When Skunk Anansie burst onto the music scene in 1994, they shook the charts up with their very own brand of rock music. They also stood apart from many of their Britpop peers such as Blur and Oasis – not least because their name was more unusual.
Speaking on White Wine Question Time, front woman Skin told Kate Thornton that they were keen to have a longer name to set themselves apart from the other British bands of the time.
She said: “I called the band Skunk Anansie because everybody was calling themselves these four letter word or five letter words – Oasis, Blur, Elastica or whatever. Short sharp words – keep it simple.”
While the second part of their name is inspired by Anansi the spider-man from Akan folk tales, the first part of their name has often been misinterpreted.
Listen: Skin talks about growing up in Brixton and why she shunned soul for rock
“To be honest, a lot of people think it's all about weed,” laughed Skin.
“A lot of people think, 'Oh, they're just a bunch of weed smokers', especially in the beginning, but I've never smoked a spliff in my life. I don't smoke at all!”
Skin, who has just released her auto biography It Takes Blood And Guts, revealed that they were instead inspired by the black and white animal of the same name.
“The reason why we called it skunk is because not only is the animal black and white, but it's the stinkiest one,” she laughed.
“It's the one that not even a tiger or lion will go near it. It's this kind of little creature that everyone is so scared of getting smelly that they just stay away from it. It's empowered by its stink!”
The animal world wasn’t the only inspiration for their name though – a very famous actor also played a part in Skin creating something so unique.
“I remember seeing Arnold Schwarzenegger in an interview,” the singer recalled, “and someone said to him, 'Why did you keep the name Schwarzenegger? It's quite difficult for people to learn.' And he said, 'Yes, that's exactly why, because it's so hard for you to learn it that once you've learned it, you will never forget.'
“And I was just like, that's great and that's why we have such a complicated name. It kind of redefined us as being away from all of the Britpop as well because they had all very similar type of names.”
Earlier this year, Skin took part in The Masked Singer and was eventually unmasked as Duck. It’s worlds away from what the rock singer normally does – and she admitted, it was also super scary!
“The Masked Singer was one of the most terrifying things I've ever done in my whole life,” the 53-year-old told Thornton.
“It's about credibility. I really value not looking stupid. I really value people not laughing at me, and that's why I did it because I was scared about people laughing. It scared me about how I was going to be perceived by my peers, my other musicians.
“The lesson I learned from it is that everybody loved it. At this age of 53 -years-old, that's a lesson I needed to learn. Coolness is not something people give you – it’s something you decide you have!”