Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 832 – Sunday 19th April to Saturday 25th April 2015

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 832 – Sunday 19th April to Saturday 25th April 2015

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Hello, good evening and welcome to this latest edition of the MIS Online newsletter.

This week we bring you a revamped “Buy It” section, with a large selection of new items for you to spend your pennies on.

Also, you’ll see that when you scroll down to the “Showtimes” section the first gig of the Grandslam tour has all but sold out. Tickets are still available, but all the general admission tickets have gone.

We’re certain this tour is going to be a popular one with fans, and urge you to buy your tickets for remaining gigs you wish to attend if you’ve not already done so.

The big news this week is our feature on a whole set of new Ska Orchestra songs that are currently being penned and practiced. MIS co-editor, Jonathan Young was there during one of these sessions, and you can find out just how the band are progressing elsewhere in this issue.

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.




March 12th – The Emirates Stadium – This week “The Gig Company” has announced Madness appearing at Suggs & Friends charity event in the line up (see below).


“Sporting theatres jumping with joy is the goal. Grandslam Madness – the greatest open air tour in the history of Rock & Roll…”


29 – Lincoln City Football Club
30 – Gloucester Rugby Club


3 Chelmsford City Racecourse
6 – Portsmouth, Fratton Park *** General tickets sold out ***
26 – Newmarket Racecourses
27 – Doncaster Racecourse
28 – Hove, Sussex County Cricket Club


2 – Silverstone Circuit
3 – St Helens, Haydock Park Racecourse
4 – Carlisle Racecourse
5 – Montrose, East Links, Scotland
9 – Epsom Downs Racecourse
10 – Chepstow Racecourse
11 – Rhyll Outdoor Events Arena


11 – Canterbury, Kent County Cricket Club
12 – Bristol, Gloucester County Cricket Club
13 – London, On Blackheath
18 – Leeds, Yorkshire County Cricket Club
25 – Wolverhampton
26 – Chester-le-Street, Durham County Cricket Club


November 2015

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

Early bird tickets on sale now



Near Jazz Experience


21st –  NEAR JAZZ EXPERIENCE + Support + DJ
Indo 133 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DT *Free*
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/NearJazzExperience



19th –  NEAR JAZZ EXPERIENCE + Support + DJ
Indo 133 Whitechapel Rd, London E1 1DT *Free*
Visit: https://www.facebook.com/NearJazzExperience


The Silencerz ft. Lee Thompson


9th The Junction, Cambridge, Support Terry Hall (DJ set)


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra


24th Llangollen Town Hall, Denbrighshire, Wales  (Fringe Festival Event)


1st The Garage Highbury, London


Cathal Smyth


14th Shepard’s Bush Hall London. W12.


Clang Group

Thursday 23 April – Surya, Kings Cross, London


Deaf School


5th – The Garage, Highbury, London




The Grandslam Tour T-Shirt


It’s 6 weeks until the Grandslam begins. You can get the latest official Madness T-shirt here…


The charcoal grey T-shirt (available in small or large sizes) costs £20 and is exclusive to the Madshop. It’s also available in advance of the tour, which is nice


New Accessories

Brand new Madness vinyl stickers.

Cover your pencil case, fridge, exercise book, vinyl boxes, hamster cage, wallet, picture frame, tooth brush holder, local lamppost, envelopes, passing double decker busses, birthday cards, mobile phone case or other, with new Madness stickers.  In 6 piece sets of classic M’s or a union jack worded M.


Also now available – Madness Brewing Company. Bottle Opener.



A Comfortable Man – Cathal Smyth solo album.  Signed Packages Now Available.

Remaining limited LP’s, CD and download. Album available May 11th.

Signed Super Deluxe Bundles are now available, containing the Limited LP, CD and download editions. The preview track and single download instantly, and you also get a pack of 10 art postcards. The album is available in a Digipack CD with 8 page booklet.

More info at: http://cathalsmyth.tmstor.es/    Price – £28.99

If you attended the Wilton’s music hall gig and already have the LP, or if you are only interested in certain items there are a range of other buy options available. Signed CD’s separately. Etc.


In Your Mind – Woody Woodgate solo album.

Pre-Order Now on Amazon.


OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE A SIGNED ALBUM INSTEAD http://www.propermusic.com/product-details/Woody-Woodgate-In-Your-Mind-Ltd-Autographed-Edition-188454

Album released June 1st.    13 tracks with new band line up and vocalist Dan Shears.







So how do you keep the feeling of it being fresh?

“Traditionally, we don’t tour for months and months – we gave up on America and they probably gave up on us.

Touring for years on end is what drains the lifeblood out of a lot of acts that I see. Each tour we do we try and make unique – and special. This one’s special as no one has ever done something like this – as big as this – at sporting venues like this. It’s a Madness madcap idea and we know people will respond to it.”

How does it feel to be now playing football stadiums in a band after years of attending as a fan?

“It’s always an odd thing, you keep expecting someone to tap you on the back and say, where’s your ticket son? It’s happened to me enough times in my life. It’s great we are playing places that aren’t just major capital cities, this is what we did for years in the early days. It will be nice to go back to places we haven’t been in a long time




As this issue hits the internet, The Ska Orchestra earlier today played a large handful of new tracks in The Dublin Castle. It was a try out gig only to air the work they had been shaping recently as they prepare to begin recording their second album, and gauge reaction of a small audience and see how the new tunes work live.

We’ve gathered some information on these new tracks just a week ago and some video too, with the band in rehearsal mode. We will publish that info in full later, but for now as it’s early days still, here is a more general description of last week and the new material. A taster of what’s happening and what’s to come with the second record.

Sitting in a round, with the two keyboard players of Louis and Seamus on the left, Fordie, and the brass boys Chalky and Bob at the far wall, Kevin and Bedders & Andy either side of Mez on the drums, Mr Thompson moving freely between the front mike, (next to a small recording desk,) and the band kettle!, or occasionally playing his sax into the wall for sound fx. Here…

New songs are taking shape.  From discussions and observing this process, the eclectic nature of the song pool this time is clear. There are still some covers. The original versions are occasionally played into the room for a guide.  There are also the first band written tunes. That writing goes band wide. Trombonist Bob, drummer Mez have both told us of the tunes they wrote in the pile, others Lee has explained come fully formed from new guitarist Andy. Lee himself has written some new lyrics for at least one tune. Fordie also held up lyric pages at one point during the weekend, and Bedders was collaborating on a demo track at one point and asking Lee if he had lyric ideas for it, (this last one is so fresh that it probably hasn’t been played at the DC gig today either, but we definitely hope it progresses in the studio as it had unique possibilities with a gospel edge.)

All the tracks suit the ska sound of this big band still. While the varied tracks include some a little more pop, rock and roll and even a wild west soundtrack leaning one, the sound the band have and are known for from the first album continues. But it has also developed with the added bonus of extra guitar sounds they didn’t have or didn’t focus on last time. This comes from both Kev whose live FX slides and rock out loud moment motifs from live gigs might now be set to appear more on record arrangements. Where previously Mission Impossible etc had only been echo dub extended live, the new tracks some have this approach built in, as intro’s etc. Plus the addition of Andy now into the band with a differing guitar twang, some tracks feature solo or pickings of a second sound of strings, this is distinct in new moods.

A bond theme is played. “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” with the band saying it’s the hardest one to get structurally as they go through it. They run through songs one at a time, marking out where and who should solo, and bar by bar discussions of how to make some simple instrumentals more interesting, and how long tracks should last in repetitions.

During “Tunnel One”  (Lengthened now with new solos, ) they do briefly ask “how was that?” to us MIS Ska spectators, and we give thumbs up, but the rest of the time we hide in witness up one corner, as this long impressive process takes place.

“Well we learnt a lot there” becomes something of a catchphrase from Louis Vause when a tune misses it’s end or flops out of full band participation and someone gets a little lost. Lyrics are read from sheets, and chords are noted on paper, phones, iPads and shared around.

13 tunes were played as a mock gig to end the sessions, half were instrumentals, the others all vocal tracks. Though there was talk of adding some Lee Lyrics to a tune I think Louis wrote, so this might tip the balance further. A 14 track was worked on to some extent and there was lyrics for a further song lying around.

