The Skillet Lickers

Proof that in-fighting and power plays among band members was not a practice invented by rock & roll groups, the Skillet Lickers were a prolifically talented 1920s string band that had "creative differences" through much of their career span. Originally formed as a backup band for fiddler and folksy-styled humorist Gid Tanner, the addition of fiddler Clayton McMichen took the band in another direction entirely. McMichen looked down upon Tanner's backwoods humor and musical style, preferring to take a more modern approach to the music by including jazz and pop influences, and he often downplayed the role of the banjo, as well as Tanner's high-pitched, comical vocals. Still, despite the creative differences, the Skillet Lickers operated on all cylinders throughout the '20s, recording for Columbia and gaining a reputation as one of the sharpest live bands of the time. After McMichen left in the early '30s to form other bands, Tanner kept the name and hired a revolving cast of supporting musicians to keep the ball rolling for another few years. ~ Steve Kurutz

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