Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 875 – Sunday 14th February to Saturday 20th February 2016

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 875 – Sunday 14th February to Saturday 20th February 2016

Pinterest Google+

Last year played host to the successful Grandslam Tour, and following the teaser photo posted on the band’s Facebook page on Friday, it’s looking like 2016 may be the year of “Operation M.A.D”.

The black and white teaser photo shows the six band members sat around a well lit circular table, in a dimly lit room set deep within a Dr. Strange style bunker.

“Coming soon”, announced the image. How soon is soon? We’ll all have to wait and see. Madness fan Adam Nicholls suggested that “Operation M.A.D” would be the name that all of this year’s festival dates would be going under, while fellow Maddie, Steve Farthing wondered if this was the title of a pre-Christmas arena tour.

Naturally, we’ll have more news regarding “Operation M.A.D” just as soon as they surface.

In the meantime, the band have been busy adding further dates to their 2016 line up, as this week saw the addition of Kendal Calling on Saturday 30th July, and the Y Not Festival the day after.

The year is really shaping up to be another busy one for the band and us fans.

Now, on with the 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.




Saturday 28th –  Dauwpop Festival, Netherlands (headliners)
More info at: http://www.dauwpop.nl


Saturday 30th – Kendal Calling, Penrith *** New ***

Sunday 31st – Y Not Festival, Matlock *** New ***


Thursday 4th – Edinburgh Corn Exchange *** Sold Out ***
More info at: http://m.whatsoninedinburgh.co.uk/event/028964-madness/

Friday 5th – Edinburgh Corn Exchange
More info at: http://m.whatsoninedinburgh.co.uk/event/028964-madness/

Saturday 6th –Tartan Heart Festival, Inverness, Scotland (headliners)
More info at www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk

Thursday 11th – Cropredy Festival, Oxfordshire. First day headliner

Saturday 13th – Boom Town Fair – Winchester


Friday 18th – Monday 21st – Madness Weekender 6, Minehead




17th – An evening with Suggs and Friends for Pancreatic Cancer. The Emirates Stadium


22nd – Scarborough Spa Theatre
23rd – Lincoln Drill Hall
24th – Carlisle Sands Centre
25th – Ilkley King’s Hall
27th – Bournemouth Pavillion Theatre
28th – Bath The Forum
29th – Worcester Huntingdon Hall
30th – Wrexham William Aston Hall


1st – Crewe Lyceum Theatre
3rd – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
4th – Sheffield Lyceum
5th – 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra


Saturday 16th, Boisdale, Canary Wharf, London *** New ***


Friday 22nd, Hampton Pool Picnic, Supporting The Selecter *** New ***


Rhoda Dakar

Saturday 18th June – 100 Club London

(Also appearing at The London International Ska festival, Glastonbury, & European festivals this year)




14% off in the Madstore, Ready for Valentine’s day.

It’s discount time over on the official Madness Madstore, so why not pick up your loved one (or yourself!) a nutty bargain. Check out the newly released“I heart Madness” T-shirt while you’re there.

Enter the code MAD14 when checking out to receive your discount.


Win Suggs Tickets

Like and share a post over on Suggs’ official Facebook page for a chance to win tickets to his One Man Show. At the same time you’ll will be helping the big man promote the forthcoming dates into the bargain.



Win It! Retweet and Win Suggs and Friends Tickets

The details are all here. Retweet the gig company’s tweet by midnight tonight, Feb 14th.


If you’re lucky you could win entry to the £160 ticketed dinner evening, while at the same time helping to spread the word of the forthcoming event.




Big Names Attack Noron Folgate Plans

Last month, London mayor Boris Johnson approved the Blossom Street scheme by AHMM, Duggan Morris, DSDHA and Stanton Williams under his powers of call-in.

