Skin Yard was a multi-album grunge
-alt band formed in the early Seattle
scene of January 1985 by guitarist Jack Endino
and bassist Daniel House
. They added drummer Matthew Cameron
who had recorded previously with Daniel. Three months later they added Ben McMillan
The creation of Skin Yard, and essentially the first pulse of the grunge movement, had its roots in two earlier bands: Feedback
and Ten Minute Warning
. Daniel House played with both of these groups and, after their disbanding, sought to create a new sound combining each of these. The hopeful new sound of Skin Yard first performed live in June of 1985 and in late ’85 the band was on the famous premiere grunge release of the Deep Six
compilation. This limited edition vinyl released some of the earliest recordings of Soundgarden
, Green River
, and Skin Yard. In early 1986, Skin Yard released their first single and self-titled LP. This success, however, would only be the beginning of a long road fraught with revolving band members and numerous album reinventions.
Matthew Cameron left Skin Yard in June of 1986 and joined Soundgarden in August of that same year. The band played a pair of shows with Greg Gilmore
and Steve Wied
. Jason Finn
, whom fans remember best for Presidents of the United States
, join Skin Yard in in fall of ’86 and then left after eight months. In May of 1987, Scott McCullum
, who lost his position in Soundgarden after Matthew Cameron joined them, joined up with Skin Yard until May of 1989 after what Skin Yard called their U.S. “tour from hell”. From there, Skin Yard was in limbo for over a year, seemingly lost in the void of 80s bands transitioning into the 90s. However, in 1990 Barrett Martin
joined and drove Skin Yard into their last years and stayed until the end. Founding member Daniel House left in March of 1991 citing a desire to “devote more time to fatherhood”. The band found Pat Padersen
to fill the void.
Skin Yard admits their time as a band began waning in early of 1991. In the summer of 1992 the band recorded their fifth album and decided that was the end. The band members continued on with many endeavors. Ben McMillan and Scott McCullum worked with the Accused
guitarist Tommy starting the band Gruntruck
which quickly collapsed and later reformed. Daniel House continued running the record label C/Z Records
. Pat Padersen and Barrett Martin joined with original guitarist Jack Endino to form Endino’s Earthworm
. This became a solo project for Jack. Barrett went on to drum for Screaming Trees
and, even after their end, he still remains a valued and working musician staying true to Seattle music scene including touring as drummer for R.E.M.
, playing side projects with Layne Staley
of Alice in Chains
and Michael McCready
of Pearl Jam
, and writing music for movies.
In the end, Skin Yard existed seven years, released six albums, toured two continents, performed with legendary bands including Soundgarden, The Goo Goo Dolls
, The Butthole Surfers
, and Flaming Lips
, and released an additional extra disc of forgotten material. They are, however, vastly remembered as a founding force of grunge and an influence on numerous musicians. Nirvana
, who is known for their influence in the changing of music from the 80s to 90s as well as the misnomer of founders of grunge, had a great deal of influence from Skin Yard. Jack Endino recorded the first Nirvana album Bleach
and Daniel House’s label, C/Z Records, released the first Nirvana song “Mexican Seafood
” on Teriyaki Asthma Volume 1
. Nirvana even opened Skin Yard as their first Seattle appearance and played a half-dozen more shows with them. The last show with both Skin Yard and Nirvana was at Green River Community College
Notable Sounds: Matt Cameron on drums (except for two extra songs by Jason Finn)
This album saw a few different cuts. The initial was a vinyl release and bears little resemblance the rest of the band’s work. The later CD issue saw one track cut and seven added. A later vinyl
re-release had two cut and one added.
Single: Bleed/Gelatin Babies
Released on C/Z records on vinyl, Gelatin Babies was meant for the self-titled album and Bleed was recorded later after the drummer change.
Single: Stranger/This Lonely Place
Stranger was the opening track for the album Hallowed Ground
and This Lonely Place was recorded with Jason Finn at the same time as Bleed.
Notable Sounds: Scott McCullum on drums
This album was originally released on vinyl with a CD re-release with two additional tracks.
Single: Start at the Top/Watch
These tracks, recorded after recording Fist Sized Chunks
, feature Scott McCullum on drums.
Fist Sized Chunks
Notable sounds: One track features Tom Niemeye
from the Accused
An aggressive album in comparison, Fist Sized Chunks was the least liked album by the band.
1000 Smiling Knuckles
Notable Sounds: Engineering masterpiece by Jack
This album is considered by the band as their greatest and they feel it is “the closest we ever came to fully realizing the complete vision of the band”.
Single: 1000 Smiling Knuckles/Bulldog
Title track from 1000 Smiling Knuckles was an obvious inclusion but paired with a unique cover of Lennon/McCartney’s Bulldog was a unique turn.
Single: Skin Yard/Loveslug
This was a split single between two bands. The live Skin Yard track included is Psychoriflepowerhypnotized
countered by Loser Bar
Inside the Eye
Notable Sounds: “more riff oriented and less textured”
Daniel House left the band after the last album’s tour and is no longer heard with the advent of this album. Daniel claims Inside the Eye sounds “more like a Gruntruck
record than a proper Skin Yard record”.
Start at the Top
Notable Sounds: “A collection of singles and rarities”
Jack remixed and edited numerous tracks from the vault. This release includes works from the singles and a great deal of additional material.