Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 805 – Sunday 12th October to Saturday 11th October 2014
Good evening Madheads!
This issue we review the long anticipated “A Comfortable Man” live solo shows with Cathal Smyth performing to standing ovation crowds at Wilton’s musical hall.
Cathal’s album was on sale at the gigs, and should soon be more widely available from the online Emporium over at www.cathalsmyth.co.uk
Back with Madness and some exciting news arrived on twitter. If we’re reading things correctly it could mean that recording may already be underway on the next album. Why do we think this? Well, Woody commented; “off to the studio. Suggs and Mike have come up with a cracking new tune”. He later tweeted, that drums were completed on this unnamed track.
Elsewhere, and Bedders mentioned “Off to Konk studios”. While Lee said on facebook “In Kinks studio Hornsey doing ‘Our Version’ of ‘Steptoe & Son’”, which made it all sound more an Invaders-like mission, as the band said of the Nutty Sounds/Theme that they once used to do Steptoe and Son theme live before it.
Exciting developments, and we shall keep and eye and what transpires next.
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.
November 21st – 24th 2014 – Minehead – Earlybird tickets can be ordered here: http://www.bigweekends.com/splash-pages/madness2014.aspx
All for the M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour
Thursday 4th, Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Friday 5th, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton, Matinee
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton * SOLD OUT *
Monday 8th, Plymouth Pavillions, Plymouth
Tuesday 9th, Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth
Thursday 11th, First Direct Arena, Leeds
Friday 12th, Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Saturday 13th, LG Arena, The NEC, Birmingham
Monday 15th, Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Tuesday 16th, The O2 Dublin, Dublin
Thursday 18th, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Friday 19th, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester
Saturday 20th, The O2 Arena, London
Links to purchase tickets for the above tour can be found at: http://madness.seetickets.com/tour/madness/?pre=premad&src=madnesspre
For tickets also see links via: www.madness.co.uk
The Silencerz (Featuring Lee Thompson)
November 8th – Hertford Corn Exchange. 39 Fore St. Herts. SG14 1AL With support. The Skammers.
November 16th – Confirmed in the Sunday Lineup of bands at Specialized The Big One 3. In Dorset.
Lee will also be doing a photo signing session.
* New * 12th March – An Evening With Suggs and Friends, in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK. Held at The Emirates Stadium. At £160 a ticket we’re not sure if many MIS readers will be attending! http://www.thegigcompany.org/events/pcuk2015/
Near Jazz Experience
November 4th – NEAR JAZZ EXPERIENCE + support & guest DJ set – Indo 133 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DT *Free*
Thursday 20 November, The Borderline, London
Friday 21 November, Academy, Manchester
Saturday 22 November, Trades, Hebden Bridge
Sunday 23 November, Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton
* Note – We originally had some of the above dates in the wrong order. Sorry! *
The Clang Group
See this week’s outro for more information.
* New * Wednesday 22 October, The Dublin Castle, Camden – part of the John Peel 10th anniversary evening
* New * Thursday 23 October, Electric Ballroom, Camden – supporting The Amazing Snakeheads
More information and full gig details at www.theclanggroup.com
If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.
Madness – One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary edition CD.
You can now order the new edition of One Step Beyond 35th Anniversary, from Salvo Sound & Vision:
This Anniversary edition has been digitally remastered from the original 1⁄4 inch tapes by Tim Turan, and comes with recently unearthed rehearsal recordings from 1979, including two songs that have never appeared anywhere before. “Lost my head” and “Sunshine Voice”. It’s also very interesting to see Absolutely album track “You Said” on the rehearsal tape and Grey Day B-side “Memories” as well as hearing versions of tracks that made the album some 5 months before the debut LP was recorded.
Hear previews of these tracks, help yourself to a free download and you can even re-name the album, creating pictures you can share with people. Visit the mini site to do all this.
There is a DVD of videos and Top of the Pops/Old Grey Whistle Test appearances, that includes the Young Guns documentary, and a 24 page booklet that speaks to Clive, Alan and Chris about the album.
The M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour T-shirt – Get it now.
What does any self respecting Madhead wear? The only true fan clothing of choice right now is surely the brand new Madhead T-shirt. Available now at least five months ahead of the tour, this T-shirt is so NOW! You can look stylish in it in a range of sizes, you can promote this summer, the forthcoming tour and help your heroes and of course in this day and age by buying the bands official clothing you are putting your money into the future new album project pot etc of the band who exist these days on their own self produced record label.
Available here… Via See Tickets and Madness.co.uk
Cathal Smyth – A Comfortable Man – Limited Vinyl
Numbered 1 to 1000, this is a limited edition vinyl of “A Comfortable Man”, with a download code for the mp3 album. Available end of September from Cathal’s website. The album will also be available from Amazon and iTunes soon.
Nick Woodgate – Morning (Tracklisting revealed)
Pre-order Nick Woodgate’s solo album on iTunes from September 22nd.
