The Skirts have unfinished business
After a decade of sparse performances, the local rock band returns in a big way
Leave it to family.
Vi Mayugba thought it would be a fun idea to put together a family show. Not like the Partridge Family, but a show with all the different bands in the family: her group, Destroy Boys, her dad’s, Daycare, and her mom’s, the Skirts.
Her mom, Lynn Braden Mayugba, liked the idea and immediately made it happen. Daycare couldn’t play, but they booked Early Times, a band Sonny Mayugba played with at one point.
For the Skirts, the timing was perfect. The five-piece rock band was ripe for a reunion. Back in the late ’90s until the mid-2000s, the Skirts ruled Sacramento’s music scene. As the members started recently practicing, something unexpected happened: They wrote new material.
“It’s like the flame is back,” Lynn says. “I know an EP’s coming.”
It’s not like the Skirts haven’t played in the last decade. Drummer Wendy Powell moved to the east coast in 2006, and up until five years ago, the group would get back together and play about once a year.
“We’ve always been incredibly close friends,” Powell says. “So even with distance and not playing, we’ve always had the tight bond.”
This reunion is different than all the other one-offs. Powell moved back to Sacramento in 2014, which means everyone lives in town except for guitarist Cory Farwell, who isn’t too far in Pacifica.
In the past, when they’d play a show, there was just enough time to rehearse, play and get Powell on a plane to head home. Now, they’ve not only written new material, but they’ve spent time relearning what they call their “lost” EP. It was recorded just before Powell first moved and never got a proper release. They uploaded it to Bandcamp in 2013, but have never played any of the songs live before. That will change at their upcoming Harlow’s show.
“We have a lot of unfinished business,” Lynn says. “We were just finding a sound that we were digging with that EP—a heavier sound.”
“We embraced our inner rock goddesses,” Powell adds.
In the Skirts’ early days, the group often got lumped in with the punk scene. This was in part due to the fact that members had played in punk bands like Moist, Groovie Ghoulies, the Knockoffs and No Kill I. The original version of the Skirts had Lynn and Powell, and three other women. The current lineup, which includes Farwell, guitarist Gerri White and bassist Gitti Lindner, started in 2000.
The Skirts’ sound was always more heavy rock and pop than punk. By the Lost EP, it evolved even more, squeezing out some of the more bubblegum elements.
“We’re all secret goths,” Lynn says.
During the group’s heyday in the 2000s, it achieved immense popularity locally, continually flirting with national success. An executive from Maverick once flew up to see the Skirts. It got music placed in the Xbox game Amped and received an invitation to audition to play a band on CSI, though the part ultimately went to another act.
None of that compares to how the members feel playing together now.
“We just love writing together. That was always I think our happier place even more than playing live,” Farwell says. “I found some practice tapes recently—half of it’s all giggles. I think we’re more in love than ever.”