Now, in a letter to The Times, the actors, authors and historians have added their weight to the schemes’ opponents, claiming the current plans for developer British Land are ‘banal’





The return of Crunch! and the recording of the latest Lee Thompson ska Orchestra LP , all from the man himself at the keys…


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra had a gig in Llangollen in Wales. A couple met us at Chester station who I thought were our drivers; my request as to where the van was, was met with blank stares. It turned out they had won a prize of free tickets to the gig and the ‘exciting opportunity to spend time with the band, stay at the Hotel’ etc. (‘Wow . . . good luck’ I thought). Sure enough we were exactly two beds short at the hotel, but the organisers were very helpful so no problem there. Llangollen is set in the valley of the River Dee amongst beautiful wooded hills and, as we investigated the town, I could see the smoke of a steam locomotive billowing above the trees as it crept up the valley. Beautiful. Our Landlord enthusiastically told us that the water at our hotel was responsible for killing half the population of the town in the Eighteenth century due to cholera; it’s difficult to work out the correct response to that. I think we said things like ‘Wow!’ and ‘Really?’. At the sound check Darren – our backing vocalist and percussionist – found that he had lost his bag. However he had been celebrating his arrival for a couple of hours in one of the beautiful local hostelries so this wasn’t taken too seriously by the rest of the band. But Darren was winding himself up into an incoherent fury: ‘That’s it! I can’t go on! Who’s done it! I might as well go home now!’ In the middle of this the Director and crew of a forthcoming film called ‘Womble’ turned up. They had asked our permission to film the gig and some backstage scenes for inclusion in the film. I quietly left the building and had a cigarette and let them all get on with it. Happily Darren’s bag turned up (it was under a coat) and the gig was tremendous with a wonderful and enthusiastic audience.

Afterwards Seamus Beaghen – our Hammond player – and I took a midnight stroll down to the railway station which was a heritage museum and base for the steam locomotive we had seen earlier. The platform was a living exhibit: 1940’s suitcases and advertising placards gave the impression of sauntering into a scene from ‘Brief Encounter’. A photographer was there kneeling next to a stack of cases appearing to take extreme close-ups of the locks whilst his girlfriend watched from a nearby bench (at Midnight!). Seamus and I looked at each other: very strange. The whole station would be locked up if it were it in London, but it was great to look around such a place in the early hours of the morning. We had been told that there was an after show party at ‘Gail’s Wine Bar’ which resembled some dark smugglers den. Poor Darren was suffering the consequences of his earlier celebrations. We watched as his features, pulled down by gravity, seemed to slide off his skull altogether. When he left we asked him to remember to leave the Hotel door on the snib: ‘Yeah! Course I will. I’m not fuckin’ stupid!’ We got back some time later and – guess what, Darren – you are! The following day I got up early and in the chill of the early morning walked down to Dee-side and sketched the pub by the river and then back for a really good full English breakfast. Happily our prize winners seemed to have had a good time and, by 11-o-clock, we were on the train back to London and on Saturday the 1st August the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra played their final gig of the summer at The Garage in Islington in which we rejuvenated the set with many of the new songs we have recorded for the next album which had a galvanising effect on us all – a superb gig!

On Sunday 11th October the backbone of the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra met with Dave Robinson at Seamus’s house in Blackheath to consider tracks to release as a Christmas single. We all took something to eat – this was a kind of social rehearsal. We finally settled on ‘It May Be Winter Outside’ and between choosing keys to suit Lee’s pitch Dave regaled us with stories of his extraordinary life in music. Amongst many gems I didn’t realise that it was his job at one point to wake Jimi Hendrix each day to get him to the studio: “He would probably have only got to sleep a couple of hours earlier. So I would knock and enter and there he would be with a couple of gorgeous Swedish twins. He was a gentleman – not the brightest tool in the box but obviously a great performer . . .” Dave Robinson (we all agreed loudly) needs to write an autobiography.