Tracklisting: Morning / Magic Carpets in the Sky / Eloise / You Can Get It / I Can Hear The Music / Call Me… / Bus / Let’s Spend Lots of Money / On Her Majesty’s Secret Service / Summer Nights / The Magic Dawn / Show Me / Magic Brothers / Night
SPECIALIZED: Mad Not Cancer. 4CD covers album for Teenage Cancer Trust
Over 70 tracks. 4 CDs. Cover versions of Madness by not just Ska bands but lots of young up and coming acts of many genres including a few famous pop stars and Bedders on one track, too. All for Teenage Cancer.
http://www.specialized-project.co.uk/#!shop/c1atu (remove hyphen from URL)
Purple Reggae – Radio Riddler
Celebrating 30 years of Purple Rain, Radio Riddler present Purple Reggae – an all-star tribute to Prince’s most iconic work “Prince is the reason I started playing music. I grew up on this album. It’s the soundtrack to my life’ and this is a tribute to him from me.” Frank Benbini of Radio Riddler and Fun Lovin’ Criminals. Featuring Suggs on opening track, Let’s Go Crazy.
SIGN OF THE TIMES / LIVE INTENSIFIED
Chas Smash: After the Madness, Going Solo
He recently consulted a Peruvian shaman on the island, who performed a ceremony in which Smyth took ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic concoction believed to clear the mind. The result was him kicking his 35-year hash habit, then emailing members of Madness saying he thinks he wants to quit, despite looming December tour. He has yet to receive their response. “I’m not even sure I should be telling you this,” he laughs nervously.
“I feel like an artist for the first time. When I’ve played Are the Children Happy? to people – cab drivers, gangsters, hedge fund managers – they’ve all cried, they’ve all come back to me with their own family stories. It’s taught me that there is strength in vulnerability, that life is a journey. There is so much beauty all around us, you know? So much potential. When I sit on a plane and hear a child cry, I don’t hear fractious, I hear the music of life.”
His eyes are shining now; he seems close to tears. Cab drivers and gangsters, I say, are all well and good, but what does his wife think of the record? Given that his overriding proviso for the project was not to hurt her, it is her reaction that must count the most.
Smyth, whose face is normally so easy to read looks suddenly enigmatic, his smile mixed in with something more vague. “She said, ‘When are you going to write some happy songs?’ And that’s all she said.”
Cathal Smyth, Robert Elms
Ahead of his gigs at Wilton’s music hall this week, Carl appeared on BBC London with long term friend, broadcaster Robert Elms. In an appearance suggested to his team by MIS, Carl appeared to perform a session of the track “Are the Children Happy”, playing piano on it for the first time publically.
In front of a long standing friend, Cathal found himself full transported in the moment, unable to finish due to emotion. He switched beautifully to finish in acapella. The chat itself was so fittingly fully of true of expression, that it was deeply moving in it’s open honesty.
Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra, Thursday 2nd October – Jazz Café, Camden
Everyone enjoys a bit of TLC but sometimes a bit LTSO is all you need.
On Thursday 2nd October it’s fair to say the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra yet again reach their usual height of powers; it’s a similar set as before. However, worthy of mention is a significant vocalist appearing for the 1st time with LTSO for Fu Man Chu – a certain Daley Thompson. I’ve got to know Daley a little over the last year or so and I’m genuinely nervous for him, hoping he can deliver a great vocal. This he does perfectly; the falsetto arrangement of any ’60s version that you may know or indeed the recorded LTSO cover always sound great. Daley told me some time ago that this is his favourite vocal for him to perform and when he is announced by his dad with “Get Daley on stage!”,
Lee generously allows Daley his moment in the spotlight. No Lee Thommo-foolery here tonight just, I’m sure, a proud dad watching and listening to his son provide a pitch perfect performance. Indeed the Jazz Café crowd give him warm applause appreciating both the song and the singer.
LTSO are standard brilliance now. It’s a sell out gig which shows the place in the heart this band has reached in the year they stormed Glastonbury to add to their already impressive achievements since starting out in 2011. The other guest singer tonight is 70’s veteran Linda Lewis who has worked with David Bowie and covered the Shoop shoop song in the mid 70’s to chart success and continues to collaborate with bands and artists, mostly recently the Basement Jaxx. Here she was appearing in the guest slot, that we’ve witnesse Dawn Penn, Rhoda Dakkar and other legends appear in.
Her squeaky high register of a voice is powerful and can sing as high as most people can only whistle. It’s not completely a pleasing contrast to the bands own sound unfortunately. Bangarang, sounded a bit ear piercing in her high octave. But No No No once again cements itself as a uniquely brilliant audience moment in the band repertoire.
