Interview: Skunk Anansie
FLIP through the Skunk Anansie scrapbook and you'll see snapshots of quintessential rock stardom. The Britrock band have collaborated with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, chilled out with the Dalai Lama and, in true rock fashion, split on the most acrimonious of terms.
But Britain's first lady of Britrock says this is small-time compared to what the band have cooking three years on from their reunion.
"Not to brag about it but our gigs were legendary and that's where all our money goes," says Skin, 45, who was born Deborah Dyer in Brixton.
"It's not too much of a crazy show – it's not a pop thing where you are blinded by all these things that happen but a feeling of being hit in the face and hit in the heart," she enthuses.
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"We've got a brand new show with lots of surprises going on, we've got some projections and stuff like that, which we are working on. And we do a few things that we've been advised by insurance companies that we shouldn't."
This defiant independence is what we've come to expect of the group who chose to release their latest album, Black Traffic, on their own label to ensure complete creative control.
"Wonderlustre was our coming back together album, our get-everything-up-and-running album. This was our chance to try something new.
"I think with radio, if you listen to the top ten now, there is no rock in there anymore. So we weren't really worried about concentrating on singles but just making a good album.
"We don't really try and follow the market; we just try to be leaders in our own field."
The combination of a self release, studio time and an extensive European tour seems to have cemented the band's friendship - and future. Like any dysfunctional family, they've kissed, made up and are keen to move on.
"If you ever have therapy with your partner the first thing they say is 'don't go over old ground' because it's not going to help the future," she says.
"It can be quite loud and passionate in the studio and everyone has very strong opinions but it's also really funny. We really have a laugh and I know it's a bit of a cliché but we just enjoy the moment."
Forgetting the airports, which are Skin's personal pet peeve, it is touring where the band feels happiest. They have just played their homecoming gig at a sold-out Brixton Academy and are itching to revisit more of their old gigging jaunts, Rock City included.
"We've been playing arenas around Europe so we are going to try and fit as much into Rock City as possible. It's our longest show to date and we've got some serious tricks up our sleeve."
The band's drummer, Mark Richardson, first saw the band there. He was living in Nottingham at the time and soon after, at a Kerrang! awards show, told Skin that he was better than their then-drummer. That's how he got the job.
Prior to the Skunk Anansie reunion, Richardson was behind the kit with Feeder.
Says Skin: "Rock City is one of those special places. It's a proper venue, it's been around a long time and has a special energy. And we know how to rock that place, so it's going to be one of the best shows on our tour."
Skunk Anansie play Rock City on Saturday, March 16, supported by Beware Of Darkness. Doors open at 6pm. Tickets are £24 from the box office, call 0845 413 4444 or go to www.alt-tickets.co.uk.