Dub War biography

Dub War

Last updated: 18 November 2008

The precursor to Skindred, Dub War were a rock antidote to the Britpop hegemony.

Diminutive, livewire frontman Webbe joined three established Newport musicians, and released a couple of 12" singles and a now sought-after mini album with local hardcore label Words Of Warning. The Dub Warning mini album was released in 1994, then, following a rapid rise in their profile, re-released with extra tracks as Words Of Dub Warning later in the year.

Members

  • Benji Webbe: vocals
  • Jeff Rose: guitar
  • Richie Glover: bass
  • Martin "Ginge" Ford: drums

Explosive live performances, always prefaced by Webbe winding a huge air raid siren, propelled their public profile upwards and while the indie press concentrated on the likes of Sleeper, Menswear and Echobelly, Dub War carved out a niche for themselves with discerning and open-minded rock fans.

Extreme music label Earache decided that Dub War were perfect for their roster and by 1995 they'd inked the deal. Pain was released in the same year, and featured two tracks that became over time rock club floor-filling staples. Gorrit took Faith No More and made it even more intense and twisted, while Strike It was a huge shout-along with an infectious rap metal refrain.

Dub War were never the types to tread water, so after the Pain album cycle, they experimented more with their sounds and influences, trying to avoid being pigeonholed in any one bracket. The new material was softer, more subtle, and without some of the bombast of their previous material. It was challenging - and of course that has knock-on effects when an audience expects a certain sound.

The singles Enemy Maker and Cry Dignity weren't a million miles from their previous hit singles, but their impact was minimal. The release of Wrong Side Of Beautiful in late 1996 saw their live reputation unchanged but their chart action lessened. They released the Soundclash EP, which showcased their dance influences the same year.

1997 saw the last singles from their second album proper released, then in 1998 they began to lay the foundations for their current work. Webbe stepped out on his own with his sideprojects with Mass Mental and a collaboration with ex-Sepultura man Max Cavalera's new outfit Soulfly. Having influential American friends would later pay dividends...

In 1999 the band split, with Webbe, Rose and Ford reforming as Skindred, and Glover joining The Jones. Skindred, although suffering some initial difficulties, are now one of the most popular heavy rock bands in America and the UK at the moment.


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