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Skerik with The Headhunters, Schuba's, June 21, 2005
Skerik with The Headhunters, Schuba's, June 21, 2005
Background information
BornSeattle, Washington, U.S.
InstrumentsSaxophone, vocals, electronics
LabelsHyena, Ropeadope
Associated actsSkerik's Syncopated Taint Septet, Dead Kenny G's, Mad Season, Critters Buggin, Les Claypool's Frog Brigade, Garage A Trois, Ponga, Primus

Skerik is an American saxophonist from Seattle, Washington. Performing on the tenor and baritone saxophone, often with electronics and loops, he is a pioneer in a playing style that has been called saxophonics.

He is a founding member of Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois, Tuatara, and Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet. He is also an original member of both Les Claypool's Fancy Band and Frog Brigade. Skerik also worked with grunge band Mad Season.


Skerik began playing saxophone in the fifth grade. His father's love of jazz was an early inspiration. He played saxophone, keyboards and percussion in a rock band called Uncle Jam. He has cited The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd as bands from that time period who brought saxophone into rock music well. In the 1980s he travelled to London, Paris and the South Pacific working day jobs and playing in a variety of bands. His friendship with Leif Totusek introduced him to South African music and Zaire soukous bands in London where he first began playing music full time.[1]

Skerik returned to Seattle in the late 1980s where he played with Sadhappy. In the early 1990s he joined three ex-members of New Bohemians to form Critters Buggin[1] (who have remained active through 2008).[2] Projects since that time have included Ponga (Wayne Horvitz and Bobby Previte), Tuatara (Peter Buck, Scott McCaughey and Craig Flory) and solo works of Stanton Moore as well as Garage A Trois (also including Charlie Hunter). Beginning 2000 Skerik was a member of every incarnation of Les Claypool's Frog Brigade and Fancy Band. In 2001 Skerik played the Pacific Northwest portion of Roger Waters' tour, reproducing the sax lead in "Money".[1]

In 2002 Skerik formed Syncopated Taint Septet with fellow Seattle musicians. After touring nationally, their 2006 studio release Husky received very positive reviews.[3][4][5]

Skerik won the award of "Northwest Jazz Instrumentalist of the Year" at the 2003 Earshot Jazz Golden Ear Awards.[6]

Skerik has expressed support of music education for young people [1] and support for activism such as the voting project HeadCount.[7] In interviews he has discussed creative integrity and spontaneity.[1][8] He has also provided music workshops.[9]

Various projects[edit]

Skerik is a founding member of Critters Buggin, Garage a Trois (which has included Stanton Moore, Charlie Hunter, Mike Dillon, and Marco Benevento), Crack Sabbath, and The Dead Kenny G's. Skerik is an original member of Les Claypool's Fancy Band and Frog Brigade, Bobby Previte's Ponga and Coalition of the Willing and Joe Doria's McTuff. In the 1990s he was also a member of Tuatara (with Peter Buck) and Seattle-based Sadhappy.

Skerik has toured with Fred Wesley, Mike Clark and The Headhunters, Wayne Horvitz (Zony Mash), Mad Season and Roger Waters. He has performed with Pearl Jam, Bonnie Raitt,[10] The Meters, Galactic, Dumpstaphunk, Johnny Vidacovich, Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey, and Ween.

In Seattle Skerik leads Seattle-based punk-jazz band Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet.[5][11][12] He is a founding member of Seattle's Crack Sabbath.[10] He is also a member of Seattle-based McTuff.[13][14]

In New Orleans he is a member of Maelstrom Trio, including long-time mates keyboardist Brian Coogan and drummer Simon Lott. The Maelstrom Trio combines disparate elements such as free jazz, funk, metal and textural music. Skerik and percussionist Mike Dillon have toured as a trio with New Orleans bassist James Singleton as Illuminasti.

