caught up with Benji Webbe from Skindred to talk
about their recent album, current tour and the
problems gripping the nation such as the current
gun and knife crime problem.
have just released your fourth studio album ‘Union
Black’, how did you find writing and recording
the album compared to your previous albums?
Benji Webb, Vocals) The great thing about this
record is that all the other albums we were involved
in were in America by American producers, This
was the first one with a British producer done
on this side of the water, its been real different,normally
we've been recording in amazing weather, this
was London in the fucking cold in the middle of
December, it was hardcore, there were days where
we couldn't get to the studio because of the snow,
there was no bullshit on this record, we hit it
hard. People ask if this is your best record,
I don't want nothing to do with best, its like
asking Van Gogh what his favourite painting was,
this isn't Beyoncé chart shit, this is
ground level hard working band, this is not a
game we play, I don't do best, I do what's in
me at the time.
recording this in album in the UK been reflected
in it at all?
In a lot of ways yeah, been in this country, I
lived in Florida for 4-5 years, you know There's
a lot of gun crime over there, There's so much
that they don't speak about it, so when we get
it, its like oh my god, what I found was a lot
of the album, lyrically, I'm talking about people
getting over the bullshit and getting together
fighting, not the system but with the shit they
have to put up with everyday, and overcoming it.
know the album
has only been out for a short time but how has
the album gone down with your fans and the press
First and foremost, when we finished the record
we went on tour with Rob Zombie, no one had heard
the new songs before, we played 3 new songs, they
went done so well, that give these songs a couple
of years, these are gonna be party stoppers, its
gonna be insane. The albums been out a few days
and we were told it reached number 32 in the charts.
Its the highest we've ever had for a record so
I'm happy with that, its nice to be there for
one day at least, I think its been accepted really
well, I've seen some fucking blinding reviews,
we got a shit review from Kerrang, as far as I'm
concerned we did deserve better from them, Metal
Hammer gave us a good review, Terrorizer slated
us rock sound gave us a good review, so its been
up and down, I reviewed the album before all them
motherfuckers, and I gave it 10 because I know
what I put into it and they don't, they don't
know, they just sit in there fucking offices tick
of and say I don't like that riff. I know what
went into that record, what pain we went through
to get that record into peoples hands, they sit
there and they just take it.
Shaddix from Papa Roach features on the track
‘Warning’ how did this collaboration
He's a good friend of mine for 10 years, we've
toured with them for 10 years in the states.
When we wrote the song, after the chorus we
were going to leave it blank, and I thought
lets get some body on there, I asked Corey Taylor,
he's one of my favourite singers, he was busy,
spoke to Whitfield Crane
from Ugly Kid Joe, but I asked Jacoby on the
same day, and he was like fuck I'm on it, lets
do it send it to me. I said to him, lets go
in the studio and record it roughly, he said
fuck you, this is what I'm gonna get, I'm gonna
do what I do and I'm gonna love it, cus he's
a prick. He came over listened to some songs,
he liked it, bought what he'd done, put it on
and it blew everyone away, he delivered, it
made the record for me, he really killed it!
cover a lot of real life situations which are
gripping the nation at the moment such as gun
crime and knife crime within the songs ‘Cut
Dem’ and ‘Gun Talk’, what inspired
you to write these songs.
My kid got stabbed a few years back, so we got
a song called Cut Dem, which is about what effects
the family. Its totally inspired by what's been
happening in the last two years of my life.
Weird relationships and all that. Gun Talk,
the other day in town a little girl was killed,
I know Wolves has a gun problem, you got crazy
niggers running around shooting each other like
its Christmas eve in Waco, Texas, guns are on
the increase but its fuck you and your guns
man, you want a fight, get in the ring and its
best man wins, gun talk is about a girl shot
in London recently, being a black guy living
in a mixed race community dominated by urban
culture, you here this shit all the time, I
got my strap bollocks, talk talk talk, people
getting shot and all this crap, it effected
me as a person, and its me saying (shouts) ENOUGH
artwork for the album is pretty fantastic, who
came up with the ideas and final designs for it?
