After a maze of stairs, lifts and corridors in Cardiff University, Room Thirteen finds Benji Webbe, vocalist of Skindred, relaxing pre-show, post hospital visit in the bands dressing room.

R13: Hello Benji. Please can you describe each member of Skindred in three words?
BW: So if I describe Mikey, I've got to use three words?
R13: Yes.
BW: Um...geek. Shredder, like guitar monster. Funny. Dan, Al-Qaeda. KGB. Handsome. Arya, freaky. Little. Drummer. Me, elephant. Pyramid. Psychotic.

R13: Your past interactions with record companies are really complicated. So from the beginning, you released your album 'Babylon' in 2002...
BW: The album was released originally...we recorded the album for BMG/RCA.
R13: But then there was a reshuffle?
BW: Yeah, as that happens at labels. The guy who signed the check and loved it got kicked out, and the guy who don't love it then sat in his seat. So they dropped us. We then got picked up by an independent label called the Bieler Bros. from America (who are affiliated with MCA). So after two months on the road in America...if you know anything about what happened a few years back MCA is no more, it fell apart. So we got the same record now two years already, now going into the third year. Now, Bieler Bros. made friends with Lava Records. Lava is a subsidiary of Atlantic Records. Now, for the last eighteen months we've been touring and things have been going really well for us. The only thing that's stopping us is my bad knee; just the way it is.
R13: Last year saw a re-release of 'Babylon' and now you have a 'special' re-release of your album, why is it 'special'?
BW: We actually went into the studio, we recorded five brand new songs. We've done it with TLC (not the band, with tender loving care) so that's why it's special. We also put on some acoustic versions of really heavy songs like 'Nobody', which in the States turned a few heads. People realised that we're not just a screamy monster reggae punk rock band, they're actually songs that are very melodic too.

R13: What happened to your knee?
[R13 was told on arrival at the venue that Benji was a bit late due to being held up at the hospital after an accident last night. He arrived smiling, sporting a walking stick putting R13s' fears at bay.]

BW: I've had an injury on my knee for the last year or so and it blows up and goes down again so I take anti-inflammatory tablets. But yesterday we was in Folkestone, the heat of the concert got to me and I just forgot about my knee. I jumped off something a bout fifteen million stories high, like King Kong, I swear and messed my leg up. [Different versions of this story come from the tour manager, rest of the band and probably the whole audience of last nights gig, but that was Benji's relation of events.] I just gotta be careful, really I should pull the tour. My doctor said, "You need to rest, you need lots of rest, what are you doing to your self?"
R13: And you said "I'm a punk rock star."
BW: I'm punk rock [laughing]. I'm going to go up there with my walking stick. So yeah this might be the stiff Benji version of Skindred. I be back boucing soon enough. It's better to go on then let people down.

R13: When are you going to release some new material, people are crying out for it?
BW: And I am, but I'm in no rush. I mean music ain't about no time limits. We ain't gotta worry about being emo or anything like that. I believe Skindred, the sound that we make is surpassed it's time. We're itchin', we've written, we've got a big arsenal of songs, we're just checking out producers out now and I think by March next year we'll be in the studio, recording. So by summer we should have a new album out.

R13: You seem to have had a mental tour schedule this year, when did it start and when will you get a break?
BW: It started in March with Papa Roach, six months we done in America, came back for three weeks, spent some time at home. Then we went back for I think it was six weeks, came home for like a day then this Reel Big Fish tour. We ain't stopped and we've still got till up to December. What would I do? Stay at home and do nothing? I love playing and the guys in the band love it as well. This is what we do.
R13: How do you survive touring?
BW: Try to take everything with a pinch of salt and don't take yourself too seriously.
R13: Do you end up beating each other up?
BW: Everyday we fight but at the same time, I mean for us as a band we fight and we hate each other but we know we're family. You can choose your friends but you can't choose your family. I seen an interview with Joe Strummer from The Clash and he said peoples' heads get swelled in bands and they start to think it's them who's running it, but it's not. What people are actually drawn to is the actual chemistry that the band makes, I really believe it's true. If you're in a band it's better to stay as a team.

R13: Why do you think you're doing so well in America?
BW: We're selling good. I mean there's bands blowing up bigger than us but giving Skindred a chance to be played on the radio and let the public decide, not like on the rock show at 5 o'clock in the morning when everyone's sleeping. We've got a good label who can actually get your songs on the radio. I was pretty freaked out when they said 'Nobody' was doing really well because it's the heaviest song on the album. When we was recording Howard Benson actually said, " This song's never gonna do anything, so we'll just record it.". Radio stations snatched it up and it was getting requested ridiculous.
R13: Who filmed the video for 'Nobody'?
BW: This chick called Wendy Morgan. We went to Canada to shoot the video. We had a lot of storyboards and hers was like punk rock kids and dancehall chicks.
R13: You always have girls in bikinis dancing in your videos.
BW: Not always.
R13: Yes you do.
BW: No we don't. Next song we'll have tramps, dirty old tramps, they're gonna be dancing!

R13: Who's been your favourite band to tour with?
BW: Sevendust, Papa Roach. Gentlemen, real people.
R13: Papa Roach gets quite a lot of stick in this country.
BW: Yeah but you know what they can give all the stick they want but I've toured with some real arseholes from America.
R13: Do you want to name any?
BW: No. The way I look at it there's 'hair' bands and 'heart' bands. The 'heart' bands are people like Skindred who don't care about your style or your fashion and then there's some bands who like to drop names in order to play chess, move forward like. But I'm dealing with the 'heart' bands, Papa Roach, they're really good people.
R13: If you could choose to tour with a band who would you really like to tour with?
BW: If Daryl that his name?
R13: Yes, Head Automatica?
BW: Yeah, if he was well, if I could heal him in Jesus name, he's always sick. I think they'd go well with us.

R13: You feature on the soundtrack to the film Sky High, how did you get that deal?
BW: Well when someone approaches you and they say...the good thing about doing that track...
R13: You get paid well?
BW: Yeah. You know the British band The Beat?
R13: No, but I should do.
BW: They're an older band from the late 70s/early 80s, they were like a ska band and I'm a massive fan. So when they said they wanted a cover version of The Beat's 'Twist & Crawl' I was blown away. The other week we played a festival with The Beat in Devon and I got to play the song with them.

R13: If you could choose your parents, obviously no disrespect meant...
BW: They're good people.
R13: Who would you choose?
BW: Trevor Macdonald...what are you laughing for? And Trisha.
[much laughter]
BW: The Americans ain't gonna know who they are; so if I could choose my parents in America it would be...James Earl Jones and Whoopi Goldberg.

R13: Any last words?
BW: I'd just like to say to my fans...Let's have a clean fight, protect yourself at all times and listen to my commands...let's get it on!
R13: It's been a pleasure.

Skindred's new single 'Nobody' comes out on October 3rd.
Catch them on the final dates of the Reel Big Fish Tour listed here or when they continue on after, headline dates listed here.