You can’t fault the rest of the set pieces, from the fresh excitement of guitar stabbing “Tunnel One”, Louis Vause’s vocal Piano moment, the dubbed out mission impossible guitar echo, many a brass solo, great to see Mike Kearsey again in the line up. A main song croon for the backing singer Fordie. Even a chuckle at Thommo adding the line “Ali Campbell and his UB40 thieves” to a song after the recent support slot with the soon to be in court, ex lead singer of that band. Dave Robinson came on stage to call them back for the Encore, and the room wouldn’t let go of them, until Broadway Jungle had drained the last energy from the happy dancing room.
Daren West / Jonathan Young
A Comfortable Recital – At Last A Full Cathal Smyth Solo Show
It’s 2001 in Camden’s Mac Bar. Carl is playing acoustic guitar, versions of “The Wizard” and original songs such as “I’m going mad again” for an album by a band he is calling Velvet Ghost. It’s just him today backed only a little by pianist Louis Vause, playing free to a handful of people in a pub on an afternoon. It’s rather cool, and enjoyable. I remember thinking after it ended, over oh too soon, that I can’t wait for the next one of these events.
It’s will be over 12 years before I get to see a set of solo songs he’s written performed live again. 9 of them will include some hard times, rehabilitation and the writing of A Comfortable Man LP.
It will truly be worth the wait to hear this.
I’m in the east end of London, next to Jack the Ripper tour posters, and I’m feeling that Norton Folgate world vibe that I enjoyed in this area of London some 5 years ago for Madness album events then, and equally I’m delighted to be meeting Looby Loo, our editor from that time, and a scared survivor of medical woes of late, rather than from the actual clutches of any east end shadows here. We head down to find Wilton’s Music Hall, an historical building where much laughter and music has rung out through the years. From Dan Leno no doubt, through to Madness photo shoots in 2009 and Suggs’ 50th a couple of years hence too! It’s propped up by scaffolding, It’s brick bare walls and a husk of it’s original Victorian state, listed for protection, there is hammering going on as we arrive and a lottery grant is rebuilding the upstairs.
This is the perfect setting for Carl’s solo show, building something new from solid old bricks of talent, so long in the construction, and comfortable still like old associations are. It is smaller than say Hackney Empire’s historical Folgate album staging, but the world weighted lyrical nature and classical approach of Carl’s solo music requires more than the back room pub setting can really house or compliment.
There is an art exhibition too taking place as part of the comfortable man experience today, and as we look at all the graffiti written on the builders boards outside the building we wonder if this commentary is part of the show!!!! “Is this building still here?” someone has scrawled on the outer screening, along with tag’s and more, two large wooden featureless doors hang in the entrance to the Mahogany Bar at Wilton’s, where Chris Carter Pegg has explained to me, this is open to drink in even when the event theatre room is closed. We enter even though it couldn’t look more closed to us in this early afternoon hour.
As we walk in, we are immediately alone in a room with just bar staff, one couple at a table, and Cathal Smyth sitting attentively looking at a laptop screen alongside his friend showing him images and details, possibly of last night’s Gala performance of the show. One that was attended by Barson, and many friends and family, Press and celebrities. Jamie Winstone the dust devil herself, bought the first copy of Carl’s album to go on sale, (and Later Mel C will also visit these gigs.) Loyal aid & organiser Adele tell’s us, and helps us by fetching Carl to sign his album as we buy it. What a delight it is to hold in my hands a completely finished Cathal Smyth album. That previous effort only ever slipping the net. Although I’m not a massive fan of a comfortable off duty picture pose on the cover, that’s almost tramp like but actually portrays an Ibiza supermarket casual moment, I am still grinning widely looking at it, it exists after such a long wait. It’s nice to tangibly turn and read the back cover where all the many talented musicians are listed and a nice thank you speech appears full of the kind of out pouring of genuine love that you would expect from the man Carl is. He is at peace thanking his wife Jo here also. The break up from her inspiring a new start on songs and some of this album is dramatically about that event and being beyond it.
I tell Carl how much I enjoyed the Robert Elms session, and he reflects on the great broadcaster, as he signs my purchased album (34 of 1000) in gold pen, doing like-wise for others, as Darren Dixon, Owen Collins and a few more fans join us in the pre show drinking. Carl stands in a Dr Who like scarf and casual look, posing for a few photographs too. Owen comedically asks where the advertised nibbles are, which draws only a blank. As he continues to sign each album gets a varition positive message added to just the choice of Cathal name. “in love in light”, “what a wonder love is”, Looby get’s the personal “I love you” as a known friend, and Patrick Clifford lands the song title “you’re not alone” with the self confessed hippyish vibe of this coming together it feels like some kind of fortune teller giving out messages like a Chinese cookie of wisdom. Something that extends in sloganing to a range of badges all espousing love themes too. Owen settles for eating a section of one of the flowers from the table ornament in the end.
We queue and enter the main music hall room. Seated chairs point towards a stage that will house the Joe Dudell ensemble.
