Born in New York, Erik Sanko's career as a jazz musician took off when he joined New York's famous jazz group, the Lounge Lizards, performing on their 1984 Live at the Drunken Boat album. After performing with the group for more than ten years, Sanko left the group to concentrate on other music and a solo career. Influenced by the likes of XTC, Tom Waits, and Captain Beefheart, Sanko formed Skeleton Key and released Fantastic Spikes Through Balloon. The group also performed at Lollapalooza. In 2001, Sanko recorded his first solo effort, Past Imperfect, Present Tense, on Jetset Records. He has worked with many influential artists, including John Cale, Yoko Ono, and Jim Carroll.