Skew Siskin: the band Lemmy called AC/DC and Janis Joplin combined

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Lemmy and Motörhead are overlooked in their songwriting ability. The band is often labelled as a tour de force in heavy metal and the go-to listen if you want distortion-laden heaviness, but a lot of the topics they talked about were actually relatively complicated. The band just disguised themselves better behind a sound that is often considered impenetrable.

Consider their biggest hit, ‘Ace of Spades’, for example. Sure, it’s a hard rock song that people like to mosh to when it comes on, but it also talks about the competitive nature of gamblers in a way that is as adrenaline-fuelled as the sensation of winning. It also gives listeners a peak into the gambler’s demise, as the song sounds like steeper steps into a crumbling mind when the intense speed of the bass riff and unrelenting guitar solo becomes hard to hold on to. 

Additionally, in Slash’s song ‘Doctor Alibi’, where Lemmy provides the vocals, he sings about addiction and letting loose in his iconic style. When the singer talks about the contradictory advice he receives from a doctor and a shaman, it can come across as a standard rock song about finding an excuse to get the party going, but if a different singer provided the same lyrics, it would be a much more hard-hitting number.

These are great examples of how an artist’s tone can often determine how they are perceived by the public. AC/DC knows about this, as the band has a repetitive style that has become unequivocally their own. They have an exceptional and simplistic rhythm section, upbeat choruses, and face-melting solos, and fans wouldn’t want it any other way. If the band came out and released a heartfelt album that was slowed down and serene, people wouldn’t listen.

They are similar in a way to Janis Joplin, who is widely considered one of the greatest rock performers ever. She had a stage presence that was absolutely electric and difficult to turn away from while delivering stellar vocals that very few singers have been able to top.

Lucky enough, if you are looking for a band that blends those two artists, Lemmy might just have you covered. When asked about new music he was listening to in an interview, he suggested a couple of bands, one of which received an interesting appraisal. “Skunk Anansi from England, you heard them? They are on Virgin,” he said, “And the Skew Siskin from Berlin, they are kind like AC/DC and Janis Joplin.”

He’s not wrong, either. The band manages to have a hard rock sound packed with energy, but they write about more earnest topics, like on their hit ‘If the Walls Could Talk’. Skew Siskin has been on tour with a number of different rock bands throughout its history, and given the tone it manages to achieve and the way it can get a crowd going, it’s hardly a surprise that organisers want them on the bill.

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