As Two Tone goes from strength to strength in 2011. New albums by The Selecter, their first in 30 tears and Bad Manners are about due back with another shinny new release; Jerry Dammers a highlight at Madness impressive House Of Fun Weekender 2011. The Specials have been lighting up stages across the world. Just as well then, that Louder Than War’s Carl Stanley helped With Guitars out with a Q&A with Roddy Radiation of The Specials. Life does not get much better in our books.
Shows sold out in record-breaking time when the and returned to the live stage in 2009 for their 30th anniversary tour and demand is expected to be similarly fervent when tickets go on sale for the 2011 shows on December 3 at 9am. Last year’s return earned amazing reactions from fans new and old as Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, Neville Staple, Roddy Byers, Horace Panter and John Bradbury reunited on stage to perform classic hits such as Ghost Town and Do The Dog.
The band toured the world following these dates, performing in 13 European countries, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan . They played several festivals including a memorable Glastonbury appearance, Coachella in California and live TV appearances including Letterman in the US & Jools Holland’s Later and a joyous homecoming celebration at the Ricoh Arena in Coventry.
The band will recently, once again perform at the Ricoh Arena on October, the penultimate date of the tour ahead of an appearance at London’s Alexandra Palace in early November 3.
Roddy Byers AKA Roddy Radiation is the guitarist from the Specials who also wrote some of their classic songs. Here he tells Carl Stanley about life in the classic reformed band…
“don’t call me scarface….” Roddy Radiation from The Specials interviewed.
So what’s your thoughts on the tour as whole after closing last week at Ally Pally, with a fantastic show…
‘Yeah, I thought it was one of the better U.K. gigs, nearly as splendid as the Paris show we did on the European tour a few days before we started the U.K. tour. I always have trouble adjusting after a tour like a lot of performers do, after all the excitement. I find I get an adrenalin rush at the time we go on stage for days after on returning home.’
Personal high-lights of the tour for you Roddy
‘Well as I said the Paris show followed by Berlin and Amsterdam were the high points, I found the U.K. tour more of a blur but can’t say I remember a bad one. Coventry as my home town (Horace and Neville still live here) always makes my slightly nervous because family and friends are there and they know me!’
funny mom their first oiments…
‘Er…someone threw some ladies panties at Neville I heard!’
What makes a good gig for you & the band when your up there, any of the same things as when you all started out…watching the shows it looks like you all enjoy it still, especially Lynval
‘Audience reaction makes it work, if they’re all dancing from the first song which happens quite often- well it’s not such a hard slog then, I guess nothings really changed much since the early days, apart from we feel the pain more the next day now!, also we’re more accomplished musicians so musically it’s better in my opinion. I think we all get a buzz from playing live together, Lynval’s Mr Happy 24/7!’
The crowds themselves have been a great mix of new and older fans…it’s great to know the kids are still picking up on the band…
‘Yes it surprises me how many youngsters there are at the gigs and not just the ones with their parents but also our children’s age group 20 plus, and they know all the words! I guess its because our music is still relevant, Violence on the streets in ‘Concrete Jungle’, education only the rich can afford in ‘Rat Race – Racism and the E.D.L. and the British Movement in ‘It Doesn’t Make it Alright’ and ‘Ghost Town”
The songs you’ve written in The Specials have really stood the test of time, does it make want to carry this on Rod, what you & the band started all that time ago…
‘Jerry Dammers was the main song writer/band leader while I was the second major song writer after him. It’s wonderful to know that our words have meant something too so many people. l’d love to record a new album with maybe Jerry Dammers producing, but we will have to wait and see about that sticky wicket!’
In terms of influences would you say over the years the band have stayed or moved away from each other in that respect…
‘Well I think some of us have moved in different directions but The Specials were always about mixing different styles.’
Though you all have your own commitments to your bands & projects don’t you, are The Ska Billy Rebels still your full time band…
‘Well, because the Specials have very different musical tastes and very different life styles it is hard trying to please everybody musically. I still still write a lot of songs and I feel several would work as Specials songs. The Skabilly Rebels is my baby and seems to be catching on with Rockers,Skins,mods and punks!….Things aren’t so tribal now-a-days…’
…and did you ever think in 78 or when ever that you’d be coming from a sell out tour with The Specials in 2011…
‘I never thought l’d live this long! if I had, l’d of taken better care of myself…LOL.’
Written by Carl Stanley
Louder Than War website – http://louderthanwar.com/
On 30 March 2008, Hall stated that The Specials would be reforming for tour dates in Autumn 2008, and possibly for some recording. This was officially confirmed on 7 April 2008. On 6 September 2008, six members of the band performed on the Main Stage at the Bestival billed as the ‘Surprise Act’. By December 2008, the band had announced 2009 tour dates to celebrate their 30th anniversary. It was announced that founder member Jerry Dammers is not set to join the band on the tour. Hall was quoted as saying "The door remains open to him". However Dammers described the new reunion as a "takeover" and claimed he has been forced out of the band.
On 10 April 2009, the reactivated band guested on the BBC Two’s Later… with Jools Holland. The following month, Golding and Bradbury expressed their intentions to release further original Specials material at a later date. On 8 June 2009, it was announced that The Specials would embark on a ‘second leg’ of their 30th Anniversary Tour – taking in the locations and venues that they missed earlier in the year.n July and August 2009, The Specials toured Australia and Japan. In October the band picked up the Inspiration Award at the Q Awards. In 2010, they performed at the Dutch festival Lowlands.
In an interview at the Green Room in Manchester in November 2010, Terry Hall confirmed that there would be further Specials dates in the Autumn of 2011, and confessed to having enjoyed playing live again; "It’s a celebration of something that happened in your life that was important, and we’re going to do that again next year, but then maybe that’ll be it."