heavy psychedelic pre-grunge assault of Ten Minute Warning with the complex signatures and arrangements which Feedback held so dear. He sought out Jack who he had met earlier that year with the intent of starting a band along those lines.
Late 1985 saw the release of the Deep Six compilation on C/Z Records (CZ001) which is commonly considered as the first document of the scene which was later to be known as "Grunge." Limited to 1000 vinyl copies, Deep Six included the first ever commercially released recordings by Soundgarden, Melvins, Green River, Malfunkshun (pre-Mother Love Bone Andrew), and Skin Yard (Deep Six was re-released in the early '90s on CD and cassette by A&M records). Early in 1986, Skin Yard's first single ("Gelatin Babies") and debut self-titled LP were released on C/Z, which was now was owned and being run by House.
In June of '86 Matt left Skin Yard joining Soundgarden two months later. Skin Yard struggled trying to find a replacement drummer and played 2 gigs apiece with Steve Wied (later of the band Tad) and Greg Gilmore (later of Mother Love Bone, and the briefly revived Ten Minute Warning in the late '90s). Later that fall, Jason Finn (later of Love Battery, The Presidents of the United States and Subset) joined the band, but left after eight months for an extended stay in Europe. In May '87, Skin Yard found Scott McCullum (aka Norman Scott, later of Gruntruck), who ironically had once been all but hired for the Soundgarden drum position, until Matt Cameron had, out of the blue, called them and offered his services. Scott left Skin Yard in May of '89 after a particularly horrendous US tour, "fondly" remembered as "the tour from hell."
Skin Yard effectively ceased to exist for over a year, and at the time never really expected to reform, but then they never expected Barrett Martin (later of Screaming Trees, Mad Season and Tuatara). Barrett was a powerhouse, and as it turned out, was with Skin Yard until the end. Daniel left in March of '91 to devote more time to fatherhood, and Pat Pederson took Daniel's place as bass player, a roll he served for about nine months until the band finally broke up at the end of 1991.
Prior to Daniel's departure, when Skin Yard was first winding down, Ben started Gruntruck with previous drummer Scott, and guitarist Tommy from the Accüsed. Around the same time, Pat and Barrett were jamming with Jack in Endino's Earthworm. By the time the band finished recording their 5th and final studio album during the Summer of '92 (Inside The Eye with Pat), it was time to call it a day, and the band broke up.
During their career, Skin Yard shared the stage with an impressive roster of bands including Nirvana, Soundgarden, Faith No More, The Flaming Lips, The Butthole Surfers, Meat Puppets, Redd Kross, Specimen, The Goo Goo Dolls, Snakefinger, Melvins, Malfunkshun, TAD, The Fluid, Alice Donut, Poison Idea, Saccharine Trust, Die Kruezen, Bongwater, Bad Religion, Green River and NoMeansNo.
Daniel continued running C/Z records until 2001 when the final record was released (Start at the Top by - you guessed it - Skin Yard). Ben's Gruntruck folded, reforming briefly for one last shot at loud rock fame. Barrett joined the Screaming Trees and was with them until their final demise. He ended up moving to New Mexico for several years before moving back to Seattle in the Summer of 2009. He remains a very busy musician. Barrett's other projects included playing in Mad Season with Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), Tuatara, and stints with both Mark Eitzel and REM. Jack recently released his third solo record "Permanent Fatal Error", plays guitar in the band Kandi Coded, and maintains a punishing schedule as a producer and an engineer.
And what ever happened to Matt? He's now playing drums in Pearl Jam.
An ad in Forced Exposure for our 1st record. 30 years ago!
#8 - what the hell, we'll take it!
metalinjection.net Get those tattered, ripped jeans at the ready – here are the 10 heaviest grunge bands ever spawned.
Jack, Matt and Daniel - 5/26/2017 getting together with the extended SG family. Really great evening reconnecting with old friends.
A more formal remembrance and a lot of history. Probably too much of the later.
danielhouse.com I'm spending a lot of time reflecting & unearthing memories of an old friend whom I once shared part in a strange phenomenon which came to be known as Grunge.
WOW. Very interesting: A review of our very first record from 1987 reviewed in 2017 - 30 years after the fact. Overall, I think it's a well thought out review. Can't say I agree 100%, but I don't have to. Our first record really is a snapshot of the band before we had found our voice and style: "While a polished product this early example of the genre is not, it is impossible not to hear the snippets of familiar sounds that would be heard on later acts that would capitalize on this early prototype. What SKIN YARD delivered at this early stage of their career is far from the slick poppified Nirvana type albums that dominated the 90s. This on the other hand very much displays a strong connection to the alienation of the post-punk movement with ample amounts of other influences creating a dynamic display of diversity that in reality only shares a highly distorted alternative guitar approach with the more successful grunge acts that followed."
metalmusicarchives.com SKIN YARD Skin Yard review by siLLy puPPy
Another poster for the Sept 6, 1986 show.
Skin Yard, photo from 1988 Calendar of Seattle Bands. Old School baby.