Ahead of their opening slot on KISS' huge UK tour, we caught up with Skindred frontman Benji Webbe to find out how he is preparing for the run of shows.
ROCK SOUND: Do you have any memories of watching KISS when you were growing up?
BENJI: “It was the mystique for me as a kid. As a frontman, I loved the make up and the dressing up and all that stuff. They made me sit up and pay attention. They did the videos back on the day on MTV and that is something that always grabbed me. I wanna be a larger than life frontman, there is no shoe gazing here man. I got no time for that. Everyone from The Pope, to Michael Jackson to Elvis Presley – when they walk in the room, you know they are there, just like KISS.”
RS: Playing to arenas must be particularly great as you always seem to thrive on the energy of bigger crowds.
BENJI: “For me, the opportunity to play these massive venues is incredible. The more people that are there, the more people I can knock out with one punch. It’s like Mike Tyson in the early days, you know you are gonna get a knock out it’s just what round you are going to get it in. I love the fact that we have got the opportunity to play with a band such as KISS. We are gonna play to a lot of people who have never heard Skindred and that’s a great opportunity to get up there, show them what we’ve got and show them that there is only one sound like Skindred.”
RS: You have made a real name for yourself on the festival circuit over the years. What is your approach when you are playing to a crowd that isn’t there just to see you?
BENJI: “Like I say, it’s the opportunity. Because I know, whether you know us or not, there is going to be something that will drag you in. Maybe it’s my voice or the way we conduct the crowd. I always go on stage thinking in my mind that everybody knows who we are and if I’m enjoying myself up there and Skindred is having a good time, why wouldn’t you get involved? People walk away thinking they’ve never seen anything like that. It’s a magical and sometimes religious experience which is what music is supposed to be. It is supposed to be controversial and it is supposed to push buttons, and not always in a negative way you know? Getting up in front of Download last year and playing a new song called ‘Love’, which is basically a reggae song, was pretty ballsy. In the words of William Shakespeare, to thine own self be true. And in the world of rock ’n’ roll you can’t get a better saying, you really can’t.”
RS: Sounds like you are the perfect band to get people excited before the headliner.
BENJI: “Well look, if you wanna party, you got to go and see KISS. Doctor Kiss and doctor Skindred because they are gonna give you a fucking hell of a party.”
KISS’ ‘End Of The Road’ tour begins on Monday June 05. Get tickets and further details here and check out the dates below.
05 – BIRMINGHAM, Resorts World Arena
06 – NEWCASTLE, Utilita Arena
05 – LONDON, The O2
07 – MANCHESTER, AO Arena
08 – GLASGOW, OVO Hydro