Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 908 – Sunday 2nd October to Saturday 8th October 2016
While it’s been years since Madness were last given a serious airing on BBC Radio 1, it was nice to see that its more popular sister station, Radio 2, made Mr. Apples their “Record of the Week” this week just gone. Hopefully this will help to raise awareness of the forthcoming album release.
If you missed the iPlayer playback of “Later With Jools Holland”, or live outside of the UK you’ll be pleased to learn that the second set of songs from the Friday edition of the programme have now been uploaded to Youtube
Herbert – https://youtu.be/pmv5cVAiS5E
Mr Apples (Different performance to live broadcast) – https://youtu.be/OtLO2DYTt6I
Interview with Suggs (Different to the live shows interview):
Can’t Touch Us Now:
Right, with that out of the way, let’s get on with the issue.
Enjoy the read!
See below for all forthcoming Madness and Madness related gigs and events. If there’s something we’ve missed off or you feel should be added then please let us know.
Monday 3rd – Germany – Berlin – Tempodrom
Tuesday 4th – Germany – Bochum – Ruhrcongress
Thursday 6th – Dubai, Duty Free Tennis Stadium, UAE
Friday 18th – Monday 21st – Madness Weekender 6, Minehead
Thursday 1st – Bournemouth – Can’t Touch us Now
Friday 2nd – Cardiff – Can’t Touch us Now
Saturday 3rd – Brighton – Matinee – Can’t Touch us Now
Saturday 3rd – Brighton – Can’t Touch us Now ** Sold Out **
Monday 5th – Groningen, The Netherlands ** Sold Out **
Tuesday 6th – Tilburg, The Netherlands ** Sold Out **
Thursday 8th – Newcastle – Can’t Touch us Now
Friday 9th – Sheffield – Can’t Touch us Now
Saturday 10th – London – Can’t Touch us Now
Monday 12th – Nottingham – Can’t Touch us Now
Tuesday 13th – Bridlington – Can’t Touch us Now
Thursday 15th – Glasgow – Can’t Touch us Now
Friday 16th – Manchester – Can’t Touch us Now
Saturday 17th – Birmingham – Can’t Touch us Now
Can’t Touch us Now tickets from: http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/madness/
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra
November 5th – Finland
House of Fun Weekender
Saturday, 29th October – The Bull Theatre, Barnet
Madness – New Album – You Can’t Touch Us Now – Pre Order – October 28th
** Out this month! **
Pre order now
Confirmed Track listing: 16 songs. (As shown as the download album on iTunes and Amazon)
These 16 should also be the CD album in full. Chris Foreman has mentioned that not all 16 fit on the vinyl release much like the vinyl edition of The Liberty of Norton Folgate which was the select shortened track listing. He comments that this was ALL the songs, which may made the boxset second disc is made up of versions and demos of these songs.
- Can’t Touch Us Now
- Good Times
- Mr. Apples
- I Believe
- You are My Everything
- Another Version of Me
- Mumbo Jumbo
- Don’t Leave The Past Behind You
- (Don’t Let Them) Catch You Crying
- Pam The Hawk
- Given The Opportunity
- Soul Denying
- Whistle In The Dark
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – Bite The Bullet ** Out Now **
Vinyl £13.55 (Includes free mp3 version)
CD £11.37 (includes free mp3 version)
Mp3 album also available on its own for £7.99
Tracks – Based on Amazon – Step It Up Sister, Bite The Bullet, Western Standard Time, Cuss Cuss, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Feel a Little Better, Hongry, The Wickerman, 30,60,90 , I am King, Cry To Me, I’ll be back again.
HEAR TRACKS IN PREVIEW
One Heart – Specialized Bob Marley Covers Album ** Shipping Soon **
Yes, at last here it is – what you’ve been waiting for!
You can now pre-order the Specialized 5 – One Heart tribute to Bob Marley & The Wailers the 2016 Specialized theme.
