Live Skull

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Live Skull
The original band in the stairway leading to Mark’s loft on Great Jones St, taken by John Chimples
The original band in the stairway leading to Mark’s loft on Great Jones St, taken by John Chimples
Background information
OriginNew York City, New York, U.S.
GenresPost-punk, noise rock, no wave, experimental rock, alternative rock
Years active1982–1990, 2016–present
LabelsMassive Records
What Goes On
Desire Records
Bronson Recordings
MembersMark C.
Richard Hutchins
Kent Heine
Dave Hollinghurst
Past membersTom Paine
Marnie Jaffe
James Lo
Thalia Zedek
Dan Braun
Julie Hair
Sonda Andersson

Live Skull is a post-punk/experimental rock band from New York City, formed in 1982.[1]

In an overview of their abrasive no wave-influenced music, Trouser Press said, "As part of the same New York avant-noisy scene that spawned Sonic Youth, Lydia Lunch, and Swans, Live Skull records come complete with creepy lyrics, circular melodies and nod-out drum beats designed to lull you into their macabre world".[2]


Live Skull formed in downtown New York City in 1982, founded by tandem guitarists Mark C. and Tom Paine (birth name: Lance Goldenberg).[3] Both had previously been members of San Francisco band Crop along with brothers Ivan and Andrew Nahem (later of Ritual Tension), before moving to New York in 1980.

Live Skull's earliest lineup included Julie Hair on vocals and Dan Braun (formerly of Spinal Root Gang and Circus Mort) on drums. They were soon joined by drummer James Lo and bassist Marnie Greenholz. With this lineup of the band, lead vocals were shared by C., Greenholz and Paine.[4]

In 1984, Live Skull released their self-titled debut 12" EP on Massive Records. After signing with prominent indie label Homestead Records, they released their 1985 debut full-length, Bringing Home the Bait. The follow-up, 1986's Cloud One, featured slightly more accessible song structures. A live album titled Don't Get Any on You was recorded at CBGB later that year, followed by the Pusherman 12" EP.

Thalia Zedek joined the band as lead singer in 1987, taking over most of the vocal duties so that the other members could concentrate on their instruments.[5] Zedek had previously played in the Boston-area post-punk outfits White Women, Dangerous Birds and Uzi. The band also replaced Lo with ex-Ruin drummer Richard Hutchins.[6] Zedek and Hutchins debuted on 1987's Dusted, which spawned a black-and-white music video for the song "5-D". This video later appeared on the Twelve O'Clock High Volume 1 (1989, Atavistic) video compilation.

The group next signed to the larger Caroline Records label, which issued 1988's six-song Snuffer 12" EP. Greenholz subsequently left and was replaced by Sonda Andersson, a former member of Rat at Rat R and cousin of avant-garde composer Glenn Branca. Released in 1989, Positraction was a more accessible, song-oriented effort that continued their generally positive critical reaction. Live Skull disbanded in 1990 due to sustained lack of commercial success, with Paine deciding to focus on an alternate career.

Post-breakup and other activity[edit]

C. was involved in various other New York music projects, including Spoiler; Int'l Shades (with ex-Sonic Youth drummer Bob Bert), which released the Hash Wednesday album in 2005 on Cass Records; and Outpost 13 (including Kent Heine of The Holy Ghost and Stuart Argabright of Ike Yard).

Paine received a Master of Fine Arts degree in film at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and writes about world cinema.

Braun later played with Swans (for a short time in 1982, and then again on their 1991 album Body to Body, Job to Job), the Del-Byzanteens, Glenn Branca, Radio Firefight and Deep Six.

Hair later played with 3 Teens Kill 4 and Bite Like a Kitty.

C. and Greenholz briefly reunited in the band Fuse, which released a double 7" EP, Dana's Room, in 1992 on the PCP Entertainment label.

Greenholz, under the name Marnie Jaffe, co-founded Fairmount Girls in Cincinnati, Ohio, and played on their debut album, Eleven Minutes to Anywhere, released on Deary Me Records in 1999.

Lo later drummed for Wider and then for Chavez in the mid-1990s.

Zedek moved back to Boston and fronted the blues-rock-oriented Come, who signed to Matador Records. She has released several solo albums since Come's 2001 demise.

