We chose Glam Rock for this year’s theme for a number of reasons but partly because we hoped it would throw out a challenge. That challenge would be for the ska scene to think creatively about arrangement and composition and produce some imaginative reinterpretations of some of the 70s most iconic rock songs. Little did we know of the larger challenge that would happen with the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic. Part the role of producer of the tribute series is to provide a central point for advice and support. This year I’ve never worked so hard in order to deliver that assistance. Many bands expressed their desire to continue, in part because they wanted something to focus on and also because they knew that we didn’t have the option to stop our work. Instead this project became about ways to overcome the obstacles whilst maintaining the quality of the project. In order to support people, we quickly had to offer alternative recording solutions, sometimes by remote training in home recording or offering replacement musicians. We certainly lost a lot of bands who understandably had to withdraw, and the year has seen songs reallocated several times, but I feel that we’ve still been able to produce an album that is full of talent and imagination.
The Great Britain of the 70s could be a drab, monochrome place. The buzz of The Summer of Love had long faded and in its place, it seemed, came the escalating social tensions, economic and political crisis and a sense that the nation’s moment had passed. Glam rock added a rare splash of colour and sparked a very different kind of cultural evolution. In part a reaction to that turgid zeitgeist of the time, and in part further evidence that the music scene still had some solid boundaries to press against, the more forceful the pushing behind glam rock, the more the teenyboppers seemed to like it. This was about thrilling music, for sure, but also the spectacle of identity, dressed up in spectacular costume, and that crucial ingredient: a frisson of provocative sexual tension. There is no doubt of the influence that Glam had on the Skinheads of the 70s and we found many examples of that crossover, now we really have blended the two. Finally, its only right that I should extend my enormous gratitude to a collection of musicians who came to our aid in order to complete several of the recordings. Steve Cracknell (Horns) Nick Godwin (Guitars), Pat Powell and Dunia Best (Vocals) and Pamela Anderson Buckley (Keyboards) along with members of The Pressure Tenants and the Hub City Stompers who all appear as session players and are the difference between things happening or not. The Specialized Project has always been about an extended community of people who together can achieve great things.