Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 818 – Sunday 11th January to Saturday 10th January 2015

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 818 – Sunday 11th January to Saturday 10th January 2015

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Evening all,

We’re only a couple of weeks into a brand new year, but news surrounding the next stage of band developments are already starting to surface as these compiled set of Tweets from Suggs reveal;

“Yes. Happy new year campers, batten down the hatches. That old moon river keeps rolling along. Madness preparing buffet of new songs/tour.

Announcements forthcoming. We have just recorded a song called ‘rag and bone man’ in Ray Davies studios muswell hill. The onslaught begins.”  

Naturally, we’ll bring you news on further developments as and when they surface.

Moving on, and for those of you who had yet to take advantage of the January Sale over on the Madstore, you’re now too late as the sale has come to an end. Still, there’s no need to feel down as the are some great items still available to purchase in the store, and they’re all reasonably priced.

Now, let’s get this issue underway.

Enjoy the read!

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams



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.




Operation Grand Slam… Summer 2015


Do you expect us to talk?   More information coming soon from Madness.co.uk on a large number of events, subscribe to official madnews with your email and hear first.


November 2015

November 20th – 23rd 2014 – Minehead – The House Of Fun Weekender Five

Early bird tickets on sale now




March 2015

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

January 27th


Indo 133 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DT *Free*

Visit: https://www.facebook.com/NearJazzExperience


The Silencerz ft. Lee Thompson

January 24th – The Spotted Bull Pub, London Road, Hemel Hempstead. More info at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1520383951558899/?pnref=story




Brand new T-Shirts, Merchandise


There are laurel leaf official polo’s in white, navy and black. T-shirts for all three beers; Night Boat, Lovestruck and Gladness. There are black laurel Beanie hats with the M crown logo, a new royal logo like Fez for gigs, blue and charcoal House Of Fun T-Shirts and a Mad Head design mug.

The black and red Dangermen Vs Invaders shirts are brilliant; half designed on the original 2004 Dangermen poster look with added flying saucers, making a really nice retro feel to the whole design.  There is a blue Madhead Picture T-shirt with a slogan on, and some Oui, Oui, Si, Si merchandise still available.


2014 – Tour Programme. 


Now only £8, and coming bundled with a link to 3 free Lee Thompson downloads, plus Rag and Bone Man download, from Madness.

It really is a really nice looking and well written Mad-Head little bible. One all collectors should get hold of.


Terry Edwards – One Step Beyond Book

It’s 35 years this year. Time to plug Terry Edwards Definitive book on the album. Get it for Christmas. It’s brilliant.

30% off “One Step Beyond…” – Terry’s book on Madness:

UK – http://www.bloomsbury.com/uk/madness-one-step-beyond-9780826429063/

USA – http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/madness-one-step-beyond-9780826429063/

Australia – http://www.bloomsbury.com/au/madness-one-step-beyond-9780826429063/


50% off older T-shirt stock.

If you’re happy to add some older items to your collection the Official Madness store has some up to 50% off their original asking price.





Items in the press that have caught our eye over the past week or so…

A Comfortable Oxjam

The Inaugural Oxjam Alderley music festival took place at the end of October with a stellar finale, held at The festival Hall Cheshire.

Two open mic competitions were presided over by judges of a panel which included Cathal Smyth.

Afterwards Cathal performed two songs from his latest album ‘A Comfortable Man’ with Kimmy Beatbox joining in for a rendition of ‘Goodbye Planet Earth’.

Full article at: http://www.so-cheshire.co.uk/shows-festivals/9993/oxjam-alderley-clinches-the-high-notes


Cathal Smyth in Mojo

An interview with Cathal Smyth conducted in October appears in the February edition of Mojo which is out now.

The introductory text calls Carl Cosmic reborn Cathal Smyth, and covers the emotional nature of the A Comfortable Man record, and divorce, rehab and healing. Then adds a further element to the events, revealing the shaman assisted mystical trip Carl took using “hallucinogenic Amazonian plant ayahuasca” in Ibiza.  He later in the article calls this an “Epiphany” in relation to a question about his family role in Madness, saying he doesn’t know,” the myth and story falls away”.

Amongst the questions answered with Pat Gilbert meeting Cathal in the Groucho club in October, were the following.

The song writing on your new album – delicate, raw, piano based – is a long way from Madness Nutty hits.

I’ve always written in the same kind of stuff, it just got lost in the pot. Tomorrow’s Just Another Day.

Our House. Time. Johnny The Horse. It’s essentially the same vein. It’s just this time around it’s more condensed.

