Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Original Rude Boy by Neville Staple

Well, after going to see The Specials last week, I finally decided to read this book that I bought around Christmas.  Unfortunately, Neville did not play with The Specials on this tour.  I really would have liked to have seen him perform.

As for the book, at 320+ pages, it was still a very quick read.  Neville with the help of Tony McMahon tell some interesting stories.

The beginning of the book talks about his move from Jamaica to England when he was 5 along with his brother and two sisters to go live with his Father and step mother.  He tells stories about his father ruling with an iron fist, and kicking the shit out him and his brother almost every day.  Needless to say, he left the house in his late teens and never looked back.

From there, it was on to a life of petty crime, fights against skinheads, staying out late listening and dancing to reggae, and spending time with the ladies.  If I recall correctly, he has 8 children from at least 5 different women.

After getting a start as what we would call a DJ, he somehow happened to be at the right place at the right time, and ended up as a roadie in one of the early versions of The Specials.  Then one night, he decided the crowd was not getting into the band and he jumped on stage grabbed the mic and started "toasting".  From that night forward, he became a member of the band.

The book goes on to discuss stories of his travels with the band, the band's breakup, his formation of Fun Boy Three with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding, his forray into Asian pop music as a writer and manager, a rebirth or two of The Specials, stories of his kids, etc.

Each chapter starts and ends with some black and white pictures from his own collection and those of some of his "rude boys".  The end of the book includes a discography too.

This was a great read, and I am glad that I finally decided to read through it.  It was the 2 Tone version of the autobiography written by Stinky Turner from the Cockney Rejects - music, booze, fighting, and women.

If you like The Specials, you will enjoy the stories told in this book.  Go get yourself a copy.

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