RODS and FORKS Chat Two
Interview Weekly with Roddy Radiation Byers and FORKSTER
This Week’s Q & A Focus is On ‘RODDY’S early – music / band years’
And Also A Fun Random FORKSTER 5 Questions for The RODSTER
This will be a rocking once a week feature with legendary guitarist of THE SPECIALS for over 30 years as well as his own band that he does strictly full-time now with solo stuff and that is our good friend at our website, Mr. Roddy Radiation Byers. Roddy along with the ‘one and only’ renowned promotional reviewer globally FORKSTER will span every week on historic music events/knowledge on Roddy’s illustrious music career. We will also do a weekly “Random FORKSTER 5” which could range in asking just about anything at the Rodster in of course an only respectful and tasteful manner always. This week’s 2nd “RODS and FORKS” focuses on the ”early music / band years” of Roddy Byers. ENJOY….
FORKSTER: Hi Roddy, welcome back for “Week #2” mate.
Roddy: Nice one Tim, great being back with you here mate!
FORKSTER: Let’s concentrate this week around your early music / band years, ok?
Roddy: Hope I can remember that far back!
FORKSTER: How old were you when you wanted to start your 1st band as a kid and what was that first band you were in?
Roddy: Well, I suppose as soon I started playing the guitar with friends we would try and entertain our mates at the local youth club. We also had a bit of help from our school sports teacher who let us use his drum kit and we would rehearse in the music room at lunch times. We called ourselves “the Undead”. It was a title by a late 1960’s white British hippy blues band called “Ten Years After”.
FORKSTER: Roddy, when you look back on those music youth times what really stands out for you with them and till to this day, stays close to your heart about them?
Roddy: I guess as I was useless at sport it was a way of standing out in the crowd? The only other thing I was good at was art.
FORKSTER: Your first professional band was ‘The Wild Boys’, what would you classify them as in genre, music presence, etc.?
Roddy: The Wild Boys I first formed with some guys I had been jamming with at a Sunday lunch time session pub run by Roger Lomas and his band ‘The Dodgers’. We would get up and do a few songs from ‘Bowie’ to ‘Lou Reed’ with a few other rock n’ roll covers. We also did a couple of songs that I had written. I really had gotten into the American early punk bands like ‘The Stooges’, ‘New York Dolls’ and The ‘Ramones’, so when the punk thing in the U.K. took off I kinda fit in with it all. My mate/roadie Steven Connelly, had recently moved down to London and said I must catch some new bands he had been hanging out with, as he said they dressed like me and had short spikey hair like mine. So I went down to London and checked out the ‘Sex Pistols’ and the ‘Clash’ in 1976. Steve A.K.A. “Roadent” worked as a roadie for ‘The Clash’ and later The ‘Sex Pistols’.
FORKSTER: Between the years of 1975-78 The Wild Boys was your main band, but weren’t you also in a showband for 3 years then playing men’s clubs right?
Roddy: I’d been mainly playing Bass guitar for a while as my older friends were better guitarists than me. But, I had recently bought a Antoria – Les Paul copy and fancied having a go at being a lead guitarist. A guitar player friend of mine had been offered the job in a working men’s club type band, but declined and put me forward. So I auditioned playing a “Bowie” song and a couple of rock n’ roll things and got myself the job. I couldn’t play lead very well at all, but those working men’s clubs were a good place to learn how. They also allowed me to save up enough money to buy a real Gibson Les Paul Custom, which was the one I later played in the early Specials times.
FORKSTER: Your brother by the stage name as ‘Mark Extra’ was in The Wild Boys, how was that experience for you being in a band with Mark?
Roddy: Mark when the original “Wild Boys” split up and I had joined the Automatics (later the Specials) took over the name for his punk band, who sounded a lot like the Buzzcocks. It wasn’t until the Tearjerkers that we both played in the same band together.
FORKSTER: In The Wild Boys about 3 years pre- The Specials you wrote/created and were playing your ace tune ‘Concrete Jungle’ right?
Roddy: Yes around 1976 I wrote it and were playing it a bit out and then in 1979 when Jerry Dammers asked me to join what would become the Specials I brought ‘Concrete Jungle’ and another song along with me.
FORKSTER: Is it fair to say that Roddy Byers started creating/forming his brilliant writing skills while in ‘The Wild Boys’ band?
Roddy: Yeah, I had tried writing songs before that time, but nothing that stayed around.
FORKSTER: When leaving the current band of The WB’s and joining in 1978 ‘The Coventry Automatics’ (soon to be then changed to THE SPECIALS), was the transition from the one band to the other fairly easy or quite a shock in adjusting to at first?
Roddy: The Wild Boys had split and I had gotten married and I had been thinking of moving to London and joining a band there but then Jerry Dammers asked me to play on some demos his band were doing and I decided to stay in Coventry. At that time I had been getting into reggae and dub music so I was interested in what ‘The Automatics’ were doing. I just tried to fit in my rock n’ roll punk guitar playing the best I could.
FORKSTER: When in Coventry doing your live gig thing currently with Roddy Radiation/RR and The Skabily Rebels does any mentions still come about your music/gigs back with The Wild Boys?
Roddy: I still play “Lorriane” which was a Wild Boys song and “Concrete Jungle” and some of the older punks remember those days.
Random FORKSTER 5 with RODSTER….
FORKSTER: Your dream car to own one day would be?
Roddy: Maybe a 1960’s Volvo as they look very 1950’s American and paint it black.
FORKSTER: Was there a ‘memorable chat’ with a fellow musician that you will always keep close to you?
Roddy: ‘Keith Richards’ was friendly to me when ‘The Specials’ played “Saturday Night Live” back in the 1980’s in New York City.
FORKSTER: 3 musicians/band’s that you would really enjoy jamming on stage live with? (past or present)
Roddy: Tough one with being too many in mentioning here.
FORKSTER: If you as ‘Roddy Radiation Byers’ could record in a studio with one performer, who would it be and why?
Roddy: My younger self maybe, so I could tell him the stuff ive learnt so he wouldn’t make the same mistakes I have done over the years!
FORKSTER: Your all-time top 3 music soundtracks?
Roddy: “Clockwork Orange”, “Fistful of Dollars” and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly”.
FORKSTER: Thanks for being here mate and look forward to our week #3 – THE SPECIALS years….
Roddy: Thanks Tim, the next one will be the toughest!
Written by: Timothy John Forker
Music Promotions CEO/Director at: FORKSTER