Friday, December 12, 2008

Specials reunion: Jerry Dampers

The highly-priced - sorry, highly-prized - tickets to the Specials reunion tour are selling well. But isn't it a little odd that the man who shaped the band isn't involved? No Jerry Dammers, not so Specials, surely?

Funnily enough, that's what Dammers was thinking:

According to the statement issued on his behalf: "Many people are under the impression it is the original Specials [re-forming for the reunion dates]. As was common knowledge at the time of their success, Jerry Dammers was the founder, main songwriter and driving force of the Specials. He recruited every member individually, and the musical and style direction was guided by him. He designed the 2 Tone logo and formed the 2 Tone record label. Jerry has a duty to inform anybody who may be interested, of the true situation, which is that he was not invited to take part in this proposed tour, or even told about it."

In November this year, the band announced their reunion but Dammers claims he wasn't properly considered. Or, in his words, "The prodigal sons came home, kicked me out, and have left the door open, great."

According to the statement, members of the Specials have said that "the door is still open to [Dammers]," but they "fail to mention that Jerry has been driven out every time he has attempted to get involved over the last year. He also wonders why this appears in the newspaper when former bandmates have his phone number".

It continues: "These seem to be part of a wider attempt to rewrite the whole history of the band, in order to try and justify what is currently going on. Jerry does not wish to go into too much detail at this point, except to say that for over 25 years he had dreamed that his former bandmates might come back one day, and was deeply shocked to find that when they did, for some of them, it was apparently to kick him out."

The statement also claims that Dammers turned up uninvited to a meeting about the reunion and received a "severe dressing down" for suggesting they should engage in lengthy rehearsals.

The statement concludes: "Jerry does not believe it represents what the real Specials stood for, politically, or in terms of creativity, imagination or forwardness of ideas, and he does not think the proposed venues would really be appropriate to a band of the status of the real Specials."

So, effectively, what people are currently lashing out for is closer to a Fun Boy Three reunion tour than the Specials jaunt it's being marketed as.


PeterD said...

I guess we only have Dammers version of events, but you know an old boss of mine used to say if one person was marching out of step in an army of thousands, who was wrong? I will be happy to watch a keyboard playerless Specials, performing Specials songs, it would have been nice to have the keyboard player, but its one of those things.

simon h b said...

I guess the answer depends on another question: is the guy who's out of step the one who is there to make the pace, or just one bloke in the team?

And I think to dismiss Dammers as "the keyboard player" is to somewhat underestimate his role a little.

Chris Brown said...

In terms of his original contribution to the band, of course he was hugely more than the keyboard player - but of course all that's already happened and since they presumably won't be playing new songs (Or 'What I Like Most About You Is Your Girlfriend') or designing a new look there wouldn't be much for him to do on this tour other than play keyboards.
Not that I'm taking sides on this, but I suppose once you've gone for the basic premise of this tour it might not be that important whether he's there or not.

PeterD said...

Of course he was more than just the keyboard player, but in the scheme of things, someone like say Terry Hall would leave a bigger gap if he wasn't invited to the party.

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