NEWS: The Spammed gather for Specialized Project

In a fundraiser for Teenage Cancer Trust

Specialized is back for 2024, and raising funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust, with this year’s theme, ‘Skank up the ’80s’ featuring numerous artists giving tracks their makeover.

Specialized creates compilation albums featuring numerous recording artists, creating their own interpretation of tracks from a legendary artist or theme. Previous compilations have included tracks from The Clash, The Jam, Punk pioneers Glam, and giving it their ‘specialized’ twist – this year it’s the ’80s, with a dub/ska twist.

Band guitarist Micko Westmoreland (The Mellotronics), together with visual artist and painter Harry Pye have curated an unrivalled line-up of deviant pop talent to form The Spammed. A supergroup featuring Damned drummer Rat Scabies, The Specials’ bassist Horace Panter, comic actor Kevin Eldon on vocals, guitarist Paul Cuddeford (Holy Holy/Boomtown Rats) and  Terry Edwards (PJ Harvey/Gallon Drunk).

Adrian Sherwood famed producer of Sinead O’ConnerDepeche Mode and The Woodentops is on the mix for a cover of Stray Cats Strut at the luxurious Soho Sonic (Camden). The band had an informal rehearsal prior to the day with Brian Setzer studied guitar work, courtesy of Paul Cuddeford

Micko Westmoreland shares his account of the day, Rat Scabies, who has just returned from a tour of Asia/Australia with The Damned is in more than fine shape as the drums roll superbly, it’s down in a couple of takes. Sir Horace Panter is as ever 100% excellent, he defines the phrase safe pair of hands with relish. Then comes Paul Cuddeford’s take on the Setzer sound, steering the track perfectly. There’s a ton of space here and lots of intricate and fluid musicality on display. Micko Westmoreland adds a syncopated rhythm to the project. It’s getting late, and as the light fades it’s time to add Kevin Eldon’s vocal to the mix. 

Kevin always comes through with something interesting whether it be playing it straight when required or adding a unique flavour with bags of personality intertwined. The track favours the latter, and he spells out the most interesting aspects of the lyrics in a captivating manner.

Terry Edwards marvellously conducts the technical aspects of the session, directing the wonderful producer/engineer Dom at Sonic adeptly. Brass is the last thing to add to the mix; Terry not only plays amazingly but always does his homework, harmonically layering as it builds to a fantastic aural design. The track is all recorded within six hours and will be the tenth track the Spammed have released for the Specialised project, Hmm… enough for an album.

The stems are all prepared to send to Adrian Sherwood, who knows what’ll come back, whether it’s open heart surgery or a straighter take, there’s a lot here to enjoy. The Spammed are the industry’s best kept secret, check previous releases and more on the charity on the links below.

Photo Credit: Ashley Jones.

Find out more about Specialized project here

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.