Music saved me: Benji Webbe of Skindred talks ahead of Bloodstock appearance
He was orphaned at the age of eight and was brought up on a small estate in Powys by his elder brother. Benji Webbe of Skindred has certainly come a long way since those days - and claims music saved his life.
The 50-year-old grandfather-of-12 has played with the likes of Motörhead’s Phil Campbell, Korn and Bullet For My Valentine - yet still lives in his hometown of Newport, claiming the Welsh location inspires him, with ‘a song on every corner’.
The reggae-metal frontman will play alongside Skindred at Bloodstock Festival in Derbyshire on August 13. It will be the first time the band has played the three-day event.
“If you’ve ever seen Skindred play live before, you know what we’re bringing,” said Benji, referring to the band’s legendary high-energy, feel-good sets.
“People are paying money and working hard to go to this festival, so we’re not going to let those people down - we’re coming to rock it. It’s what Skindred were born to do.
“We were made to bring people together. If it’s just about getting paid and going home, then it’s not worth doing.
“I’m thankful for the people that are standing in front of us - without them we’d still be in rehearsals.
“Everything we get offered, we appreciate it.
“We know what it’s like to sleep on the floor, having to use a mat as a blanket.”
In addition to playing festivals alongside the band, Benji has recently been working with fellow Welshman, Motörhead guitarist Phil Campbell on the star’s upcoming solo album.
“When I got to meet Phil Campbell, he was sober, but I’ve heard some amazing stories about his adventures,” laughed Benji.
“He sent me the instrumental and I could feel its energy. So I asked the gods of rock and they send the words down to me.
“It’s a really heartfelt song.
“I was touched because Phil had been left alone without Lemmy.
“He listened to it afterwards and said it had touched him - and really, that’s what it’s all about.”
Benji has had to take the good with the bad of late, having been attacked in the early hours of New Year’s Eve in 2015. He was stabbed - and the cut missed his jugular vein by just an inch.
“The attack in Newport all happened so fast. I just remember going very light-headed and the spurting blood looked like something out of The Exorcist,” said Benji.
“Luckily my girlfriend helped me into a taxi and got me to the hospital.
“When I got there, I went up to the window and said ‘I’ve been cut’. The woman just looked at me and said ‘Oh my God’. Her reaction was actually quite funny.
“Basically, what happened was I was walking past some people that were arguing. “Whenever I see that, I like to try and cool people down. But they weren’t interested in that.
“When I walked past them I said ‘come on now, get a room’.
“One of these women then just took all the hate she had in that moment for her friend and came at me.
“I didn’t even know I’d been cut.
“It is what it is. I just hope they learn after going to prison.
“In court they said it was because they were high at the time. If you can’t handle your s***, don’t take it.
“My mouth just runs away sometimes and I just can’t stop, but I don’t think I deserved that.
“I’ve got four kids and 12 grandchildren - and I would have been leaving them all behind.”
Bloodstock takes place at Catton Park, near Burton on Trent from 10th - 13th August. Weekend tickets are sold out, but day tickets & further information can be found at www.bloodstock.uk.com.