Start at the Top
SY S/T 1st Record
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A Brief History
Skin Yard was formed in Seattle in January 1985 by Daniel House (bass), and Jack Endino (guitar). They were joined by Matthew 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. The first gig was in June of '85 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 alive, Daniel played in Ten Minute Warning (after Duff left the band to become a rock star in a little hamlet called L.A.). After both Feedback and TMW disbanded, Daniel wanted to start a band which would be a successful merging of the heavy psychedelic pre-grunge assault of TMW with the complex signatures and arrangements which Feedback held so dear. He sought out Jack who he had met earlier that year through Nerm.
Late 1985 saw the release of the Deep Six compilation (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 of course Skin Yard. Deep Six was later released on CD and cassette by A&M records. Early in 1986, Skin Yard's first single and debut self-titled LP were released.
In June of '86 Matt left Skin Yard joining Soundgarden two months later. We played 2 gigs apiece with Steve Wied (later of the band Tad) and Greg Gilmore (later of Mother Love Bone, and more recently with Doghead and the briefly revived Ten Minute Warning). That fall Jason Finn (later of the Presidents of the United States, Love Battery, and Subset) joined the band, and 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." And it was, believe me.
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 (now of Screaming Trees, Mad Season, 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 was replaced by Pat Pedersen who recorded the posthumously released last album, Inside the Eye.
Prior to Daniel's departure, Skin Yard began winding down and Ben started Gruntruck with previous drummer Scott, along with guitarist Tommy from the Accüsed. Pat and Barrett jammed with Jack in Endino's Earthworm. By the time the band finished recording their 5th album in Summer '92, it was time to call it a day. Daniel continued running C/Z records full time, and Ben's Gruntruck folded, recently reforming for another shot at loud rock fame. Jack is working on his third solo record, or more correctly, second Earthworm record... Barrett continued drumming for the Trees until their final demise, but remains one of the busiest musicians from the Seattle area, working with Peter Buck in Tuatara and as a touring drummer for R.E.M. Additional projects include playing in Mad Season with Layne Staley (Alice in Chains) and Mike McCready (Pearl Jam), a stint with Mark Eitzel, and lately, Barrett has been busy writing music for film. He now lives in New Mexico.
Over their six years career, the band released a total of five records and toured the US several times and Europe once.
Start at the Top was just released in November, 2001 and collects the last remnants of worthy material which never made it to CD.
It is in a very limited edition.
7 Year Bitch
Built To Spill