(Left) Mike Skiba and his daughter Kayla
The drumming world lost a truly original craftsman when custom cymbalsmith Mike Skiba passed away at the age of 50 on Saturday, November 13. The New Jersey drummer had dedicated his life to building percussion instruments, and became most renowned for his unique cymbal designs, an unusual skill that he developed early in life while assisting his father in his father’s machine shop, conveniently located in the basement of his family’s home.
In his brief autobiography posted on the website cymbalholic.com, Skiba explained how he ventured into the art of cymbal making: “Being the drummer in the family, I presented my father with the ultimate challenge of "reverse-engineering" cymbals. We did quite a bit of research in the mid-70's, mostly with Zildjian cymbals as they were really the only professional instruments available in our area at the time. We built a large lathe capable of turning pieces up to 24 inches, and looked to a local foundry as a source for metal discs.”