I see it as a cathartic healing thing for men.

Word is you’ve left the group is that true?

That’s was in an article. (The Guardian) Like I say it’s a beautiful confusion.

I like to think there are seven or eight of me fighting in my head for the one chair. But that was the old story of me.

The new story of me is that I’m in a good place. I’m enjoying being me. I’m not fighting in the band for my voice.

Because I’ve got my voice.  I saw Mike Barson at my gig at Wilton’s which was really nice. It sounds egotistical but I know I’m the spirit of the band, I bring the joy.

Tell Mojo readers something you’ve never told anyone else.

(Long Think) I don’t exist.

Following the Mojo interview a news agency took a quote from the October interview and sold the story of Chas’s split from the band, to a number of online journals. Hence part of the answer is quoted from the band question.

These are all just generic indirect articles made from taking a quote and not talking to Carl directly.







Jonathan Young




As another year draws to a close we take time out to look back at some of the high and low points over the past 12 months.

This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, looks at the final four months of 2014.

September 2014

September got off to a fantastic start with the news that Cathal Smyth’s web site was now up and running over at www.cathalsmyth.co.uk. Not only that, but he’d uploaded the first track from his Comfortable Man solo album. At the time we felt that it had hints of REM’s “Everybody Hurts” track, but with some added reassuring calm.

Not to be outdone by Cathal, Nick Woodgate revealed that the title of his forthcoming solo album was to be called “Morning”, and available to pre-order from the 22nd of the month.

In food news we reported that UK supermarket chain Morrisson’s were the first large company to start stocking the band’s branded beers.

This month we learned that Suggs had collaborated on an album by Radio Riddler, turning the Prince song “Let’s go Crazy” into a reggae style cover. We felt at the time that this was the closest we’d heard to the Three Pyramids  style sound since the 90s.

Here at the MIS we have a soft spot for BBC Four’s re-runs of classic Top of The Pops episodes, and on the 25th of September the channel screened an episode that originally aired on the 6th September 1979. What was so special about this? Well, this was the first of numerous appearances by the band on the show. A piece of television history! We decided to ask Lee what he remembered about the recording, and he kindly regaled us with his memories.

Towards the end of the month Suggs set the rumour mill into overdrive when he proudly proclaimed that there were two bands lined up for a sound clash at the forthcoming Madness Weekender in Minehead. The one and only Paul Rodgers was of the opinion that the bands were The Dangermen and The Invaders. We’d just have to wait and see.

October 2014

Well, we didn’t have to wait long to find out who these two bands were, as at the start of October Madness confirmed that their alter egos The Dangermen and The Invaders would be performing on the Friday night.

Alongside this announcement, the full Weekender line-up was now revealed.

Meanwhile, Carl was keeping himself busy, and early in the month reviews for his recent solo performances started to come in. The audience were treated to his Comfortable Man album in full, and returned the favour by giving him a standing ovation. The album was available to purchase at the gigs, and we were promised that they’d be available to purchase online shortly.

Around mid month the new One Step Beyond 35th anniversary DVD/CD combo album started to land on the door mats of  Madness fans up and down the country. Not only that, but an archive of downloads from the Fab Toones 1979 rehearsal tape had also been made available to fans.

With the re-release of One Step Beyond we had to rope in the investigative talents of One Paul Rodgers, who, along with various nuggets of information regarding the album, declared it “Madness’ album with the longest chart span, having first appeared on 3rd November 1979 at number 15”.

Remember the Ian Dury memorial bench where you could plug in a set of headphones and listen to a selection of tracks by the great man? Well, it had fallen into disrepair over the past few years and now a group of fans were hoping to get it refurbished. Having gained the attention of Ian’s daughter they were working with her on the future needs of the project.

October drew to a close with the big announcement of a brand new Madness track, as they unveiled “The Last Rag and Bone Man” in a session with Radio 2 DJ Chris Evans.

November 2014

With The Invaders Vs The Dangermen gig fast approaching we kicked off November by taking a good look at Madness’ early incarnation, attempting to explain who they were and just what material they played. Prior to the forthcoming Weekender gig the last time The Invaders performed was the 16th February 1979, at the Dublin Castle, Camden Town.

Those of you attending the Weekender were once again urged to take part in the fancy dress element. With some fantastic prizes on offer including a Madness meet and greet, a signed Madness merchanise pack, a signed guitar and a free ticket to the 2015 Madness Weekender it was surely worth your time trying to get some funky clothing sorted.

