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THE BEAT (RANKING ROGER) INTERVIEW [2016]

IT'S BEEN A WHILE SINCE THE RELEASE OF THE LAST ALBUM TO SAY THE LEAST, WHAT SET OF CIRCUMSTANCES HAVE COME TOGETHER AT THIS POINT THAT HAVE LED TO 'BOUNCE' SEEING THE LIGHT OF DAY?

Now is the perfect time because all of the things we used to sing about seem to be relevant again, so that catches people's interest. It's the fourth album from The Beat, the one I always wanted to make sure came out thirty years ago!

HOW LONG HAVE YOU ACTUALLY BEEN WORKING ON THIS ALBUM?

We've been working on it from about September last year. The majority of the songs are brand new, although we've included a couple that we've been playing live for the last year or so.

OVER THE PERIOD SINCE THE LAST ALBUM THE MUSIC INDUSTRY HAS CHANGED DRAMATICALLY, HAVE THOSE CHANGES WORKED IN YOUR FAVOUR DO YOU THINK?

Yes it has, and unfortunately not! The only way it's worked in our favour is that you get loads of different types of music merged together now, and that's something that I feel we were trendsetters with.

Business is a lot harder now than it ever was though. Since the demise of the record company, records just don't sell as much. back in the day when we had twenty record companies competing against one another we sold more records, and now we only have three big record companies we sell less. The only way to make money in the industry at the moment is by playing live gigs and by selling records on the road!

THE BEAT HAS ALWAYS BEEN KNOWN FOR POLITICAL AND SOCIAL COMMENT IN YOUR SONGS, THAT STILL SEEMS TO BE THE CASE WITH 'BOUNCE' BUT IS IT GETTING EASIER OR HARDER TO IDENTIFY THOSE SUBJECTS NOW, COMPARED TO THE SEVENTIES AND EIGHTIES?

In a way it's harder to discuss those subjects because of freedom of speech. The same problems still exist from the seventies - I’ve seen some change, but they've not changed enough - the world situaton only seems to have got worse. People may have slightly different concerns but they still have the same amount of worries and concerns.

FOR PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO LIVED THROUGH THE WHOLE SKA/PUNK EXPLOSION BACK IN THE DAY IT FEELS LIKE MUSIC WAS NEVER QUITE AS EXCITING AGAIN, THAT MIGHT HAVE JUST BE BECAUSE I WAS THE RIGHT AGE TO TAKE IT ALL ON BOARD WITHOUT BEING CYNICAL, BUT DO YOU THINK TODAY'S MUSIC HAS THE SAME SORT OF POWER?

I actually do think today's music has less power. Something happened in the sixties and the seventies that helped to propel the youth to find their own identity, and that happened a bit in the nineties, but from the year 2000 there seems to be very little for youth to identify with or to follow, apart from The X Factor and video games!

YOUR SON, RANKING JUNIOR, IS NOW AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE BEAT, IS THAT AN EASY SITUATION FOR YOU? AND FOR HIM?

Yes, it's fine. We both find it easy as we've worked together for fifteen years now! We're partners in the band so we just get on with the job, and we get to enjoy it together.

I'VE SEEN YOU LIVE A FEW TIMES OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS AND YOUR SHOWS ARE ALWAYS JOYOUS OCCASIONS. IS IT AS MUCH FUN FOR YOU GUYS ON THE STAGE AS IT IS FOR US IN THE AUDIENCE?

It is definitely as much fun for us. We love getting the audience going and we feed that energy back to them. I think the audience would know if we were not having fun, it's a two-way street!

YOU REUNITED THE ORIGINAL LINE-UP OF THE BEAT A FEW YEARS AGO. IS THAT LIKELY TO HAPPEN AGAIN?

I can't see that happening unfortunately, simply because I know that some of the old line-up just aren't for it.

WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP LIKE WITH THE FORMER MEMBERS OF THE BAND THESE DAYS?

Generally it's very amicable. I'm not the type to have enemies, so I get on with all of them and am happy to talk to any of them.

I THINK 'BUSY DOING NOTHING' IS MY FAVOURITE TRACK ON THE ALBUM, DO YOU HAVE ANY PARTICULAR FAVOURITES OR ARE THE SONGS LIKE YOUR CHILDREN AND YOU HAVE TO LOVE THEM ALL THE SAME?

I have too many favourites on the record, but if you were to force me to choose one then the one that stands out the most for me right now is 'Avoid The Obvious'.

THERE HAVE BEEN A FEW AUTOBIOGRAPHIES COMING OUT FROM VARIOUS PEOPLE IN AND AROUND THE WHOLE 2 TONE ERA... HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT OF DOING YOURS?

I did seriously consider it a couple of years ago but I’ve gone off the idea again now. There's still another chapter for me to live through first, then maybe I’ll come back to the idea again in the future...

YOU'VE GOT THE ALBUM ABOUT TO COME OUT, A NEW 7" SINGLE 'WALKING ON THE WRONG SIDE' OUT NOW AND A LOAD OF SHOWS COMING UP AROUND THE UK, IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE IN THE PIPELINE FOR YOU?

Yes! Lots and lots of singles, there's at least five or six of them still to come!

THE BEAT - Bounce (2016)

'Bounce' is available now on CD and Vinyl and via Digital Download

OCTOBER 2016

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