Tenor saxophone player, keyboardist and all around sound effects engineer is more or less impossible to categorize. As Skerik told JamBase, "Well, It’s always been a drag, especially in this country, or western countries, the labeling process, it’s such a pre-occupation with people. I remember I moved to France a long time ago, when I was 20, I lived in Paris, and I went into the record store and everything was just alphabetical, that seemed to make a lot more sense to me." Founding member of Critters Buggin, Skerik has been known to fraternize with the Black Flames, Garage A Trois (with Mike Dillon, Stanton Moore and Charlie Hunter), SadHappy, Tuatara (with Peter Buck of R.E.M.), Ponga, Mike Clark's Prescription Renewal (with original Headhunters drummer Mike Clark, Charlie Hunter, Robert Walter, and DJ Logic), Crack Sabbath, Blotallica, Elemental and the 4,000 year old tradition of the Master Musicians of Jajouka with Bachir and Mustafa Attar. Skerik has jammed with soul legend Fred Wesley, Pink Floyd mastermind Roger Waters, and has been a touring and recording member of Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade. All of this musical pollination has led JamBase to theorize, "The rotation of our planet is somehow connected with this outer space super hero."
While a nice tidy category for Skerik will never exist there does seem to be a thread that ties all of his music together; his commitment to improvisational music, and substance. Skerik was born and bred amidst the industrial beats of Seattle, honing a natural talent that begged for utilization. “I had good band directors, who really kicked my ass, and pulled me aside, and said, ‘you can do something with this.' They really sat me down, because I was a real bullshitter, and told me, ‘Actions over words’ and that was probably the best thing I ever learned from a music teacher.”
Taking advice such as "Actions over words," instead of scales, styles, and appropriate techniques have given the world this genius. Skerik never studied under anyone long enough to have their ideas branded on him. He grew independently, playing constantly, creating his own style, and becoming the mad sax scientist we are now blessed with.
The longest running band for Skerik has been Critters Buggin, which was put together in 1993 with what Skerik accurately described as “one of the best rhythm sections in the world,” consisting of Matt Chamberlain on drums, Brad Houser on bass and Mike Dillon on percussions and vibes. An engagement with the Critters is unlike anything else out there. Not only do you get some of the most intense, and amazing music being offered, you literally get a completely spontaneous, improvisational, theatrical performance. “We never use a set list; everything that comes up on stage is natural. It’s unmanipulated; we don’t have a plan at all.” Actually being able to pull off music of this nature speaks to exactly what Skerik stands for, and permeates all of his musical engagements, even when performing with more "traditional" outfits.
In serving the music, and remaining true to the art is of the utmost importance to Skerik. “I’m just trying to avoid the commercial dragnet side of the music business, which is always around the corner, and it can cheese out the best projects. That’s what I love about hanging out with Les [Claypool], he’s got his cheese barometer, always long and strong... I just want to always be associated with the art side of music, or life more importantly, whether I’m doing music or whatever it is. I just hope I can be part of the inspiration.”