A staple diet of ska music
I nfluenced by the rhythms of Jamaican reggae and the ferocity of English punk, The Specials burst on to the British music scene in 1979 to become pioneers of ska music.
Neville Staple was the humour and energy behind the group and was well known for his onstage antics.
He later went on to establish the group Fun Boy Three, with Terry Hall and Lynval Golding from the Specials, and had hits with It Ain't What You Do (It's The Way That You Do It) and Our Lips Are Sealed.
When I spoke to Neville, he was gearing up to play his first comeback gig after illness at the Cheese and Grain, in nearby Frome. The performance would be his first since suffering a stroke onstage with the reformed Specials last November.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
This led to cancellations of 30 shows with The Neville Staple Band, the group he will be performing with at Vegfest next week.
He says: "This weekend I am playing in Somerset and it will be my first show since falling ill. It's great to be back on the road and fit again but it's safe to say I won't be jumping off speakers anymore, those days are finished and gone.
"Vegfest will be my first festival since the illness, I had a stroke on stage in Copenhagen when I was on the last Specials tour and then I got pneumonia twice in December and January.
"I had to cancel loads of shows and postpone making an album with my band. I am just starting to put myself back together again but I have the material for the album so when the time is right I will go back into the studio."
Fans of the Specials were ecstatic when all of the original members, except for keyboard player and primary songwriter Jerry Dammers, reformed for a series a shows in 2009.
Extensive touring by the group followed, headlining festivals across Europe, including a slot on the main stage at Glastonbury.
After performing with the Specials, Neville says he wanted to spend more time with his own group, performing his own shows. He says: "I was doing a lot of my own stuff at the time but getting back together with the guys to sing the old songs was different, it was like 'I'm back with the guys who I used to play with'.
"I enjoy playing with The Neville Staple Band, we are a lot loser and I can stop the songs or change them a bit whenever I want."
Back on his feet, Neville and his band will be headlining the opening day of Vegfest. The festival is the biggest vegan event in the world, and combines festivals in Bristol and Brighton. This year will be the tenth Vegfest event to be held in Bristol, with Finley Quaye and Johnny Clarke also headlining.
The event plays host to more than 100 stalls of vegan and vegetarian products including food, bodycare, accessories, fashion and merchandise.
While not a vegan himself, Neville says he wanted to play Vegfest because of his love for festivals.
He says: "I love playing at festivals, this one came up so I said I would do it.
"I was told that it was a great festival to do. It was on last year and was really successful so it will be a fun festival to play at. I have never done it before so it's a new one for me, people said to me that they think I should do it so I said fair enough."
I asked him what the audience should expect from his solo shows and he was confident in his response.
"I don't want to be big headed but all the shows I've done have gone down pretty well," he says. "I am an entertainer and the shows with the new band have all been great. I can't complain.
"There will be a mixture of my favourite Specials songs and some of my solo stuff, Monkey Man is my personal favourite, and people will want to hear A Message To You Rudy. You can't get away from those songs.
The Neville Staple Band will be performing in venues up and down the UK throughout the year. Neville was keen to stress he would be concentrating on these shows for the time being and would start recording an album when the time was right.
"I don't want to rush it, it's all about time at the moment and once I have done these shows I can concentrate on the new album. I'm not sure what direction the new material will take but I can assure you it won't be ska."
While touring with his band Neville will continue performing with the Specials, who will be playing at the Olympics Closing Ceremony with New Order, and Specials fans, Blur.
Neville says: "The Specials are still touring off and on. We are performing at the closing ceremony at the Olympics. I don't quite know how that came about but it's a real honour.
"It's always nice to play with other artists who have been influenced by you. We played with Amy Winehouse at Glastonbury which was a great experience. It's always nice to know other bands like us."
The Neville Staple Band play Vegfest at the Amphitheatre and Waterfront Square on Friday, May 25, at 7.30pm. Admission is free