They are: Violin I – Harriet Davies, Violin II – Morven Bryce, Viola – Elisa Bergersen, Cello – Jon Kitchen, Piano – Max Wilson, Harp – Serafina Steer, Guitar – Tim Maple, Bass – Malcolm Moore, Perc – Catherine Ring. Choir – Chris Webb, Oskar McCarthy, Will Davies, Josh Cooter, Fiona Mackay, Marie-Anne Hall, Laurel Neighbour, Lucy Cronin and Greg Batsleer. (And I think Joe Duddell himself was on drums)
There is a large wooden throne like chair adjacent but away from the piano, and front facing us. Carl will later explain an Irish folk performer who used this very chair and he had it brought over especially. He sounds in parts like a Dave Allen or Ronnie Corbett meets musicians type of a guy, his name I didn’t catch but it was a source of pride for Carl. Carl will perform about half the show seated here, the rest walking the stage or resting a leg up on a monitor speaker.
Left of stage a very good facial likeness wax model of Carl is perched, beautiful detailed down to glasses and hat choice, that begins to look creepy and unnerving intentionally so, as the body is smaller in proportion and almost rag doll like sack looking, sitting on top of a locked chest. It’s striking, and it’s perhaps guarding Cathal’s soul until tonight’s show will bare it more personally than pop Madness perhaps has before.
The art exhibition is curated by MC Llamas, a set of street and contemporary art is displayed mostly in the upstairs gallery, beyond the mentioned pieces here including a glacier melted at the back in reference to goodbye planet earth, and a piano with grass growing over the keys. A wander upstairs reveals a rich array of styles and conceptual renderings. A Little more on that elsewhere in this issue.
We are treated to a warm up from Louis Vause on piano, with one bass backing helper on a couple of tunes. It’s a delight to witness Midnight in Havana (the track) performed in full. His ten minute song that takes you through a day in the city )from evening through morning and back to evening again. We also hear “Melody” (for his daughter) “Enter Ladies Man”, “The Long Goodbye” (Dedicated to his liver transplant) “Fast Show drag” (he claims he gets royalties from the show still) and even a new composition. Louis is delightful, there sadly isnt room for his band on stage, but the round of applause shows Louis was appreciated. A suited male singer appears next for an operatic performance and an old classic standard.
A hush descends as the musicians all take the stage for the main event, and Cathal appears resplendent in a white suit, and sits peacefully centering into a silence of expectation.
When some wag shouts, “Your flies are undone” aimed at his opened legged stance. Carl checks, and quietens the atmosphere again with only eyebrow re-actioning looks and smiles. Before slowly the strings start the performance, and he brings the microphone to his mouth for the first time.
A Comfortable Man
She’s Got The Light
Shabat She Comes
Love Song Number 7
Do You Believe in Love
Love Song Number 9
A Requiem for Common Sense
All My Loving
The Wren’s Burial
Season of Content
Are The Children Happy?
Goodbye Planet Earth
You’re Not Alone
Not sung in the same order as the album, which I’m lucky enough to be a bit familiar with before the show. All the better for it. Certainly the online familiar couple of tunes that many attending fans may have witnessed before arriving, from videos and radio sessions put up by Carl, are well placed in the set near the end, as close to the idea of “hits” might allow for a concert still almost entirely fresh and brand new to majority audience.
He begins with the mellow confessional title track “A Comfortable Man” it’s a touch George Harrison like, but predominately a winding strings affair, that sets out the mood for his mind and this evening. An old man, looking at his long life. Unlike Sinatra’s “My Way” which claims unbeaten victory of self focussed bellowing, this gentle statement admits Guilt, loss and failure, stacked against, important focus, success, and wonder of witnessed greatness.
This beautiful slow start draws the first round of applause from the seated crowd that will grow into a standing ovation twice near the shows end, and nothing but celebrated appreciation all evening, of this great work.
Shabat – Wilton’s Music Hall October 8th.
Two new love songs follow. “She’s got the light”, poppy and rolling, it relaxes the crowd into a bopping along lullaby. Where as “Shabat She Comes” delightfully fills up the room with Rock into Gospel feel that totally justifies and utilises the large crowd on stage. These are songs that show Carl’s ability to embrace life and women that cross his path these days, and are as upbeat as modern Madness songs, though have a more Celtic & country style leaning, a classic approach elsewhere, and a personal voice shinning through all a few steps beyond from tracks like “So Alive” or “MK II” do as Madness album tracks, making this a neighbour of unique song writing, certainly never ska, and less aiming for pop charts as it is critical response and meaning to the listener.
Love Song Number 7 – Wilton’s Music Hall 9th October.
