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MIKE CORNWELL
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One of the greatest British groups of all time The Specials will be in Cardiff tonight. Leader of the reformed two tone legends Terry Hall tells Dave Owens how the shows are a joyous celebration of the band’s career

How has the UK tour been so far?

“It’s been very, very good and very satisfying. We’re really happy with the way it’s been going.”

What have the last two years since reforming been like for the band? Did you have any reservations at the start?


“I did until we actually got back together. I had those reservations for a long time but the time was right to give it a go and get in a room and see what happened. We are very pleased with how we felt. It didn’t feel weird, it just felt pretty natural. And that’s the reason we ended up doing it.”

What’s the crowd like at the shows now?

“The first few gigs we did a couple of years ago it felt like hardcore Specials fans, but now it has developed, especially when we’ve played in places like Japan. It’s another generation and that’s really nice. There are a lot of people who didn’t see us first time round who are getting the chance to see us now. It’s also great that we’re now playing more places than we did when the band was together originally.”

Were there any recriminations left hanging around from when you originally split back in the ’80s?

“I’m sure there were, yeah definitely, but they got dealt with very quickly. That was probably the best thing that has happened, that we’ve dealt with them and we can carry on and either be mates or not mates. There’s no weird agendas and that’s a good thing.”

Was it a case of unfinished business for the band?

“Pretty much. I think you can only do it if it’s wanted really. We sold out a lot of venues pretty quickly and that’s the proof of it I guess. If you sell tickets up front and there’s a demand for it, that’s a nice feeling. It validates what you’re doing.”

The Specials occupy a special place in the hearts of British music lovers, because you soundtracked the lives of a generation of people. Do you get that feeling at the shows?

“That’s how it feels, yeah. It feels like a celebration of a time and place. It feels like a community thing, it doesn’t feel like a regular gig. It’s really uplifting and really lovely spending a couple of hours with people who have understood what you’re trying to say.”

Is there any chance that Jerry Dammers (the only member not to rejoin The Specials) could ever return to the line-up?

“You can never say never, can you? Five years ago we never thought we would be doing this, so never say never. We have to take it one step at a time. We’ve all got our own families and lives outside of this now, whereas before that this was our family and our life. We’re all grown ups now. If it was on the cards we’d talk it through and see what happened.”

It feels very prescient that The Specials are back. The time we are living in now – a Conservative government, high unemployment and riots on the streets must evoke memories of the ’80s.

“Yeah, playing Ghost Town (The Specials’ 1981 number provided an unerring snapshot of urban decay, unemployment and riots in inner cities) has just as much resonance now as it had back then I think. It’s very weird. The social unrest is different, it doesn’t feel as political this time, the incidents that happened recently felt like a gang of young robbers really, but when it was all kicking off it felt like a very weird coincidence.”

Back then music seemed more politically motivated, whereas it doesn’t this time. Why do you think that is?

“You don’t find it in music so much anymore, no. Whether it’s transferred to literature or films I don’t know but it took a swerve away in the ’80s and went into hip hop and stuff, where people talked about their situations, but not so much in this country.”

Do people’s preoccupations with the internet and social media dilute the senses do you think?

“Well, you can gather any information you want in seconds. You can pretty much make your mind up without leaving your bedroom and I feel that does promote a lethargy of action where you don’t feel like you want to join something as much as I did when I was a kid.”

Are you a fan of social networks like Facebook and Twitter?

“I’m not opposed to it but it’s just not something I can get my head around. It’s too much trouble. I’ve read Twitter things where people update you about their lives but I haven’t read that many interesting lives to be honest. It’s like, do something then maybe write about it and it might be worth reading, not ‘I’m going out’, you know what I mean?”

Do you have any plans to record new material?

“There’s nothing planned, no. We’ve had this tour booked for almost year, so we’ll get to the end of this, take a month or two off and pick up again next year and see what we want to do. We very rarely plan anything really. We’ll make decisions on whether we want to go back to Japan, Australia, America or wherever really. We’ll work it out.”

The day after the Cardiff show you play a massive homecoming gig at Coventry City Football Club’s Ricoh Arena, you must be looking forward to that.

“It will be good. It’s funny because every time you go back home you meet like 1,000 cousins that you’ve known. For a few of us it’s the only time we go back there, so it is quite nice, yeah.”



Read More http://www.walesonline.co.uk/showbiz-and-lifestyle/music-in-wales/2011/10/28/terry-hall-on-the-specials-rude-boy-revival-91466-29674545/#ixzz1c691yFds
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PostPosted:
Fri Oct 28, 2011 5:22 pm
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mac
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Great interview, thanks for posting it
PostPosted:
Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:09 pm
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Gatecrasher
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I F@*!@*G love The Specials !! Razz

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Sat Oct 29, 2011 11:35 am
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prende
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Cool

Very interesting interview from Terry.
We might not have seen the last of The Specials on tour after all ... Smile Smile
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Sat Oct 29, 2011 2:55 pm
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DanceIntoTheFire
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Great interview. Thanks for posting Very Happy
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Sun Oct 30, 2011 12:40 pm
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