67 tracks from over 70 contributing artists – 4 CD’s in a boxset
Specialized do it again with help from some of the finest musicians about
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Classic Pop Magazine – Suggs Quotes
An edited version of Classic pop’s 6 page Madness interview with Suggs about the new album and more.
When Madness launched new album Can’t Touch Us Now, they wanted to highlight just how much of a long running institution the band are. Others might be more prolific – Can’t Touch Us Now is only the 11 th album of a career that began 37 years ago with 1979’s One Step Beyond – but few are more universally loved.
On Chelsea Pensioners taking the role of journalists and asking the questions in the band recent online album announcement
Suggs: “God knows how we come up with that particular concept”’ admits Suggs. “It must have been in the pub. I’ve never met such a bunch of characters,” Suggs enthuses “We were trying to find on institution older than Madness for the album launch. The only other one we could think of was The Rolling Stones, and we didn’t want to do a press conference with them.”
The singer admits that, until he met the pensioners on the day, he wasn’t entirely clear what the charity is all about. “I thought they might have been veterans of the Boer War, until someone pointed out that was 200 years ago. Even World War I, which was my next best guess, is too long ago now. Actually, the Chelsea Pensioners is for ex-soldiers with no wives or children. It’s a fabulous community, Full of very interesting people who happen to be old. That was a great afternoon.” Madness’ main ethos is to strengthen the idea of community spirit. From the loving family memories of Our House via the shored rites of passages detailed in Baggy trousers and House of Fun to the trials of middle age on 2012’s previous album Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da DA, Madness are about music that brings people together – and that’s one of the main reasons they are still popular.
“We can’t change the system, unfortunately” says Suggs with a wry smile. “But our bond has always been about community and cooperation. That’s all we can do – keep going on about those ideas.”
Madness may not be associated with being overly political, but that would be to ignore the message of Embarrassment or how their initial career ended in 1996 with the anti-apartheid Waiting For) The Ghost Train, their final message before splitting for six years. Since their comeback, Misery has been a neat summary of Madness’ determination to celebrate life despite the state of the economy. It’s there, too, in Mumbo Jumbo on the new album. It may have been written before Brexit, but the song adroitly skewers both politicians seeking to divide the nation and their determination to avoid inconvenient fads.
“We’re in chaos as a nation, aren’t we?” rues Suggs. “Mumbo Jumbo is, as the title says, about the mumbo jumbo we’re being fed as people. I don’t really know where this chaos is all going to end up, and it is worrying. On a song like Mumbo Jumbo, all we can do is try to filter our thoughts about the state of the country into some kind of sense.” But it’s important to note that Madness are experts at not making such statements preachy – happy for the listener to figure out a song’s message.
“We’re like Chic, in a way” Suggs explains; “Nile Rodgers says Chic’s music has HDM: hidden deeper meaning. that’s the story of our career, too, that we’ve always got a hidden deeper meaning. And we’re happy for it to be hidden, because you don’t want to shout about your meaning. People aren’t stupid. People get patronised enough as it is without us patronising them, too. We know that, however people are portrayed, they’re not stupid. We appreciate that is one of the big reasons we’ve continued, I’m certain of it.” Suggs admits there was some debate about having a statement as seemingly arrogant as Can’t Touch Us Now as the new album’s tide, but the band eventually agreed it was time to remind people of Madness’ status. It was, Suggs says, initially just going to be the name for their latest annual Christmas arena tour, based on saxophonist tee Thompson’s new song of the same name. “When Can’t Touch Us Now was suggested for the tour title, I thought ‘Wel, that’s just funny” Suggs recalls. “As for an album title, though? That’s more permanent, and you do think Does that sound o bit too arrogant? But Madness have got to a point now where we sold 20,000 tickets for our House Of Common festival at Clapham Common, and we did that with no sponsorship or branding. I’m aware the band have had as many downs as we’ve had ups. But we’re at the point where we’re outside of the boundaries of whatever the music industry is called these days”
They still push the boundaries of pop music, and the six men currently in Madness still explore life’s possibilities to the full, too. The idea of them being national treasures faintly appals them. “We’ve still got chaos” insists Suggs. “National treasures? No thanks. If you show the reality of what goes on behind the scenes in Madness, we wouldn’t be allowed to be treasures”.