Hutchins performed for several years in Of Cabbages and Kings, Phideaux and Digitalis. The latter band featured John Meyers (another former Rat at Rat R member) and Reverb Motherfuckers guitarist Skinny John, as well as early Live Skull member Hair. Digitalis split up around 1998, and Hair and Hutchins married in 2000. The couple were both members of Hungry March Band for many years. In the late 2000s, Hutchins was also a member of Lubricated Goat and Lubricated Goat frontman Stu Spasm's side project LoveStruck. Hutchins currently performs in the Art Gray Noizz Quintet and Isolation Society which also features Julie Hair, and Ian Wilson formerly in Star Spangles.[6]


On January 16, 2016, Mark C., Jaffe and Hutchins reunited as Live Skull to perform and record several new songs at Martin Bisi's B.C. Studio, as part of the studio's semi-private, 35th anniversary "Recording of the Century" event.[7]

In November 2019, the band released their album Saturday Night Massacre, followed by Dangerous Visions in 2020. The band's current core consists of Mark C., Rich Hutchins, Kent Heine and Dave Hollinghurst. Thalia Zedek and Marnie Jaffe occasionally join them in studio and live shows.

Band members[edit]

Current members
  • Mark C. – guitar, vocals, synth (1982–1990, 2016–present)
  • Richard Hutchins – drums (1987–1990, 2016–present)
  • Kent Heine - bass (2018–present)
  • Dave Hollinghurst - guitar (2019–present)
Former members
  • Tom Paine – guitar, vocals (1982–1990)
  • Marnie Jaffe – bass, vocals (1982–1988, 2016–2018)
  • James Lo – drums (1982–1987)
  • Thalia Zedek – vocals, guitar, harmonica, clarinet (1987–1990, 2018)
  • Dan Braun – drums (1982)
  • Julie Hair – vocals (1982)
  • Sonda Andersson – bass (1988–1990)
  • Hannah Moorhead – bass (2021; touring member)


Studio albums[edit]


  • Live Skull (1984, Massive Records)
  • Pusherman (1986, Homestead Records)
  • Snuffer (1988, Caroline Records/What Goes On Records)

Live albums[edit]

Live videos[edit]

  • Live Skull (1988, Atavistic/Jettisoundz)
  • Live Skull Live (1989, Videophile)

Compilation appearances[edit]

  • Untitled on Bang Zoom Issue #6 cassette (1983, Bang Zoom)
  • Corpse on Tellus #1 cassette (1983, Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine)
  • I Was Wrong on Speed Trials (1984, Homestead Records)
  • Common Cruelty on Terminal!8" flexi (1984, Terminal fanzine issue No.18)
  • Pulverized by Gratitude on USA/Germany cassette (1985, Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine)
  • Bad Hospital on Tellus #10 - All Guitars! cassette (1985, Tellus Audio Cassette Magazine)
  • Flake Out on Plow! (1985, Organik)
  • Fort Belvedere on The Wailing Ultimate - The Homestead Records Compilation (1986, Homestead Records)
  • Alive Again on Human Music (1988, Homestead Records)
  • Paul Revere's Bush (Tree Girl) on Sounds and Shigaku Limited Present: Beautiful Happiness (1988, Sounds and Shigaku Limited)
  • 5·D video on Twelve O'Clock High (1989, Atavistic/Jettisoundz)
  • Tri-Power on Like a Girl, I Want You to Keep Coming (1989, Giorno Poetry Systems)
  • Details of the Madness on BC 35 / The 35 Year Anniversary of BC Studio (2018, Sleeping Giant Glossolalia/Bronson Recordings)
  • Up Against the Wall on BC 35 Volume Two / The 35 Year Anniversary of BC Studio (2019, Bronson Recordings)
  • Off the Runway & Debbie's Headache (Live) on Quarantine Tales from the Red Desert (2020, Bronson Recordings)


  1. ^ Masters, Marc (2007) No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1-906155-02-5. p.191
  2. ^ " :: Live Skull". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  3. ^ Masters, Marc (2007) No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1-906155-02-5. pp.192
  4. ^ Masters, Marc (2007) No Wave. London: Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1-906155-02-5. pp.191-194
  5. ^ "Come". 7 May 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  6. ^ a b "RICH HUTCHINS". Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  7. ^ "18 January 2016 : New York Music Daily". Retrieved 17 December 2018.

External links[edit]