Following on from our Invaders coverage we took you back to 2005 and the days of The Dangermen. Here we took a look at their back catalogue and declared that The Invaders Vs The Dangermen was the soundclash of the titans.

The Madness Weekender may have been fast approaching, but as November trundled ever onwards the band’s management were asking you to show them your Madness themed tattoo. The best would be featured in the forthcoming tour programme.

Those looking forward to seeing Craig Charles would be disappointed to learn that the comedian and DJ would not be appearing as he’d been booked to appear in the line-up for the latest series of I’m a Celebrity. Unfortunately, due to a death in the family Craig’s time on the series was cut short after only a few days as he had to return home.

Towards the end of the month, and with a large chunk of the Madness fanbase down in Minehead at The Weekender, we devoted an issue to the top 100 Madness tracks as voted by readers of the MIS and Madness related online communities. Keen to draw things out a little we went back through all previous Mad Charts, giving you the top 10 for each before finally revealing the latest lowdown.

So, what was number one? Embarassment!

We brought November to a close by telling you not to feel down that the Madness Weekender had ended as we now had a full on UK tour to look forward to!

December 2014

Yes, the Christmas tour. Beginning on the 4th at the Capital Arena, Nottingham, this much loved (almost) annual event would span almost three weeks, take in the length and breadth of the United Kingdom, before ending in a finale at London’s O2 on Saturday 20th.

The band, minus Carl, put on a fantastic set of performances, and with a bandmate down many fans commented that the remaining six put in even more effort than usual to fill the gap left by Mr. Smash.

The more observant out there may have noticed that a certain drummer was looking a little hairier than usual. This was down to him attempting to grow the bushiest beard possible all for charity.

While the Christmas tour got off the starting blocks reviews of the Madness Weekender started to come in, and near the start of the month the lowdown resulted in an absolutely huge issue of the MIS going out across the internet, such was the length of the content.

Also this month, congratulations were in order for USM and Madness for racking up combined totals of 500,000 sales of Complete Madness, Total Madness, Universal Madness and Forever Young. The band were handed their awards during the recent House of Fun Weekender.

Although the band were partway through their Christmas tour they were clearly keen to keep the momentum going, and around mid-month the announcement went out regarding “Operation Grandslam”, which would take place during 2015. Details were extremely limited, in as much as that’s all we knew, but we were certainly keen to know more.

As the year came to an end we brought things to a close with part one of our lookback at 2014. It’d certainly been an eventful year for both the band and its fans!

Rob Hazelby




QI –   Quite Interesting.

The BBC TV comedy quiz show Hosted by Comedian/Actor/Writer Stephen Fry, alongside regular panellist Comedian/Actor Alan Davies, welcome Suggs onto their show for his first appearance this Friday.

Series L (Each series of the knowledge based series follows a letter of the alphabet.)  This 12 series is themed around L.

Friday’s episode airs for 30 minutes from 10pm on BBC TWO.

It is titled “Long Lost”

The other guests are comedian Jimmy Carr, a regular guest on the show, and another new comer to the show, Claudia O’Doherty, new star of Inbetweeners2 and comedy blaps series.

In this preview clip of Friday’s forthcoming episode, the panellists participate in a scientific trick involving a glass of water.

Suggs and the glass of water trick…


Despite the fact that Suggs is more used to a glass of Gladness in his hand, he is the first of the four panellists to achieve the demonstrated trick, though the last part only the host Mr. Fry, manages to achieve the full effect of.  Never mind anyone who’s enjoyed Suggs Tommy Cooper impression during his solo show knows that splashed water is great comedy. Glass, glass just like that!

On Sunday you can see a longer version of the episode QI XL runs for 45 minutes on BBC2 at 10pm

Jonathan Young




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 558 – Sunday 10th January – Saturday 19th January 2010

With most of us deciding to stay home and hibernate during the current extended cold snap, it was nice to hear that a few of the more hardy members of the Madness fanbase and band itself had decided to venture out to last night’s screening of the new Ian Dury movie, at Camden Town Cinema.

Lee Thompson was amongst the crowd, accompanied by a few cans that he’d managed to smuggle in. He was quoted as saying that the film wasn’t anything new, but added “It really gave me the inspiration to do a Take it or Leave it Part 2”. We told you at the time not to get too excited as we really couldn’t see it happening.

Mad fans, including Jon young, Stuart Wright, Chris Carter-Pegg, Alan Halford, Yvonne Knock and Emma Southerby enjoyed the movie.  Jon told us that “it’s like Take it Or Leave it meets Walk the line, with a small touch of a Scooby Doo cartoon”.