The showcasing solo’s once again highlights the united focus where everyone get a moment, which has been trademark of who this band are. This slightly altered line up, from the Mission Mary days, gels really well, and is ready to record…

The second album cometh…

More on this later…

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 572 – Sunday 18th April – Saturday 24th April 2010

With such a packed issue on offer we kept the intro text to an absolute minimum, and instead urged you to get straight on to the articles, which kicked off with “Paul Rodgers’ Musings and Facts”.

What were these musings and facts? Well, with the first week out for the deluxe versions of Absolutely and Seven Paul felt it was a good time to have a look back at Madness’ performance in the UKL charts with the original versions of those albumbs. He began with One Step Beyond, which had already received the deluxe treatment.

Next, it was over to The Guardian newspaper, and an interview conducted by reporter Jo Mears, who interviewed Suggs on his family values.

“When I was eight, Mum took me to visit my Auntie Diana in Haverfordwest and then left me there for three years because she felt she couldn’t cope. It was a shock and I did feel bitter and angry about it for a while, but not any more. I get a bit sick of knocking my mum in the press all the time. She’s a good listener – she’s even fostered several children – and we are still very close. I’ve just been out for lunch with her and I see her every couple of weeks.

Looking back, I realise she did the best she could at the time.”

We continued our issue with another newspaper article. This time we went to the York Press, who covered a recent gig of The Blockheads who performed at The Pocklington Arts Centre on the 16th.

It was back to Madness next as we re-printed an article from the official Madness email newsletter, which was advertising Madness 7 and Absolutely for only £7.49.

Following this Jonathan looked at Deaf School’s tribute to Eric Shark with Suggs and Lee.

“A line up of stars joined Deaf School for two shows in Tribute to Eric Shark who passed away. With Suggs teaming up alongside his wife, and Lee Thompson front man-ing again it was a memorable night for Madness fans too.

It was a fun Matinee show, the 7pm gig. The Frank Sinatra support I think chose Mac the Knife on purpose “oh the shark has pretty teeth dear”, well Mr Eric Shark was the reason for such a line up of people joining Deaf School to tribute him tonight. His passing leaves a gap in some parts of Deaf School songs, a band who until his passing had three singers, who each have their own character, and often have specific parts of songs to sing.”

After this we reported on Carl Smyth joining the Madness Central forum where he made a few nice comments including a great poem we suggested you checked out. He also commented on an old MIS article about his box set song “Fish and Chips” that he saw there.

Instead of our usual end to an issue outro this wek we left you in the capable hands of Jon Yong, and his news of a little Madness Easter egg.

This wasn’t actually an official Easter egg. What you had to do was make a note of the 4th and 5th words from a particular paragraph on a certain page. Gamers used to late eighties and early nineties would be well used to this kind of manual copy protection. Once you had the two words you were told to go to a specific link and use the two words as a filename for a special MP3 download. All you were asked was to not reveal the password publicly.

10 years ago…

Issue number 310 – Sunday 17th April to Saturday 23rd April 2005

We started off this week’s with news in from Darren Balsdon, reporting that the V2 web site had announced a number of release dates.

Here’s what Darren had to tell us at the time;

“Just been checking the V2 site on my lunch break – v2music.com, and they have added a section for Madness.

It’s blank at the moment, except in the “catalogue” section there is a hint of proposed release dates:

20 June for a single

4 July for an album”

This was all we had to go on, so all we could do was promise the loyal MIS readership that we’d report back as soon as we knew more.

Well, what else could we do?

Moving on, and we took a look at number 47 Stephenson Street in North London? Why? Well, this was the house that featured in 1982’s legendary “Our House” music video. In 1982 the value of the house was a mere £28,000. Come forward to 2005 and its value had rocketed to a whopping £248,000. How much is it worth now? We’ve no idea, but we’re sure that’s gone up still further!

Next up was Jonathan Young, bringing news of a Q magazine covermount CD giveaway. Entitled “Rule Britannia (40 years of great British music), this album featured 15 tracks from bands such as Ian Dury and The Blockheads, Dexy’s Midnight Runners, The Kinks, and of course, Madness. What was a pleasant surprise was that instead of using something like “Our House”, “Baggy Trousers” or “House of Fun” the team putting the compilation together had gone for the excellent “Mr Speaker Gets The Word”.

