Still working on this page and Jen's piece will probably go on different page later, but for now, it'll live here.
Everyone had a unique experience of Skyfeathers and the period of time in which it existed. I think it would also be fair to say that our experiences had much in common. Jen Savage (Butterbean) was kind enough to contribute the following perspective:
Skyfeathers’ New Wave/Punk Scene: A Depression
By Jen Savage
From the outside, it was merely a nightclub for teenagers; however, the scene inside resembled what seemed more like a house of worship for pubescent exploration and acceptance. It was here that we (the disengaged youth of the Tampa Bay area) embarked upon our coming of age, forming ideas and expressing inner creativity that would forever shape our lives. Our style of dress and hair represented our discontent with the mainstream, our artistic expression and our youthful angst. Dressed in the finest attire that thrift stores had to offer, and with dyed hair that often defied gravity, we bonded, danced, discovered, laughed and, sometimes, even cried together. Square pegs in a world of round holes - finding belonging in a society that rejected each of us for various reasons.
The music spoke to us with lyrics like Ministry’s (Everyday is) Halloween: “Why can't I live a life for me? Why should I take the abuse that's served? Why can't they see they're just like me? I'm not the one that's so absurd.” It was this song that I would forever remember as our unofficial anthem, verbalizing so much of what we personified.
With twenty years of looking back, I still remember those times fondly, despite the mode of self-destruction that so many of us seemed to partake in. I can still remember doing the “dance of the depressed” to the song Blasphemous Rumours by Depeche Mode. The dance consisted of slow, sorrowful motions, always looking down…expect, of course, to glance up occasionally to shake an angry fist at the heavens. I, too, did not want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I did think that God had a sick sense of humor. We have since reconciled.
It was through one another that we learned more about ourselves and the world in which we struggled to survive. These interactions were the building blocks of tolerance, acceptance and individuality. For these things, I am grateful…to this day.
Just about anything was accepted in “the scene”, as we called it, and we relished the shunning we received as a result of our uniqueness. A testament to the fine job we were doing of standing out, indeed.
Then there were the parties…so many parties. Warehouse parties, house parties, hotel parties and graveyard parties. I marvel still at how we managed to find one another all over the Tampa Bay area without the use of cell phones, on-board navigation systems, or Mapquest. Our system of communication seems almost archaic in retrospect. I can barely order pizza now without the use of my high-speed connection. In my experience with parties during the 80s, I learned this: If you throw one…they will come.
Unfortunately, Skyfeathers was short-lived, but sparked further growth of the local new wave and punk rock movement with clubs like Faces in Tampa; Naked Vanilla, Impulse, and Masquerade in Ybor; Moonbeams and Fantasia in Clearwater and others that I’m sure are buried somewhere in my mental archives.
Skyfeathers was Ross spinning records that composed our New Wave / Punk soundtrack; Lip syncs that made quasi-celebrities out of those who performed them; Sexuality that was explored and sometimes even exploited; Gender bending with boys in dresses and girls with buzzed hair; Experiments with drugs that should never have been done outside of a laboratory; And friendships and fun that made our lives not only bearable, but fulfilling. It was the sweetest pain and most dreadful joy and I was forever changed.