Glam Skanks On Ghost Hunting, Glitter, And Girl Power

PHOTO CREDIT: Suzanne Allison The Glam Skanks are a brazen, in-your-face LA band whose sound and attitude hearken back to the glory days ...

PHOTO CREDIT: Suzanne Allison
The Glam Skanks are a brazen, in-your-face LA band whose sound and attitude hearken back to the glory days of '70s glam and punk. They'll be bringing their guitars and glitter to The Fillmore in Charlotte on September 22nd to get the crowd ready for Adam Ant. We sat down with the entire band last Friday to talk about touring with Adam Ant, what it means to be a Glam Skank, ghost hunting, their pre-punk music taste, and feminism.

You're opening for Adam Ant on his Anthems tour. You've opened for him on the UK leg of the tour as well as the North American Kings Of The Wild Frontier tour earlier this year. How did that come about?
Veronica: We share a few musical acquaintances with Adam who happened to show him a couple of our music videos when he was thinking about doing these tours and looking for an opening band. He liked our videos enough to ask us to come along.

Which audiences are more open to you guys -- US or UK?
Ali: I think both. The UK, the people are a little more reserved. That's because they're really respectful of the music that they're listening to and they want to absorb all of the music. The US, everyone's a little more wild. Both are really receptive to our music.

Have you learned anything from touring with Adam and his band?
Millie: We learned a lot about professionalism and playing in front of bigger crowds. We usually don't play theaters like that. That definitely put us in a different type of zone but we pulled it off right away. We also learned how to enjoy a lot of good catering on the UK tour. All the amazing food that Adam had.

And we learned how to have to work out like we were doing right before we started the interview.

How did you come up with the name Glam Skanks?
Veronica: We had a show booked before we had a name, before we had a bass player, before we had any original songs. We were just playing some covers. Ali ended up booking us a gig so we were in that sort of mode, "Now we need a name to go along with it." We were hanging with our friend Carlos. He was writing down a list of anything anybody said that he thought could make a decent band name. He said he was making lamb shanks that night. I said, "You throw some edible glitter on those lamb shanks and they're glam shanks." So he started writing down Lamb Shanks, Glam Shanks, Glam Skanks, No Thanks. We looked at Glam Skanks and we're like, "Oh, that fits our vibe that we're going for, the cross between punk and '70s glam." We were going to use the name as a working title, but people liked the name enough that it stuck with us.

What does it mean to be a Glam Skank?
Ali: To be a Glam Skank means to just be yourself, not care what anybody thinks about you. We're definitely into women empowerment. We think that women should be equal and that women should be able to use their voice and speak up for themselves. And really it's just about having fun and being yourself. Throw some glitter on your face and not really care what anyone thinks.

My favorite track off Glitter City is "Fuck Off." In addition to the attitude, I love the '60s girl group vibe in the beginning. What's your favorite track on the album?
Ali: My favorite is "Karma."

Millie: My favorite is "Bad Bitch."

Cassie: I'm not on the album, but I would have to say "Karma" because that's the track where we all let loose and just go nuts and let our inner Zeppelin out.

Veronica: That's such a hard question, but I love the way "Fuck Off" turned out. It came out exactly how I had hoped that song would sound.

What has been the craziest thing that's happened out on the road?
Veronica: I guess our haunted hotel experience. We had many encounters on our last tour. We dubbed it the Ghost Tour because we just had a bunch of crazy stuff happen in dressing rooms and different places we stayed at. All the places we stayed at were really, really old, hundreds of years old. I remember there was one place we played at called the Hippodrome. There was a light that was bolted to the wall. We went into our room and the light was shattered. We were like, "What?" We asked the people who worked at the theater, "Is there anything unusual that happens?" They were like, "Oh, yes. Totally. Most of the activity happens on the top floor on the right wing." So us and Adam's band were like super stoked and went ghost hunting. We went up there but nothing happened. We took a picture and when we looked at the picture there was a chair in front of us and in the chair was this big huge ball of light. We have the picture, we posted it. We've had some crazy stuff happen for sure.

