BUSHELL ON THE BLOG
Sep 5. I spoke to my old friends Neville and Christine Staple following the tragic death of Nev’s grandson. This is the result: NEVILLE Staple is “overwhelmed with sadness” over the murder of his grandson Fidel Glasgow on Saturday. “We are still very numb from this horrible experience,” he told me. “You hear of this type of thing going on in lots of places around the UK and especially London and we have been with other families grieving over a son or an uncle or a friend, who has fallen on the same fate. “But when it happens to one of your own – your own grandson – you feel devastation beyond belief. My heart is truly broken.” Fidel, 21, died hours after being rushed to hospital in the early hours of Sunday morning. He had been stabbed in the stomach and an artery outside of Coventry’s Club M. Neville, who found fame with the Specials and The Fun Boy Three Fidel, said: “Like me, Fidel had been through his own share of scrapes in the past during his teen years, but had fixed up. “He had made plans, business plans and had started a street fashion design project. People loved his artwork and designs and he was due to set up a business plan to set up an online shop. He had a focus. He had taken any negatives from his past and turned them into positives for his future. He was handsome, charming and a bit of a ladies’ man.” He smiles and goes on: “I would say again, ‘like me’ but my wife is in the room!! But there are similarities.”
Neville’s autobiography, Original Rude Boy – From Borstal to The Specials related the Jamaican-born star’s journey from troubled youth to member of one of the most iconic music movements of the 1980s. He said: “Fidel’s story was set to be so similar, where he had come from the troubled streets, to potentially being a young fashion entrepreneur going places. My heart breaks over the loss of the talent, the possibilities and the potential way his future could have been.” Nev, 63, performed with his Neville Staple Band at Coventry’s Godiva Festival last Sunday, just hours after the tragedy – at the insistence of his daughter Melanie, Fidel’s mother. The 2-Tone legend said: “When the initial shock dropped down to a numb silence my daughter asked me to still do the Godiva show and to dedicate it to Fidel. “We discussed getting a message out there to others, about knife crime. To use our band profile to highlight this severe problem on the streets, while it was still so raw. To share our pain and to use that pain to make changes.”
The band dedicated The Specials’ 1979 smash A Message To You, Rudy to Fidel and his mum. Nev’s wife Christine Sugary Staple told the crowd: “Young people have got to learn to give more love and stop the knife crime. It is just wrong. Knives take lives.” Christine told the Daily Star Sunday: “Fidel did not die in vain. My husband couldn’t speak last Sunday, but the crowd sharing the tears and the pain gave me a determined strength to get his message, our message, out there. “It is all our responsibility – mums, dads, grandparents, uncles, aunties and even neighbours. Find out what the youths in your lives are doing, where they are going, what they have in their pocket, why they have such things in their pocket. Get discussion going. Follow them if you have to and see who they are.” She added: “Last week was supposed to be a happy family weekend. We were not only due to put our promotions to our brand new album, we were also set to have a super Godiva Festival show, as a home coming performance in our home City of Coventry. All the family were due to show up and party with us and the crowd. To get the phone call in the early hours and hear that my gorgeous step-grandson was fighting for his life was the most shocking thing ever. It felt like the blood in my face swooped to the floor, then rushed back again almost causing me to pass out. I then had the dreadful task of waking up my husband and telling him. I could barely get the words out. The next next 30 minutes were a blurred mix of panic, until we arrived at the hospital to see a mass of police vehicles, a police dog and various other people rushing about. When we set eyes on Neville's daughter Melanie, we all just hugged and squeezed each other, while sobbing like babies. Melanie is the daughter I never had, I love her to bits like my own, so as a mother too, I just could not bear to see the pain in her eyes, in her body and stance. It was unbearable. Trying to comfort her and Neville was so difficult when I felt so crushed myself, but together, with all the other friends and family, we all willed for Fidel to pull through. We willed for the operation to be a success. We willed for his heart to not stop for a third time. We willed for the theatre staff to come out, after hours of trying to see them smile and give us good news, but it wasn’t to be. Our worst fears were founded. The beautiful young Fidel, who was strong and handsome, who could lighten up a room with a smile, who the girls adored, who had manners, style, politeness and a caring chivalrous nature, was gone. The chorus of screams was unbearable.”
Neville and Christine still believe ordinary people can stop knife crime. She said: “We have to give them advice on signs to look for. Kids need an outlet to speak freely. Get some discipline in their lives. Get some time and love in their lives with family, loved ones and close friends, so they see a safer, more comfortable way to live. Get your schools to address these issues from a young age, don't wait until it’s too late and they are already mixed up in any gang-culture or knife carrying culture. Petition your local counsellors and MPs to address youth services, police cuts, community officer cuts and so on. Push people, push!! It is all our responsibility.”