The following day Crunch! (formerly The Nutty Boys) convened at Storm Studios in Holloway to rehearse for the House of Fun Madness Weekender in November. Fantastic to be playing with Chrissy-Boy Foreman again. And a miracle happened. Despite not playing the songs for a number of years we played the entire set in just two hours; it was as if the songs were imprinted on our DNA. I quipped “Well – that tour of France we did in 1992 when nobody came was NOT in vain!”

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the 20th and 21st October the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra put down the backing track (minus horns, vocals and percussion) for ‘Winter Outside’. T Bone Bob our trombonist was getting married in New Orleans so Lee had ‘got someone in’ to replace him. Unfortunately , nice chap and everything, he wasn’t up to the job. Meanwhile Dave Robinson, who was producing, was waving his arms around a lot and saying things like “The horns have to be like this! Christmassy! Big chords! Rising in the end”. I had a day to try and fulfil his demands. Seamus came up with a horn lines for the funky part of the song and I took the intro and coda and wrote the parts as a choral (as you would for a carol or hymn). We were able to get a trombonist who doubled on euphonium which made the part even more Christmas-Salvation-Army-in-a-shopping-centre-ish. I was still writing the parts out as the train pulled into Forest Hill Station (where we were recording) and – great relief – everyone was happy with the results.

On Hallowe’en I was again playing with Rhoda at The Jazz Cafe with Lynval Golding as a special guest. He sang Bunny Wailer’s ‘Dreamland’ with Rhoda which was very moving in that she had last sung it with Rico who had died the month previously – one of the original Sister Mary Ignatius’s boys! It being Hallowe’en I was wearing a wig and moustache (from my jar of moustaches: Rhoda’s reaction: “Who has a JAR of moustaches?”). At the end of the gig I took the moustache, hat and wig off to reveal myself and, as I fumbled with my glasses, plonked the hat and wig back on my head in the WRONG ORDER! It was as if I had done a conjuring trick. Very funny (but completely un-intentional).

Chrissy-Boy persuaded me to take an earlier train on Sunday the 22nd to Minehead – we were on stage at the House of Fun at 3.30pm. However the trains were surprisingly prompt and I was picked up by a Butlins driver at Totnes and driven the last twenty miles to the gig. For the first time at Minehead I had a chance to take a stroll on the beach – every previous time I have been there the rain has been torrential or it has been pitch dark. And a lovely – though dramatic beach it was: threatening clouds and wind making the pre gig experience bracing. Lee excelled himself arriving on stage on stilts wearing a long coat in white make up and eye patch. Jeff Baynes had come to film some of it and to do some more interviews – mainly with Suggs – about the film “Who is Lee Thompson?’. The pilot I have seen has a belly laugh at least every three minutes. I think the Madness fans out there are in for a treat! I believe Jeff would like to finish the film some time in the Spring.

Dave Robinson’s conviction that the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra needs more ‘hits’ on the album saw the band back in the studio on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th November. We laid down ‘Cuss Cuss’, ‘Sweet and Low Down’, ‘Shaft’ and ‘You Never Know’. Lee arrived late and – frustratingly – said we had recorded the wrong version of ‘Cuss Cuss’. Aargh! As Dave says, ‘Lee is one of those people who believe in miracles.’ He quite liked my assessment: “It’s like dealing with mashed potatoes”. Lee – brilliant performer, fantastic and unique sax sound, excellent lyricist but the world and the way it works generally defeats him.

Mark Bedford and I had to leave the session on the 28th to get down to St. Leonards for a repeat performance at the Kino Teatr – me solo supporting The Near Jazz Experience and joining them for a couple of tunes.

Louis Vause




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 614 – Sunday 13th February – Saturday 19h February 2011

Following a few news-starved weeks we were pleased to bring the MIS readership a packed edition of the weekly newsletter.

Our articles got underway with a re-print of an story which original appeared in the Camden New Journal. The paper reported that DJ, music collector and mayor of Camden, Jonathan Simpson, had drawn up a playlist of songs that had helped mark Camden as the capital on the country’s rock and roll map.

