Skull Kulture



Skull Kulture was an experimental avant-garde duo founded by Nikolas Schreck and Texas artist and musician Kirby during their first meeting and improvisatory recording in East Hollywood on December 8, 1980 the day both John Lennon, representing classic rock, and Darby Crash, representing the then-new Punk rebellion against classic rock, died. Since April of 1977, Nikolas Schreck had done duty on the front lines of the Los Angeles art-Punk and New Wave scene centered on the Masque and other underground venues, witnessing and interacting with most of the major figures in that movement during the first wave of Punk. Although partaking of the DIY underground means of manufacture and distribution of the time, Skull Kulture’s adoption of musical styles inspired by 20th Century modernist avant-garde classical music was a knowing rejection of the then trendy Punk aesthetic which had already become a cliche. Taking inspiration from the morbid circumstances of its first operation, Skull Kulture saw itself as apostles of a posthumous culture, and deliberately set out to break all the rules of what was then considered acceptable music. Taking a position similar to the Dadaist rejection of respectable culture after World War I, despite the duo’s cultural pessimism, Skull Kulture was marked by a strong absurdist and black humor. Refusing to perform live, Skull Kulture’s music was recorded on reel to reel tape and released only on individually produced cassettes decorated by the artists, a deliberately obscurantist stance that nonetheless won them a cult following in the then more ‘’art-damaged’’ post-punk LA music landscape as this article from the LA Star newspaper demonstrates. Kirby went on to be Radio Werewolf’s videographer, filming many of Radio Werewolf’s Los Angeles concerts and in 1989, photographing some of Video Werewolf’s Charles Manson Superstar and as an active member of Radio Werewolf on the albums Songs for the End of the World and Love Conquers All.