Neville said: “If I could do a massive benefit concert like the likes of Band Aid, Comic Relief, etc to get this message out their loud and large, while raising money to create real community help, I would. But in the meantime I challenge all fellow musicians in the public eye, to share these or their own messages. It’s the 40th anniversary of 2Tone next year and we had already planned to include themes around the lyrics of the songs that are just as relevant now as they were in the 80s. Last Sunday I was performing the same songs, which relate to the trouble on our streets and specifically, knife crime, but this time about my grandson. It seemed so surreal. Concrete Jungle, A Message To You Rudy are just a couple of the many songs that relate.”
Christine: “We all need to do this together, it can’t be done by one person alone, by one politician alone. It is all of us, we need to take responsibility.”
* Neville thanks the staff and surgeons at UHCW University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire, who battled all day to try and save Fidel. Anybody who witnessed the murders should contact Coventry police or Crimestoppers with any information, no matter how insignificant it may seem.
* The Neville Staple Band this month release a new album Rebel Down, featuring Neville, Sugary and Roddy Radiation from the Specials. They will tour the UK until Xmas.
I love Las Vegas. It’s hot, superficial and shallow... so naturally I fit right in. I first came out here with ZZ Top back in 1982 – see my book Sounds Of Glory Volume One for the full story. And again in 1995 for my 40th when I ended up playing darts with Engelbert (that’s in Volume Two). Vegas still has glitter, glamour, excitement and incredible shows... What’s not to love about the place? Let me tell you... The sleazeballs on the streets handing out porno cards... the nose-to-tail traffic on the Strip – if it moved any slower it’d go backwards... the self-styled “characters” trying to fleece you for cash down Fremont Street... the tourists who stand stock still on the moving walkways. Why? Have they lost the use of their legs? They look like sheep heading for the abattoir... Then there’s the cost of everything. The average show price here is $162! Britney tickets cost 855 bucks last year. Who were they expecting The Kardashians? You won’t get change out of 20 bucks for two beers anywhere on the Strip – and they’re not even pints. Like a beautiful siren, Vegas lures you in and robs you blind. But you only ever remember the good bits...
Aug 15. In their first nine months, new rock band 3 In A Bar have written and released an album, headlined prestigious venues and attracted celebrity fans. Yet when they formed the group last November all three members were just 13years old. Lead guitarist Bobby Sinfield, drummer and singer Joe Pugh and rhythm guitarist Owen Brassel played their first gig on 21st December 2017. The trio, all now 14, were inspired not by Ed Sheeran or Bruno Mars but by Status Quo and the Rolling Stones. And their mixture of boogie and early R&B has attracted a legion of fans including champion boxer Kevin Mitchell, football legend Ron “Chopper” Harris and Brian Conley who hosted their album launch last month. “We don’t really rate shows like the X Factor,” says Joe. “They’re a bit plastic. We like real bands. We want to spread the word to our generation about the wonders of rock’n’roll. “A thumbs up from John Coghlan from Quo would mean more to me than one from Simon Cowell.”
Joe’s hero is veteran Stones drummer Charlie Watts – he has built up a drum-kit exactly like Charlie’s, a Gretsch drumset with Zildjian and UFIP symbols. “My other inspiration is Keith Moon,” he says. “But I couldn’t afford his kit.” Guitarists Bobby and Owen play a Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul. The three, who first met at primary school, reconnected via Facebook and started rehearsing in the home bar of Joe’s granddad, the Cockney comedian Micky Pugh. “That’s why we’re 3 In A Bar,” laughs Joe. “We’re not underage drinkers. We met in a bar and we rehearse in one. “We started by learning songs by the best – the Beatles, the Stones, Chuck Berry. But before long we were writing our own.”
There are thirteen original numbers on their debut album, called Two’s Company Three’s A Band. The stand-out track is Sin City, written about Las Vegas after they watched a documentary on it. The lyrics include the verse: ‘Your fibre glass statues all look so grand/Built by gangsters straight out of the Sands/It’s Disneyland for older folk/But would Mickey Mouse send you home broke?’ Bobby comes up with the riffs and Joe the words but then all three work them into songs. “We rehearsed three times a week to begin with,” says Bobby. “When we did our first gig we played 24 songs, only one of them original. “The rest were Quo, Bowie, Elton John, the Stones and Chuck Berry. Now we have a repertoire of fifty songs and about a third of them are ours.”
They have their own tour bus – even though none of them can drive yet. The band were given a transit van by local crane company Nationwide Lifting Solutions. They have their own PA too. They’re based in Hornchurch and Rainham. They gig twice a month on average and attracted 400 fans to their album launch at the Circus Tavern in Purfleet last month. “We played 35 songs that night including eight originals,” says Owen. “We started with covers, just like the Beatles did, then did a set of our stuff and finished off with a rock’n’roll medley.” Brian Conley who introduced them describes the trio as “incredible talents”. Roy “Chubby” Brown says they have “the same spirit as Oasis”. “We just love playing and we love writing songs,” says Bobby. “We’re rock’n’roll,” says Joe. “That’s how we describe ourselves. We’d love to be the next Stones. And we don’t mind working hard to get there.”