Anyone watching TV in the late 80s and 90s can instantly identify the song “What I Like About You” from the first few bars of the famous guitar line. As the theme song of Budweiser’s national TV ad campaign, the song by the 80s rock band, The Romantics, became a classic party anthem. The band’s guitarist, Mike Skill, who wrote the signature guitar riff, announces the release of his re-recorded version of “What I Like About You,” which is out now all streaming platforms.
The WILAY remake features Skill on lead and backup vocals, lead guitar, rhythm guitar and bass along with Brad Elvis (current member of The Romantics) on drums and Patrick Harwood on harmonica. Skill’s new version of the classic rock single marks the 41st anniversary of the song and precedes the release of Skill’s debut solo self-titled EP, out September 10, 2021.
Skill originally wrote “What I Like About You” with fellow Romantics band member Jimmy Marinos in 1979. As a teenager sitting in his family’s backyard, the budding rock musician created the famous three-chord guitar rhythm.
Skill recalls vividly the birth of the song before a band rehearsal. He says, “I offered that I had this new idea… I opened with the simple chords, and [drummer/singer Jimmy Marinos] jumped in with his signature animal groove… and [he] instantly dropped in singing, scatting, jamming in free form, sketching a lyric, throwing words against the wall to see what would stick, as I scattered with back ups… Uh huh, Hey! Uh huh!”
The original single, “What I Like About You,” was released in December 1979 and was included on The Romantics’ 1980 self-titled debut album that went Gold in the US. With Skill on lead guitar, the song charted on US Billboard at #49, and peaked at #2 in Australia and #8 in the Netherlands. MTV, which just launched in 1981, added the music video in heavy rotation, adding to the popularity of the single.
On July 16th, “What I Like About You” will make another appearance on the New Music scene with the modern reboot by Mike Skill, and produced by Chuck Alkazian, who also produced songs for Eminem and Chris Cornell. The single comes from Skill’s upcoming self-titled solo album, set to release on 9-10-21 with a vinyl edition to follow this fall.
Detroit native and celebrated rock guitarist Mike Skill has been a working musician for more than four decades. Skill’s roots lay in 60’s Motown, Traditional-Garage Blues and New Wave Punk movement, spending his early days in New York City with one of his first bands, Motor City Rockers, playing clubs including historic CBGB with the New York Dolls, Syl Sylvain and friends in attendance.
Best known as a founding member, guitarist and principal songwriter for The Romantics, Skill co-wrote the band’s ever-popular song, “What I Like About You”. He also created the heart-thumping bass groove and co-wrote the global #1 hit “Talking in Your Sleep.”
The Romantics were part of the early days of MTV with energetic videos featuring their infectious new wave pop hooks. In 2011, The Romantics were inducted into the Michigan Rock and Roll Legends Hall of Fame.
Today, Skill continues to write and record in Detroit at Pearl Sound Studios with Producer Chuck Alkazian and from his current home in Portland, OR, in addition to performing around the world.