Skunk Anansie's Skin: "I didn’t have any examples of me"

18 October 2020, 13:40

Skunk Anansie's Skin at the BRIT Awards in 1997 in Earls Court
Skunk Anansie's Skin shared what it was like to front a band in the 90s. Picture: JMEnternational/Redferns/Getty

The Skunk Anansie singer has talked about having to make plenty of mistakes because there was no one else out there like her.

Skin has talked about making many mistakes in her life, but how they led her to learn from herself.

The Skunk Anansie rocker spoke to Radio X's John Kennedy about her It Takes Blood And Guts memoir, where she talks about her upbringing and being one of the few black female rock stars and female frontwomen.

"I didn’t have any examples of me," said the Hedonism singer. "So it really was trial and error".

Despite this, Skunk Anansie experienced quite rapid success, being signed after their second gig. However, Skin remembers how many critics thought the band had to be manufactured as a result of their look and sound.

She recalled: "It was a little bit too good to be true for some people. They actually thought we were a made up band, like there was some grans Svengali puppet master, like we were on strings like some pop band or something, but actually, no. We just came up from the dregs and the grit and the grime of Kings Cross... and at the time Kings Cross was horrible, you know prostitutes and drugs. I would come out of Kings Cross station and you had to run toTthe Splash club and try not to get mugged on the way. And that’s where we came out of."

She added: "There was an article about it... 'Skunk Anansie’s just a cliche’ and I remember saying to my friend ‘It takes blood and guts to be this cool, but I’m still just a cliche,’ and that just kept coming back to me.

"We giggled and we laughed but it just kept coming back and weirdly it became a song. Songs," she mused. "They come out of things that get said!”

READ MORE: Stomzy apologises to Skunk Anansie's Skin after Glasto gaffe

Skunk Anansie in 1995
Skunk Anansie's Skin said the band were often accused of being manufactured . Picture: Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images

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Skin also revealed that the reason why she eventually decided to tell her story and the story of Skunk Anansie was because she felt the that the 90s has been dominated by tales of the Britpop era.

Asked how the idea for an autobiography first came about, the Weak singer revealed: “It sort of came out of LIVE@25 - celebrating 25 years of Skunk Anansie - and I guess that was the first time in our career we collectively looked backwards because we’re quite a forward thinking band. My co-writer Lucy O’Brien said ‘Why don’t you write a book?’

“My first reaction was, ‘About what? I haven’t done anything. I’ve just been in a band for years.' And then the more I thought about it the more I put it in the context of, you know there seem to be a lot of bands coming out about Britpop in the 90s. And in some ways I thought our story and the stories of people like us was kinda getting whitewashed and trampled over with people talking about Britpop on and on and on... 

“So after a few months I thought ‘yeah there is an alternative story to tell’. There was a massive rock scene, there was a massive drum and base scene. You can draw a line from Goldie to Stormzy I think personally and I just thought it was good to have an alternative story from someone who was very different... but also my band was very successful at the same time as Britpop.”

Skin's memoir It Takes Blood And Guts is out now

READ MORE: Skin was inspired by The Specials to be a rocker