Ska-punk legends The Specials have announced the details of a new UK tour for next year.
The seminal band will start off in Swindon on August 31 and then take in dates at venues including Brighton, Hull, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Nottingham before finishing up with two nights at London’s Roundhouse on September 23 and 24.
Influential, important and exhilarating live, The Specials are a band embedded in this country’s DNA.
It is impossible to envisage the musical landscape without them, from the startling, angular Gangsters in 1979 to their swan song, the epoch-making Ghost Town in 1981.
They infused ska with punk, homegrown political anxiety with wider issues.
The Specials’ ascendancy was swift.
Two years, seven hit singles including two number ones, two hit albums, sell-out tours , the mass stage invasions and audience energy only adding to the myth.
They were everywhere; on Top of the Pops, Radio One, nightclubs and school discos.
At the time, the nation could not have seemed more polarised - far right youth cults, violence on the streets, Conservative government.
Their demise, however, was rapid.
In April 1981, The Specials spent ten days recording Ghost Town in Leamington Spa.
The song spent three weeks at number one in July 1981 culminating in a Top of The Pops appearance on July 9 that year.
In the dressing room after that appearance, the band split.
In 2009, with Britain in another recession, The Specials reformed to play live – without founding member Jerry Dammers who clashed with the others during initial rehearsals.
Terry Hall, Lynval Golding, Horace Panter, John Bradbury, Neville Staple and Roddy Byers then went on to play a sell-out tour.
And the offers kept coming in.
Horace Panter said: “There was never a long term plan, but before we knew it, it was 2012.
“Then Neville quit, out of ill health and Roddy quit.
“So four of us were left, all facing in the right direction, all in agreement.
“Towards the end of 2015 Lynval, Brad and I got together in a little rehearsal room and we recorded some demos on a handheld mic.
“Then of course Brad dies (in December 2015, of a heart attack).
“It took a year or so to pick ourselves back up again.”
But eventually they did, and they recorded ten songs – originals and some covers for a new album called Encore.The genius of The Specials is their innate understanding.
The skill of re-contextualising what has gone before and writing new songs that fuse this heritage with all that is current.
Throughout the decades The Specials’ influence has never gone away.
Lynval Golding said: “I’m aware our work has been out there for 40 years and I’m so grateful for what we’ve done.
“I pinch myself sometimes, but I can pat myself on the back now, and say ‘well done’ because that what my father says to me.
Horrce continued: “That’s the thing with The Specials, we are three very different people, but you put us together and we become the greatest rock & roll band in the world, as far as I’m concerned – something remarkable happens.”
Tour dates: Aug 31: Swindon, Oasis Centre; Sep 2: Plymouth, Pavllions; Sep 3: Bournemouth, Windsor Hall; Sep 4: Brighton, Centre; Spe 6: Glasgow: Barrowlands; Sep 7: Edinburgh, Usher Hall; Sep Manchester, O2 Victoria Warehouse; Sep 10: Cardiff, Motorpoint Arena; Sep 11: Coventry, Ricoh Arena; Sep 13: Hull, Bonus Arena; Sep 14: Blackpool, Empress Ballroom; Sep 16: Birmingham, O2 Academy; Sep 17: Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena; Sep 18: Doncaster, The Dome; Sep 23 & 24: London, Roundhouse.
Tickets for all dates available now at www.alttickets.com, www.ticketmaster.com and www.seetickets.com.