March 26, 1998 in Features

The Specials Offer Original Ska Sounds

By The Spokesman-Review
 

So you’ve listened to ska-punk bands like The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish and Sublime.

But how about the band that influenced these guys, that planted the Jamaican-born ska sound in their heads?

The Specials are coming to Spokane on Monday for a show at The Met. These are the guys who inspired many of our modern-day skasters to start toying with the Jamaican beat in the first place.

Ska, a precursor to reggae, was popular in England in the mid-‘60s. The Specials, which formed in 1977, combined ska and punk and became the biggest force behind England’s “two-tone movement,” which also included bands like Madness and The English Beat.

It was called two-tone because fans often wore two-toned clothing, and the bands were often racially mixed and wrote lyrics filled with antiracist sentiments.

Although The Specials never made it big in the United States, they landed on the top of the U.K. charts in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s with songs like “A Message to You Rudy,” “Rat Race” and “Stereotype.”

The group disbanded in the early ‘80s and reformed in 1994. Their current lineup includes four members who first started the band Neville Staple on vocals, Horace Panter on bass, Lynval Golding on rhythm guitar and Roddy Byers on lead guitar. They’re joined by Adam Birch on trombone and trumpet, Mark Adams on piano, Harrington Bembridge on drums and Jon Read on trumpet.

The group has just released its first album of new material in 15 years. Called “Guilty ‘Til Proved Innocent” it was produced and recorded by Stoker, former General Public drummer. The album also finds guest vocals by members of Rancid.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story:

CONCERT

The Specials perform at The Met on Monday. The Pilfers open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets: $15, available at G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets or call (800) 325-SEAT.

This sidebar appeared with the story: CONCERT The Specials perform at The Met on Monday. The Pilfers open the 8 p.m. show. Tickets: $15, available at G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets or call (800) 325-SEAT.

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