“Love Song Number 7” is the most shocking and heartfelt track that relates to the break up. Containing as it does the actual moment of impact in the emotional crash that is the end of his marriage union. Piano notes beautifully linger, while turning and painting a cold and unsettling landscape of autumn reflection, sorrowful lyrics of heartbreak don’t depress, but they are so very clear and mournful images. The piano makes minimal light touches, until at the three minute mark, the words start to talk of the lightning bolt of being told It’s over, the tone of voice gets louder line by line and harsher and piano notes thud with force, which all builds into the dam bursting moment of the song, like a bottle falling to the stone floor in the music hall bar earlier, the word “Cold” hits like a smashing stop, the song reaches a stunned quiet ending, where the same quiet notes played after this don’t seem the same ones any more. During this section of the song the performance was so mesmerising that it was like a tractor beam to the attention, transfixed the rest of the room melted away into a blurred background and the central performance held the high definition of drama. It’s this and a few other moments. Most notably “are the children happy” played solo on the piano before the encore for the band. That deal with the shock and the sorry and questioning nature of loss, that will touch people, and leads some to say after the gig, they had tears as a result of this concert. This song is the only one Carl plays solo with the band, doing the piano himself.
Are The Children Happy? – Wilton’s Music Hall October 9th.
“3 sublime performances” Joe Duddel later said of performing this gig.
“Do you believe in love?” As our Paul Rodgers says “A radio hit”. Is the happy song I will find myself singing the next day. Always a good note for a gig is the ear-worm it creates. Cathal flirts with the front of stage female vocalist from the choir, and he is humble and appreciative of his audience in general, often thanking them, and generously naming or pointing out the band members on stage with him.
All My Loving – Wilton’s Music Hall October 9th.
“All my loving” puts a rock of strength into the love song idea, and a swear word, that makes this a unqiue sounding song, where alongside the sentiment of the average love tune, resides a rougeish force to reckoned with feel. It’s very carl. While “Reqiuem for Common Sense” makes good use of the choir musically and lyrically tackles the subject of war, as does the environment feature as the topic of “Goodbye Planet earth”.
“The Wrens Burial” is a tune we had been gifted the listen of a few years back, and have therefore waited many months to hear it performed live. This tune has an amazing depth and is more the final moment of acceptance after performing rituals that help you mark the days and move you forward. It’s not happiness but it’s the freeing moment of sighing. Working together on a theory Paul Rodgers showed me an old Irish folk song referencing a new year tradition of wren burial, that may be a link in the chain of working out further meaning of this song. All I can say is finally hearing it live, it lived up to my expectations and delighted. It’s a song that make me so glad there are avenues beyond Madness for individuals in the band to spread their wings, as this is like a Clannad or Kate Bush mystical type tune and I adore it. It is dedicated to Los Palmas Seven Mentioned uncle Tommy McGloin who passed away a week before these gigs took place. Goodnight Tommy.
It must be strange to hear Carl talk about new and old songs, when this entire show is being staged for the first three times in full, and has only been preceded by one festival appearance half performance. But Carl has been the writer/performer so long. From Michael Caine, through Song in Red, Johnny the Horse Slow intro, Clerkenwell Polka up to So Alive. His song writing and moments of central focus within the main band Madness, brings a work that follows outwards from these moments. Which is why it feels sharing an evening with him at Wilton’s that he has been doing this kind of thing for the longest of times. It fits. And when he says of “Are the children happy?” “probably shouldn’t be doing that one any more.” Like its over now as a song. It’s in part because of so many performances before these gigs, stages in private, in small numbers to friends, in small impromptu gatherings, via email, or mobile phone previews too, and playing things to people back stage at gigs and irish aftershow singa longs breaking out. Always showing what he working on, forms a history of these songs being lived and heard.
The Season of Content – Wilton’s Music Hall October 9th.
“The Season of content”. Is a song he dedicated to the maddy boys. Newly written. It sings of crows feet around his eyes and lines upon his face looking out at the world. Remembering all the times of the band. And asking rhetorically if contentment now is not the biggest reward of their success together. Very interesting.
The evening ends with the albums first track “You are not alone”. And the one that’s been previewed on-line for this event. And what a great end tune it turns out to be as well, an opener it’s ending refrain works brilliantly. “Fairwell my lovely, have yourself a journey.” Seems a fitting wave to end a relationship in the positive. To wish the past goodbye. To celebrate what has been a very special night of music so long in the waiting. Spellbinding, uniquely cultured, and for me nothing short of a mini-folgate like masterpiece of multi-staging, for a most personal peice of music collected together that unveiling Cathal Smyth as himself, the man can be proud of what we all enjoyed. He’s not alone in loving this music.
“Great night last night at Cathal Smyths debut solo album..headache and a new autograph to add to the tattoo collection! Under my knee.” Braxton Hole (Braxton now has a heart design from the art display with Do You believe in love tattooed across her leg below a CHAS signature.)
