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Beat Street
By Todd S. Inoue

In Park's Place:
Skankin' Pickle returns with vigor

I AM BACK from New Orleans. Great town, great food, great music, but after a week I was aching to hear something other than blues, jazz and a bellyaching mime. I returned to good news: Fears that a Mike Park­less Skankin' Pickle would suffer were waylaid last Thursday when the lively ska-core band headlined the Edge. Janitors Against Apartheid's Michael Liu replaced Park on saxophone, and valve trombonist Lars Nylander now splits vocal duties with guitarist Lynette Knackstedt.

Backstage, Nylander explained that the split needed to happen because Park had lost his zeal for live performances. "We had to come to an agreement," Nylander said. "We wanted to go on. He had reached his zenith; he admitted it. It's a very amicable thing. He's not really built for the road. He likes to hang around town."

After the initial shock, Nylander said, the band has pulled together with a renewed vigor, as was evidenced by the Edge set, which included four tracks from the recently released and repackaged Green Album. "People are happy again," said Nylander. "There's a much better feeling about the band regarding purpose--whereas it was a cloudy area with Mike because he wasn't having fun anymore."

Skankin' Pickle had just returned from an East Coast swing, which Nylander described as "very positive." Liu said his fears of taking Park's place were laid to rest on the tour, where people who hadn't seen Pickle accepted him, though mistook him for Park. The nerves still hit hard playing in front of the hometown crowd. "I'm ready for the sushi to come right out," Liu admitted. "People know me from Janitors; I want people to know I'll entertain them as well in this band." Skankin' Pickle is back on the road for a tour that will keep them out of town until November.

Fascism Is Not a Gift

The Rage Against the Machine show last Wednesday at the San Jose State University Event Center couldn't have happened at a better time. Summer vacation was over, and kids needed to let off some steam--and did they ever. Opening act Stanford Prison Experiment didn't disappoint with its noisy barrage of Big Black and Shellac proportions. Rage, meanwhile, was at the top of its game. Tom Morello's epic guitar work accurately reproduced the complex runs on Evil Empire. Vocalist Zack De La Rocha altered the lyrics on "Killing in the Name" to include references to church burnings. What I didn't dig was how hairy the pit became--especially during the encores "Bullet in the Head," "Killing in the Name" and "Freedom." It was kill or be killed--elbows, low cuts, high kicks--like an Ultimate Fighting Championship battle royale. To the testosterone-addled jocks: Anger may be a gift, but when anger infringes upon the well-being of innocent bystanders, then it's time to get a clue.

No Kooks

The teens of Milpitas invite you to a free ska show Sept. 27 at the Milpitas Community Center on Calaveras Boulevard behind City Hall, featuring Slow Gherkin, the Plumbers, Spys Like Us and the Shrinks. Milpitas youth are pushing for a youth center like the one in Los Gatos, and this concert is an attempt to show the City Council that teens can put together a successful alcohol- and drug-free event. The event kicks off at 6pm and is, of course, all ages.

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From the September 12-18, 1996 issue of Metro

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