Skinlab: room service.

3 June 2002 | 12:00 am | Peter Madsen
Originally Appeared In

High Revolt-age Rock & Roll.

Revolting Room is in stores now.

“We actually call it Skinlag. We’re constantly lagging behind,” jokes Skinlab frontman Steev Esquivel. He’s actually talking about the pending arrival of the band’s sound tech, who is flying in but is yet to sort out what to do when he lands. He could just as easily be talking about the long overdue release of Skinlab album number three. Almost three years have passed since their second release Disembody: The New Flesh. Prior to that there was a four-year break between Disembody, and the band’s debut Bound, Gagged & Blindfolded. The band’s bio goes as far as to champion Revolting Room as the most important Skinlab album to date.

“There is no make or break for the band. We’re lying about it. We really don’t give a shit,” he chuckles. “I think this is the record that best represents who we are now, you know. The release is only a couple of days away, we’ll see…”

Revolting Room finds a more polished Skinlab than on their last effort. Or on any prior, for that matter

“Naturally as we go we try to get our production to sound a bit better. There’s more clarity and separation this time around, which is something we’ve never really focused on before. It’s always been more about just getting it to sound fucking loud, you know.”

Turn up everything louder than everything else?

“Yeah, you know, that’s exactly it. Our producer actually said everything can’t be louder than everything else. We’re really stocked with the outcome, even though we went through quite a process. It’s been a long time in the making, you know.”

“It just took a long time to get it out. The last twelve months have just all been fucking delays, dude. Before that we were on the road for eighteen months straight. We basically had four months after that to recuperate, wait for all our wounds to mend. We needed some time to ourselves. We were actually ready to put this record out last October. We all started thinking are we going to put it out at the end of 2001 or are we going to be a new band at the beginning of 2002?”

“We had to take time off to write the record, and it took about eight months. We’re actually starting to write new stuff right now.”

Four months seems like barely enough time to recover after the bands eighteen months trek. If you caught the band in Brisbane a couple of years back, you’ll know the kind of intensity the band put into one of their shows.

“We’re just barely getting into shape now, but it’s not like we’re all in the best shape,” he laughs. “You don’t really have to be like Arnold Schwarzenegger to jump up and down and do what we do. Everything we do is just draining pure emotion.”

Once again, Skinlab have shuffled guitarists between albums, with Scott Sergent departing, to be replaced by former Wired Shut frontman Glen Telford.

“Scott just didn’t have it in him to keep going man. To tour and be in this band takes a lot. You have to realise that you make more friends than you make money. He felt he could no longer contribute 100%, and when he wanted to leave we couldn’t really argue with him for a while. We wanted to make sure we got someone that we didn’t know, somebody that had been trying to do this stuff. So we looked through everyone’s history and listened to the tapes to see where is this guy coming from. Glen was actually the leader of his band and sang, played guitar, did videos, everything. You know what, we need another one of those guys.”

So you guys were obviously looking for someone with the right personality, rather than someone who was just a hired guitarist?

“Scott had a hell of a personality, man, we really needed something to replace that. Someone to make you crack up and someone that’s enjoying themselves. Next time we’re stuffed in a tiny little van travelling across Australia, I want to look across and see a guy that’s smiling. If I’m there with my big ass stuffed into a van and I’m smiling, they’d better be smiling too.”

“We had this van last time we were down in Australia, and the seats in Australian vans are set lower down than in America. We’ve been riding out whole lives in cars at a certain level, and we go down there for three weeks. Oh my God, man, everything was way weird, it just kills your intestines or something.”

And we deliberately put all the cities fifteen hours apart to make it harder for you…

“Yeah you bastards. And you took away all the kangaroos so we didn’t see any of them… Damn you.”