Twenty years is a long time for any band to hang together. Especially a local band. In addition to the old adage “a band is like a marriage,” implying it takes a helluva lotta work just to keep the personalities from splintering over time, local bands are subject to members moving on; seeking a fresh start with a new band, relocating to different cities, going off to college, getting better-paying day jobs or actually getting married for real and starting families. Sure, bands have reformed after a long hiatus but really, think of how many bands have been together for twenty years.
A local scene will have its ebbs and flows and the aught years were definitely ebbing. The Skintones were kicking some serious ass with their killer, riff-laden guitar rock along with many others. The Madison sound was still potent as hell in the sweaty clubs and on record. Bands could get write-ups in at least a half-dozen printed publications. The cell phone hadn’t consumed our minds quite yet. A scene-killing pandemic was just science fiction.
Flash forward to September 2022 and the Skintones are at DNA to start recording their first album in sixteen years. Though it feels like a comeback, the band has never broken up. Guitarist Pete Ress and drummer Tony Leskinen have been along for the entire ride. Bassist Gavin Lefebvre joined before the third album, This is Science, which was released in 2007 (read the Local Sounds Magazine review by Tim Thompson here). The band played a live show at a benefit last December and the gig offers have been coming in but Ress says they’re holding out, waiting for the album (Coming to Collect) to come out in spring of 2023. A release party is being planned, most likely at the Crystal Corner Bar. The first single is slated for a December release.
Ress has been working as a teacher in West Allis and also co-managing an apartment complex with his dad. But he’s been making the trek to Madison for rehearsals and in a recent conversation, he was positively gushing with enthusiasm. Ress has been through the proverbial ringer with a divorce and he has struggled with his weight. He recently dropped a shitload of pounds though and Local Sounds can verify that this dude is ready to rock. Post-pandemic, the songs started to come for Ress, who had been working in a duo setting as well. There was just so much negativity with the pandemic and other things but these songs had the Skintone fire. Expect hard-hitting rock, a solid rhythm section and topical lyrics with injections of humor to keep things real.
“I always say under-promise and over-deliver,” Ress says, “But seriously, jaws are going to drop.”
Welcome back, Skintones…but then, you never left!
Watch Local Sounds Magazine for updates
Until then, enjoy these shots inside DNA Studios