Skerik and Dillon also perform as a trio called The Dead Kenny G's with alternate third members. National tours have included keyboardist Brian Haas[15] and bassist Brad Houser. With Houser they have also toured as "Critters Buggin Trio"[16] and in 2009 they released a debut CD entitled Bewildered Herd.[17] As the band's name implies there is an expressed disdain for smooth jazz[8] and commercialism. Skerik has described The Dead Kenny G's as a "free-jazz version of The Melvins."[10]


  • 2001: Psychochromatic (Skerik)
  • 2002: Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet (Ropeadope)
  • 2002: Black Frames Solarallergy (independent)
  • 2004: Crack Sabbath Bar Slut (Independent)
  • 2006: Left for Dead in Seattle (1995–2003 independent)
  • 2006: Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet Husky (Hyena)
  • 2009: The Dead Kenny G's Bewildered Herd (independent)
  • 2010: Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet Live at The Triple Door (Royal Potato Family)
  • 2011: The Dead Kenny G's Operation: Long Leash (independent)
  • 2012: Skerik's Bandalabra Live at the Royal Room (Royal Potato Family)
  • 2012: Skerik's Bandalabra Live at the Comet (independent)
  • 2017: Skerik live at the Chapel volume 1
  • 2019: Skerik live at the Chapel volume 2

With Critters Buggin

  • 1994: Guest (Loosegroove)
  • 1997: Host (Loosegroove)
  • 1997: Monkeypot Merganzer (Loosegroove)
  • 1998: Bumpa (Loosegroove)
  • 1998: Amoeba (Loosegroove)
  • 2004: Stampede (Ropeadope)
  • 2007: Get the Clackervalve and the Old Clobberd Biscuits Out and Smack the Grand Ham Clapper's Mother (DVD)
  • 2009: Live in 95 at the OK Hotel – Seattle 1995 (independent)
  • 2020: Count Cancelled Live 2001 Disastour (available on Bandcamp)

With Les Claypool

With Stanton Moore

With Bobby Previte

  • 1998: Ponga Ponga (Loosegroove)
  • 1999: Ponga Remix (CD and clear vinyl) (Loosegroove)
  • 2000: Ponga Psychological (P-Vine)
  • 2006: Bobby Previte – Jamie Saft – Skerik Live in Japan 2003 (Word Public – DVD)
  • 2006: Beta Popes Live Hate
  • 2006: Coalition of the Willing (Ropeadope)
  • 2007: April in New York – DVD
  • 2008: Beta Popes White Hate (Veal)

With Sadhappy

  • 1992: Depth Charge (Periscope)
  • 1994: Before We Were Dead – Live (Periscope)
  • 1994: The Good, Bad and the Skary (Periscope)

With others


  1. ^ a b c d e Andrew Clark, Skerik, Saxophone Journal Volume 27, Number 1, Sept/Oct 2002
  2. ^ Jonathan Zwickel Critters Buggin: Keeping it unorthodox with a monster jam session The Seattle Times, July 3, 2008
  3. ^ Olson, Paul (October 16, 2006). "Skerik: Concept Is All Anyone Cares About". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2019-06-24.
  4. ^ Malone, Andrew Lindemann (September 1, 2006). "Skerik's Syncopated Taint Septet: Husky". JazzTimes. Retrieved 2019-06-23.
  5. ^ a b de Barros, Paul (August 18, 2006). "Seattle saxophonist's funky, artful septet". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2019-06-22.
  6. ^ Bill White Sax player Skerik has another reason to toot his own horn, February 17, 2004
  7. ^ Rocktober: Get Out And Vote! HeadCount, JamBase, October 2, 2008, Retrieved December 29, 2008
  8. ^ a b The Kayceman Skerik | Serving the Music JamBase, October, 2001, Retrieved December 29, 2008
  10. ^ a b c Trent Moorman Skerik: Psychic Rushdie Saxophone, January 31, 2008
  11. ^ Who, When, Where, September 2005
  12. ^ Christopher DeLaurenti Classical, Jazz & Avant, August 21, 2006
  13. ^ Court Scott Behind the McTuff Exterior All About Jazz, October 2008
  14. ^ Christopher DeLaurenti and Jonathan Zwickel Jazz/not Jazz, October 17, 2007
  15. ^ Sam Prestianni, Mike Rowell Jazz cats the Dead Kenny G's stick it to everyone's favorite wuss October 5, 2005
  16. ^ Adam Brown 6th Annual Flowmotion Summer Meltdown, September 2006
  17. ^ Tom D'Antoni Dead Kenny G's at the Goodfoot with David Ornette Cherry Archived 2010-11-29 at the Wayback Machine, October 20, 2009
  18. ^ Calm Down Juanita (CD Liner). Calm Down Juanita. Seattle, Washington, US: Echo. 1998. inside front cover.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  19. ^ Undertown (CD Booklet). Calm Down Juanita. Seattle, Washington, US: Gizmo and Toony. 2002. inside front booklet.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)

External links[edit]