No introduction needed for Neville Staple and Christine Sugary Staple... Neville currently touring with his band throught out the UK, Christine a new EP in the bag, release date set for March 2015 at Skamouth as well as the pair working on US and Jamaican projects.. Darren Bennett caught up with the pair for a chinwag and fired over a few questions..
DB - Christine we can see you have a new EP out soon, can you tell us more about this and any tour dates coming up
CSS - Original Rudegirl Sound is the lead track from my new EP 'Rudegirl Sound', that is due out in March 2015. I wrote this song as an anthem, with inspiration from the Skinhead Moonstomp by Symarip, which has always lifted the room at parties, gigs and festivals. It was lovely to see kids and grown-ups from all backgrounds, come along and take part in the music video party too - filmed at the 2Tone Village in Coventry. Neville features on some of the tracks and is also my producer. His band and other musical friends (including the brilliant Alvin Davies on Sax), played the music, plus Nev did the drums on one of the tracks himself too. After singing vocals and backing on Nev's recent 'Ska Crazy' album, it was his idea to finally sort out songs I had written some time ago. I have loads more to record once we sort out the label and publisher and the EP is launched.
DB - The Neville Staple Band are ready for some Skanking, where will our readers be able to see you
NS - I am touring all year round from Ireland and Northern Ireland end of January, right across the UK as well as international. I love the UK fans, they are always up for a party and enjoy themselves. I will be at lots of festivals during the Summer too. Fans can check out www.originalrudeboy.co.uk for all the gig dates, which is updated weekly. I am also doing some charity stuff for Lambretta and other companies and also doing some student lecture master classes, at some colleges and universities.
Christine noticed you and Neville are not long back from your holidays, how was Jamaica
We had an absolutely wonderful time, celebrating our anniversary (we married there a year ago) and my birthday. We mainly stay with family in the Jamaican Countryside, up the Christiana Mountains. We also visited the legendary Stranger Cole, who has become a great friend following his booking at Skamouth last November. Plus Dandy Livingstone came over for the day to finally shake the hand of one of the Specials, after all these years since the band covered his 'Rudy, A Message To You' track. He was over the moon to finally meet Neville and it was like spending time with an old friend. Lovely. Dandy will be coming to Skamouth this March, so it was nice to get to know him in person first. The weather was lovely and I got bitten by an exotic 'tick' on the day we left, which traveled with me to the UK attached and inbedded in my toe! Cheeky little critter! I'll bite first next time, lol.
Neville can you tell me your most memorable times with The Specials
There have been so many but to be honest, I first became friends with Jerry at the Hollyhead Youth Club in Coventry, before Terry or Brad joined and we got on so well. He took me on as a roadie (based on my sound system skills with cables etc), plus just liked having me around. Later, once the band was fully formed Jerry called me on stage to do a bit of toasting and decided I had the vocal Jamaican flavour that the songs needed. That night was probably my most memorable, as it changed my life.
Christine for those that dont know you organise Skamouth, how is it sizing up
Skamouth is the pride of joy of both me an my long time friend Tom Fahy and myself. It went from an idea in 2009/10 to one of the most successful weekenders in the UK last year. This March is going to be awesome with The Selecter, Dandy Livingstone, The Pressure Tenants with a special reggae celebration (with Dave 'Double Barrel' Barker, Winston Reedy, Dennis Alcapone and Susan Cadogan), plus the Chords Uk, The Skabilly Rebels and many other superb bands and DJs, with a special DJ set by Lee Scratch Perry. It has become so popular that bands and agents now approach us for the headline and other slots, instead of the other way around. We have a few surprises for March too. November's event has one of my all time favourite ska performers attending, which will be revealed soon. March is set to be a sell-out and November's numbers are fantastic already, even though we haven't announced any of the acts yet. Gonna be skanker'licious!
More info at: www.skamouth.co.uk
Neville going back to the early years can you give us the rundown on the ''The Jah Baddis''
As a kid and young teen, I used to follow my elder cousin Alvin South around with his Messenger Sound System. I learnt so much from him and became a natural at 'toasting' lyrics over great music. Alvin later gave me the loan of some huge speaker boxes and within no time my long time friend, Trevor ET Rockers Evans, set up our own sound system - Jah Baddis. We were the 'baddis' system in the West Midlands, well we thought so anyway! It was whilst tuning up on our system at the Hollyhead Youth Club I met Jerry Dammers, after being nosey and wondering why a bunch of white guys were playing early reggae tunes so differently next door. I liked the punky feel Jerry was trying to achieve.
Some of the original 1960's Messenger Sound System speaker boxes are featured in the Original Rudegirl Sound video; and you can see rare footage of me and Trevor performing on the Jah Baddis system, at the Coventry Music Museum in the 2Tone Village.
Christine you are also in a band called ''The Skarettes'' anything lined up for the future for you guys.
The Skarettes is not a band as such, it is more of a collective of friends and family who get involved in all sorts of things, from filming projects and charity launches to music and events. Some do promotion and organising including Sara Canham and Tom Fahy, others sing or act or just have fun. Lorraine Skamama Foster and Melody Kenealy did some backing singing with me, on some of my EP and Lorraine and I have backed other bands like the Noxious Toys, as well as took part in music videos and film productions. We have been asked to do more performing as a collective this year.
Christine you are well known as a promoter, singer song writer and also being involved with the film industry. What does 2015 have instore
Well along with 2 more brilliant Skamouth events, my EP launch and more studio time, I am also getting involved in more big festivals and shows, plus one of my songs is being featured in the new critically acclaimed short film 'Beverley'. The film is also going into full feature film production and I will be fully involved in that, assisting Cass Pennant and others. In addition, I shall record some other new tracks and although the Neville Staple Band are currently backing me musically, I have been asked to put my own band together for tours, as there have been so many offers for festivals and gigs across the UK and Europe. So if anyone else out there is interested in getting involved, get in touch with me via www.sugarystaple.com. I am also doing more writing and film production work for Neville and other projects with my film-maker son.
Neville you left ''The Specials'' due to health reasons, however i'm going to ask what a lot of people would love to know, will ''The Specials'' ever be back in the studio recording an album again
I need to point out that I left more for my own sanity than for my physical health, even though I had been poorly when I last played with the Specials. Some of us had been keen to record new material but others didn't want to, so I left to get on with my own shelved music projects and to have more freedom and peace of mind, without in-house fighting and back-biting. I would love to redo songs or tours with the Specials again, but only if the full band were together including Jerry. However, apart from a few guys, everyone else has pretty much gone their own ways, so I guess the quick answer is 'no'!
Huge thanks to Christine, Neville and Darren Bennett for the interview... Best for 2015 G-C
Pic courtesy of David Street
Pic courtesy of David Street
Pic courtesy of David Street