This Much I Know: Fun Lovin' Criminals drummer and Uncle Frank star Frank Benbini
I've been with the Fun Lovin' Criminals for 10 years now. Before that, I was in my own bands and I worked at Rock City in Nottingham on Friday and Saturday nights. It was in the mid-90s when, one night, FLC were on and I was introduced to them afterwards.
We became friends pretty much straight away and did bits of work together over the years. It eventually got to the stage where, when their previous drummer left, they wanted me to join.
Music is all I've ever really wanted to do since I was small. I write and sing and play guitar, bass and piano, as well as drums. And as well as FLC, I have the two Leicester bands I'm in with my mate Na'im Cortazzi – Uncle Frank and Fatal Star.
It's the 20th anniversary of FLC this year, so we'll probably do something big. But I'm always busy, I've always got something to do.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
Radio Riddler is my reggae outfit with Fast from FLC.
We started off about four years ago doing remixes for people like Roots Manuva, Rihanna, Coldplay and Busta Rhymes.
One day, me and Fast were stuck in the airport at Prague – we'd missed our plane as we were in KFC – and we got talking and he just came up with the idea of doing an album of reggae covers with different artists.
I'd been listening to Prince – the majority of my iPod is Prince – and said we should do the Purple Rain soundtrack.
We're not trying to better the original, we're just showing it respect.
It started with Ali Campbell, then we got Sinead O'Connor and then The Black Seeds, a wicked band from New Zealand. We're just in the process of sorting Boy George who's been really cool to work with, and we're two songs away from finishing it.
We're waiting to hear back from Annie Lennox. Plan B was going to do it but then he won some Brit awards and went up his own **** and didn't answer his phone.
My life is very different to how it used to be. I went from being cramped up driving a bright yellow Ford transit van to gigs playing to four or five people, to travelling first class on every airline you could mention to play to tens of thousands of people all over the planet.
It's very easy for all these amazing things to feel like normal, everyday life sometimes. You'll find yourself moaning and then have to remind yourself how lucky you are – and I do know I am.
I've been with FLC for a decade but before that there was 10 years of working really, really hard.
I do look back and I'm really proud of everything I've done.
This work has tremendous highs but there are killer lows as well.
I've been in a big party band for a long time and I've done things I shouldn't have done: drugs, late nights, bad business decisions. Getting sued for hundreds of thousands of pounds isn't fun. I've been ripped off and it's horrible.
I used to have a bad addiction to marijuana and that left me ill. I ended up at the Royal after a really bad turn in Abbey Park about five years ago and, God bless them, they really looked after me.
I don't do any drugs anymore. It only takes two pints and I'm drunk so I'm a cheap date nowadays.
At gigs, wherever you are in the world, as soon as you've done the soundcheck, there's the local drug dealer wanting to give you whatever. And the first lot's always free 'cus they know once you've started you'll want to buy more. I got caught up in all that and that's the side of this I'm not proud of. If I could go back, that's what I would change.
As far as music's concerned, I love it. I love the fact that people come out to listen to me. I went into a band that already had an amazing following but things like when I played the main stage at Summer Sundae with Uncle Frank earlier this year, seeing all those people having an amazing time was brilliant, too.
Even though I come off very tongue in cheek, people can see that I give it everything.
I'm not really like my act, how you see me on stage. I'm just like everyone else – I just want to be loved.
I charge people to watch me work so I want them to love it. I put a lot of effort in.
A lot of people say to me that what I do isn't really work, which makes me laugh.
It's not easy. You spend half your year with people who can't get enough of you, and the other half they don't want to know.
That's why most artists are absolute fruitcakes, because life is like a yo-yo. I look at some of my friends – for example, I've got a friend who makes and sells cupcakes, and I think she's got the best job ever. She's always smiling and always got money coming in.
I'm sure she's got her problems – we've all got problems – but she's got stability.
I don't get a lot of new music. I see music as entertainment; my favourite artists are people like Prince and Elvis, people who come out on stage and they're dressed up and they stand there and really perform. Now, most acts are just someone twanging on a guitar.
You've got all this upper-class folk stuff like your Mumford and Sons – it's all right – and then your dance stuff with people just standing looking at the floor and pressing play – it's all right.
It's not wow, though, is it? You see someone like Prince on stage and you're like, wow.
The minute we get on stage I want people's heads to go up and their eyebrows to lift, before we've even said anything.
Some people think what I do with Uncle Frank is stupid and that's fair enough; go and see something else. But the people who do come to see me, they always leave smiling.
I kind of toy with it a bit. I like to make it look a little bit ridiculous in parts because then that just makes the music seem effortless.
We spend a lot of time acting the fool – but you listen to the music and you can't knock it.