Combining the DIY punk ethos of CRASS, DISCHARGE, and AMEBIX, with the psychedelic energy of HAWKWIND and OZRIC TENTACLES, and a dash of SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES and THE SLITS, IOWASKA create their own unique blend of space-rock, punk, and cosmic thrash. This British band offers a potent cocktail of driving guitars, haunting melodies, throbbing bass lines, and a thundering beat. With lyrics to put a thought in your mind and a chill up your spine, IOWASKA’s sheer seething power and irrepressible passion combine for an ecstatic ride. They have played with CAPTAIN SENSIBLE, CHUMBAWUMBA, CITIZEN FISH and DIRT, as well as many other punk and space-rock veterans, and frequently command the stage at huge UK festivals. IOWASKA’s performances feature a memorable light show, dubbed “Medicine Lights”, which combines a fractal sea of oil slides and psychedelia, with cinema footage of momentous, radical political events, tailored to fit their lyrics.

Guitar player/vocalist Sam Skraeling began her musical career by lending her distinctive voice to AMEBIX for the “No Sanctuary” EP. She began playing guitar with the SKRAELINGS in 1991. The following year, Sam and bandmate Graham performed an impromptu festival show with Martin, their current drummer. Excited by the chemistry, they vowed to collaborate again whenever their paths crossed. As luck would have it, they finally got their chance in 1994.

Originally called “Ayahuasca”, from an Arthur Brown song about a South American hallucinogen, they later altered the spelling to match the pronunciation. IOWASKA played their first show in August 1994, three weeks after their formation. The band soon had the opportunity to support fire-helmeted, psyche-screamer Arthur Brown in London, and embarked on their first major UK tour in July 1995 with R.D.F. (Radical Dance Faction), a popular punk/ska/dub band.IOWASKA gained an immediate following and a sizable mailing list, for which the band crafted a free fanzine shortly after. In true rock & roll spirit, a new bass player had to learn the entire set in the tour van, when the original bassist suddenly dropped the ball. He pulled it off with style and the crowd was none the wiser. The band continued to tour heavily between 1996-1999, playing festivals, squat parties, warehouse shows, political demonstrations, and many of the major U.K. venues.

In 1999, JELLO BIAFRA caught an IOWASKA performance in London, and was allegedly spotted dancing in the pit! He enthusiastically likened the band to “the Cambodia side of the Dead Kennedys”. In November 2000, the band entered the studio to record “Vine of Souls”CD/LP for Alternative Tentacles (release: April 2001). The stunning cover art and booklet are both handpainted by Sam, and feature her distinctive calligraphy. She declares, “Although computers would be quicker, I still prefer the human touch when it comes to art and music!” Old school indeed!


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