SKIP THE NEEDLE – WE AIN’T NEVER GOING BACK
On their debut album, We Ain’t Never Going Back, the formidable female powerhouse known as Skip The Needle bring a depth of personal insight and performing experience to their politically astute hard rock/funk songcraft.
Throughout We Ain’t Never Going Back, the Oakland-based quartet—featuring bassist/vocalist Vicki Randle, guitarist/vocalists Katie Cash and Shelley Doty, and drummer/vocalist Kofy Brown—delivers such impressionable original tunes as “Battle Cry (Ay Ay Ay),” “B What U Want 2 B,” “Black Lives,” “The Keys” and “Music Saves My Life,” which reflect the musicians’ deeply-held ideals and wide-ranging musical aesthetic.
Upon seeing Skip The Needle’s live performance video for the title track “We Ain’t Never Going Back,” legendary bass phenom Bootsy Collins shared the video on Facebook commenting, “Are Women Rockin’ Harder now?”
Or, as one observer recently said, “If Sly Stone, Jimi Hendrix, Chrissie Hynde, and Chaka Khan all jammed together, this band would be the result. Skip The Needle is reckless, eclectic, fearless and fun, dedicated to love, and like nothing you’ve ever heard before.”
Although the band has been together since 2014, Skip The Needle’s members bring a wealth of musical experience to the table, including Randle’s nearly 20-year run as the percussionist/vocalist with Branford Marsalis‘ band on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and her more recent extended stint as backing vocalist in Mavis Staples‘ live band. The seeds for Skip The Needle were planted after Randle returned to Oakland following leaving The Tonight Show, and began playing solo gigs and jamming with like-minded friends.
We Ain’t Never Going Back‘s original songs apply a profoundly personal take on subjects such as Black Lives Matter, police brutality, gender politics, immigration, and the healing qualities of music.
“Kofy and I generally drive the social topics,” Randle notes. “We get mad and write songs.”
“There’s nothing about this album, both instrumentally and lyrically, that isn’t completely authentic, and about spreading a positive message,” states Doty, adding, “It’s essential to us that we put this energy out into the world. Things can get super ugly, so we feel like we must inspire people. Everything we do as a band comes from love and creativity; we genuinely love playing together, and we share that with our fans.”
“We all come from really different musical traditions, and we are all committed to social justice,” Randle asserts. “There is so much freedom when women play together. It’s very inclusive and feels like how music should be made: to uplift people, and to give people a voice. That’s the whole point of music. As a band, we try to embody equality and togetherness. Rock and Love, that is our motto.”
Having previously made music in all manner of formats and situations, the four members of Skip The Needle feel that as an all-woman quartet, their creative and personal chemistry contributes to their goal of making influential music. That sense of solidarity, the band members agree, was a key force in the making of We Ain’t Never Going Back.
“There was so much raw energy in the studio,” Doty recalls. “Skip The Needle is four professional women rockers who know what they’re doing. You don’t see that every day. All four of us are band leaders in our own right, and fans seeing a group of women rocking out with our level of intensity, I think it’s undeniably impactful. Everyone deserves to be heard, and strong women playing strong music is what we are about.”
With modern music in the midst of a renaissance, Skip The Needle is what the world needs most today, empowering women speaking out against social injustices and bringing communities together through mesmerizing music. All four leading women have embarked on careers standing up for those who are marginalized with their various projects, including the Shelley Doty X-tet and Jambay (Shelley Doty); the Kofy Brown Band and Sistas in the Pit (Kofy Brown); the Katie Cash Band and Year of the Fist (Katie Cash); and Vicki Randle’s work as a political evangelist giving audiences hope as she graces national stages across the country.
Skip the Needle was most recently included with an eclectic and iconic collection of Bay Area bands for a double vinyl and three-day concert tribute to A Tribe Called Quest’s seminal Midnight Marauder record, produced by UnderCover Presents and Starita, who produced both Tribe’s and Phife Dawg’s last records. We were proud to witness Oakland proclaiming Friday, May 17th “Phife Dawg Day.” Noted in HipHopDX, Okayplayer, and KQED, Skip The Needle went hard while standing in homage to Tribe’s “Oh My God.”