The mayor was asking you to submit your favourite tracks, but in the meantime, he’d kicked things off with his own ten tracks. Madness and Suggs were both in the list, which featured a real mix of music styles.

Next, it was over to Daryl Smith of Size 12 records, who announced that for a limited time, the vinyl re-issues of One Step Beyond, Absolutely and Seven were all available for the discount price of £16.95 each, or all three for £45. Each album was the deluxe 10” edition.

Following this, we took a look at top Madness tribute outfit, One Step Behind, who revealed a veritable mass of gigs, running from February until December. Considering the band did this in-between their day jobs, it was an impressive list.

Moving on, and we took a look at the comments section of the Official Madness web site. We featured a separate section for general question and answers, but for one article we gave it its very own section.

The article related to a 6-year-old boy called Benjamin Luck. Ben had been diagnosed with a brain tumour, and it was his dream to meet Madness…

“Make a dream” foundation contacted Madness’ management about Benjamin Luck. He is 6 years old and was diagnosed with a brain tumour in May.

It was his dream to meet Madness. 

During Ben’s high dose chemotherapy treatment, just before Christmas, he became ill with a serious respiratory illness which nearly killed him. Thankfully he is on the mend, though he is still struggling to walk and the tumour has left him partially sighted.

His parents asked make a dream if he could meet Madness because he loves the music…

“We’ve played it during painful physio, endless nebulisers and he enjoys talking about what your songs are all about. Though we’ve not gone in to detail on the house of fun yet!”

We are coming tonight, which is very exciting, because Ben is actually still in hospital, but they’ve said he’s well enough to go.”

A meet then Happened at the Sheffield concert on Sunday…

“All we can say is a big thank you. Ben has had an amazing evening! You are such kind and generous people. As a family we felt very special and welcome. The behind the scenes guys were just fabulous and Madness themselves too, obviously!!

Thank you once again,”

God Bless, Louise Luck

It was over to Paul Rodgers next. Paul was back with an update on his Madness Chart Lowdown, and this week he reported that Tesco were selling Ultimate Madness for a mere £4.00. Hopefully this amazingly low price would help sales.

We brought this issue to a close with the news that the latest single from MOT, entitled “Between the Lines”, was now available to download from iTunes. Meanwhile ex-MOT drummer, Dan Fossard, reported that the next Big 10 gig would be at Camden’s Dublin Castle on Saturday 19th March.

10 years ago…

Issue 354 – Sunday 12th February to Saturday 18th February 2006

We started this week’s edition of the MIS with something a little different. Rather than concentrate on the latest Madness news we decided to take a look at other bands we felt that you, the regular MIS reader may find of interest.

The albums chosen were Too Hot’s ‘Time Flies’ and ‘Wise Up’, reviewed by Walthamstow Pete, and ‘Brasshound’, by The Ordinary Boys, reviewed by ‘Hulasprout’.

If there were other bands you felt fellow MIS readers should know about we asked you to get in touch and help spread the word.

Next, it was on to a more Madness related note, as we revealed that after twenty years the legendary Stiff Records were going to be signing new acts and releasing new material. The news landed in our email boxes courtesy of Birchy, who also announced that a brand new Stiff Records web site was also up and running. Exciting times indeed!

We went across the English Channel for our next article, as we announced that the French MIS web site was now online. Designed and maintained by Jean-Pierre Boutellier, and his illustrious Madteam, we declared it a site that any native French speaking Madness fan MUST visit.

It was back to The Ordinary Boys for our next article, where we featured an article from ContactMusic.com, revealing that Madness were flattered that their sound was being emulated in The Ordinary Boys’ latest album ‘Brasshound’. Woody commented at the time “Bloody hell, that was blatant. What a compliment.”