“very moving. Loved it!” Andy Shoults
“A perfect night spent listening to Cathal/Chas… I’m still deliriously happy….life is good! Beautiful night,listening to a beautiful man,with a few of the best kinda people.Incredibly,some real powerful & heartfelt lyrics,but all delivered in a way that could & would simply melt the hardest of hearts ” Hazel Foster
“Brilliant night last night, Cathal’s new album is amazing! And I’ve just Met Mel C!” Sharon Staite
“October came and with it came the rain. But what a night it was last night despite the weather watching Cathal Smyth live. It left me with my heart broken on the floor & my concussion reminding me of times gone by. I wish I’d sang the opening 2 lines of Song In Red to him when I met him last night but I may have made myself look like a fool. What a gent he was and what a show and songs they are. Love Song No 7 is up there with Our House as his best ever composition in my opinion it’s that good and Adele or Sam Smith would cover it in a second. I still am of the opinion that Song In Red would work well in his current orchestral group with piano and violins on it. Anyway enough said. At least there wasn’t thunder & lightning last night! A Comfortable Night” Mark Bowen
“F***ing Emotional. Loved. A requiem for common sense.” Darren Dixon
“The very lovely and super talented Cathal Smyth working his magic at Wilton’s Love Song Number 7. stunning song! Had an ex eastender actress to my left and she cried all through this one.” Lindsey Davies
Jonathan Young. (Videos Lindsey Davies)
Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of The 70’s – One Step Beyond
Johnnie Walker celebrates Madness’s debut album and hears the 70s memories of Erasure.
This week he’s celebrating the 35th anniversary of Madness’ debut album One Step Beyond, receiving a new release after being remastered from the original tapes. One of the forerunners of the 2 Tone ska revival alongside The Specials, the band blasted onto the music scene in 1979 with their appearance on Top Of The Pops and swiftly rose to stardom. Johnnie will play tracks from the original album, as well as hearing clips from the BBC archive of the band about the album.
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 545 – Sunday 11th October – Saturday 17th October 2009
This past week had been one of announcements and surprises. Not only had the band added a performance date at this year’s Edinburgh Hogmanay celebrations on December the 31st, but after a break of around 25 years, they’d also brought back the matinee shows for younger fans.
The band continued to surprise us, and rumours were already circulating that they were starting to make bookings for 2010. However, before we looked towards next year there was a Christmas tour on the horizon, and tickets were selling extremely quickly, with venues already selling out.
On the 30th September Suggs was guest on Lincs FM where he promoted Total Madness and the forthcoming Christmas tour. Thanks for the fantastic typing efforts of subscriber Craig Taylor, we were able to include the complete transcript.
With tickets for the forthcoming Christmas tour already selling out, and new dates towards the end of December recently announced, we decided it was about time we re-visited the dates, listed which ones were now full, and detailed how you could get tickets to those venues that still had some left.
At the time of typing the gigs at The Plymouth Pavillions, Southend Cliffs, Swindon Oasis, Leeds O2 Academy, Newcastle O2 Academy and Glasgow O2 Academy had already sold out.
Elsewhere in this issue Paul Rogers gave us an update on all things chart releated for Madness, with data hot off the press. Total Madness continued to shine in the album charts, climbing from 3 to 2 in the indie charts and remaining static at number 15 in both the albums top 75 and the combined albums top 75.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that the legendary Deaf School were booked to play at the 100 Club on the 11th December. This would be a warm-up gig for their 20th December gig at the Liverpool O2 Academy.
10 years ago…
Issue 283 – Sunday 10th October – Saturday 16th October 2004
In the wake of the UK music industry deciding to take a large number of illegal uploaders and downloaders to court, we decided to take a look at how you could legally download your favourite Madness tracks, what was on offer, and who we thought would actually be interested in using the service.
In the first of a series of articles, co-editor Jonathan Young took a look at Apple’s iTunes service. Articles in subsequent issues of the MIS would look at Napster and Napster Light – re-launched as a legal service earlier in the year.
In the previous week we published an email from subscriber Alex Griffin, who was attempting to track down more information on his imported CD version of ‘Keep Moving’, which was released way back in 1984. Alex was confused as to why this version had never been listed in discographies.
Always keen to help a fellow Maddie in distress, Paul Rodgers contacted us and explained that the reason the album didn’t show up in any discographies was because it was a German release, licensed to Teldec.
Here’s what Paul said at the time;
“Unless anyone knows better, I’ll state it was the first ever Madness CD. I can’t remember when I bought my first copy, but it was certainly before Mad Not Mad was released on CD in the UK (the first CD release in the UK to come out at the same time as the LP and cassette).
Initially this version of Keep Moving was very hard to find, I believe I got mine from the legendary Adrians Records in Wickford, Essex, which was one of the places you had to go before Nutty Discs, PLRMadmail and eBay. It certainly wasn’t available over here when Keep Moving came out on vinyl, but it was one of the first CDs I ever bought”
Remember the Madness Singles Box Set volume two? Well, in an effort to find out what the situation was regarding this, Madness Trading Ring co-maintainer, Steve Bringe, decided to contact Chrissy Boy for a bit of an update.
