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- Posted on Mar 29th 2010 3:00PM by Kenneth Partridge
"Nothing has been written," Hall says. "We've played around a bit, but we've all agreed that if we're going to make an album, it's got to an incredibly great album. If we're up for that, and we think that we have the parts in place, there's no reason we won't start recording. I think at this level [we need] to play for a while, like we did before we had a record deal."
A new Specials album would be the band's first proper release since 1980's 'More Specials,' the second of two full-lengths recorded by the original septet. The group dissolved in 1981, and although it staged a quasi-reunion in the late '90s, neither Hall nor founding keyboardist Jerry Dammers -- who's also sitting out this latest tour -- contributed to the 1998 comeback disc 'Guilty 'Til Proved Innocent.'
During its initial run, which spanned 1977 to 1981, the Specials played Jamaican ska with a British punk edge, creating the sound that would become synonymous with its record label, 2 Tone. With Hall at the helm, the group brought a unique perspective to issues facing young people. While such songs as 'Too Much Too Young' and 'Stupid Marriage' were skeptical of domesticity and settling down, 'Do Nothing' and 'Nite Klub' took aim at the frivolity and pointlessness of youth culture.
"Things like 'Too Much Too Young' and 'Stupid Marriage' came from where we lived," Hall says. "I remember at school, girls getting pregnant at 15 and 16 and just giving in, basically saying, 'That's my lot for the rest of my life.' It felt pretty sad. To me, there's no [set] age group to have kids -- you have them when you want -- but you should be prepared for it and enjoy it."
The Specials also tackled racism and unemployment, both of which were endemic in their hometown of Coventry.
"The first album came out of our restlessness and the problems that we faced growing up in an industrial city that had fallen apart and the problems that left us, the generation that had to pick up the pieces, really," Hall says. "Large corporations breaking down and people losing their jobs. We were the kids of the workers that lost their jobs."
Asked what types of issues he and his bandmates might write about these days, Hall says the old standbys -- bigotry, joblessness, etc. -- still apply.
"Unfortunately, those topics are still sort of there today," he says. "They take on different shapes. For example, racism in the UK, it's sort of swerved a little. It's heavily against Eastern Europeans, whereas in the '70s, when we formed, a lot of the racism was directed against Asian people. But it still exists. It still affects us every day. We've all gone off individually and written our own personal songs and stuff, and I think as a group we have to consolidate. It has to make sense."