Talking about Smyth’s departure is the only time Suggs becomes even remotely frosty in our interview. “Cathal is still on sabbatical at the moment” he starts, his words suddenly slowing down. “He made his solo record during the time we were recording our new album and I really don’t know if he’ll come back. I know you have to ask the question about him, but it’s not something I feel comfortable talking about.” A rare pause, while Suggs tries to consider how to sum up Smyth’s current status. “This band is very complicated entity. It’s dysfunctional family. and within that you’re going to gel dysfunctionality. The seven of us have always had tolerance and love for each other”
I suggest that the only way in which Madness would be in trouble is if Woodgate decided to leave, however temporarily. It’s one idea that causes one of Suggs’ frequent convulsions of delighted laughter “Woody leaving? Yeah, that would be like the ravens leaving the tower. Me and him are the only two never to miss a Madness gig. Woody explained to me why once. Before Madness, he was in a band called FAT. Woody took a week off, so they got another drummer in – and they never asked Woody back.” So Madness, even if they’re currently down to a Six piece, are unlikely to split again any time soon. “You can’t touch us now, we’re in too deep” Is being in Madness like the Mafia, that you’re simply not allowed to leave? More Suggs laughter. “Well, to my mind, it’s that the British public are in too deep with us I think we are wanted. Whatever happens, Madness can go off and come back. Can’t Touch Us Now is released by Universal, but that’s the first time we’ve had a record contract since The Dangerrnen Sessions. We can organise everything ourselves, and we’ve created a depth of culture over the years that means we are in deep with the public”. It helps that, as Suggs puts it, “Madness escaped “Eighties nostalgia with the release of 2009’s album The liberty Of Norton Folgate”.
“We put a f*ck of a lot of effort into Norton Folgate” Suggs explains. “We thought that might be the last record we’d make and, if it was, we wanted it to be one we could be proud of. Oui Oui was very well received, too. We feel like we’ve been given on opportunity since Norton Folgote and the feeling is ‘F*ck it, let’s just try to plough on.’ We’re a working band again now, so it’s up to us to just do what we do. which is obviously making records.”
Is that easier said than done in such a dysfunctional family? “It’s not so bad. We’ve all stopped farting about a bit and concentrated again. So this new record was a relatively painless process. we’ve all met in the middle somewhere. We’ve collided together in a sandpit of joy.”
There is, loosely, a concept to Can’t Touch Us Now, despite Suggs’ reluctance to sell it a concept album. “On Oui Oui, my lyrics were more abstract than usual” he explains. “I’ve concentrated on getting back to the narrative side of my songwriting. I wanted stories again. All the songs are about specific people or events. Following the uptight antihero of first single Mr Apples, the album also depicts a stern would be father in law on Herbert, the gadget obsessed wideboy in Another Version Of Me and Pam the Hawk: A beggar – if that’s the correct term, I don’t know what the modern vernacular is. But Pam was an amazing character; she’d make £200 a day before she unfortunately passed away.” The band having written about Amy Winehouse in Circus Freaks on Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da, Suggs writes about their final meeting on moving ballad Blackbird on the new album. Winehouse lived in Camden, near Suggs. and he still despairs at her death years on. “I saw Amy on Dean Street in Soho very shortly before she died.” he sighs.
“So soon after her death, the timing wasn’t right to write about it on Oui Oui for me. But the experience kept going round and round in my head. She was walking towards me and went ‘Aright, Nutty Boy?’ That was just so funny, because no one had called me Nutty Boy since 1979. I’m a 55 year old man, for goodness’ sake. The way she said it was very funny, too, and I felt it captured something about her. I mean, what can you say about Amy that hasn’t already been said But I felt compelled to write Blackbird, and Chris wrote a very nice soul motif that immediately fit the lyrics. That song come out very naturally”. Winehouse was a regular at The Dublin Castle, the Camden pub where Madness played their first shows and where Suggs still goes drinking 40 years later.
