John-DrummerI have been a professional musician for 29 years. In that time I have played all over the world, from the Queen’s back garden to the O2 Arena and beyond. I’ve played for the Army, for function bands, original projects and covers bands. I have had many experiences and thought I’d pretty much seen it all.

That changed when, by accident and coincidence, I joined a Tribute Band called Special Kinda Madness as their Drummer/Vocalist. Read More

Beatles tribute bandI think it is a given that a tribute band should play the songs of the band you are a tribute to, in the style of the original band.

But what other factors are important?

Look Like The Original Band?

Let’s be honest, it is pretty unlikely that a person that sounds like somebody is going to look like then as well.  So, do we want our tributes to put on wigs as well.  Maybe some prosthetics? J

Sound Like Them?

Most people would probably agree that it is quite important to sound like the people you are a tribute to. By that, I mean sound like them musically. If you are emulating Bruce Springsteen and you are from the Midlands, should you put on a fake American accent when you talk to the audience?

Behave Like Them? Read More

Terry Hall from The SpecialsIsn’t it just accepted that bands are a collection of individuals with their own opinions and ideas, and that their chances of them getting along together for any period of time is pretty slim?

So, why is it that when they split up they feel the need to blame each other for the demise of the band?

That certainly seems to be the case with The Specials. Their shelf-life was pretty short with their original recording period being between 1979 and 1981. When they split up, there was accusations from band members of …

  • Jerry Dammers being too controlling
  • Roddy Radiation (Byers) being too volatile
  • Terry Hall being too morose
  • etc

Even now, the recriminations continue. Since their reforming in 2008 (without Jerry), first Neville Staple and then Roddy Byers later left the band with suggestions (this time) that Terry Hall is being too controlling.

And just yesterday, Jerry Dammers has had an interview published in the May edition of Mojo where he blames the original split up on Roddy’s inability to play the chords in Ghost Town! Read More

THE SPECIALS IN COVENTRY, BRITAIN - MAY 1980There was a very interesting article in yesterday’s Guardian. It was part of a series written by columnist Stevie Chick taking influential bands and analysing 10 of their songs in the context of the band’s history.

Analysing both the lyrics and the style of music, Stevie talks about each song in turn and what they said about the band at the time, and the state of the nation. With the political commentary nature of many of the Specials’ songs, this make for very interesting reading.

Read the full article here –



There was a very interesting article in today’s Daily Telegraph. He talks about key moments in both the band’s history and his personal life.

In particular he discusses his involvement with the Pancreatic Cancer charity – Pancreatic Cancer UK. His sister-in-law died in her 40s of the disease, and he is now focused on raising money for the charity. People die very quickly from pancreatic cancer, but this is mainly because it is currently detected too late to be able to do anything about it.

His ‘Evening with Suggs and Friends’ at the Emirates Stadium on March 12th is raising money for this cause.

See the full Daily Telegraph article here –