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***Lost in time yet always in season, here’s a blast of that ol’ perennial, the punk rock, representative of the swiftly changing times around Bailey’s Crossroads, just outside Washington, D.C., in the early 80s. Skam recorded this stuff in ’82–’83, then broke up, leaving these songs to be released...maybe never? Or more preferably, now, to race into the bloodstream of jaded, faded today with all the vig- or and rigor of Skam’s eternal youth.
Though they didn’t release any records during their three years of existence, it’d be wrong to call Skam “never-was”—in addition to these recordings, there’s a trail of flyers for shows with Scream, No Trend, United Mutation and Media Disease, as well as the memories of the student alumni from Bishop O’Connell High, class of ’83 or so.
The conglomeration of scenes around the greater D.C. area at that time produced a variety of bands, but the prevailing recollection of the era is of the incendiary hardcore punk and subsequent straight edge values of the Dischord bands. The band that became Skam was a world apart; they were posited for the first time by 8th graders Vince Forcier and Jack Anderson at a Jackson Browne concert, and their initial rehearsals in their parents’ basement were highlighted by covers of Beatles, Stones, Who and Led Zeppelin songs. Bad covers. It wasn’t until they’d been playing a bit that they discovered The Ramones, and it was then that the die was cast and pedal pressed to the metal for another frantic couple of years.
The Skam recordings from ’82 have an undeniably Clash-like countenance that sets them definitively apart from the “First Four” of Dischord—in some ways, prefiguring the pop-punk sound of Green Day at the dawn of the ’90s instead—but subsequent recordings found them quickly evolving—or devolving—into a personal mastery of savage riffs and tempos, as well as post-punk conceptions. But even as they were verging into this new territory, their three years together had frayed their alliance and they soon broke up. Jack joined No Trend, Vince played in Racer X and then, the second version of Second Wind. And life went on. But the rediscovered Skam tapes make for an incredible addendum to the more well-known music of that incredible time and place. No Name is the name, grab it now!