The new album’s other concept was simply to get the band writing together again, rather than have everyone come in with complete songs written on their own. “Our management noticed that, during Oui we were getting more individual” Suggs admits. “We weren’t collaborating with each other so much to write songs, and we were aware a lot of our Classic songs were co-writes. That’s quite abstract, in a way, as songs are just songs. But we’ve all made a conscious decision to collaborate”. It’s Barson and Thompson who’ve been the main protagonists of Can’t Touch Us Now, but the singer insists: “If Woody, Mike or anyone else has a tune, I try to write with them” Suggs’ reticence to classify Can’t Touch Us Now as a concept album is mostly down to the fact that the characters he’s writing about aren’t linked. “There’s a contrivance to concept albums, you end up wedging songs onto them for the sake of the story. You have to ram songs in, and that rarely works. Look of Tommy by The Who. There are some great songs on there, but there are also some real duff ones.”
The new album was recorded at the infamous Toe Rog studios, the base in Hackney where The White Stripes laid down their breakthrough 2003 album Elephant. Owned by producer Liam Watson, it features entirely analogue equipment and eighttrock recording equipment. Watson waked with Clive Langer, the producer who has overseen all 11 Madness albums in some form. “All the effort has gone into writing this album and the rehearsing of 25 potential songs” explains Suggs. “Doing that meant that actually recording it was as painless as possible – it only took three weeks. (having only eight tracks to play with really does focus the mind. We took the album to Charlie Andrew for some technical wizardry in mixing. afterwards. But what we wanted was to capture the feel of a Madness performance. Once you write a good song, all you really want to do is to arrange it and rehearse it. To do that, you should do 15 or 20 takes of it in a room together, just performing it until you’ve practiced it enough. That’s what we did on this record. You capture something more than the modern method, where you lay down the bass, then the drums, then the guitars even if there we bumps and bruises, you just know immediately if a particular take has got a certain atmosphere. Capturing the spirit of our shows is really what has excited the band all along.”
Whatever the reception that meets Can’t Touch Us Now, it leaves Madness in rude health. As a working band, it shouldn’t be too long before album 12 arrives They may still play those songs of young men – last time Suggs spoke to Classic Pop, he admitted that the line “Sixteen today, and up for fun’ in House Of Fun is an albatross, Madness’ very own ‘Talking about my generation’.” But they’re still able to play those songs with an exuberance of a band aware of their good fortune that, dysfunctionalities and all, they essentially still get on so well. Madness will still be playing It Must Be love when they’re as old as Chelsea Pensioners? “I hope so” says Suggs, after another burst of laughter. “If we get to have the lives they’ve had, then fantastic. When I think about old people playing pap music, I don’t think about The Rolling Stones. I look at Buena Vista Social Club. where it’s possible to play pop music with some dignity. You don’t have to flounce about in leather trousers, ‘If you still enjoy making pop music – which we most assuredly do – and you feel there’s same go in you, that’s the main thing about deciding whether or not to carry on. Our job as a band is like reggae and soul artists who don’t have a miserable bone in their body or their music, despite the shit they’ve been through. It’s about trying to make the effort look effortless” And Madness, Suggs believes, have quietly become as big as they were during the Baggy Trousers days. Their albums chart better than ever, they sell more tickets than ever. “Every year, Madness opens out in a different way than I thought it would It’s getting bigger every time, and it’s starting to get scary because none of us knows what we’re unleashing, I don’t want to end up a gigantic popular rock star, but its heading in that direction, for some peculiar season.” Making great records and still playing celebratory shows must have something to do with it
“When we go on stage, I do feel o great deal of pride in the fact that we’re a pretty f*cking good bond. We’re one of the three best live bands in the world. And I don’t know who the other two are”
MIS FEATURE – CLANG – HAD A NICE NIGHT
Taken from Clive Langer’s new album “Practice”, which is out now.
