Brighton Magazine

The Brighton Magazine

Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Tuesday 30 April 2019

Skunk Anansie Mark Twenty-Fifth Anniversary By Continuing To Fight The Good Fight @ Brighton Dome

Skunk Anansie, who have announced a date at Brighton Dome, in August, still play a unique genre of music, which slips between the confrontational and the tender, the politically charged and the nakedly emotional, the upfront and attention-grabbing and the quiet and restrained.

When the band emerged from the sweat-drenched backrooms of London in 1994, they sounded and looked like nothing that had come before them.

"Nobody in our manor had seen anything like us before", says singer Skin, who co-founded the band with bassist Cass and guitarist Ace. "We were an earthquake."

"London in the 1990s was a mish-mash of people, but bands weren't – it was always four blokes with identical haircuts. We were a band of people who were real. That's why we were radical."

The band have opted to mark their 25th anniversary with 25LIVE@25, a live album that brings together a selection of songs from the six studio albums they've made.

"We come alive onstage," says bassist Cass. "That's where we bare our teeth."

When Skunk Anansie formed in February 1994, with original drummer Robbie France, the clubs and bars of their native London were stirring with the first murmurings of Britpop – Skunk Anansie couldn't have been further away from that scene's homogenised approach. 

Their DNA was a mix of race, gender, sexuality, cultural and musical influences. 

"We were outsiders," says Skin. "We were proud that we were. We came along and showed you could be different."

Skunk's base of operation was The Splash Club, a cramped backroom in a ramshackle pub in King's Cross, one of North London"s sleazier neighbourhoods. 

As the Splash's founder and resident DJ, it made sense that Ace would debut the band he had put together with Skin and Cass there. 

And so it was, in early March 1994, a couple of hundred people packed into The
Splash Club got their first glimpse of Skunk Anansie. 


"It was super-hot and absolutely rammed," remembers Skin. 

"We all had a reputation – Cass was the best bass player, I was the best lead singer, 
Ace was the best guitarist, and it was his club. 

"Everybody was curious what it was going to be like, in a positive way. Like, 'This is going to be weird and different and special.'"

The band booked a second gig there a month later, with dozens of A&R reps from record labels, it was to be a pivotal occasion for two very reasons. 

Firstly, it was the day that Kurt Cobain died. And secondly, it was the night that Skunk Anansie got their record deal. 


"The A&R for One Little Indian was the biggest Kurt Cobain/Nirvana fan ever,"
says Ace. 

"He'd heard the news and wasn't going to go out. But he went to the gig and it was so mad it turned him around. 

"He said, "I have to sign this band – if anything can make me feel better after this, it must be amazing.""

Skunk Anansie have frequently been described as a political band. And they undeniably are – as their take-no-prisoners 1996 track Yes, It's Fucking
Political pointed out, 'Everything's political.' 

But politics are just one part of what they are: Skunk address love and rejection, anger and sadness, frustration and rage. The human emotions we all share.

"In rock music, it's really easy to talk about partying and shagging girls and all that kind of stuff," says Skin. 

"But for us, what we were singing about had to be deeper, it had to mean something. We had to talk about our experiences and what we were going through."

The new millennium brought new considerations. For Skunk Anansie, it meant embarking on a lengthy hiatus.

"Being away from each other made us appreciate what we had with the band even more," says Cass. 

"When we got back together, it was, like, "We've got unfinished business.""

When the four members reconvened in 2008, at Cass' Black Mushroom Studios, it was with renewed purpose. 

The first thing they did at their first rehearsal back together wasn't run through one of their old hits, it was write a brand new one. 

"We were, like, 'Shall we play something old to warm up,'" says Ace. 

"And Skin goes, 'Let's play something new." And we wrote 'Because Of You' in about ten minutes."

The break had made them realise just how the chemistry they had together was irreplaceable. 

"The weird thing about Skunk Anansie is when the four of us come together, something happens," says Mark. 

"It's the chemistry we have together, the sound and feel of the band, the energy. 

