Prisonshake's approach to rock can be loosely compared to Fugazi. Like Fugazi, the most important thing is the music, and they could not care less about record sales, videos, radio, or glamour. But unlike Fugazi, Prisonshake's record output has been limited to just a couple of full-length albums, plus a slew of singles and appearances on compilations, and they don't play live regularly. Admirably, they're writing music for their own enjoyment, and if other people like it as well, that's fine...and hardly necessary.
The group began back in 1987 and soon started touring and writing songs, amassing an abundance of material over the next six years (close to 100 songs). As 1992 wound down, most of the members quit to pursue other interests (in this case, it wasn't musical -- it had to do with changing professions to earn a steady income, and being able to provide for their families). But during 1993, the band's main songwriters, guitarist Robert Griffin (who also runs Scat Records) and singer Douglas Enkler regrouped. Prisonshake had never released a full-length album (just singles), and were curious to see what would come out of making a complete record with an outside producer (ex-Dictator Andrew Shernoff). The result was rock at its raunchiest, à la the Replacements, and the finished album was released under the title The Roaring Third on Scat. After a few U.S. tours with different musicians filling in for the departed original members, it all wound down due to unstable rhythm sections. The Prisonshake duo moved to St. Louis in 1994, where they continued writing songs and producing demos. The band followed up The Roaring Third with Failed to Menace in 1995, on the larger Matador label. Will Prisonshake ever release another record or play live again? Sure, if they feel like it. ~ Greg Prato