Who are Skunk Anansie?

Skunk Anansie are a vibrant, exciting British band that have managed to gather a big following with their exhilarating live performances and dynamite recordings. The music is the perfect combination of funk, punk, heavy rock and reggae styles, guaranteed to set the place on fire!

What does the name Skunk Anansie mean?

The band got the name from the black haired creature, with the white stripe down the back, well known for the nasty smell it emits when threatened (the Skunk!). Anansie is a spider from Jamaican folk stories.

Who's who?

Skunk Anansie - L to R Mark, Skin, Ace, Cass
L->R Mark, Skin, Ace, Cass

Skunk Anansie
   Skin - Deborah Anne Dyer - Lead vocals. Birthday 3/9/1967, Brixton.

To quote Ace, Skin has "so much energy that it's contagious". After SA Skin went on to a solo career, with album Fleshwounds.

Cass - Richard Keith Lewis - Bass. 1/9/1960, London.

The prolific, dreadlocked force hitting the bass through all of SA's songs, Cass met Skin in a coffee bar in Ealing through "a mutual enemy". Cass has a keen interest in photography, a son, and since SA he has provided bass on tracks from Skin's solo album, Fleshwounds, and Scars with Gary Moore and Darrin Mooney.

Ace - Martin Ivor Kent - Guitars. 30/3/1967, Cheltenham, Gloucester.

Guitar supremo Ace joined SA after meeting Skin and Cass at the Splash Club in Kings Cross, London. Always busy, he since released his Still Hungry album, produced for other bands, DJ'd, written for various magazines and is currently about to release the album for his new band Inner Mantra. Their first gig will be May 10th at The Joiners.

Mark - Mark Richardson - Drums. Birthday 28/5/1970, Leeds.

Mark, formerly of band B.L.O.W, first met SA at the Kerrang Awards, apparently quite mashed at the time. He replaced the original SA drummer, Robbie France (of group Diamond Head). Since SA broke up, Mark has been playing for Feeder.

"We were this unsigned supergroup when we got together. Cass was the best bass player around, I was a singer that wrote these songs, and Ace was this mad guitarist - the best guitarist around by far. So when we finally got together, everyone in town was sort of, like, 'Whoa, we've gotta see this!'

The second gig we played we had, like, 40 A&R people there to see us, and it was on the day that Kurt Cobain had died. The guy from One Little Indian [the label that ended up first signing Skunk] said that after two songs, he had completely forgotten about Kurt Cobain. He said any band that can make me forget about Kurt Cobain, on that day, must be good."
(Skin, 1999 interview)

Skunk Anansie formed in February 1994, and played their first gig at the Splash club, in Kings Cross, London in March. In July they signed to UK label One Little Indian. Their first singles that year, Selling Jesus which they sang in the film Strange Days, and I Can Dream were warmly accepted.

SA's real debut was with their track Little Baby Swastikkka. In March of 1995 they landed a session with national UK radio station Radio One who gave them exclusive airplay and gave away 2000 copies of the session recording of LBS as prizes to lucky stations listeners.

They were chosen by New Musical Express for the Brat Bus Tour, and established themselves as one of the hottest bands of 95, later confirmed by their being voted Best British Band in the Kerrang magazine 1995 awards.

The debut album, Paranoid and Sunburnt, had sold more than 100,000 copies and went GOLD by June 96.

When the touring finished, the band were back in the studio recording a new single and album, released in the later half of 1996. That single was All I want and the album Stoosh, an evolved and new sound for the Skunks! Kerrang magazine vote Skunk Anansie as best live band of the year for 1996. All in all, a pretty good year!


In 1998 SA played for Nelson Mandela's "Gift to the nation" 80th birthday show. Ace explains "We went to South Africa on a tour, it was about six months before then and we did this tour and sold out all these arenas because we were the first band to come over that had any kind of good music and credibility since the end of apartheid. We did this really great tour and were invited to a dinner with Nelson Mandela. So we went to that and we did all these interviews and so on. It got voted best tour of the year. Then when they were organizing the birthday thing the committee asked us to play 'cause, one, we were really popular when we were there before and, two, because what we're about as a band and our philosophy of living . We were the only European act there (the rest were South African or American) and the only rock band there."

In April of 1999 SA headlined the last day (28/04) of Glastonbury '99 and Roskilde (Denmark, July 1st to 4th) festivals, and that August the third album Post Orgasmic Chill was released. In Skin's words "This record is the amalgamation of five years of experience out on the road and in the studios. We tried hard to be creative here. We tried to make sure that we could work with what experiences we had... This is the most varied and most complete record we have ever done.".

SA have toured a lot. Ones I can recall are with Therapy?, Lenny Kravitz, and Bon Jovi (which some friends of mine went to see). That was 96, and since then they've been all around the world, including USA, and most of Europe. This included Italy, where they were on a TV rock show called 'Help Ronny' which featured this very website! (and put me on cloud 9 :))

Skunk Anansie broke up in 2001 but that hasn't stopped each of them being busy. Skin went on to a solo career, releasing two albums, Fleshwounds and Fake Chemical State with Len Arran. Ace went solo also, releasing his collaborative album Still Hungry. Mark moved on to be in Feeder, and Cass is focused on photography.

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