On to more release dates next as we reported that we’d been contacted by Emma at 101cd.com, telling us that the release date for the next Madness single would be on the 20th of June, following by the new album on the 4th of July.

She finished by saying that 101cd.com were really appreciative of the support they get from Madness, the MIS and the MTR, and as soon as the release dates were finalised, she would let all online Madness news outlets know.

Elsewhere in this issue we featured a write up of a new book – “Rip it up and Start Again: Postpunk 1978 – 1984”, by the author himself.

The author told us that:

“Based on over 125 interviews, it’s a panoramic survey of the seven year period following punk, taking in everything from PIL to ABC to ZTT, from industrial and      2-Tone to synthpop and goth. Of particular interest will be the chapter on Madness”

We finished off this week’s issue with a number of questions and answers that had recently been posted over on the official Madness messageboard.

15 years ago…

Issue 48 – Sunday 16th April to Saturday 22nd April 2000

Over the past few weeks and months, everyone had been gearing themselves up for Madstock 2000 and the rumoured US tour which would coincide with the Stateside release of `Wonderful`. Now that both of these events had sadly been shelved things had gone all quiet on the fan side of things.

Well, you had no need to fret. Things were far from quiet on the Madness scene. There was an ever growing collection of Madness tribute bands out there, and with Scatty beavering away with his Madness and Ian Dury day, the scene was very much alive, meaning we had lots to look forward to over the coming weeks and months.

“What about Madness?”. Well, whatever they had planned, it wasn’t yet public domain. We’d just have to wait and see what they wanted to do.

In the meantime, we had this snippet from a certain Mr. Vince Foley which we thought you’d find most interesting:

“Hey Now!

I have some good news here for ye all…

I have known this for a while, but have held off until the right mo….spoke to the man himself literally a minute ago and I got the go-ahead to let you all in on something…….

Cathal J Smyth will be playing at the Fleadh festival at Finsbury Park London on June 10th…

As he quoth himself….. “getting the band together in two weeks…..it’s only half an hour on stage two and early at 12:45 but still …..humble thyself and ye shall be exalted……”

The ‘Velvet Ghost’ shalleth ariveth…..

All the best


We were sure Cathal would appreciate any Maddies popping along to cheer him on and show their support.

On a slightly different note, and following the recent passing away of `Uncle` Ian Dury a few weeks back, a recent edition of `The Sunday People` newspaper reported that Robbie Williams was organising a tribute album to Ian with the proceeds going to cancer.

Following last week’s unfortunate news that the much anticipated Madstock 2000 would not be happening, Colin Hinchley had come up with one possible solution for brightening up the summer months;

“So, no Madstock 2000 then.

Well, why not come to Morecambe in June for the Ska Fest. It is being held at the Empire arena from Friday June 16th – Sunday June 18th. Bad Manners, The Specials, The Selecter, The Beat, Laurel Aitken and The Hotknives are all playing.

Anyone up for it? There will be record fairs and DJs as well”.

It was now time to start saving those pennies back up again, as we learned this week that not only did we have the re-mastered version of Divine Madness to look forward to, but we’d just received details from Virgin announcing the forthcoming release of a book about the band.

Details were sketchy. In fact, the only information we had was that the planned title of the book was “Don’t Watch That, Watch This”.

After what seemed like an age, we finally received issue 15 of the Nut Inc fanzine. Although we’d only just got hold of our issue we were still able to give a detailed lowdown of this issues’ contents.

We finished off this week’s issue of the MIS with a request to our readers, asking for reviews of any Madness tribute acts they’d seen recently. With Madstock not taking place this year, any self -respecting Madness fan would need their fix somehow.

Rob Hazelby




Mark Bedford @I_be_MarkB

“Being a technological doofus, only just realised that I can put up playlists of stuff I’m listening to on Spotify? Doh! #baldy#oldgeezer





And finally…

It was a wonderfully heart warming thing to witness…

You may recall a few weeks back our mention of a very ill fan who was well looked after by the band at a recent Suggs and Friends Madness gig. Well, this fan has since met Cathal Smyth, who took time out to visit her at the hospice she is staying at.

With Cathal’s visit this not only completes her ‘in person’ set of photographs, but is another item she’s been able to tick off her bucket list.

Until next week, take care,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

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