Interview: The Rebellion Tapes – Dee Skusting

You don’t need to be a world famous musician playing stadiums to walk tall with your guitar. Take Dee Skusting for instance. She’s an icon of the punk scene both sides of the pond just by being herself and by making consistently great music. The laid back attitude and bad ass style make her the complete and genuine package. Gary Trueman chatted to Dee about coming back to the UK to play after a five year absence and the rise of female artists.

It’s been a long time since you were last over in the UK to play. When was it? It was with A Pretty Mess wasn’t it?

“It’s actually nine years. It was July 2013. We’ve been trying to get back ever since and then the pandemic hit. That pushed us back three more years. The wait was worth it though. The tour has been great.”

You were with A Pretty Mess. What happened there?  Then you’ve started Dee Skusting And The rodents. Is that an extension of the same band in away?

“A Pretty Mess never broke up or anything. Aaron who plays drums for the rodents now, he’s in a bunch of bands. He’s in Naked Aggression with Meghan (Mattox) who was also in A Pretty Mess. We just had too many bands going and too much shit going on. And then I met Alison (Elliott singer with Maid Of Ace) and then the honeymoon started. They say you guys were on a long honeymoon. It was no particular reason it all just happened the way it did. Then I was bored and thought I’d better get my shit together and start playing music.”

Did Alison have any influence in that in saying you need to get your shit together?

“No, not really. We were both like we really ought to get back to doing what we ought to do. Play punk rock.”

So you’re over in the UK with your band Dee Skusting And The Rodents. How has the tour been?

“It’s been fucking great. The response has been amazing. It’s been hard work but so satisfying and we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from everybody. That’s what makes it worthwhile. It’s a long journey. We landed and played in London and it was just go right from there. I can’t wait to come back. So hopefully we will be back.”

Where are you in terms of putting music out?

“We put our very first album ‘Freedom Lost’ out in 2019. We just released our second album called ‘Scars’. You can buy the CD at a show or download a copy. We also have a seven inch split with Maid Of Ace. We did a remix of ‘Forever’. Those were very limited so I don’t know if we even have any of those left. We’re working on ‘Scars’ on vinyl too because we need some good plastic.”

What is it with vinyl coming back over the years? How has that happened do you think?

“I don’t think it’s ever disappeared. Vinyl is something that is so nostalgic and in America it’s a really big deal. No one wants CDs. The problem with CDs is that you have digital now. No one wants a CD in the car anymore. Cassettes are coming back. It’s weird. Vinyl is just something you can hold on to. It’s almost like a piece of art. And it sounds so good when you play it.”

Everyone says you can get a warmer sound from it.

“Yes, it’s like when they make vinyl. I’ve seen the process and it’s not an easy thing. The person making it has to be a pro at it.”

It’s like the same with physical books and e-books. E-books have just not become popular like you thought they would. It must be the same thing where physical books are something you can hold.

“There’s something about opening up your back pack if you’re on a plane or a train and opening your book and sitting there and reading it.”

You’re based in LA and you have a really good scene out there. You’ve been over to the UK a few times now. What are the main similarities and differences between the Uk scene and fans and the US scene and fans?

“With LA I feel everyone is too spoilt. I mean we literally have every amazing band, you do too in the UK, but you can find a great show every night, on a Monday, and a Tuesday, and a Wednesday. So it’s a bit like meh! People don’t really want to go out too much. The scene there the a lot of female fronted bands right now. The scene with women now is exploding in LA. I love it! It hasn’t been like that for such a long time. You have Starcrawler, you have LA Witch, you have so many, and in the UK as well. I think here in the UK people appreciate it more. Even New York which has a good hard core punk scene, you can find a band any day of the week. Whereas in the UK you have to wait for a good band to come through.”

We’re seeing women pushing through right across the whole music spectrum. One female musician recently did say that they’re coming through now because they’ve had to try so much harder collectively than male musicians, and that the men have got lazy. Do you think that’s true?

“I don’t know if the men have got lazy but now they fucking understand we’re not fucking backing down! You know that saying there’s nothing like a woman scorned… yeah…. so…”

That’s been going on for decades

“Yeah exactly. The guys are finally learning. We’re taking the power back.”

Have you got any recommendations for bands people ought to check out either from LA or the UK?

“Well like I said, Starcrawler. Suzi Moon who is a good friend. There’s a band called Niis who are so good, so impressive. Every night I have to go out to see a band because there are too many good girl musicians.”

Are you all supportive of each other?

“Oh yes very much so. I mean there are some you can just tell are in it to climb the ladder. But I just want to support mainly female bands and my friends who are out there. Support is really important.”

If somebody said to you we want you to put a band together and you’re going to front it. Pick three other female musicians to complete the band.

“Well first and foremost my wife Alison. She’s the number one, but Maid Of Ace is such a powerful band. Thy have such a great dynamic. Amy Taylor from Amyl And The Sniffers, I mean come on she’s a great front person. Dee Plakas from L7 and Meghan Mattox. We have a super group right there!”

Dee Skusting And The Rodents – Facebook

Interview and photos by Gary Trueman