Adam Ant kicks of a 35th anniversary tour for his album Kings of the Wild Frontier here in DC at the Lincoln Theatre on Monday, Jan. 23. As his opening act, he’ll be bringing along Glam Skanks, an energetic new quartet from Los Angeles. Glam Skanks recently published their first album, Glitter City, via Unison Music Group, and they have a big glam rock sound that meshes very well with Adam Ant’s musical catalog.
Glam Skanks consist of vocalist Ali Cat, bassist Millie Chan, and guitarist Veronica Volume. (The band recently recruited a fourth female member as their new drummer to replace their original.) Veronica, who often goes by simply “V,” grew up in a rock-n-roll household, particularly with a musician/producer father Bruce Witkin, who has provided them with some impressive support.
Parklife DC caught up with V to chat about a very productive year for Glam Skanks, the band’s glam rock sound, and some of their inspirations. Make sure to arrive early to The Lincoln Theatre a week from today to check out Glam Skanks.
Mickey McCarter: Hi Veronica! You know, I was listening to the album, and I have to tell you what a breath of fresh air it is out!
V: Thank you!
MM: We hear a lot of bands here for our blog, and more often than not the all-female bands that we hear about are really focused on acoustic guitars or they have more of a laidback vibe. So it’s nice to hear you ladies just rocking out.
V: Yeah. Unfortunately, I kind of notice the same thing that you do sometimes in that it’s hard to find girls in real rock bands.
MM: Well then I have to ask you about your influences and how you came into them — Bowie, Bolan, The Sweet. Those are not typical musical influences for a young American band today.
V: For me, my parents and my aunt growing up were really really into that music, and my dad’s a musician so I always just grew up around a lot of ‘60s and ‘70s rock. For Bowie and T. Rex in particular, my love of that came from my aunt specifically. She was really into that scene at the time when she was a kid.
Listen to “G.L.A.M.” — a track from debut album Glitter City by Glam Skanks on Soundcloud:
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MM: I absolutely love how your album, GIitter City, really follows some conventions with some very clover songs. Like the first song “G.L.A.M.” is in the mold of the “band introduction” theme. I also enjoyed “Fuck Off,” this subversive song that comes off with a “come hither” attitude but then it’s all about telling the guy to go away.
How did you guys work together to write those songs? And where does the attitude come from? Can you tell me a little bit about your process?
V: Usually for the most part, it’s always kind of me and [Glam Skanks vocalist] Ali Cat. So either she will come in with lyrics that she’s written and I’ll put some music to it or I’ll come in with you know a guitar riff, and she’ll put lyrics to it. Most of the time, our funnier songs will begin with an inside joke. One of us will say something funny and we go, oh, that would make a funny song. Then, we’ll build it from there.
MM: How long have you guys been doing this now?
V: Me and Ali have been playing together for almost four years. And then our bass player Millie has been with us for about two years now, and we just got a new drummer Kathy a couple of weeks ago.
MM: And then it’s been a busy year for you guys as you had a show with Alice Cooper, and now you’re about to go on tour with Adam Ant!
V: We just played one show with Alice last year, and we opened up for him. My dad [Bruce Witkin] actually tours with him in The Hollywood Vampires. That was our first really big show in front of a lot of people.
MM: And so this tour with Adam Ant is the first major tour for the Glam Skanks. How did that come about?
V: That came about through my dad and my aunt. My dad used to tour with Adam back in the ‘90s and he recorded on his album Wonderful. My aunt has known Adam even longer. So they go back pretty far.
So when we started this band a while ago, they sent a friendly message to Adam and said, check out my daughter’s band or check out my niece’s band. They sent him some stuff. He liked our videos. So when it came time for him to pick a band to tour with, he liked our stuff enough to pick us.
MM: That is that is pretty amazing. So this tour sounds like it should be exciting!
V: Yeah, the first day is in DC, and then we work our way back over toward the West Coast. And then we head toward Portland and then back down towards LA. And then we’re going from LA down through into Texas and then back home.
MM: It seems like you are perfect openers for Adam Ant, which is good news for us. Glam Skanks are a great fit as openers for Adam since he’s really gotten back into his roots and his love of T. Rex lately. I personally like it when bands like have a synergy like when bands are from the same genre or share some other connection.
V: Oh yeah. When I go to a show and the bands don’t make sense together, it is really kind of ruins the night.
MM: You’ve had a pretty remarkable year leading up to this. What stands out in your mind as the most memorable thing about it?
V: We’re all huge Alice Cooper fans so we were excited to open for him and The Hollywood Vampires. And then we got to get up on stage and sing “School’s Out” with him. So it was really really cool. And it was really fun to play Kevin Smith’s birthday party a few months ago out in Jersey.
MM: Wow, that sounds fun. I heard you contributed music to his film Yoga Hosers, but you also played his birthday party? [Glam Skanks contributed songs including “Miss Androgynous” and “The Hockey Song” to Yoga Hosers.]
V: Yeah! It’s a really fun movie to watch especially for younger girls. I think it’s a really good movie.
Watch Glam Skanks perform a cover of “Somebody to Love” by Jefferson Airplane:
MM: Getting back to the origins of your sound, David Bowie died last year, and you recently played at a David Bowie tribute show in Los Angeles. And this past year, you guys have started to take off. Were you inspired by his passing at all or did things simply come together that way?
V: It was definitely just the timing. Obviously, we were all devastated when it happened. We were hit pretty hard by it. But now for better or worse, he’s had a pretty big resurgence since he’s died. And I definitely think that there’s more eyes on the glam scene because of that. Young kids are starting to hear about him and buy a lot of music. So it’s definitely helped us in that way by getting a younger generation to hear about him and that kind of music.
MM: I understand. What’s next for you guys? You have this tour with Adam Ant and then what do you do?
V: Right now, we’re in the process of trying to book possibly another tour for almost immediately after we get home. We have our feelers out there for a couple of different things, so we’re hoping by March or April that we’re back on the road again. We’re hoping to do that a couple of times this year and then go back in the studio toward the end of the year to record a second album.
MM: It sounds like you guys are ready to light the world on fire.
V: Yeah. We’re ready to go and not stop!
MM: We look forward to seeing you here in DC next week.
Opening for Adam Ant
The Lincoln Theatre
Monday, Jan. 23