Glam Skanks: the riotous Los Angeles band who want to kickstart a revolution

Glam Skanks
Glam Skanks (Image credit: Suzanne Allison)

“My ambition for the band is to bring the ‘show’ back into rock’n’roll,” says Glam Skanks singer Ali Cat. “To really stand out. And in that way inspire others, especially young woman, to go out there and kick some ass. It’s ok not to be ladylike!”

Not since the heady, hedonistic days of Sunset Strip at its 1980s peak has Los Angeles witnessed anything quite like Glam Skanks. A glitter-drenched four-piece with enough punk attitude to skewer even the most reluctant doubter, they came together, as is so often the case, via the internet. “I met Ali through Craigslist,” says extravagantly-haired guitarist Veronica Volume. “We had both posted ads looking for female musicians and had all of the same influences, and even responded to each other’s ads at the same time.”

With a line-up completed by bass player Millie and drummer Cassie, Glam Skanks wear their influences on proudly sequinned sleeves. You’ll find plenty of David Bowie, The Sweet, The Runaways, Alice Cooper (who they’ve played with), Aerosmith and T. Rex, and last year’s debut album Glitter City is very much the sum of those parts. Titles like Teenage Drag Queen, Tube Tops and Fuck Off all sparkle with explosive glee, with drums that stomp, vocals that snarl and sneer, and guitars that conjure up the spirit of the 1970s at their most effervescent.

New single Bad Bitch continues this rather riotous theme (“it’s about being a strong powerful woman and not taking anyone’s shit” says Veronica), setting the scene for what promises to be an eventful UK tour supporting Adam Ant in May. The band have set up an Indiegogo campaign to help fund the visit, and will be warming up for the tour with a date at South London’s Amersham Arms on May 4. What can fans expect? “An unforgettable rock’n’roll rollercoaster,” says Ali. “Spewing glitter and feather boas.”

What’s the appeal of glam rock?

Veronica: The appeal comes from the stage show and the costumes. It’s boring just seeing someone standing on stage in their everyday clothes staring at their feet. I think glam rock brings a fun element that you don’t get from other rock music.

Ali: It’s flashy and fun and glamourises rock’n’roll, putting a feminine touch on things. And I like that! It’s also about just being whoever you want to be, and it bridges the gap between sexes.

Why ‘Skanks’?

Veronica: We’re taking it back! Showing people that it’s not bad to be a skank!

How did you end up playing with Alice Cooper?

Veronica: My dad Bruce Witkin is a member of the Hollywood Vampires with Johnny [Depp] and Alice, and they work very closely with the guitar company Duesenberg. Every year Duesenberg puts on their Imperial Ball and the Vampires headline. Last year Duesenberg asked us to be the opener for the show.

What did you learn from Alice?

Veronica: I’ve been a huge Alice Cooper fan since I was a young kid and just being around him and watching him work is an amazing learning experience. He’s one of the hardest working people in the business and always has a great demeanour no matter what’s going on backstage.

Ali: First of all Alice has always inspired me to be kick-ass performer. The way he gets peoples’ attention and tells a story is cool to me. He is also just a really kind down-to-earth person who actually stays super modest, which is also something I look up to.

How’s the IndieGogo campaign going?

Veronica: it’s going great, but we’re always looking for more donations! Anything anyone can donate really helps.

Ali: I’m overwhelmed by all the love and support we have been getting from friends and family. Knowing that these people see potential in our band and want it to take off is awesome.

What’s your ultimate ambition for the band?

Veronica: One of my goals for the band is to always be creating, performing and traveling, but my biggest goal is to show young kids, especially young girls, that they can go out and start a band and with that maybe start a revolution.

Glam Skanks on tour

May 04: Amersham Arms, London
May 05: Metro Arena, Newcastle
May 06: Playhouse Theatre, Edinburgh
May 07: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow
May 09: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
May 10: Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
May 12: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
May 13: Symphony Hall, Birmingham
May 14: Hippodrome, Bristol
May 16: Pavilions, Plymouth
May 17: Royal Albert Hall, London
May 18: Brighton Centre, Brighton
May 20: Bournemouth Int. Centre, Bournemouth
May 21: De Montfort Hall, Leicester
May 22: Regent Theatre, Ipswich
May 24: Colloseum, Watford
May 25: Cilffs Pavilion, Southend-On-Sea
May 27: Leeds Arena, Leeds
May 28: Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham
Jun 03: Dingwalls, London
Jun 09: Nambucca, London
Jun 10: Department S Club, Bristol

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Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 37 years in music industry, online for 24. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.