Devil­skin hit the road

Hamilton Metro News - - Front Page - Chris Schulz

Devil­skin has a No. 1 al­bum in the bag and a 20-date tour of Aus­tralia and New Zealand lined up. They also have a wee prob­lem on their hands.

Jen­nie Sku­lan­der’s stun­ning voice can usu­ally be heard over pound­ing drums and heavy metal riffage sup­plied by her band mates in Devil­skin.

Sometimes, dur­ing the Hamil­ton rocker’s heav­ier mo­ments, Sku­lan­der will grab sponges soaked in thick red dye and fin­ish a song by squeez­ing them out above her and un­leash­ing a paint-strip­ping death growl.

But to­day, Sku­lan­der’s a lit­tle qui­eter. When she an­swers the phone, she greets Time Out with a barely au­di­ble whis­per.

“She’s just feed­ing at the mo­ment . . . hope­fully she stays quiet,” says the softly spo­ken singer as she nurses her baby to sleep.

Three-month-old Ge­or­gia is al­ready a Devil­skin fan, with her own mini black T-shirts to prove it.

Her ar­rival has come at a crit­i­cal time for the Hamil­ton rock­ers. Devil­skin’s sec­ond record

Be Like the River is No. 1 on the New Zealand al­bum charts, they’ve played their first show in seven months, open­ing for rock giants Dis­turbed, and they’re gear­ing up to play 20 sweaty dates across Aus­tralia and New Zealand over De­cem­ber and Jan­uary.

Ge­or­gia will be go­ing with Sku­lan­der to ev­ery show, with her fi­ance or a babysit­ter tak­ing over when Devil­skin’s due on stage.

“It’s go­ing to be a lit­tle bit harder be­cause I still have to be a mum,” she says. “She’s be­com­ing a lit­tle travel baby. She’ll be at the sound­checks . . . we’ve got ear muffs for her.”

Sku­lan­der ad­mits she didn’t plan on hav­ing a new baby at the same time as a new al­bum and large tour.

“When I found out [I was preg­nant], we’d al­ready booked a UK and Euro­pean tour . . . that I still went over and did. Be­cause of be­ing preg­nant we de­cided it would be a good time to record the al­bum and get it done.” That means all those vo­cals on

Be Like a River were recorded while Sku­lan­der was four months preg­nant, “short of breath . . . and feel­ing like ab­so­lute shit”.

It got worse. Dur­ing their Euro­pean tour, Sku­lan­der was hos­pi­talised with a bout of flu and gas­tro.

She was sick,” gui­tarist Nail says. “She was vom­it­ing, she had it all go­ing on, and she got up ev­ery night, didn’t com­plain, and sang like a pro.”

Hav­ing a baby on the road is an­other step up, but Sku­lan­der’s band­mates— Nail, bassist Paul Martin and his son, drum­mer Nic Martin— all agree that she’s more than ca­pa­ble of jug­gling those de­mands.

“She’s at the top of her game,” Paul says. “She’s got big­ger balls than any guy singer I’ve played with. She’s a mon­ster. I’ve never met any­one like her. She out­staunches them all . . . Jen­nie’s just risen to it, she’s an ex­cep­tional mum and ev­ery­thing’s on the up. It’s just worked out re­ally well.”

But both Paul and Nail ad­mit there were some tense mo­ments when she first told the band she was preg­nant.

“The whole ‘Jen­nie get­ting preg­nant’ thing ob­vi­ously was like, ‘Woah, the singer’s preg­nant, I’ve never been in a band with a preg­nant singer be­fore. What hap­pens next?’,” says Paul.

“Our whole band’s a fam­ily. We’re all there for each other, ev­ery­one wants the same thing, we just want to make more mu­sic, and wher­ever that takes us, we’re into it.” To a point.

“We’ve done our time chang­ing nap­pies.” Which is ex­actly what Sku­lan­der is do­ing as she gets Ge­or­gia ready for her nap. Luck­ily, Devil­skin’s new­est mem­ber is a fan of their mu­sic and of­ten falls asleep lis­ten­ing to their songs.

“My part­ner reck­ons . . . heavy metal com­forts her,” says Sku­lan­der. “Maybe she knows the songs from when I recorded them while hav­ing her in my belly.”

Kiwi rock­ers Devil­skin are hit­ting the road for a De­cem­ber/Jan­uary sum­mer tour— and lead singer Jen­nie Sku­lan­der has just had a baby.

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