That"s never, ever changed. And it never will."

Since getting back together, they've swerved the nostalgia circuit to release three albums that showcase a band who remain as single-minded in their intent. 

Many of the issues they've confronted over the years haven't changed either, but Skunk Anansie are still fighting the good fight, taking no prisoners while they do it.

"Racism still exists, sexism still exists, homophobia still exists, and since Trump, it's just open warfare," says Skin.

 "Things have gone backwards, and we're not going to tolerate it."

"The more oppressive or fascist or repressive the regime is in the country, the more we bring out the opposing faction," says Cass of the band's lightningrod nature. 

"We get the rebels because we are the rebels."

Skunk Anansie will be appearing at Brighton Dome on Monday 26th August 2019. Tickets go on general sale on Friday 29th March at 9am. CLICK HERE for tickets.

by: Mike Cobley




Share    

Credit Mark Senior

Are you a busker? Would you like to swap the streets of Brighton for the plush surroundings of Theatre Royal Brighton?

Lilla Vargen, who visits Komedia Brighton, in April, has released a hard-hitting video for her current release, Cold, which depicts a young woman trapped in a controlling and abusive relationship, struggling with the conflicting emotions that come with this situation

London-via-Pembrokeshire songwriter Penniless Cove (aka Phoebe) has always taken a left field approach to creating music. 

"It's the reason I'm here on earth and I'm quite happy and comfortable with that. I don't need to analyse it, I just need to get on and do it. And do it the best I can" Paul Weller was talking in 2014 about his decades long career  A journey that's still ongoing and fruitful, as the Modfather announces he will bring new music to The Brighton Centre, this autumn. 

For London singer-songwriter Eloise Viola, the last year has been a powerful lesson in self-belief to achieve your goals

Ten Times Table is heading to Theatre Royal Brighton, next month, and Robin Herford, the acclaimed director best known for the The Woman In Black, tells us about his new production of Alan Ayckbourn's committee comedy.

TJ Walker, who plays four dates across Sussex, in March & April, is a multi-talented Country/Americana singer, guitarist and songwriter, living on a river delta in the Deep South of... the United Kingdom!
Credit Idil Sukan

Award-winning comedian Ed Byrne, who plays Brighton Dome this March, is a household name who enjoys worldwide acclaim for his stand-up. With twenty-five years under his belt, Ed has parlayed his on-stage success into a variety of notable television appearances. 

Brighton's Creature Creature have used their downtime, since sharing festival stages with the likes of Manic Street Preachers and The Hives, by recording their forthcoming debut album, Two Finger Tantrum
Credit Mark Senior

When Once first appeared in cinemas thirteen years ago, a low budget Irish independent film shot with just $160,000, it was one of the more modest premieres of the season. But the story, of a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician whose passion for music sparks a unique love story, quickly took hold of audiences and hasn't let go since.

Hayley Ross lives by the sea in Brighton, grew up in Walton-on- Thames, has spent time in the Caribbean, and is right now renovating a fishing trawler to live on in Newhaven. 
Credit Matt Stronge

Brighton-born stand-up Robin Morgan is a father to his son and a son to his father. But what makes a good male role model? In his new show, which is coming to Komedia Brighton, in April, the comedian is calling out the double standards that set the bar so low to be a 'good dad' and exploring the gender roles forced on our children from conception.
Credit Frederike Wetzels

German Art-Pop band, Giant Rooks are set to arrive in Brighton, this spring, on the back of new single Watershed; a melancholy banger that begins with a reverb laced piano hook before launching in a beautiful slice of angular indie disco.
Credit Robert Day

“The story is about people coming together and how we are stronger together than apart, that's the message,” says author Alex Wheatle, of Crongton Knights, which heads to Theatre Royal Brighton, in March. 

Archive search

Search our archives for what's on and gone for the best of this city's theatre music comedy news and much more...







Organising a conference or event in Brighton?
See our Brighton Conference section.
Brighton web design by ...ntd