A Beautiful Accident

Skeleton Key continues its joyous, frightening bang and clang

"It hasn't presented a problem thus far," he says, "because I do understand theory in my head. I just don't know how to read the dots on the paper. Also, I've been lucky enough to play with people who are less concerned with the technical aspects of music than with the artistic inferences of what you're trying to say."

It follows that his distinct sense of color comes in handy, and when he's working with other musicians, including the rest of Skeleton Key, Sanko prefers to communicate musical ideas in terms of the character of the individual song or piece.

Skeleton Key: "Like this giant piece of machinery gone haywire."
Mark Weiss
Skeleton Key: "Like this giant piece of machinery gone haywire."

"That's a lot more interesting to me than the actual harmonic information," Sanko says. "There's an old jazz joke that says, if somebody asks if you know how to read music, then the answer would be 'Not enough to hurt my playing!' That's a cliché, but if you adhere to the formalities very rigidly, it could potentially prevent some opportunities that arise naturally that may be unconventional. To me, music education is obviously important, but frankly, I think a kid somewhere in Africa with a rock can make more music than the entire graduating class at Berklee [School of Music]. I mean, the language in terms of communicating is necessary sometimes. But, otherwise, it's become so formalized, it can actually inhibit and prevent some beautiful accidents."

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