What is Skabilly?
I coined the phrase "Skabilly" back in 1981, in an interview with the Face Magazine while I was lead guitarist with the English "two tone" band The Specials.
The band was taking a break from constant touring, and we were all working on separate projects. I had formed "the Tearjerkers" with my kid brother and two local punk musicians.
But the story of Skabilly goes much further back, way back to the birth of rock'n'roll, 1955.
Because in 1955, Elvis was King, Jimmy Dean was a dead legend, and in a small mining village near Coventry, England, Roddy " Radiation " Byers was born.
I grew up in a musical family, dad a trumpet player like his father and his father before.
But I wanted to be a rock'n'roll guitarist!
My first musical tastes were many and varied, as they are to this day.
Pop music such as the Kinks and Rolling Stones, but also a mixture of blues and early rockabilly.
Elvis, Buddy and Eddie rubbed shoulders with Chuck, Bo and Howlin' Wolfe, "just rockin' the blues."
Years later my interest in black music lead me to discover reggae and to an earlier form of reggae, ska, and then in 1977; punk rock! I became a fully-fledged punk rocker.
After my own punk group bit the dust, a local nutter (Jerry Dammers) asked me to join his reggae-punk band soon to be the Specials, who had began to mix old time ska with up to the minute punk.
I soon learned to mesh my guitar with the Jamaican rhythm guitarist (Lynval Golding), and the seeds of Skabilly were sown.
While having a break in rehearsals, I couldn't help noticing a ska song on the jukebox; further investigation revealed the song "From a jack to a king" was not ska but a country rockabilly tune.
Skabilly in all but name!!
I later noticed this was not an exemption to the rule, black and white players borrow from each other, and hybrids, mixtures, are the key to progression.
So I mixed my two favourite styles, and hey presto!!!
P.S. you can stop laughing now....
Sir Roderick Shakespeare
SOMEONE ONCE SAID "THE PAST IS ANOTHER COUNTRY".
AND MAYBE IT IS OR WAS.
IN THE LATE 7O'S EARLY 80'S YOU COULD PLAY ORIGINAL SONGS IN THE BACK ROOMS OF PUBS TO PEOPLE WHO WOULD LISTEN OR AT LEAST HAD COME OUT TO SEE A REAL LIVE GROUP.
THERE WERE NO TRIBUTE BANDS, NO BOY BANDS, NO GIRL BANDS (HAPPY DAYS).
BUT EVEN IF WE COULD GO BACK, WOULD WE BEHAVE ANY DIFFERENTLY?
NO WE WOULDN'T CAUSE WE COULDN'T!
PEOPLE DON'T REALLY CHANGE, OR IF THEY DO; NOT THAT MUCH.
WE STILL HAVE THE SAME WANTS, THE SAME DREAMS, THE SAME PERSONALITIES.
IN 1994 I THOUGHT, WE THOUGHT, WE WERE OLDER AND WISER.
SO WHEN LYNVAL AND ROGER LOMAS ASKED ME TO SING LEAD VOCALS IN THE SPECIALS M.K.2 I THOUGHT I HAD BEEN GIVEN A SECOUND CHANCE.
BUT I MADE, WE ALL MADE THE SAME MISTAKES AND ENDED UP JUST AS MESSED UP IF NOT MORE SO THAN WAY BACK WHEN?
MAYBE WE SHOULDN'T VISIT THE PAST TOO OFTEN, JUST LEAVE IT AS IT IS,
WHICH EVER WAY THAT WAS?.....
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