Skunk Anansie frontwoman Skin has opened up about her experience of an abusive relationship she was in as a teenager that inspired the band’s signature song ‘Weak’.
Skin was speaking to Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess on a recent episode of his podcast, Tim’s Listening Party, on which he interviews guests about their seminal albums. The singer was asked about Skunk Anansie’s 1995 debut album ‘Paranoid & Sunburnt’, which ‘Weak’ is taken from.
Skin recounted that ‘Weak’ was written in one night about a relationship she was in eight years prior at the age of 16 with a man who was much older. She explained that it wasn’t till years later than she was able to recognise that the relationship had been abusive.
“I was going out with this much older guy – not through choice but because I was a quiet, vulnerable 16-year-old Christian girl and this guy was like 29,” Skin said. “He’d give you a lift home [from church] and that’s how he ended up knowing where I live. He would just turn up and say, ‘I’m taking you out’. He was abusive and controlling but I actually didn’t realise that it was an abusive relationship. I didn’t know what a relationship was – I thought that was normal.
The singer, whose real name is Deborah Dyer, said she ended the relationship when she went to university in Middlesborough. “I went that far deliberately but he would drive 300 miles to come up for the weekend, so I moved,” she recalled. “I didn’t tell anyone, I just moved to a different house and that was him out of my life.”
“But it wasn’t until later when I did some work with a rape crisis centre and I was listening to people having conversations, it just dawned on me ‘Oh my god that’s what happened to me.’ I remember sitting down with my new guitar and thinking about one time when he hit me and he started crying. I remember thinking ‘Weak as I am, I’ve got no tears for you.’”
Fans are awaiting news on more new music from Skunk Anansie, after sharing the fiery single ‘Piggy’ last year.