SOMETIMES you have to go through the mill to realise why you were put on this Earth.

This is also true for the music world, going through ebbs and flows and coming out the other side shows real determination of character.

So when you have been in the game for two decades, like reggae-breaks-jungle mashup band Dub Pistols, you need to go through the dark times to find the good.

As Sunday’s headliners at this year’s Basingstoke Live, Dub Pistols’ charismatic frontman Barry Ashworth told The Gazette that the band had to hit the lows before they could enjoy the highs.

He said: “I mean seven years ago we were probably at our lowest through drink and substance abuse and our performances were shambolic, but it was that realisation that what we were doing was a joke and since then things have gone from strength-to-strength.

“In the early days of the band I used to work or party 24/7 and you couldn’t go anywhere without something being put in front of you. But in the end I realised I couldn’t function like that and having schizophrenic episodes before you even got on stage.

“Now we still like to party, but our focus is on playing music and recording records.”

And it is the drive to perform that has seen Ashworth and co be one of the festival circuit regulars, having just come back from a stint in mainland Europe when speaking to The Gazette.

“We played at 3am in the morning one night and had an 11-hour drive to the next one,” added the frontman.

“It is just what I do, it is all I have ever known, I love making music and love performing and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

The latest venture for Dub Pistols is the band have recently been making a documentary about the bands history, something Ashworth said was strange to “look back and see how you have developed or dissolved.”

He added: “As with any band there are massive friendships but also massive lows.

“Going through the old footage you find yourself feeling guilty for things you have done, butthen you realise everyone was guilty as well, it’s a weird feeling.”

In the 20 years Dub Pistols have been going, they have been fortunate enough to collaborate with the likes of The Specials, Busta Rhymes, Horace Andy, Madness and Gregory Isaac, people Ashworth considers his heroes, but it has also meant the band can mix up their sound and appeal to a wider audience.

Dub Pistols will be playing the main stage of Basingstoke Live and closing out the festival on July 9.