On to more general Camden news, and we reported on Sir Bob Geldof’s involvement with the Camden Roundhouse and its £30 million restoration. Kids off the block were already making videos and music tracks in 11 state-of-art studios and practice rooms. And not just a handful. Some 12,000 teenagers in school were involved in 650 projects and the running of their own centre.

Upstairs, with 1,800 seats or 3,300 standees, we were promised world-class theatre and music, kicking off high in June with the Argentine dance spectacle, FuerzaBruta.

We finished off this week’s edition of the MIS with a full lowdown of the new audio and video files that were now available for download from the new MIS Online web site. There was something for everyone, ranging from the die-hard fan who had to have everything Madness related in their collection, to the casual listener/viewer who wanted to check our performances and appearances from the band from years gone by.

15 years ago…

Issue 92 – Sunday 11th February to Saturday 17th February 2001

With the Third Annual MadChart now just a distant memory, we got this issue off the starting blocks by reporting that Andrew Langmead and Mark Adamson had kindly made the top 50 entries available for online viewing.

The list had been available on Mark’s recently set-up Mad Not Mad web site, and was ideal for those people who had deleted their copies of the MIS which featured the track by track lowdowns.

Next, it was on to the subject of Madness tour bible ‘Tour Madness’, courtesy of Mike Hearne. Mik was one of the recent winners of the Tour Madness giveaway, and so, decided to say in his own words, what he thought about this fantastic publication.

After a detailed write-up, Mike finished off by saying;

“Altogether this is a very impressive production. It`s obviously a labour of love and due to the amount of work that has gone into it you can tell the author is obviously a big fan.

Unlike many things written by fans this is suitable for both the beginners and the anoraks. I would definitely recommend that you get in touch with the author and get yourself a copy……myself, I`m looking forward to the update due this summer”.

We moved on to subscriber Alan Cahill. Alan emailed us to explain that he’d phoned Talksport with the intention of asking Suggs a question or two. Unfortunately he’d phoned the programme too late, and as such, they didn’t have time to call him back and put him on with Suggs. Still, it wasn’t all lost, they promised to keep Alan’s details on record, as Suggs would be back at the station in the not too distant future.

It was on to unreleased demos next, as Phil Pugh returned to the MIS with the original lyrics to the Madness classic ‘Uncle Sam’. The demo version was originally made available on the 12″ single, along with the ‘Uncle Sam Remix’.

Moving on, and we next took a look at the BBC Top of The Pops web site, and the powerful search function they’d made available to site visitors. Typing in ‘Madness’ brought back 46 appearances for our favourite band – the earliest being on the 6th of September 1979 with ‘The Prince’, and the most recent was on the 30th of July 1999 with ‘Lovestruck’. Unfortunately the list didn’t detail if the performances were videos or live performances. One slight bit of confusion lay with the December 1989 entry for ‘House of Fun’, as the band had split by this point.

Over to karaoke show ‘Night Fever’ now, as subscriber Phil Pugh explained that yesterday Channel 5 had screened a special Valentine edition of the show. The singing culminated in all of the celebs getting up and singing ‘it Must be Love’, with the words changed to;

“It must be Suggs, Suggs, Suggs, nothing more nothing less Suggs is the best.”

We finished off this issue with a few words from Swanny, who was organising the forthcoming Crunch met on the 16th of Feb. Those who went would be in for a fantastic night.

Rob Hazelby




Before we go we’d just like to point you in the direction of the following programme currently available to download/stream via the BBC’s iPlayer;




You may recognise Cai from this Welsh children’s programme as the little rude boy

who has danced on stage with Madness (alongside Johnny Vegas) and Lee’s Ska Orchestra.


You can watch this show again until Thursday there. For the non Welsh speaking Madness fans amongst you, there are English subtitles should you struggle. The dancing is universal, however.


Until next week, take care,


Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

Previous post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 874 – Sunday 7th February to Saturday 13th February 2016

Next post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 876 – Sunday 21st February to Saturday 27th February 2016