New Release: Mike Skill, SKILL…MIKE SKILL
Known as guitarist, co-founder, and principal songwriter for The Romantics, Detroit native Mike Skill has put together 12 solid tunes on his first solo album release. As the writer of “What I Like About You,” “Talking in Your Sleep,” and “One in a Million,” Skill has proven his songwriting chops with The Romantics. He’s done it again on SKILL. Hearing this album for the first time may feel like a gritty Detroit punch in the mouth…in a good way. Raw and authentic rock ‘n’ roll is what Mike Skill has created here.
Skill has built an all-star collection of band members on his solo debut, and enlisted producer Chuck Alkazian (Eminem, Soundgarden, The Romantics, and more) to take the wheel. On drums for nine of the 12 tracks is Skills’ Romantics bandmate, the incomparable four-handed drummer Brad Elvis. A Flock of Seagulls’ Kevin Rankin drums the remaining tunes. Chloe F. Orwell (The Handcuffs) and Ricky Rat (Trash Brats, Rat Pack) add their own unique flavors to the album. The record roars into high gear on the first single, “Not My Business,” a straight-ahead Detroit rocker with all the makings of a hit song.
Skill has been steadily releasing singles from the album over the past few months to whet the appetites of fans. To say there’s not a dull tune in the bunch would be an understatement. In his own words,
“It’s me, starting from a whole different place… This is my first creation on my own! Inspired by and with contributions with some of the most talented artists, friends and family (that I know) in music. It wraps you up, it kicks your ass, it’s reflective, freeing with forward motion, with bumps and bruises, cut and gashes. (It’s a wild ride with the top down).”
On “’67 Riot,” Skill sings of his real life experience witnessing the racially influenced riots in July of 1967 Detroit. Wayne Kramer of the MC5 joins Skill on guitar on the song. The MC5 – fellow Detroiters – recorded the John Lee Hooker song, “The Motor City is Burning” on their 1969 album Kick Out the Jams, so Kramer fits right in here.
“We Got Your Rock’n Roll,” “I Want What You Got,” and “One More Time” are bluesy rockers reminiscent a bit of The Rolling Stones. “Carrie Got Married” may just be the sequel to “Tell It to Carrie,” from the Romantics’ debut album in 1980. The ballad “The Calling” finds Skill wearing his heart on his sleeve with the sweetest of guitar solos and a voice replete with honesty. In a bit of a detour, “So Soul Alone” is a beauty of a pop song with The Handcuffs‘ Chloe Orwell on perfect backing vocals.
The pièce de ré·sis·tance is arguably Skill’s cover of his own tune, The Romantics’ big one, “What I Like About You.” You’d be hard pressed to spot the difference in music between the two versions, but that is definitely not Wally Palmar on lead vocals – it’s Skill. His voice, gravelly and determined, encapsulates the entire album: rock and roll at it’s finest…no sheen, no polish, just a rock song on a mission.
Categories: New Music