Had a Nice Night – Featuring Suggs.
“It starts as raw and basic as Suggs lost song “Two bacon Sandwiches” By the time the second verse lands, it’s quite a compelling tale of Clive perhaps moving to London and meeting people and girls, and seeing bands for the first time. Sung very sincerely by Suggs reminiscent of the songs he did with the Audio Bullys. Sadly, it pauses rather long on a pretentious middle section of ambient sounds and tuning up noisy trash that while it’s under pinned almost sounds like bad playing, it’s the kind of thing Deaf School sometimes think is clever. Is it? The song manages to keep going and thrill again to the 3-minute point. Well worth a listen for it certainly captures a mood of adolescence, city life, live music and night life” Jonathan Young
Practice is out now.
“I’ve just had my first listen to this album and I’m really impressed. Funny that the band didn’t really wow me at the House of Fun, but these songs are excellent.” Donald Trull
“I love the look and feel of the vinyl of Practice by The Clang Group, especially as the sleeve has time to gently take the piss out of Madness’ sleeve for Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. Next step… Get a record player. This is one of the best quality sleeves I’ve ever owned” – Paul Rodgers
Jonathan Young / Paul Rodgers / Donald Trull
I REMEMBER WAY BACK WHEN
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 647 – Sunday 2nd October – Saturday 8th October 2011
We began this week’s issue of the MIS with a small bit of rumour quashing.
Subscriber Mick Jenner emailed us earlier in the week to tell us that he’d been contacted via a number of people on Facebook saying that they’d heard that Camden’s famous Dublin Castle pub was closing this coming March.
Rightfully concerned that his (and our!) beloved watering hole could be on its last legs he telephoned the venue who told him that the news was absolute rubbish.
If you’d been told that the DC was shutting up shop, you could breathe easy – it was not happening.
This week Darren Fordham appeared on North East radio station Koast Radio, in the North East, as a guest on Mr Scurf’s Koast Train.
Darren brought along with him some exclusive rough mixes from the studio and a working title for the Ska Orchestra album.
“The Collapse Of Bizzie Lizzie” was the working title for the forthcoming Ska Orchestra album which was entering mixing stages in October. Although about to be mixed, Darren encouraged fans to post ideas on the facebook page.
Next, it was over to The Sun newspaper who featured Suggs in their “Something for the Weekend” section.
Moving on, we continued with Suggs, but went over to the Quietus web site, who interviewed Suggs, asking him to reveal his 13 favourite albums of all time.
Elsewhere, we reported on the House of Fun Weekender Facebook page, which was busy promoting the forthcoming “World’s Longest Nutty Train” at the Minehead event. Fiona Linnel was heading up a team to photograph the train both up close in sections, and in full at a distance, as well as a full video pass along the line.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that The Magic Brothers had been back in the studio recording various drum segments for their next album. Exciting stuff!
10 years ago…
Issue 387 – Sunday 1st October to Saturday 7th October 2006
We began this week’s issue of the MIS with some fantastic news for all our Argentinean readers.
This time last week it looked as if Madness’ rumoured live appearance in Argentina was in doubt, when Thommo announced on the messageboard of the official Madness site that;
“This offer to perform in your beautiful country has not been confirmed by the band as of 21.28 (gmt) on the 21/09. As –
A.We don’t have details of travel/Accom & budget
B.Several members availability
& C. a guitarist.”
Thankfully, it looked as if the outstanding issues had now been resolved, as the gig was now listed at the top of the news section on madness.co.uk.
The entry detailed that the band were booked to perform at Argentina’s “Personal Fest 06” on the 17th of November.
The official confirmation that the band would be performing in Argentina had (not surprisingly!) generated a fair bit of excitement over on the official message board, with fans requesting that the band stage more performances while they were over there.
