Second Skin - 2004

Probably more accurate than any other release title, Second Skin came during a period of massive transitions for Carfax Abbey. Byron had left the band and was replaced by Steven Blacker and then John King. When John decided to leave the group Byron returned and was better than ever. It was also during this period that Carfax Abbey finally decided to work with outside management and signed on with GSP Productions. Additionally, the band signed a spec deal with noted Philadelphia producer Scott Stallone to begin recording what was to become “Second Skin”. The decision to go into another studio and record was largely due to friends of the band commenting how much better the band was live opposed to our recordings. Not that we were ever disappointed in our prior recordings, our logic was maybe Scott could possibly bring us closer to the live sound and trying something new could not hurt so we moved forward.

David was not 100% in favor of this decision and with his long existing solo project Brainclaw beginning to take off, he made the decision to leave Carfax to pursue his longstanding love of pure electronic music with Brainclaw. If was also during these sessions the band parted ways with Paul who was our original crazy bass player who possessed a very dynamic stage presence. These departures were certainly going to be a challenge to overcome and keep moving forward. We were fortunate that John was able to pick up with a lot of the sequencing and then we found Noel to come in on bass. Noel who was a longtime supporter and multi-instrument player was able to add another dimension to our sound.

After cutting The Healing, Son, Ketamine, Spitshine and Love Hate Kind with Scott, the band made the decision to visit familiar territory by enlisting David to finish the remainder of the CD. What makes Second Skin so unique to the Carfax catalog is the sheer number of player who contributed to the recording.

The Players

Gary – Vocals
John – Guitar, bass, Keys
Byron – Drums, Keys
Kiki - Vocals
Noel – Bass
Paul – Bass
David – Keys, Design, Vocals
Tara – Keys, Design
Scott – Keys, Design

Produced, labored and recorded by Scott Stallone and David Giuffre

At the completion of the recording it had been 6 year since Carfax Abbey released a new CD and a lot changed in the world. We saw grunge music die off, we saw the rise of nu-metal, and we saw gothic music gain in popularity with bands like Stabbing Westward, Manson, Zombie, and NIN. We saw real life horror with the 9/11 tragedy, we saw the end of Beevis and Butthead, MTV lost the M and went all reality shows, we saw American Idol come into popularity. We saw the rise of File Sharing with Napster, we saw MP3.com give way to My Space. Indeed a lot changed.

Second Skin was released in October of 2004 and the CD Release party was held at John's Dark Corner in Philadelphia. It was a magnificent party and we were fast moving onwards and up. Shortly after the release, due to contractual issues Carfax Abbey parted ways with GSP Productions. We then signed a record deal with Dancing Ferret Disc and things looked awesome for us. Unfortunately, the celebration was stalled due to contractual and financial issues regarding the mechanical rights to Second Skin. Originally, Dancing Ferret was going to re-release Second Skin which would have been huge for Carfax Abbey. Sadly, this did not happen. Why you ask? Carfax foolishly had no hand in the “authorizing” of money being spent by GSP regarding many pay to play big shows at places like Electric Factory, The Trocadero and the TLA. These types of shows with the advertising to promote them ran the expenses paid out by GSP to be significant. These expenses would have to be paid in advance to GSP before they would release the rights to Second Skin, so the decision was made to simply record a new disc and move on.
The whole GSP experience ended up being an expensive, life learning lesson that the music business is first and foremost a business. If you sign a contract you better make sure you stay in the loop on everything especially when it comes to money.

Many friends and supporters have praised Second Skin as our finest release to date, it was a difficult recording to complete financially and emotionally but those challenges are what made this recording so special. Our only regret is the “what if factor” what would have happened if this recording did get a proper release from Dancing Ferret? What could it have done for our success on a national level? The hard part is never knowing.

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