There’s a difficult to describe, yet timeless quality to certain songs that transcends genre or era. It’s something that you can’t fake or contrive and it’s what lies at the core of Skating Polly‘s music. The multi-instrumentalist duo of Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse started their band in Oklahoma in 2009. They recorded their debut album Taking Over The World in 2010 and achieved instant acclaim from underground music icons like X‘s Exene Cervenka (who produced 2013’s Lost Wonderfuls) and Beat Happening‘s Calvin Johnson (who produced 2014’s Fuzz Steliacoom). After the release of 2016’s The Big Fit, Veruca Salt‘s co-frontwomen Louise Post and Nina Gordon reached out and said they wanted to write with the band. What started as a writing session ultimately became 2017’s New Trick EP. Now armed with a third member — Kelli’s brother Kurtis Mayo — the trio released their latest full length, The Make It All Show in 2018.
The news burns like red pepper in the eye
It’s raining frogs and trash and feces
Hey, there’s a product for the smell it wouldn’t kill ya to buy
Won’t stop the next new worst disaster
Too late now to cry.
Nearing the end of Trump’s first and hopefully only term, it still feels like an endless torrent of shitty news every day; it seems like people are plugging their noses and going about their days instead of trying to change anything.
2016 was the first time I could vote in a presidential election. I remember going into that night with high hopes, posting memes about how Trump was gonna lose, checking fivethirtyeight.com repeatedly, and so on. We had a bunch of alcohol left over from Halloween and it was a party at first. Then, things changed. When Trump won, it felt like a tsunami we should’ve seen coming. Things haven’t been the same. It’s a dystopian nightmare the world has been stuck in ever since.
“Classless Act” is a song we had been working on since before the 2016 election, or at least the riff. When we first started jamming on it, I’d ride the cowbell to go for a laid back, cartoonish, southern rock vibe. It was kind of a joke. But after November 8, it took on a more aggressive, serious tone. We came up with the lyrics in the aftermath of the election. Every week, something new would happen that would depress or enrage us; there were much more topical lyrics we almost used but we didn’t want to be too on the nose and have lyrics about collusion or orange hair. It’s kind of intimidating trying to talk about something everyone on the internet and TV talks about everyday. We just wanted to talk about how it felt to be living through it.
Yeah I think she used to be a buddy of mine
Too bad we tore the place to pieces
She always dressed fine.
There’s this kind of dressed up, Spielberg movie version of America that never existed that I think everyone’s a little nostalgic for. But there’s no going back to the ‘80s, or ‘50s or whenever they think America was truly “great.”
I try to show my love I can smile everyday
Try to be the sun to get us out of bed today
This time the bad moon settled in to stay.
The apocalypse seems closer and closer every day, and all we can do is be nice to our neighbors I guess.
“I WANT BETTER THAN THAT” — don’t we all?
When Glendon and Isabella reached out about doing a video, I was thrilled. I loved their video for Surfbort’s “Hi Anxiety” and couldn’t wait to work with them. The final product is like the cantina scene from Star Wars by way of Night of the Living Dead and South Park. It couldn’t have turned out better.
— Kurtis Mayo
(Photo Credit: Michael Haight)