Replying with a short “Er..I think “some time next year”…maybe April”, the whole release seemed to us fans to be very much in limbo.
The wait continued.
15 years ago…
Issue 21 – Sunday 10th October to Saturday 16th October 1999
We started off this week’s issue with an apology for our actions the week before. Due to a couple of niggles with the list server it seemed as if the issue was sent out but didn’t reach any of the subscriber list. Worrying that we’d have hundreds of readers without their weekly dose of Madness news we sent out the MIS again, and then discovered that both postings eventually made their way out, resulting in everyone receiving two duplicate issues. Whoops!
Moving swiftly onto more Madness related info, and after reporting in last week’s bulletin that `Wonderful` had been put back to November 1st (for the UK), the Madness box-set, entitled `The Lot` had been moved from its November 1st release to Monday, November 9th!!! So, readers now had two Monday’s in a row where they’d be rushing down to their local music store to pick up the latest Madness release!
Over the past week, the Virgin website designers had their noses to the grindstone to bring you a number of exciting updates to the official Madness website at: http://www.madness.co.uk
There was just too much new material available on the site to list in this issue, so we urged you to at least check out the `Johnny The Horse` video clip, a candid camera view of the DM Boot signing and
Electric Ballroom gig.
Those still on dial-up connections were urged to hold-out for and tune in to VH1, as we’d just received news revealing that the promo video for Johnny The Horse would be aired from Monday onwards.
Moving on to this week’s articles, and we re-printed a review of The Lot from Eden Music’s web site, where they gave that and the new Wonderful album very positive goings-over indeed.
Elsewhere, Chris Carter-Pegg was on another one of his Madness clear out sessions, which this time saw him selling the 7″ of Never Ask Twice, the On Step Beyond 12″, and some rare versions of the Grey Day 12″, plus others.
News in from the US-based Complete and Utter Madness web site reported that the Doctor Martin’s book was not being handed-out to Stateside customers. After some investigative work the site discovered that the books were being given to outlets, but they were returning them to distributors. The reason being? Well, one or two of the photos displayed imagery of young children ‘giving the finger’, and they felt that the content was harmful to minors. The bottom line was they didn’t want any lawsuits from the parents or any bad press. As most people wouldn’t be aware that there is a free book to be given away with the boots they would be none the wiser.
Further on in the issue, and subscriber Andrew Harper was also having a go at selling some of his collection, by listing a mass of goodies ranging from tour programmes and badges, to a Complete Madness mirror, and a selection of sew-on patches. Andrew was also selling a large number of magazines from down the years. Featuring interviews with the band, these were fantastic items for any self-respecting Madness collector.
Next-up, and embarking on a massive transcribing mission was one Suzanne Gilmour, who provided us with part 1 (of 3!) of her transcription of Radio Two’s “Total Madness” programme. Suzanne had taken on a huge project with this, and to this day we wonder if she regretted doing it once she’d got underway.
With the release of the new album (Wonderful) and single (Johnny The Horse) fast approaching, the next two sections of the issue featured the first Wonderful fan review, courtesy of the Complete and Utter Madness web site, and a review of the JTH video, from the one and only Vince Foley. Both writers gave their subject matter glowing reviews, which no doubt served to excite the Madness fan base even more than they already were.
We finished off this issue of the MIS with a lowdown of the latest revision of the Madness tour bible, Tour Madness. New for this issue was that the whole document had now been split into sections, so it made finding what you were after that bit easier.
MIS FEATURE – THE ART OF A COMFORTABLE MAN
The exhibition of Art at Wilton’s musical hall was curated by MC Llamas. It was housed on and above the stage and all around the main music hall at Wilton’s, including an upstairs gallery walk of many visual collages and paintings.
In the foreword to the guide booklet she writes…
“When I first met Cathal Smyth I was struck by the man’s creative energy, vivacity and will for life. I soon understood that what mattered to him most was his three children, to whom A Comfortable Man is dedicated. I believe that this artistic and musical collaboration between Cathal and Myself is an ode to family.
My role was to unite a group of artists that have a moral code of ethics at the essence of a functional world. THe show has an undeniable Graffiti and Street Art Aesthetic strongly present in Cathal’s past and upbringing as part of Madness who started as a London crew. A will for art beyond all barriers, which is a perfect metaphor for the album.”
There are nearly 40 contributors listed as making the art that was on display. Some of this staging, was dull, pretentious, seemingly pointless, unlinked, or focussed on the artist rather than the music or it’s composer and his themes, or was just of little note to this one individual witness. But equally within this display there were also many items that felt highly relevant, showed talent, captured a deeper meaning or viewpoint upon the content within the songs, or displayed a focused other side of Cathal Smyth himself, enhancing the event with unforgettable eye catching surrounds. We shall not investigate further the unworthy or the not understood here. But add a descriptive credit to a few of the items most enjoyed.
