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Muddy meets Terry

Eighties skankers The Specials are back with a fab new album and a headline slot at Cornbury festival. We nabbed Terry Hall to talk shopping, selfies and his career as a barber.

Bought The Specials’ new album Encore yet? Go get it! It went straight to Number 1 in the album charts, a mixture of mellow disco, funk and feel-good reggae that’s had us skanking around like it’s a kitchen party! If you remember the good old days of Ghost Town (see what I did there?), the band’s last hit way back in 1981, you’ll love it.

Cool and political as ever, with new songs like Vote for Me, a comment on politicians’ inability to do what they promise and BLM, a reminder of their Two Tone anti-racist beginnings. Muddy spent ages trying to think up some cool, political questions to ask frontman Terry Hall, then gave up and asked some daft ones instead.

Happy belated birthday Terry! (We’d sing but you’re much better at it). Any good pressies?

Thank you. My favourite present was a lovely little 60th party. Low key and alcohol-free.

Congratulations on your Number 1. How did you celebrate?
We were at Euston station when we heard that the record had gone in at Number 1. I bought myself a family bag of Revels and completed the bag by Birmingham New Street.

Much has been made of your politics – ever tempted to trade your mic for Number 10? And what’s the first thing you’d do if you were Prime Minister?
Although a lot of our songs have a political message I could never imagine myself deeper into politics. We comment rather than make false promises. As PM I would make every day a national holiday.

If you didn’t have such a good set of pipes what would you have been?
The only other career I’ve considered is to cut hair. I started an apprenticeship in my teens, some day I’d like to qualify!

Fish and chips on a sea wall or cream tea in a country pub?
I don’t want to decide. I want both…right here…right now.

You must spend a lot of time in hotels when you’re touring – any riders or rituals?
We will be staying in around 70 hotels on this tour. I never unpack, partly because I can’t wake up in the morning and partly because I hate losing stuff.

I’m liking your threads! Shopping for clothes – love it or hate it?
I absolutely love shopping – online, offline, any line. Shopping and football, that’s all I need.

You’ve worked with loads of famous musicians; Madness, Lily Allen, Sinead O’ Connor. Who should we be listening to?
Playlists should always include Leonard Cohen, The Beach Boys, Pixies and Edith Piaf.

To selfie or not to selfie?
To selfie! Secretly.


The Specials headline Cornbury Music Festival on Fri 5 July 2019. For more local festival action see here

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