Dyer took on the nickname 'Skin' when she and three fellow
London musicians formed the band Skunk Anansie in 1994.
Dyer met bass player Cass (Richard Keith Lewis) in an
Ealing coffee bar. They later met guitarist Ace (Martin
Ivor Kent), at the Splash club in Kings Cross, and drummer
Mark Richardson at the Kerrang awards. The name 'Skunk
Anansie' comes from two animals - the skunk, obviously,
and a fictional spider from Jamaican folk stories.
The band was noted for its multi-racial talent, as well
as Dyer's unconventional, energetic, hard-hitting vocals.
Her official web biography says of her: "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."
This was especially important at the time Skunk Anansie
formed - it was the beginning of Britain's 'Britpop' phenomenon:
Independent musicians, with a sense of individuality,
were becoming highly favoured by a lucrative cross section
of youth culture, over the ready-made commercial pop that
had been topping the charts in the late 80s and early
90s. This was the music era of which Skunk Anansie became
an important part.
They enjoyed success between 1994 and 2001, producing
three albums; "Paranoid & Sunburnt", "Stoosh"
and "Post Orgasmic Chill". The latter of the
three sold over 4 million copies around the world.
the band split in 2001, most of the members went on to
start solo careers (apart from Mark Richardson, who became
drummer for the band Feeder). Dyer's first solo album
'Fleshwounds' is said to have lost the interest of her
Skunk Anansie fans by being a much toned down, gentler
style of music. Her second album, 'Fake Chemical State'
is due for release in March 2006 (at the time of writing).
This new work has largely been overlooked in popular music,
yet Dyer remains to many an icon of unconventionality
and feminine honesty.
Friends & Relationships:
Although her sexuality is widely referred to in the media,
Dyer herself is often very shy of describing herself.
This has led to some rather odd conclusions being drawn
by the press, who choose to portray her in quite different
ways than she actually sees herself, as this segment of
an interview for a university student paper shows:
"As of late, Skunk has leaked into the American consciousness,
propelled by an appearance in Kathryn Bigelow's Strange
Days. They have been called everything from punk to funk-rock
to hard core. Skin, herself, has been likened to a giant
punk queen: a lesbian (so they say), militant, aggressive,
intensive female. The singer is a little perplexed with
"The American press portrays me as this six-foot-five
ass-kicker and then this lesbian thing keeps coming up
and I read it and I think 'Who are they talking about?'
Because they can't be talking about me," she shakes
her head." (Tricia Romano, University of washington
Little is said about her relationships, and perhaps rightly
so; who would want their love life written about in the
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