On to the articles, and we kicked things off with news of the latest offer from Retro Madness. This week’s offer was for an original Madness 7 poster from 1981 of the famous ‘Rising Sun’ post. The price for this? £2.99 including postage and packing. What a bargain.

Moving on, and we went over to The Inflatables, a band celebrating their 30th anniversary. The band needed your help as they attempted to get their cover of classic Madness track “One Better Day” into the UK music charts. All you had to do was log in to iTunes and purchase their track for a mere 79p.

Next we passed things over to Spike The Bulldog, who pointed us in the direction of Ian Dury singing a classic Ian Dury number.

It was on to tribute bands next, as we reported that not content with being the drummer in North London outfit “MOT”, he’d now also joined “Big 10; a 10 piece ska band who did covers of Madness, The Specials, Bad Manners, The Beat, The Selecter and all the classic 2Tone and Ska tracks.

We had a request next, as resident MIS statistician Paul Rodgers, was asking if anyone reading the bulletins had access to the top 100 album charts for the mid 90s when Divine Madness was doing so well. He was quietly confident that he had a few more chart positions for Divine that he felt the urge to record.

There seemed to be Faceboo groups for anything and everything these days, but when we received an invite to join the “Spasticus Autisticus for no. 1 in the week of 27th March” group it brought a smile to our otherwise miserable faces.

The plan was, as the group name suggests, to buy Spasticus Autisticus from iTunes, Amazon and everywhere else during the week of the 14th – 20th March, in the hope it’ll get the track to number one in the UK music charts.

We brought this issue to a close with news from the latest issue of Mojo magazine, who reported that Chas Smash was working on a forthcoming Dubstep album.

10 years ago…

Issue number 296 – Sunday 9th January to Saturday 15th January 2005

You’d be forgiven for thinking that there was little going on in the world of Madness, as both the band and their fans seemed to have all gone into hiding.

Whilst we didn’t deny that things were certainly sedate, a closer look revealed that things were still plodding on.

The majority of the band had been busy updating the contents behind their doors on the official web site, and a number of messages on the messageboard had also been answered. The band were clearly still there but deciding to either take it easy, or were busy working on the new album, due out that Easter.

Like the band, the fans had been pretty much keeping a low profile over the past few weeks, but a number were proving that they were clearly wide awake and on the continual lookout for all things Madness related, with Chris Mountain and Andrew Langmead managing to find even BBC2’s darts coverage worth mentioning.

Here’s what Chris and Andrew had to say;

“Mountain Boy back again with some trivia for we anoraks :

On the telly yesterday afternoon, (Saturday) the darts was on BBC2. I don’t ever watch darts , I was at somebody else’s house. Honest.

It’s a bit like the wrestling/boxing these days, a bloke introduces them and they march onto stage to the music.  Each dart player has their own theme tune.

Well, this dart player called “The Dazzler” was introduced. He came on stage to One Step Beyond doing the Madness walk and dance. His shirt had some ska bloke type logo on the back and had, I kid thee not, the Madness “M” logo on the front.  (not the old one with the hat but the new one with the crown ).

All his fans in the audience were dressed up in the ska way white shirts/black tie or vice versa with pork pie hats and shades.  They were all dancing away nattily to the music.  The cameras were lapping it up. The BBC commentator , just paused and said…….. “Its Madness!”

It certainly was.

If you cant make it to see The Dangermen , go and see the darts!”

Chris, like us here at MIS Online was obviously not a darts enthusiast, and so Andrew Langmead provided us with a bit of background information on this televised pub game…

“The chap in question is called Darryl Fitton and he’s a huge Madness fan. Maybe he’s even on this list? I think he’s from Manchester and he bears a passing resemblance to Mr Barson.

Unfortunately he was beaten in yesterday’s semi-final by Raymond Van Barvevelt of the Netherlands (who just happens to be the world’s No. 1 player), so we won’t be      seeing him in action again today. Shame, because it was nice to see all the nutty boys and girls in the audience.

His website is at http://www.the-dazzler.com/“.

With so much work going on behind the ‘door’ of each band members’ section of the official web site we decided to take a look at just what additions had been made to each area. It turned out that all but Suggs and Lee had updated their areas. Suggs’ hadn’t been updated in a long time, and Lee’s page was sadly blank.

Following his recent uploading of unreleased Madness tracks, Kevin Tizzard had done it again by making further material available.

This week Kevin had kindly uploaded an MP3 of `Dazed and Confused`.

As he rightly pointed out at the time, “This is a slightly alternative mix to the renamed ‘So Tired’ on the TPC album”.

