The Cover-Ups are Dead! Long Live the Coverups!
Another old Interview by Abram Jones AKA DJ Waag from www.ruderoots.com
DJ Waag: How did you first get into Ska? Who are some of your favorites?
Cris: I liked the Two Tone music in the eighties but I didn't know it was called Ska. I kind of realized it was Ska in high school. I got into more of the scene when I was 18 or 19, I was working at this place, and a coworker was into the Ska scene and was going out with Greg Lee (way before hepcat). I just got into it that way.
Some of my favorites are Donkey show, the Two Tone bands, Skatalites, Phyllis Dillon, the Upsetters. Of course I love Hepcat, all their stuff. I've known Greg, Deston, and Alex since before their band, when they were doing the other band called Sharpsville Step (not all of them were in it). They used to play parties and we would dance in the backyard. Those were fun times, we were all young and partying and riding scooters and having fun.
DJ: What do you think about Ska's future?
CU: I have no idea! I know that a lot of people, they don't want it to get mainstream, they want to keep it to themselves. I've never thought that way, cuz when I was first getting into Ska, talking to people, they would say "what do you like?" I would say Ska, they'd be like "What is that?" I've never thought we need to keep it to ourselves. I remember getting really made fun of for wearing docs and dresses and having half my hair shaved, stuff like that. It gives hope for other bands when one band makes it big, because then you think maybe I can go there too and have a fun life and not be stuck in a boring job. I'm not mad about No Doubt bringing Ska to the American mainstream, and I think with their new Reggae/Dancehell album they might introduce those styles to america. Most people didn't even know who they were when they were playing more Ska type stuff on the scene.
DJ: Tell me a bit about the Cover-Ups breakup.CU: I think we just got to a point where everyone had different ideas about what style of jamaican music we wanted to do, and we didn't see eye to eye on what direction to go in.
DJ: It seems like some of the other all-girl Ska bands have had the same logistic difficulties you have had, like the pink cheetahs, etc.
CU: I think getting 8 people together to play is hard in every band, I'm not sure about the five peice bands, but with a larger amount of people, you have more schedules to work around, more ideas, more thoughts. It gets harder to make everybody happy at the same time. You have to have the right people with good schedules and all that. I don't know if it's just a girl thing, 'cause all the guy bands I know have a lot of similar problems. It's a matter of ratios. There are so many more guy bands that you just don't notice that they have the same problems.
DJ: What's it like being a woman in Ska music?
CU: Uh, fine! It's funny. I haven't had many negative experiences. Really haven't. Especially with the musicians, when our band started playing, we had so much support from the other musicians around. Brian Dixon was so helpful, and Irie Beats, the Inciters, Paul, Jesse, and Brian from Rhythm Doctors. Hepcat, of course, were really supportive of us too. We had a good response, and didn't have negativity from the club owners. There was a little from the audience, kind of going, "who are they", comparing us to the already-established guy bands. Maybe our ability wasn't up to a certain level, and we had to grow, but I think we were doing a good job.
Except for the girls who started playing piano when they were really little, when most girls were teenagers they were talking on the phone and shopping, doing stuff like that instead of learning how to play. When the boys were teenagers they were all at home locked in their rooms fiddling with their instruments.
DJ: Umm...that's one way to put it.
CU: Heeeeeeey!! That's not what I meant. But really, I don't know if it's that whole rock n' roll thing or what, but guys have that dedication from an early age to music. I think a lot of girls go to shows just to see cute guys and hit on them.
DJ: What your plans are for your new band?
CU: Trying to finish the lineup and practice to get good. To start playing out again and to record. I just want to have fun. I love it! It's another girl project, along the lines of Cover-Ups, but it's different. Our working title is the Twi-Lites! We've been trying to get this project together (Michelle (from Isaac Green and the Skalars), Lauren, and I), for a year, and it's finally starting to shape up. We're just gonna play in front of our friends for a while to try it out. Some of the girls have never been in bands before, and we're trying to introduce it to them gently.
DJ: What is your definition of skinhead reggae?
CU: Like I said last night, I know some people categorize it as a certain place and time, down to a specific year. But to me it's the rhythm. A certain way the keys and drums and guitar are played. My favorite Skinhead Reggae is the heavy organ, danceable instrumental stuff like the Upsetters. To me it's more rhythm than timeline when I think of Skinhead Reggae.
DJ: Do you have any words of encouragement to other women, girls out there trying to start a band?
CU: For girls who are trying to start: it's hard, it's frustrating. You have to stick to it and weather the hard times. You have to not take people's comments to heart too much. You have to just believe that what you are doing is worth it and fun, you have to persevere if you want to get anywhere. That can be an analogy to life, but especially in music there are always going to be people judging you but you have to get over it. You're gonna get judged not just on being a new band but for being girls. You have to ignore that as much as you can and keep going on your love for playing the music.