Joey Skidmore was born in Baltimore, MD, but grew up in the Ozarks, in Springfield, MO, where he worked a series of menial jobs while attending college, and playing locally on the garage band circuit.
His first independently released record, a campy, 7” E.P. titled Stop the Nukes was described by OP (which later became Option) as “Corny, inept, dumb, but kinda engaging cross between David Bowie and Conan the Barbarian.”
The critics at Option Music Alternatives were kinder to his first album the Word Is Out, which was produced by the Morells’ Lou Whitney, and released in 1987. “This Skidmore guy sounds like Tony the Tiger! Figure that the voice of the frosted flakes feline is appropriate for more music than you might imagine. The man’s forte sounds like perverted ‘60s punk revisionism, though…a libidinous, paisley, dandy…”
In 1989, Skidmore moved to Kansas City, continuing to record his second album, Welcome to Humansville, with producer Lou Whitney.
“Skidmore’s carnival chasers, lecherous loners and obsessive lovers threaten to tear the sheer fabric of society apart,” according to critic Danny Alexander.
One of the songs on Humansville, “Butt Steak,” which Skidmore described as “a politically incorrect song about food,” became a novelty hit, achieving cult status with New Yorkers, thanks to WFMU’s Hound Show, and regular airplay on the Dr. Demento show.
In 1992, Joey played acoustically in France with guitarist Mike Costelow, and this led to a deal with French label Dixie Frog Records. Joey Skidmore was released in France in 1994. Since then he has toured France and Europe regularly with the Joey Skidmore Band, which usually consists of Gary Paredes and Mike Costelow on guitars and Cory Corbino on bass. Joe Terry is credited as the keyboard player on all studio recordings.
Over the years, Skidmore has worked with a wide variety of musicians including Nikki Sudden, Eric “Roscoe” Ambel, the Royal Nonesuch, and the Rev. Dwight Frizzell and B.C.R.
He has also opened up for a broad range of acts including Chuck Berry, Blue Oyster Cult, Nazareth, the Detroit Cobras, and George Thorogood; and played high-profile festivals such as SXSW in Austin, TX, Big Muddy Blues and Roots Fest, in St. Louis, Summer Jam, in Kansas City, and July Jamm, in Lincoln NE.
In 2008, Spanish label Sunthunder records released Ventriloquist Doll, Skidmore’s sixth album on CD, which featured a duet with the late Nikki Sudden, who died in 2006.