What is the most memorable show you've done?
Veronica: Definitely the Royal Albert Hall. That was a bucket list show for all of us. Definitely the biggest highlight of my musical career.

Ali: There were so many cameras.

Millie: Just the history and everything. It was magical.

We'll be at your Charlotte, North Carolina show later this month. What can folks expect from your set?
Ali: Glitter. Glam. Rock 'n' roll. A lot of fun. In your face.

Millie: High energy.

Ali: Better stand up and dance, that's all I'm going to say. I'm coming for you.

Given the choice, would you rather keep doing what you're doing in today's musical landscape or go back in time to when you would have more musical contemporaries?
Millie: We might already be huge rock stars if we were back in the '70s.

Veronica: I would just want to go back in time so I could see other bands that I wanted to see and play gigs with other acts.

Ali: It probably would've been easier with the music industry.

Veronica: Things seemed just so much better. Music nowadays...

Ali: It's all on the computer.

Veronica: It's so produced.

Ali: We could rule the Sunset Strip!

Veronica: You don't see any new bands like you did back then. Everything is just pop stars and hip hop artists. You don't see full-on bands. All the bands you see are bands that have been together for twenty years. It's harder for up-and-coming bands. It's a different era. But we're trying to change that.

PHOTO CREDIT: Suzanne Allison
So it's safe to assume you're not fans of today's music?
Millie: We respect and appreciate it.

Veronica: It's not the bands nowadays so much as it's the business nowadays. It doesn't feel like rock 'n' roll. It's different. It's gone in a different direction. But we're trying to change that, trying to bring it back. Especially with us being an all-girl band, you never see that. How many all-girl bands are there out there? Very few.

Speaking of that, I would imagine some of the interview questions you receive start off with "As an all-girl rock band..." or something like that. Do you think we'll ever get to the stage where women who rock aren't treated as such a novelty by some people?
Veronica: We can only hope that day is soon. I'd love to get to the point where we don't have to say we're an all-girl band.

Millie: Guy bands don't ever have to say they're an all-guy band.

Veronica: I think it's a Zooey Deschanel quote, girl power is great, but when we don't have to use the term girl power anymore that's when we'll really have come further. It's kind of true, the fact that we have to say we're a girl band for the novelty of it is something we hope we won't have to do soon.

Millie: But also at the same time, I'm proud of saying that I'm in an all-girl band. I'm in an all-girl band with really strong women that are talented and it feels good to surround yourself with that and spread that around the world because it's needed.

What do you think it will it take to get rid of the novelty?
Veronica: Just for more girls to be encouraged to do it. As we were talking, you just don't see a lot of girl bands. Parents need to encourage their daughters to get out and make music. Boys who play music need to encourage their female friends. Girls need to encourage each other. That's the only way it's not going to be a novelty anymore.

If you could say something to a young girl who's picking up a guitar for the first time, what would it be?
Veronica: Go for it! Don't care what anybody thinks. Don't listen to what anybody tells you. Just do it. Who cares if you sound bad?

Ali: Have fun! Make noise! Don't give a shit!

Veronica: Don't give a fuck what anybody says.

What was the first album, tape, or CD you bought with your own money?
Veronica: My first album that I ever bought myself was a Go-Go's Greatest Hits album which can probably explain why I'm in an all-girl band.

Ali: I'm sure it wasn't my own money, but probably my parents gave me the money and I bought a Spice Girls CD.

Millie: This doesn't have anything to do with rock 'n' roll but it kind of does. My first girl album was TLC because they are bad bitches! I'd have to say Backstreet Boys too. Before punk rock and rock 'n' roll, we were brought up in the boy band era.

Final question: you're in charge of a music festival and you can get any five acts, living or dead, to perform on the bill with you. Who do you choose?
Veronica: I'm going to shout out Led Zeppelin.

Ali: Queen!

Millie: David Bowie.

All Skanks: T. Rex, Fleetwood Mac, ABBA.

What song do you all perform together as the final jam?
Veronica: "Take A Chance On Me" by ABBA.

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