The lion represents the UK, in the mane of the
lion is what the different members of band adhere
to, the star of David, which for me tells the
story of David vs Goliath, I love that story,
I love the overcomer,The Count of Monte Cristo,
I love all that shit. Little bits of British
symbols like the red telephone box which is
a dying thing, I don't see people using them
any more, I think they might take them away.
The album represents the essence of the UK.
does it feel to be back on the road in support
of your new album? And how have the new tracks
been going down live so far?
We played a few tracks, when we sit in a room
to discuss what were going to play its a fight,
its a mess, every ones arguing fuck you I wanna
play this and all that. In the end we have to
ask our friends to help us other wise we'll
kick the shit outta our selves for days, so
the songs your hearing, There's no lets do this
quick, There's a song called calling all stations
off the previous album, fucking love playing
that song live, I talk about this in the show,
I represent tattoo artists, painters, people
who is in our life who strive to use art, I'm
sick of people squashing them, I love the energy
that the song brings
vs Hero and Chiodos are supporting you on this
tour, were these hand picked by you? And how have
you found touring with them so far?
These bands are cool kids, good to hang out
with great vibes from them, Chiodos, I never
knew them from before, I knew there manager
Dave Taylor, there good, they get the crowd
vibed up, our drummer normally picks the acts
that come out with us.
in February you supported Rob Zombie on his first
UK tour in 12 years how did this come about and
how did you find the whole experience?
I got to meet Rob Zombie once, just at lunch,
said hello, he apologised for taking up all
the space on stage, because we fucking had none,
but I said dude that's the way it is, I'm thankful
to go on tour with you, we had a few good conversations
with the band, that was cool as was the crew.
Looking at that production, it was like wow,
if I could have this I would love it, stranger
things have happened.
tour finishes on the 7th May in London and the
show is being filmed for Scuzz tv by Jagermeister,
are you planning to play an extra special show?
And when can we expect to see the footage on Scuzz?
Were getting someone extra special to sing at
that show, Like Jonathan Davies or Jacoby to
sing on Warning, maybe Plan B, put an extra
twist on the song. I dunno when it airs, there
just gonna do it when they do it.
have been sponsored by Jagermeister for a long
time now, how would you say they help band’s
Them Jager boys are beautiful, Jager fucks me
up bro, every time I drink it, it fucks me up
like Jekyll and Hyde, but there good people
to us, they look after us, there good they really
Royal wedding was today did you watch it and what
is your take on the whole mad publicity of it?
I stood in front of a shop window, saw his red
Jacket and thought that looks fucking cool,
and she looks fucking skinny, I salute my future
king and my country, all the best to him and
hope he doesn't end up a train wreck like his
mother and father.
your take on the digital revelation killing off
the music business?
Its not killing off the industry its making
musicians better, because they have to play
again, be on the road again singers gotta learn
to sing again. I don't give a shit if I don't
record another record again, I wanna play like
they did in the old days, in the blues days,
they played hard, were having a great time,
the digital revolution can kiss my arse. Your
either gonna make money or not, I wanna see
2000 kids every night all over the world, jumping
up and down,throwing up the devil horns and
rocking that's all I want.
do you hope to see Skindred in a year’s
Id like to be the new red hot chilli peppers,
you don't fit into no scene, there a rock were
a rock band, I'm Bruce Dickinson, I'm Anthony
Kiedis, I take the elements of what I know and
use it with guitars. They don't fit into anything.
last random question that we ask every band, if
you could be an animal out of a zebra or Giraffe
which one would you be and why?
I think Id be a giraffe because I've already
been a horse.(laughter)
for your time is there a message for your fans
Keep supporting live music, keep going to concerts,
if your gonna download repent be baptised and
buy a t shirt from a show.
Interview By Robert Lawrence