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First Angel Media

First angel media

Skatenigs Return with their Strongest Effort Yet

The first time I saw Phil Owen, he was opening for Ministry as a member of Revolting Cocks at Sunset Station in San Antonio, TX in 2006.  The man who penned some of RevCo’s most engaging and enduring songs alongside the likes of Al Jourgensen, Paul Barker, and Chris Connelly gave a performance that was relaxed, raunchy, hilarious, and yet completely charismatic.  Not only did that send me down the Revolting Cocks rabbit hole at the time, but I also started keeping up with his other band, Skatenigs.  Phil brings his brainchild back with an energized and riveting new effort that both builds on what Skatenigs have established as a band over the years, and takes some new chances for a slightly more organic approach.

The story goes that back in the days of Wax Trax, Al Jourgensen tasked Phil with “coming up with a band to open for Ministry” with about nine days notice.  After over a week of banging his head against a wall, Phil admitted to being at a loss, to which Jourgensen replied, “No, I mean START a band”.

Skatenigs was the result.  Their first record, Stupid People Shouldn’t Breed is upon it’s 30th anniversary celebration, and remains a classic. “What Could Go Wrong”, however, is my favorite one yet.

Opener “Hell and Back Again” immediately caught my attention because it shares lyrics with one of my favorite Revolting Cocks songs, “Dead End Streets”.  When asked about the correlation, Phil informed me he did in fact write the lyrics to “Dead End Streets”, but the song mutated through the collaboration with Al Jourgensen as producer and ringleader and vocalist Jello Biafra requesting to sing the tune.  Owen heartily agreed, but that didn’t stop him from dropping his original vision years later on this album. The original song isn’t as heavily mechanized as the RevCo version, opting to bring the guitars up front and paint the atmosphere for what this album will be; a romp through a sleazy, Texas dive bar. “We Can’t Have Nice Things” picks up on that note with a sleazy, bluesy, rockabilly influence, while “Seemed Like a Good Idea” takes me back to their first record a bit.

Highlights also include the optimistic yet characteristically mischievous “We’re in This Shit Together” as well as the new version of RevCo classic “Beers, Steers, and Queers”, arguably one of Phil’s biggest resume items as a songwriter.  While RevCo’s version in days of Wax Trax married Phil’s politically incorrect rap with distorted “Ministry-esque” percussion, the new version strips the song back to sounding more like classic rock and roll, featuring none other than Mike DeLeon from Phillip H. Anselmo and Illegals on guitar.  Keeping it Texas, indeed.

When you listen to a Skatenigs record or attend one of their shows, above all, Phil and the boys hope you have a good time.  You’ll laugh.  You’ll cry.  You’ll probably hurl.  But you’ll also dance half your ass off and the other half will be taken care of by banging your head.  So in the words of the great Skatenigs, “Burn this Motherfucker to the Goddamn Ground” and add this slamming slab of industrial-raunch-rock to your library.  It’s yours to lose.

About the Author
Caleb Straus is the lead vocalist and mastermind for experimental industrial metal band, EMZY ENZY. He is also a prolific solo artists and is set to release his debut EP with industrial rock band Skeletal Shroud later this year. In addition to writing and music, Caleb is also a trained, professional actor and director for the stage, and has done some work in independent film.