Jun 14, 2011
LOST RAMBLINGS PART 1: SKINDRED
As with most interviews undertaken for a freelance article – you always end up with more words than it’s possible to whittle down. But whittle down you must, even if it means excluding what some fans might see as being the cream of the crop. So where do these cuttings end up? Usually at the arse end of the delete button.
But fear not fellow wolfmen! Sometimes things get saved, and today starts us off in a high spirited summer fashion. Fresh from their appearance at this years Download Festival, and the first in our batch of unreleased gems – the ever-metal, ever-reggae, ever-growing, Skindred:
When we last met these hipsters it was in 2007 and at the swanky London offices of label Warner Bros. Since then the band have released two more albums, and 2011’s effort Union Black is perhaps their biggest yet. With rave reviews and a mesmerising appearance at the UK’s Download festival, perhaps the ‘Dred are finally making the waves they deserve after enough label wranglings over the years to put an end to the biggest of rock spectacles. So has anything changed in these last few years? Plenty, is the answer to that, but it certainly doesn’t make this unreleased interview any less informative.
Read on for insights into collaborational wishful thinking and what was the latest on Skindred’s side projects at the time in ’07. With us in earnest are bassist Dan Pugsley and guitarist Mikey Demus (no relation to Chaka):
What kinda stuff has inspired you musically?
Dan: “Melvin Gibbs, old school stuff like Bad Brains and the Clash. It’s a bit of a cliché to say it but Refused too, when they came out we were like ‘Oh my God!’”
Mikey: “I grew up on a lot of rock ‘n roll and got into stuff like Hendrix through my dad. He’s a bit of a rock ‘n roller. He’s more rock ‘n roll than me actually! He should be the front man in a band.”
What other bands would you love to tour with?
Dan: “Hmm… Dub Trio again definitely. They play as the rhythm section in Peeping Tom, and we’ve taken them out before. So yeah we’d love to tour with them again.”
Mikey: “Maybe, someone big like Nine Inch Nails. It would be awesome, but I don’t know if it’d go down very well with their crowd! For a long long time in this band we’ve ended up touring with metal bands – which is great ‘cos we love metal – but there’s a whole other side to the band, and we like touring with different styles as it makes it more interesting. I’d like to go on tour with a band like No Doubt.”
If Skindred could collaborate with another band, who would it be?
Mikey: “There was talk of us doing a single with Sikth at one point, where like we’d write a verse each. But it hasn’t happened yet. There was also talk on this album of getting Neville Staples in from The Specials to do some stuff in between tracks. He was up for it, but management couldn’t get it together and it was already so late in the game. Bit of a shame really.”
Dan: “We’re trying to hook up something with an MC called Jamalski too. We’ve chatted a little bit on myspace so it’d be good to get that together.”
What other projects have you guys been working on?
Dan: “All of us have our own little outlets in our head, but I think that’ll come later. This album [Roots Rock Riot] is our first proper album with Mike and Arya [Dirty, drums] on it. So it’s like a debut album again really.”
Mikey: “Actually, Benji [Webbe, singer] has an ongoing side project with Rob Trujillo from Metallica called Mass Mental. They’re always talking about doing it, and it’s really good stuff. It’s two bassists and a drummer and loads of different singers. I think Brooks Wackerman is the drummer, and Roy Mayorga [Stone Sour] played on a few songs too. Whit Crane [Ugly Kid Joe] sings with them, and I think Lynn Strait’s [Snot] last ever recording was with them. It’s similar to what This Is Menace have done, but it’s like a Hollywood version.”
So before we leave, tell us a bit about Skindred’s aftershow debauchery.
Mikey: “It’s pretty wild actually. I’ll go backstage and I’ll be like doing coke off people’s buttcracks…”
Dan: “[Laughs] Nah, you know. We’re pretty chilled. We like a beer every now and then, but you can’t keep the level of partying up.”
Mikey: “I’ll get totally trashed maybe twice in a whole tour. I just don’t know how people can do it.”
Dan: “We just have fun on tour like anyone else. We’re lucky that our interests are music and it’s also our job. So I’m happy to sit back and write tunes, or do some stuff on computers. We have a lot of laptops backstage.”
Mikey: “It seems to be a lot of people’s motivations to get into bands these days, but I think it’s a bit passé to go for that party thing. I mean I do have my moments…
Are you gonna move to LA?
Dan: “No. It’s just one big freeway.”
Union Black is out now on BMG Records.
Skindred are on tour in summer 2011:
23rd Prague City Festival, Prague, Czech Republic
24th Sonisphere Festival, Basel St Jakob, Switzerland
25th Sonisphere Festival, Imola, Italy
26th Sportzplatz, Imst, Austria
28th Colos-Saal, Aschaffenburg, Germany
30th Bolwerk, Sneek, Netherlands
1st Reload Festival, Twistringen, Germany
2nd RosRock Festival, Rossum, Netherlands
3rd With Full Force, Leipzig, Germany
5th Schurr luzern, Switzerand (with Anthrax)
7th Flex, Vienna, Austria
10th Werfpop Festival, Leiden, Netherlands
11th Garage Saarbrucken, Germany (with Anthrax)
12th Voxhall Aarhus, Denmark (with Anthrax)
14th Hultsfred Festival, Hulstfred, Sweden
15th Dour Festival, Dour, Belgium
23rd Serengeti Festival, Stuckenbrook, Germany
29th Demo Fest, Banja Luka, Bosnia
4th Polish Woodstock, Kostrzyn, Poland
5th Wacken open air, Wacken, Germany
6th Trebur open air, Trebur, Germany
14th Spirit of the Burgas, Burgas, Bulgaria
18th Gyar Festival , Hungary
19th Highfield, Leipzig, Germany
21st Area 4, Borkenberge, Germany
To read the previously published article on Skindred from Total Guitar Magazine, click here.
– Gary Sutherland, 2011