I got to sit down and talk with Benji Webbe and Dan Pugsley from Skindred, and it was so fun. These guys were so entertaining to talk to and I got to learn a little bit more about this amazing British band.
Shockwave Magazine: So you guys just started a US tour, are you excited about that?
Benji Webbe: Yeah very much so, it’s been going great.
Dan Pugsley: Yeah, we’re just starting it.
Benji: We’re a bit jet-lagged but we’re gonna get there.
Then you guys are going back home to tour there?
Benji: Yep, yep.
Is there a big difference for you guys touring over there versus touring here?
Benji: Well, they know us over there. But here, we’re starting all over again. We’re out to just get on stage and win people’s souls and win their hearts, ya know?
Dan: We haven’t been back here in a while so it’s new. It is like we’re starting over.
Benji: Yeah, we’re starting again, that’s the only way we can look at it. It’s really good that we can play clubs where 50 kids will come and they’ll love it, but we know we’re going home to play 1,000 capacity rooms sold out, so that’s really nice.
Now you guys have like a different sound. I don’t think there’s any other band around that sounds like you guys. Does everyone kind of bring something to the table to create that sound?
Benji: Yup, that’s exactly how it is. As a front man in the band, I just wanna see the crowd moving. We’ll do anything to get the crowd going. Whether it’s punk rock, whether it’s reggae, dubstep, whatever it is. We just wanna make the crowd rock. Like Malcom-X said, by any means necessary.
So you guys have done a lot of shows, a lot of festivals. Is there one that stands out at all as the best one you’ve ever done?
Benji: Um, we’ve done a lot.
Dan: One that we often talk about is, and we often get asked about it, we played in front of over half a million people at Polish Woodstock. That was pretty insane. Like to see that many people, you just couldn’t see the end of people.
Benji: That was a great show.
Dan: That was a cool one. I think Download this year was great.
Benji: Reading and Leeds, ya know it’s pretty much the same every time. We hit the crowd hard and they love us for it.
Dan: That’s part of what we do, you know, with some of the shows in America being a bit quieter, but we still give them an insane show, and I think it sort of translates that way. Like, it’s a huge show no matter what.
So are you guys excited to see anyone in particular today?
Benji and Dan: Offspring.
Benji: Yeah, we’re big fans of the Offspring.
Dan: Baroness will be awesome, and Alice in Chains.
Benji: There’s a few bands we’d like to check out.
So what are your plans for 2017? Do you have anything coming up?
Benji: Tour, tour, and more tour.
Dan: Maybe write some songs.
So your newest album has been out about a year now.
Benji: Yeah, so we’ll give it another year of rockin it, 2018 will be a new record.
I’ll be honest; I talked to a couple of English friends to get a little intel on you guys, and they said I need to ask you about the Newport Helicopter.
Benji: I knew that was coming.
Tell me about it, how it started and all that.
Benji: We used to — and everyone was doing — the whole wall of death thing. I saw a video years ago of a band, hip hop, talking about taking their shirts off and waving them around in the air.
Dan: It was Petey Pablo, ya know, North Carolina.
Dan and Benji (singing): North Carolina, come on and raise up, take your shirt off, twist it round your head, spin it like a helicopter.
Benji: I had forgot all about it, and I was in the dressing room. We were told not to do the wall of death or engage the crowd in that way.
Dan: The main guy who did the festival came and said, “Hey guys, wall of death is banned.”
Benji: So I thought, ya know — and I had done it at a couple of clubs before. And I didn’t tell the guys I was going to do it. And I just said, everybody take off your shirts, hold em’ up, we’re going to do this thing called the Newport Helicopter. And 60,000 people took off their shirts. And I didn’t expect 60,000, I thought maybe seven or eight, but nearly everyone in the crowd did it, and it looked absolutely epic. It’s definitely worth looking into.
Oh no, I’ve seen the Youtube video!
Benji: We didn’t do it today with the time passing so, if you get to see Skindred again, hopefully you’ll get to see the Newport Helicopter!
So, I have to ask about your awesome glasses, and you seem to really like sunglasses.
Benji: Yeah yeah! I love glasses! You know anybody who can make me glasses, let them know. Give them my number.
Anything else you guys would like to share or talk about?
Benji: Just wanna say that we’re really happy that we’re back in America playing. If you’ve seen us play, tell your friends. You may not hear us on the radio or see us on the TV — you may not even read about us in a magazine. But, I believe that what we’re doing is bringing something strong to the front. We’re encouraging people to live together and just fucking rock, so if people could do that for me, I would love it.
I will certainly do everything I can to help with that.
Benji: Thank you darling, we appreciate it.
If you haven’t gotten a chance to catch these guys live, make sure you do so! They are incredible. And ladies, wear an extra shirt so you can participate!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1zJDc6NYY-A (attach this for video of the Newport Helicopter)