It’s almost strange to think that Skatenigs began out of necessity as Phil “Phildo” Owen had been performing with friend and fellow rabble rouser Al Jourgensen in MINISTRY and Revolting Cocks before being charged with forming his own band. The 1991 release of “Chemical Imbalance” on WaxTrax! Records proved to be one of those formative occurrences without which the landscape of modern American industrial and outsider music could not exist, with the dearly departed Lorri Jackson’s prologue standing as a virulent poetic testament to a dejected generation. This is Entertainment? sees Phildo and company calling upon some friends and favorites in today’s scene to pay homage to the band’s storied history by serving up a set of remixes of the song that started it all.
Dan Milligan’s drumming in “Honor Among Thieves” adds a distinctly urgent and powerful vibe to complement the grime and grind of the guitars, while Bradley Bills’ tribal approach on “One Last Chant” accentuates the ritualistic force of the song’s lyrics with a discernibly effortless fury. DJ Swamp scratches things up with subsonic bass and beats on “Swamp Baby,” which along with the vocal layering adds a dublike quality that contrasts nicely with the scuzzy electro energy of Erie Loch’s “Making Life Liveable,” the ‘70s disco groove of Bobby Youngblood Gamage’s “Funky Junkie,” and especially Jim Marcus’ “Night at the Mekadisko,” are sure to get fists waving and booties shaking on the dancefloor. It’s bittersweet to hear the late Howie Beno’s ripping electronic rendition on “Psalm 68 and I Owe You 1,” the title itself an obvious inside joke (if you know, you know). Of course, the true star of This is Entertainment? remains that slamming diatribe of debauchery that Jackson so eloquently and irascibly delivered, mangled and mauled for emphasis throughout the collection, but there is a malicious and mischievous glee in the concluding “CAPZEYEZ Reprise” as we hear radio phone calls speaking to the ills and thrills of Skatenigs’s music and live shows.
As a former ReGen writer has often said, one can’t appreciate great art without being able to appreciate great trash, and This is Entertainment? proves this point with great aplomb; after all, while even Phildo might question the aesthetic merits of the band’s music in this context, reflecting a degraded society and offering respite and release is the function of art… and of Skatenigs. More than three decades later, Skatenigs are still as mortal yet invincible as ever, making life livable with the kind of industrialized punk and electro metal hijinks that made the band so reviled and revered in the first place.