Skunk Anansie were a force of nature, built by Skin – Deborah Ann Dyer (Lead Vocals), Cass – Richard Keith Lewis (Bass), Ace – Martin Ivor Kent (Guitar) & Mark Richardson (Drums). The band got its name from the black haired creature, with white stripes down the back, well known for the nasty smell it emits when threatened (the Skunk!) and from a spider known from Jamaican folk stories (Anansie).
Skunk Anansie formed in London in 1994, at the very height of Britpop mania. Skin was everything your traditional pallid frontman wasn't. For starters, she was female. She was also bald, black and searingly intelligent. Magazine editors swooned: here, at last, was a pop star who could articulate, who could hold her own corner, who could do more than shake maracas.
Skunk Anansie's real debut was with their track Little Baby Swastikkka. The UK's biggest radio station, Radio 1 FM found them and decided to record Little Baby Swastikka, which was then given exclusive airplay, and given as a prize giveaway to the 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.
March 1995’s controversial Selling Jesus, was pure musical armageddon, a temper tantrum of a song that set out their stall emphatically. The single was followed by work on Björk's Army Of Me. Over the next six years, they would push themselves as hard as they could. Skunk Anansie was touring with bands like Therapy?, Killing Joke, The Sex Pistols, U2, Lenny Kravitz, Prodigy, Midnight Oil and supported bands like Aerosmith, Bon Jovi, Kiss and Paul Weller and bands like Rammstein, Stereophonics, Feeder or Muse were supporting Skunk Anansie.
"We worked harder than any pop band. We did endless promotion, played gigs almost every night, and we toured solidly. It was our decision, and it was the right one, because we knew that to get to the level we wanted, we had to do it that way. It was worth it, but it was also incredibly tiring."
Skunk Anansie could tap into politically-inclined anger with all the feral fury of a thousand Rage Against The Machines, Skin's open-mouthed holler pinning you to the wall with exfoliating force. Yet she could also sing quite beautifully. Remember the gorgeous singles Charity and Brazen (Weep)?' When the volume came down, Skin revealed that not only could she sing, but she could sing like a diva.
They released three splenetic albums - 'Paranoid & Sunburnt', 'Stoosh', and 'Post Orgasmic Chill' - each critically lauded and commercially successful, selling over 4 million copies across Europe. "I spent the whole of my twenties traveling the world with three great people, and I had an amazing time," Skin remembers. But the work rate took its toll, ate them up and spat them out. By 2001, they'd exhausted themselves irrevocably.
"There was no one thing that contributed to the split," Skin says. "I suppose it was like a marriage. The chemistry had gone. I'd stopped enjoying myself and, unfortunately, it was no longer fun."
This was a heart-breaking news for a lot of the fans. Below is the official statement that was on the Skunk Anansie's website (published on April 19th, 2001)
"The multi platinum selling band Skunk Anansie have split up. The band decided that they had taken Skunk Anansie as far as they could and that now the time is right to pursue solo careers. This has been a mutual decision and the band remain the best of friends. Skunk Anansie formed in 1994 and released three hugely successful albums, Paranoid & Sunburnt (1995), Stoosh (1996) and Post Orgasmic Chill (1999). In total they have sold four million albums worldwide and notched up eight hit singles."