After 30 years, the English Beat goes on

by Glenn Gamboa

Newsday (MCT)

5 February 2009


The English Beat still just can’t stop it. Though it’s been 27 years since its last album, “Special Beat Service,” featuring the classics “I Confess” and “Save It for Later,” the band is working on new material set to surface this year. Singer-guitarist Dave Wakeling, calling from a tour stop in South Carolina, shares some more plans.

Q. Well, 2009 is shaping up to be quite the year for you.

A. It really is. We’ve put in a pretty good amount of work these last couple years to get to this point. We’ve got the lineup that just happens to click together. Musically, socially, everything seems high energy and optimistic. ... I thought I’d go around for a few years and do shows and see whether there’s any interest in a record from me. ... Now, they’re getting to the point that they’re angry that there’s no CDs. (Laughs) I thought, “Well, we better get one out quick.”

Q. This year is the 30th anniversary of the Beat. Does it feel like 30 years?

A. It doesn’t at all. ... I meet people who say, “Me and my wife got married to one of your songs. We had it playing in the room when our two kids were born. ‘End of the Party’ played at my mom’s funeral.” ... It’s a terrific thing, but I feel I still haven’t grown up yet, so it can’t be true.

Q. You’re even headlining the first night of the renovated Stone Pony.

A. Yes, the regroomed Stone Pony, I’ll be part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony. It’s the home of Southside Johnny for me. I know that wasn’t the guy, but I know which one was The Boss in my opinion. (Laughs) It’s one of those places where great musicians started off, and it’s become part of the cultural heritage of the community. ... I was hoping they’d cut the ribbon into little two-inch squares and we could all have a little bit and frame it. If they gave me a little bit of the ribbon, I’d even consider learning a ska version of “I Don’t Wanna Go Home.”

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