Last week we featured a scathing review (not ours, we will add!) of Madness’ performance at the Barbican on the previous Friday night.
Chris and Emma were quick to respond. Here’s just some of what they had to say when putting the record straight;
“The person responsible [for the review] is clearly accustomed to going along to only very staid classical performances and was not accustomed to the Nutty Boys’ zany stage antics, which added a perfect party atmosphere to the whole event.
It was great to see the Maddies in Cubanesque attire, Bedders and Woody both playing huge bongo style drums and brilliant to see Thommo back on stage again too. To suggest Suggs might have been slightly plastered is inexcusable, he was no more inebriated than he might be on any other Friday night and we’re sure it was only a bottle of Evian he was holding….
All of the performers gave their services free of charge to help raise funds for the rebuilding of a theatre in Cuba, a very generous gesture which perhaps the reviewer in question should have acknowledged rather than merely seeking to criticise.
All in all an excellent night”.
Moving on, and we passed the baton over to Steve Bringe of The Madness Trading Ring, who was kind enough to let us re-print his interview with Mr Dank Donk, bassist of the Amphetameanies.
In this light-hearted interview DD took us through his early years, and revealed how he got into Madness, and his own musical instrument playing.
We brought this week’s issue of the MIS to a close with another round-up of questions and answers that had appeared on the official Madness Messageboard over the past week or so.
15 years ago…
Issue 125 – Sunday 30th September to Saturday 6th October 2001
After running for a few weeks, the winners of the Madness Trading Ring’s prize-winning competition are announced. Split into a number of different sections, the competition was ran in such a way that more than one winner could be announced.
Joost claimed the winning title of the lyrics section, Paul Morely picked up the not so hard trophy, Birchy, the hard question, and our very own Jonathan Young won the bonus draw of answering at least 7 questions on each quiz.
Steve Bringe and Phil Pugh were not only kind enough to run the quiz, but also sent out prizes to the various winners.
Elsewhere in the issue, we reported that the ‘Madness Unsugged’ fanzine was back, with issue 6 landing in subscribers mailboxes by the middle of November. To celebrate the continuing success of the fanzine, editor Vince Carden staged a prize-winning competition, with the receiving a four issue subscription to the ‘zine, a pair of Madness stick-on tattoos, and a framed photo of the boys from the week Wonderful was released.
Following Carl Smyth’s recent performance at Camden’s Mac Bar, on the 23rd of September, co—editor Jonathan Young treated us all with an in-depth review of the evening, commenting that;
“In all the gig was a fantastic treat and showed clearly what different style of sound Carl is capable of outside of Madness. A further insight into the greatness to come. It was heralded by all present as by far the most civilised Madness related gig we had all been to!”
As well as the detailed lowdown of the evening Jonathan put together a review of each of the new songs Carl played on the night. The new tracks were: This Friend I Know, Heart is on my Mind, Ho de la la, and I’m Going Mad Again.
We finished off issue 25 by looking at the final episode of series 2 of the ‘Ska Train’ radio show, which this week covered 9 Ska and Reggae classics.
That’s almost it for this week, but before we go we’ve got a video round-up from a couple of recent concerts for you:
Grona Lund Stockholm September 30th
Montage of gig (back of crowd)
My girl, House of fun, Baggy Trousers , Our House.
Nw5 (left of stage)
With Boos for mentioning Justin Bieber.
Shut up (left of stage zoomed)
Take it or Leave It (left of stage)
The concert generally reported by fans as being very similar to most recent set lists, including the new album songs, and included Highway to hell as Showtime.
Oslo Norway. October 1st
It’s competition time over on Facebook, courtesy of DD Photography on facebook. Here, you can be in with a chance of winning a unique A3 sized print of Madness at The House of Fun 2015.
Pop over and like the page and then like and share the competition status post to be in the running. The winner will be picked in a month’s time and announced there too.
And with that, we’re done for this week.
All the best,
(With thanks to Adam Nichols and Paul Rodgers)