The mix was taken from Suggs’ `Three Pyramids Club` 4-track sampler.

Not content with making one extra track available he’d also uploaded an alternative version of `Our Man`, also from the `Three Pyramids Club` 4-track sampler.

We finished off this issue with news of the next MOT gig, which was due to take place at The Bull and Gate, Kentish Town, on Saturday 15th of January, and an update on the new MIS web site, which was being worked on by Simon (Roberts).

15 years ago…

Issue number 34 – Sunday 9th January to Saturday 15th January 2000

We’d all seemed to have scraped through into the year 2000 without much (if any) disruption caused by the so-called `Millennium Bug`, but it seemed that we were still not completely safe from crashes to our  computer networks. This week, the TMML list server was playing up, and for a day or so, nothing arrived on the list. As usual, Jenny Payne managed to keep a large number of us informed with the goings on via her own emergency e-mail list. How was that for service?

Elsewhere, the MIS hard drive decided to wave a big goodbye, and so we spent the majority of the weekend, installing new hardware and software, when we should have been putting the new issue together.

We were sure that the news that Madness were to play in Belgium couldn’t have passed you by, and all those of you living in mainland Europe were probably already making plans to get there in August. Well, unfortunately if you did venture off to Belgium then, you wouldn’t be catching Madness as they weren’t playing there. As soon as the news went out, we mailed Bedders and asked him if there was any truth behind these rumours to which he replied that there wasn’t, as they had nothing booked.

On a more positive note, subscriber Suzanne Gilmour contacted us to say that on the Virgin Radio website, Madness were voted `Band of the Year`.

Moving on, and Bedders was kind enough to drop us a quick email to let us know that if all went to plan, the third single would be (as the majority of us knew), `Drip Fed Fred`. This would hopefully see the light of day sometime in February.

Although suffering from poor health, a number of new Ian Dury and The Blockheads dates had been announced for Norwich UEA on the 4th of February and The Palladium on the 6th. Both of these were with the proviso that Ian was well enough to perform.

In this issue the articles were a review of the Bournemouth International Centre gig which took place on Friday 17th December, a lengthy write-up (complete with gig dates) of Madness tribute Complete Madness, written by band sax player, Chris Halford.

Elsewhere, subscriber Chris Byrne had been kind enough to post up the bullet points which popped-up during the “Pop up Video” screening of It Must be Love, and not to be outdone by Complete Madness, One Step Behind also had a mass of dates to pass our way, which we were only too pleased to publish.

This issue finished off with Ian Taylor (of Mad Not Mad fanzine) reviewing Johnny The Horse, You’re Wonderful, I Was The One and  Dreaming Man.

Rob Hazelby




Specialized 3 – Mad Not Cancer wins RSS Album of the Year 2014!

Fantastic news just in that “Specialized 3- Mad Not Cancer” has won Album of the Year 2014 through the Reggae Steady Ska.com site! The site is Europe’s leading ska & reggae source and carries a lot of respect. Its great news for all the Specialized supporters but to the acts who contributed we say thank you so much for making the album such a worthwhile hit, the Madness fanbase especially those at the MIS & All things Madness and to the Nutty Boys Madness for the inspiration.

I dedicate it to all the acts involved and proves that there is some huge talent out there.

I’d like to personally thank all the lovely Specialized supporters, the humungous Madness fan base and the guys at Reggae Steady Ska .com for including us in their list of 2014. Dink dank doo!

We thank everybody for taking time out to vote for it.

We are also very excited that the Specialized Project is in the running for a couple more Reggae Steady Ska awards – ‘Best Festival’ (The Big One at Park Dean, Sandford) & ‘Best Vinyl 7″ (Specialized has two entries in this category!).


Paul Willo




A few interesting snippets from the Twittersphere that have appeared online over the past week or so…

Steve Essom Art @SteveEssomArt

“WIP Suggs & Chas https://twitter.com/steveessomart/status/554287135814332416

Suggs @SuggsMcPherson

“Yes, thanks for asking @scalawag it is about Alf Masterson. Literally the last rag and bone man in London. He used to come down my road”

Woody @WoodyMadness

“Back to normal. Chubby cheeks, blind as a bat and beardless”

http://justgiving.com/woody-woodgate (photograph of clean shaven drummer)




We’re almost at the end of this week’s issue of the MIS, but before we go we’ve just got time to let you know that Darren Fordham’s band “Reece” will be supporting Lee Thompson’s band The Silencerz this coming February. We’ll have more news on this as and when it trickles in.

Until the ext issue, have a good week.

All the very best,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

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