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Jerry Dammers: ‘I could still rejoin The Specials’

The Specials’ founding member and songwriter Jerry Dammers has said that he has not given up hope of rejoining the band – despite not being part of their reformation line-up.

However, the keyboard player has taken issue with Terry Hall’s suggestion that he was not forced out of the reformation.

Writing in the Guardian’s right to reply column Response, Dammers insisted that he had been frozen out of the band, and that he was excluded from initial rehearsals.

“The fact is that I would not have been invited to the first ‘reunion’ meeting at all had [drummer] John Bradbury not told me about it,” he claimed. “It was generally agreed to get together and commence rehearsals, by everyone except him [Hall].

“Shortly after the meeting, however, [guitarist] Lynval Golding phoned me saying that I was not required for the band – ‘like Bill Wyman from the [Rolling] Stones’ were his exact words. Terry’s manager circulated emails from which I was excluded. Rehearsals were held without me, and I only managed to attend two – one of which was attended by only four people.”

Dammers disputed Hall’s assertion that he wanted to play a date at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena but didn’t like the idea of touring – claiming that he didn’t want an extended tour because of what it might do to the reputation of the band.

“What I actually suggested to him was that if rehearsals went well,” he wrote, “we could consider a very big date or series of big dates in London, followed by a date at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena.

“What might happen after that I left open. It was not that I ‘don’t [like] the idea of touring’, as he puts it. I was anxious to preserve the status, political effectiveness and legacy of the band for the long term, including recording, rather than risk the diminishing returns of setting out as a flawed nostalgia act in small venues.

“Bradbury thought that I should compromise on Coventry, and I was excluded for the last time. He has not spoken to me since. He did not speak to me “all the way through 2008″, as he claimed.”

Dammers did, however, say he could rejoin the band at some point, concluding: “Despite all this I never give up hope of some sort of reconciliation.”

The Specials will play UK live dates next month and will play at the T In The Park, Oxegen and V Festival.