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Robby Radiation

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The Skabilly Rebels live set is a blend of Rockabilly licks with a distinctive ska lilt, fuelled by a punk rock energy. This is complemented by a selection of Roddys favourite Specials tunes. Roderick James Byers (a.k.a. Roddy Radiation) was born 5/5/55 to a trumpet playing father and a “Movie Mad” mother, in the year of Rock’n’Roll, when Elvis and Dean were “Rebels with a Cause”. Roddy spent his first 18 years in a coal mining village just outside of Coventry in the English Midlands. At the age of 11 years, his father started Rod and his brother Chris on trombone and trumpet respectively, but by the age of 13 Roddy had discovered Rock’n’Roll, and swapped his trombone for an electric guitar. Several school groups followed with regular gig’s at the local youth club. In the early seventies, forsaking the local art school, Roddy started work as a painter and decorator for the local council, which enabled him to buy the much needed new guitar and amp. Roddy’s early tastes in music ran to the more outrageous pop and R’n’B bands such as The Rolling Stones , The Kinks, and The Jimi Hendrix Experience. At this time Roddy also acquired a long lasting love of Blues and early Rock’n’Roll. The early seventies saw Roddy adopt a “Ziggy Stardust” persona as “Roddy Radiation”, a nickname given to him by his brother Chris. From the Glam Rock days, Rod discovered other more eccentric artists such as Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and the seminal proto punk group, The New York Dolls. Roddy’s first proper group based on these early influences was The Wild Boys, formed in 1975. Short spikey hair, drainpipe jeans, and cover songs such as “No Fun” and “I’m Not Your Stepping Stone” along with Roddy’s early songs “1980’s Teddy Boy” and a song called “Concrete Jungle”. But Coventry was not London, and Rod would have to wait a few more years until a certain local nutter (Jerry Dammers) asked Roddy to punk up his new band “The Coventry Automatics” – nee “The Specials”

 

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