Old Skull Origin Madison, Wisconsin Genres Punk, novelty Years active 1989–1991
Labels Restless Records Associated acts Star Fucking Hipsters, Doomsday Cauldron, Planned Collapse, Graham Lindsey, DJ Jesse Collins Past members J.P. Toulon
Old Skull were an American punk rock novelty band formed in the late 1980s in Madison, Wisconsin. The band was started by ten-year-old J.P. (Jean-Paul) Toulon and his nine-year-old brother, Jamie Toulon, with encouragement from their father Vern Toulon, a longtime member of the Madison punk scene who had spent time in New York City, where for a time he was a guitarist for the industrial band Missing Foundation.
Formation, Get Outta School
The original lineup featured J.P. on guitar, Jamie on keyboards and ten-year-old Jesse Collins-Davies on drums. Collins-Davies was the stepson of Robin Davies, a member of the Madison-based punk band, the Tar Babies who had previously recorded for SST Records. In 1989, Restless Records released Old Skull's debut album, Get Outta School. Produced by both Vern Toulon and Robin Davies and engineered by future Garbage member Steve Marker, Get Outta School dealt with such wide-ranging topics as skateboarding, hot dogs, homelessness and the AIDS virus. Due to the non-childlike subject matter in many of the songs, rumors persisted that Vern Toulon was actually ghostwriting much, if not all of the band's material. Critics described the album as hilarious, unlistenable and torturous, though most agreed that it wasn't all that bad for a group of nine-year-olds. The band also began opening for national acts such as Gwar, The Flaming Lips and Sonic Youth. The novelty of the act drew media attention from television shows like A Current Affair and publications such as Life, People and Newsweek. MTV also gave the band some minor airplay.
After the release of Get Outta School, Jesse Collins-Davies left the band and was replaced by twelve-year-old Graham Lindsey. After two years of playing drums with the band, Lindsey was given a one month punishment by his parents which ultimately led to the band's first breakup.
New lineup, C.I.A. Drug Fest
In 1992, the Toulon brothers re-started Old Skull without Graham Lindsey. J.P. Toulon switched to drums, while brother Jamie, now known as Spike, handled bass and some lead vocals. The Toulons were joined by brothers Chris and Josh Scott on vocals and guitars respectively. This lineup recorded C.I.A. Drug Fest, once again produced by Vern Toulon and released through Restless Records. This record was considerably more musical than the debut and executed competently with relative cohesion. A short tour of Japan followed before the act disbanded permanently.
In August 2005, the Toulon brothers, now in their mid-20's, reunited for a one time show at CBGB's as an opening act for The Exploited, with J.P. returning to vocals and Jamie playing guitar. They were joined onstage by Rik Smart, Mike House and John McClellan of the New York squat punk music scene.
Coincidentally, months before the reunion, a person named "P.J." called into the radio station WFMU in New Jersey, claiming to be a former member of Old Skull. "P.J." stated that he was re-forming Old Skull as a jazz fusion band without the input of any of the other former members. The call turned out to be an elaborate comedy sketch set up by Tom Scharpling, a supervising producer and writer for the Monk television series, and Superchunk drummer Jon Wurster, for their radio show, The Best Show on WFMU. The sketch also became available on their Hippy Justice CD. Coincidentally, the Hippy Justice CD was released at approximately the same time that the real reunion at CBGB's took place.
J.P. Toulon moved to New York City where he began playing with Planned Collapse, a crust punk band based out of C-Squat, a squat located in the East Village of Manhattan. In the spring of 2010, he served jail time in Madison, Wisconsin, and later moved to a drug rehab facility where he had apparently managed to beat a drug addiction. J.P. Toulon died on November 13, 2010, his brother Jamie's birthday. He had been living in Minneapolis with his son at the time of his death. The cause of death has not been publicly released but Toulon had been hospitalized for pancreatitis several times in the months before his death . A memorial was held for Toulon at C-Squat on November 21, 2010.
Jamie Toulon went on to play guitar for Milwaukee band, Doomsday Cauldron. Jamie later moved to New York City and played in a punk band named Apox, who released an album titled Prevalence in 1998. He was also an original member of Star Fucking Hipsters, a side project of Leftöver Crack member, Stza. Jamie later joined his brother in Planned Collapse until both brothers left the band. Clay Pigeon, a WFMU DJ who often records conversations with random NYC street people, included a fifteen minute interview with Jamie on his August 26, 2010 program. In the interview, Jamie revealed that he was living on the streets of New York City and was battling an ongoing drug addiction. Jamie committed suicide in Lynchburg, Virginia on June 10, 2011, seven months after the death of his brother.
Graham Lindsey began a solo career as an alternative country artist. Reviews of his music have drawn comparisons to Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Neil Young. He released his first album, Famous Anonymous Wilderness, in 2003. A second album, Hell Under The Skullbones, followed in 2006. 2008 saw the release of The Mine EP and his third full-length album, We Are All Alone In This Together. Four of Lindsey's songs were used in the direct-to-DVD film, Fairview St., released in 2009. Lindsey is also a backup musician for The Perreze Farm, a band formed by Lindsey's drummer, Joe Perreze. They released their debut EP, Songs For The Birds, on May 26, 2009.
Vern Toulon, producer and father to the Toulon brothers, went on to appear in the Madison-based documentary film, Streets Without Cars before passing away on May 31, 2001, at the age of 46. Several reports indicate that he had resorted to panhandling in the years before his death. The boys' parents had divorced early in the band's career. Several years after the divorce, the boys' mother died in a train accident.
- J.P. (Jean-Paul) Toulon (deceased) – vocals, guitar (1989–1991); drums (1992–1993); vocals (2005)
- Jamie "Spike" Toulon (deceased) – keyboards, vocals (1989–1991); bass, vocals (1992–1993); guitar (2005)
- Jesse Collins-Davies – drums, vocals (1989–1990)
- Graham Lindsey – drums (1990–1991)
- Chris Scott – vocals (1992–1993)
- Josh Scott – guitar (1992–1993)
- Rik Smart – guitar (2005)
- Mike House – bass (2005)
- John McClellan – drums (2005)
- Get Outta School (1989)
- C.I.A. Drug Fest (1992)
- ^ "For Nick Phillips". Star Fucking Hipsters. http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=178370863&blogId=540633656. Retrieved 2010-11-13.
- ^ "JAMIE TOULON DIES". The Rock Telegraph. http://rocktelegraph.blogspot.com/2011/06/jamie-toulon-dies.html?showComment=1311624822011#c1765492779667879084. Retrieved 2011-7-25.
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