THE original Rude Boy of reggae and former lead singer with The Specials, Neville Staple, goes back to the future with his latest album, Return of Judge Roughneck.

The tag of Rude Boy has a double meaning. It came initially from Neville’s strict upbringing. After a visit to his dad’s cousin he was told he was ‘bad, too rude and that he should behave himself’.

“Rude also means a cool dresser,” said Neville. “I wasn’t a bad lad, everybody has a different perspective of me, some calling me a hooligan or a rough character, but actually it was the fact I can look after myself. At school, when kids were being bullied, I would stand up to the bullies. It was the same at Borstal. It’s all milestones and I never hide stuff about my past.”

Neville gave his biography the title of Original Rude Boy: From Borstal to The Specials which has a forward by Pete Waterman.

Although he was born in Jamaica, Neville grew up in Coventry and met Pete at the Locarno ballroom when he was DJing there.

“I was into dancing and showing off. Pete called us Neville and the Boys and he got us in on Monday nights. We went down to Crystal Palace for a competition but we didn’t win. I’ve known Pete for 18 years and when we get together we talk about the old times,’’ said Neville.

It was while he was with his own crew the Jah Baddies that Neville stumbled across The Specials.

“We were rehearsing in these club rooms where bands could practice. I heard this sound next door, it was weird a mix of punk and reggae so I popped my head round the door and loved it, so I asked if there was a chance of going round on tour with them. People take to me because I am down to earth,” he said.

Neville was The Specials’ roadie from then until a night when they were supporting The Clash, and he took to the stage alongside the two tone outfit, and never looked back.

The singer has also worked with Fun Boy Three, a spin off from The Specials, who did some collaborations with Bananarama. He was part of Special Beat with Ranking Roger from The Beat and he performs solo as well as with his own band.

The Neville Staple Band will be headlining along with Chesney Hawkes at the Minety Music Festival this summer and the singer says that he loves the festival vibe because it means that people who have never seen ska music get to experience and be thrilled by the genre.

“We will be bringing the full band to entertain the crowd and play old songs, new songs and songs I love,’’ he said.

Included in his band is the former Swindon drummer Mattie Bane.”Mattie is a brilliant drummer and I get on really well with his family, Claire and Daisy,” said Neville.

Neville’s own wife Christine sings with his band and also manages the group.The couple sing together, produce albums together and tour together.”She’s my rock, she knows when I’m in a mood. Going on stage she fixes me up so I look right. At the moment we have an album we did together waiting to be kicked out.’’

Neville and the bandwill headline on the Saturday night of the Minety Festival which runs from Friday, June 29, to Sunday July 1when he will be playing songs from his new album mixed with such Specials hits as Ghost Town, A Message to You Rudy and Too Much Too Young.For tickets and more details visit - Flicky Harrison