(chat with Horace Gentleman from the Specials)
SPECIALS So, how is everyone doing?
Tricky I'm doing fine. How are things with you?
SPECIALS OK, we're two-thirds of the way through the tour, and the strain is beginning to show.
Tricky Where are you now?
SPECIALS Fillmore Auditorium in San Francisco.
merc90 Where have you toured so far?
SPECIALS We started early in June in New Orleans, went up the East Coast, then west to California. We'll finish up in Phoenix July 8. We will start our second tour in September, starting in Canada.
merc90 You've covered a lot of ground so far. Which place(s) did you like best?
SPECIALS We had a day off in La Grande, Oregon. It was my favorite place.
SonicMod What do you think of all the new ska bands?
SPECIALS Some of them are great and some of them are dreadful! We spent the first half of our tour with a punk/ska band called the Suicide Machines, from Detroit. They were great. Heard a good band in Denver called the Vengers. The Invaders from Milwaukee were also good. Easy Big Fella in Seattle were good too!
Tricky I heard that the Suicide Machines were quite rude to your fans in Washington, DC.
SPECIALS The Suicide Machines are quite rude period, but that doesn't stop them from being good!
rudi How about the Scofflaws?
SPECIALS I have heard of the Scofflaws, but haven't heard their music.
rudi A really shitty local ska/punk band who covered the Violent Femmes opened for them, so I was worried. But the Scofflaws had a four-piece horn section and were very rude.
Tricky Rude seems to be the job description these days!
SPECIALS "Rude" means something different in ska and Jamaican folklore than in American terms, as any self-respecting rude boy will appreciate!
RonNasty Do you still see or talk to Fun Boy Three?
SPECIALS We don't see Terry [Hall, former Specials singer who left to form FBT], as he has his own solo career.
Tricky How have things changed for you?
SPECIALS The audiences are a lot bigger and more diverse.
RonNasty Why is the "AKA" in your name on again, off again?
SPECIALS The "AKA" was used originally, but was eventually dropped when no one used it. It was picked up again in 1984, but that was for a different group of members.
rudi Do you think ska is going to be the next big commercial explosion? Things seem to be leading up to that. It's kinda scary.
SPECIALS I share your sentiment. It would be great if the good small bands would get the recognition they deserve, but the idea of "MTV Ska Weekend" scares me!
Steveg Thanks for an outstanding show in Seattle last Friday. Early in the show, the band stopped during a song because the crowd was getting rough (pushing down front, surfing, etc.). Is that a problem you encounter at a lot of shows?
SPECIALS Not at a lot of shows, but when it does occur we stop the show and get rid of any troublemakers. Usually alcohol is the culprit, which is why we prefer to do all-ages shows.
SPECIALS Sorry guys, but the band is tuning up and I need to run! It was great talking to