Wendy Mayer’s Wax sculpture of Carl had pride of place. That the guide booklet states she creates creepy little dolls, is pleasing to know that the feeling the figure on state created within the viewer was both a delight in how well rendered Carl’s likeness was in the face, and how strange and unnerving it seemed on a more cartoon like mini body sitting abreast a wooden chest like a sort of demon summoned guard dog. I could both imagine fan girls stealing it for their own worship idol, or members of Madness sticking pins in it during moments of frustration.
Artist Dede’s brilliant band aid symbolism on bright red canvas, was striking above the stage and harmoniously shone reflection of Carl’s belief that music, and particularly this music was about healing, from him to you.
Sam Jackson’s dark portrait painting of Carl is worthy of making the sleeve notes of the album should a CD version ever come out. Words from the songs painted across Carl’s face with a use of real dark colours, makes well for the brooding and effected vulnerable man bruised by life that the album centres on before uplifting.
Nancy Fouts created Grass piano. This surrealist likes to juxtapose ordinary objects with the strange out of place elements. A nicely polished large piano with grass roots growing up through the keys was on display near the right hand side of the stage. Not really conveying unkemptness as it was neatly mowed levelled looking grass, suggesting instead the new growth of life through the music and a relaxed easy feel to a setting.
Sadly I don’t have full details of which artist contributed the best items beyond these. But there is a beautiful painting that really feels like an alternative album cover, of Carl in Argyle socks and hotel robe strolling down a London street. Equally a street painting of a musician flying on a bird overhead of the stage must be a reaction of Wren’s Burial. Goodbye planet earth featured a plastic box with a nearly melted glacier inside, and a giant black and white photograph of Carl also appeared rather magnificently at the back of the music hall room.
Perhaps the wittiest piece amongst all the creativity though. Must go to a set of created photo graphs of families.
Under the heading “Matrimony” where scenes of united smiling husbands and wives with their kids. Underneath under the title “Alimony” were the same scenes now depicted with silhouettes where the man had been cut out from the picture, or in some cases other men’s heads glued over the top in crude ways oh so noticeable and even a cross racial lack of matching on one group. This was simultaneously able to make people laugh, and also draw sorrow. As Carl’s performance amongst all this art, brought forth from the audience both tears and cheers, I would say over all the art exhibition was a great success. And while it’s often a time to say F*** art let’s dance, when men from Madness are in town to entertain, this isn’t the case with music more soul exploring and open, like Folgate before it, and now A Comfortable Man, the additional elements and layers added to the creation and presentation of the music give such a rounded experience that it will live long in the memory and be appreciated.
It is possible the art was auctioned on the gala first evening, or will soon be collected into homes now that the event and display has finished.
We bring this week’s issue to a close with news in from Mark Adamson who tells us that that Clive’s band has taken off following the two gigs in July. The story is:
“Clive Langer & The Clang Group have been in Iguana Studios with Charlie Andrews this week, recording an EP which will be released by Domino Records later in 2014. The record will include Clive singing Shipbuilding, which he wrote with Elvis Costello of course, and three new compositions, Rhoda, Breaking Out and Places and Things.
The band comprises Clive on guitar and vocals, Roxy Music’s Andy Mackay on saxophone, Gregg Braden (Cheap Hotel) on drums, John Wood (aka The Reverend Max Ripple) on keyboards and Malcolm Lunan (Eugene McGuinness Band) on bass.
The Clang Group will be gigging later in the year when the record is released, but in the meantime will be playing two gigs later this month:
Wednesday 22 October, The Dublin Castle, Camden – part of the John Peel 10th anniversary evening
Thursday 23 October, Electric Ballroom, Camden – supporting The Amazing Snakeheads
More information and full gig details at www.theclanggroup.com.”
And finally, Madness fans have been sending in questions to Q Magazine, so expect them to appear, along with the answers, in the next issue’s Cash for Questions segment.
And with that, we’re done!
Until next week, take care,
(With special thanks to Lindsey Davies, Mark Adamson and Daren West)
A Comfortable Man
I have travelled over desert
I have lived in foreign home
I have prayed and I’ve born witness
in black & white and kodachrome
I have forged a path for Wisdom
I have brandished heavy words
I have failed and I’ve been guilty
I’ve felt blessed and I’ve felt cursed
and I am a comfortable man
and I am a comfortable man
I have walked among the many
and when all is said and done
I have Loved and raised a Family
I’m both a father and a Son
I have trained to fight close quarter
I have practised sleight of hand
I heard the Dalai Lama
It’s thirty years I’m in the band
and I am a comfortable Man
and I am a vulnerable Man
I’ve buried cousin, uncle, father
I’ve seen the old ones to their grave
I’ve lost friends who couldn’t take it
I know Souls I couldn’t save
(c) Bright girl songs.