Skin & Bones: The People’s Band

Local Music Reviews

Skin & Bones: Skin “n” Bones is more of an attitude than a band. Not the kind of attitudes that manipulate or piss people off like early punk bands. What I am trying to say is, if you like their music then you are probably either in touch with what they are saying or you came to dance. When I heard their music the first time they played, I really liked their style. However, I have spent a lot of time with them over the past nine months, now I love their music and they have become an influence in my music. The band considers their musical style to be lipso-funky-psychedelic-reggae, or as Jim Bone (singer, drummer) would call it, Speed-Dead.

Jim Bone: Jim Bone has been kicking around the underground scene in bands for a long time. The two most popular bands would have to be Buriel Benefits and Dr. Naugahyde. Jim has also spent time in bands such as Cosmic Crawlers and Bernice Technique and has jammed with a lot of other bands and musical projects. Jim is definitely the hippie factor behind the band. His drumming, singing and writing style certainly add the psychedelic touch. He does feel, however, that the ultimate project for the band would have to be writing cheesy background music for cheap porn.

Thomas Meal: I am afraid to say it but Tom is definitely the band cynic. Not necessarily sarcastic, however, he has a logistical approach to everything. He is always willing to look at both sides of an issue before letting his opinion out. Because of this fact, he tends to keep the band’s feet on the ground. Tom is easily one of the best bass players in town. The first time I ever saw him play was with the debut of Skin “n” Bones in January; I was amazed that such a great bass player could keep hidden so long. He has actually been playing with the band for several years now. The band sort of fizzled when Buriel Benefits got serious. It was during this time that several of their better songs were written. Tom claims that Skin “n” Bones was Salt Lake’s first underground funk band.

Gary Turnier: Gary is one of the most natural guitar players I have seen in a long time. He always plays the right lead or rhythm at the right time. Since the band is only a three-piece, Gary plays rhythm and lead guitar as well as sings. If you ever have seen them play, you could easily guess that Gary spent a lot of time in the early seventies watching police shows, and he really dug the music. He commands the funky guitar rhythms and rules on the wah-wah pedal.

Music: Skin “n” Bones music speaks for itself. It is almost impossible to try and classify their style. When I asked them who their main influences were they wouldn’t answer because they felt we didn’t have enough time to list all of them. One minute they will be playing a funk song, then go right into a ska or blues number then play a reggae song they have. Jim says this is due to the fact that they are very open about their writing and haven’t labeled themselves with any set style. Watching them play is easy because of their varied sound, but I like the funky stuff like “White Boys” and “Trapped.” Gary says that even though they were greatly influenced by punk rock, they were just as influenced by the improvisational music also. You won’t hear them play a set of music without doing at least one jam during a song. They are careful however not to abuse this freedom because they know crowds don’t enjoy it as much as they do.

Lyrics: The band all agreed that the main message in their music is life, how they live it, and what happens in it. The band’s ultimate plan is to write music that everyone can be in touch with. If you were to put all the lyrics on one page and read them one after another you would find some very interesting philosophies. Criticisms to songs about times in their lives that still draw out some deep emotions. For the most part, their lyrical content is pretty light-hearted, trying not to get dragged down with shallow criticisms or depressing songs about how bad life sucks. Writing about our coming personal conflicts and self-improvement can be difficult, but the band feels it is quite beneficial because it takes a lot of guts.

Politics: It was quite refreshing to hear a band that doesn’t feel the need to take cheap pokes at politics. Skin “n” Bones feels glad to be American. It is easy for them to take some shots but they feel lucky to live here. They also get a lot of their influence from American bands. The band is real careful not to be critical or to be judgmental. They feel it is somewhat arrogant to feel like they can say what is right or wrong because they don’t have the right to set any standards.

Plans: Skin “n” Bones is a hard-working band and they intend to stay that way. With plans of touring and doing a lot of recording over the next year, they hope for success in-state and out of the state. They play a lot of venues now, both the underground scene and regular gigs at several clubs in town. They feel they have gotten their best response at the Bar & Grill. Even though they are a power trio, they are very open to people playing with them. Tom Malloy is that type, he has played guitar with them several times. They would like to add a 4th member but no one has come along yet that has worked out.

Opinion: Skin “n” Bones RULE. They are definitely going to be one of the most popular bands in 1990 in Salt Lake. They write new music all the time and the songs keep getting better. You really should check them out sometime—you won’t be disappointed. They are playing Oct. 9,10, 11 at the Foundation with Dinosaur Bones and Bohemia; Oct. 17-18 at the Bar & Grill with Dinosaur Bones and House of Cards; Oct. 20 at The Word with Boxcar Kids and again on the 27th at Speedway Cafe with Rock Gods, Firehose. Go to the shows, get drunk, have fun and listen to what they have to say—you might learn something.–J.R. Ruppel

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