Exclusive video premiere: Neville Staple, “Roadblock” from Ska Crazy (2014)

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Here’s an exclusive sneak peek at the video for “Road Block” from the forthcoming solo album by Neville Staple, ex-singer with the Specials ska revival group. This new song takes us into the dark heart of poverty, violence and despair — echoing and expanding upon the theme of the Specials’ charttopping 1981 hit “Ghost Town.”

Staples played a key role in that moment with the Specials, whose 1979 eponymous album was produced by Elvis Costello, and who initially had the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde and a trio of Go-Go’s as backing vocalists. Solo since 2012, Staples will issue the 10-track Ska Crazy on May 13, 2014 via Cleopatra Records.

Meanwhile, the involving video for “Rockblock” finds Staples traversing a series of empty passageways and trash-strewn backrooms, even as director Joseph Wallace weaves in images that paint a stark portrait of a street gangs’ shadowy, dead-end, desperately violent world. Hand-held filming took place in working-class Coventry, with producer Rory Nolan — a native of those same streets — casting Stu Lowndes, Steven Read, Jordan Leigh and Nathan Clarke to work alongside Staple. Joel Grizzle, a graduate of the East15 Drama School, choreographed the fight scenes.

If the resulting scenes at times feel all too real, there’s a reason.

“The actors were aware of the potential confrontation with other known gangs while filming,” said Nolan, himself a professional stage and screen actor. “But everyone agreed to take a risk and work with it for Neville. We had a plan if anything kicked off and I was glad the actors I’d taken on board shared the same fearlessness as I was taught growing up. Having Neville and MC Daddy Woody walking around the set gave an air of confidence and respect to the square that left us to film freely, something I never would have imagined happening walking this square as a kid.”

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