Here we are; less than a week to go until the much anticipated and orchestra-backed XL Madness concert at Kenwood House, Hampstead. While we as fans are eagerly anticipating what this gig will bring, the band have been busy putting everything together so it all sounds perfect on the night.
Our MIS Feature this week catches up with a certain Mark Bedford, who gives us a brief insight into how the idea for a concert with a full orchestra got off the starting blocks in the first place.
Also this week, we have important travel information for those of you in the North planning to get to the Clapham Common gig in August by train. Check out the first article in our “Sign of the Times” section for further details.
If that wasn’t enough, we have an update on our “MIS XX twenty years competition” and much more besides.
15th – Kenwood House, Hampstead. This Massive North London home coming gig for Madness XL features a full scale orchestra with the band. ** SOLD OUT ** If you’re planning to travel from Hertfordshire check out this link for coach travel info: https://zeelo.co/interest/16097
16th – Isle of Wight Festival
21st – New Market Racecourse, Suffolk
22nd – Lingfield Park Racecourse, Surrey
28th – Franklin Gardens, Northampton (Suppt: The Lightning Seeds)
29th – Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle
4th – Noches del Botanico, Madrid, Spain
5th – Port America, Galicia, Spain
6th – Vida Festival, Barcelona, Spain
12th- Vivary Park, Taunton (Suppt: The Lightning Seeds and Chris Difford)
19th – Open Air Theatre, Scarborough (Suppt: The Pigeon Detectives)
20th – Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster
21st – Bitts Park, Carlisle (Suppt: Bootleg Beatles & Chris Difford) Orig date 9/6/19
24th – Sanddown Park Racecourse, Esher
17th – Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire
18th – Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland
20th – Custom House Square, Belfast
23rd – Northern Meeting Park, Inverness
24th – East Links, Montrose
26th – Clapham Common, XL South London festival. With “Special” Guests.
30th – Wolverhampton Racecourse, Wolverhampton
31st – Winter Gardens, Margate
1st – The Downs, Bristol, (Suppt: David Rodigan)
Friday 29th – Monday 2nd December – House of Fun Weekender 2019
12th – AFAS Live, Amsterdam
Before We Was We: The Making of Madness by Madness
The band’s first official book.
The story of how they became them. It’s a journey full of luck, skill and charm, as they duck and dive by day and make the name in London’s exploding music scene by night, zipping around the capital in their Morris Minor vans. Their formative years, 1970-79.
This is the riotous coming-of-age tale of seven unique individuals, whose collective graft, energy and talent took them from the sweaty depths of the Hope and Anchor basement to the Top of the Pops studio. In their own words, they each look back on their past and how during those shared adventures, they formed a bond that’s lasted forty years. Before We Was We is irreverent, funny and full of character. Just like them.
You can now buy a range of classic album design T shirts.
Absolutely returns to the official T shirt store since first appearing a decade ago as merchandise. Seven now joins the albums T-shirts range, only previously a promotional shirt. For the first time Rise & Fall (Following last year’s triumphant return of this album’s title track on tour) joins official shirt range.
Best of all, 10 years on from its box set release, The Liberty of Norton Folgate is purchasable. We are having a little bit of that!
Complete Madness. Total Madness hits albums join the range.
This range is also certainly a reaction to the continuing bullshit of bootleggers targeting social media with non licensed product not endorsed by the band and illegal.
Don’t be an idiot and buy from badly photoshopped pictures of Suggs holding a shirt up etc. Those are fake. The Madstore and official band website and gigs merchandise stands are all run by the same company with the band’s legal backing. You will only find a small number of charity shirts or some One Step Beyond shirts outside of buying from the official online store. Don’t give your money to the bootleggers exploiting you.
Bedders’ Orchestra Kenwood Preview
The process started at the end of last year. We were thinking about the different types of events we could do for XL/40th, and then the offer to do Kenwood came in.
Kenwood is a special place for the band. We all have memories, as kids, of the music concerts there. The concerts were mainly classical, so it didn’t take much of a leap to think that – if we played there –we could have some kind of orchestral element. It would also be in the tradition of the place.
In the New Year I contacted the film and TV composer, David Arnold and asked if he fancied doing the orchestral arrangements for some of our songs. David did the soundtrack for the film, ‘Independence Day’ and some of the ‘Bond’ films and the music for ‘Sherlock’, on TV. He’s a busy man.
Luckily he could fit us in and we met him and set about choosing the songs to do. Never easy but I think we have a good mix of classics; some things we rarely play and a couple of surprises. (We’ll also be doing some songs without the orchestra).
It will be technically difficult. We have to get the balance right between us and the orchestra. We have to get the overall sound balance right, so that everyone out front, can hear what’s going on. The nature of playing with so many people means that we won’t have much time to rehearse as a complete outfit.
Fast forward to yesterday (29 May): we met with David and heard the full arrangements for the first time. Simply… we were blown away. The gig is not far off now and we’re getting a little nervous and very excited. We’ll rehearse and prepare the show a few days before the gig.
It’s something we are really looking forward to and is very close to our hearts.
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, 10, 15 and 20 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number: 787 – Sunday 8th June to Saturday 14th June 2014
With the Specialized Mad Not Cancer charity album nearing release Suggs himself sent out a message via YouTube urging us all to dig deep and buy a copy.
Meanwhile, the first prize giveaway of Suggs’ new album The Suggs Selection was complete. Our congratulations went to Sean Gaskin for winning the Specialized Suggs Selection competition.
Moving on, and did we have an exclusive for you. We’d had the pleasure of talking to Angelina Warburton, a harp player from The North Of England. She was one of the musicians who were backing up Cathal Mo Chroi at his first concert the previous year at The Number 6 festival in Picturesque Portmeirion,
She’d kindly expanded her blog entry on the event for our additional reading pleasure. You could now read a bit more about that gig we’d heard only a little of up until now, what it was like to play that concert, and also how the hell you could get a harp to Wales and back!!
Next, and it was a second MIS Feature. Yes. We were really good to you this week. Our second feature entitled “The MAD Header” advertised that there were prizes to be won. It was time once again to ask “What’s the best Madness album?”.
Now, in 2014, we were mad heading over to the twelve and a half thousand seater ATM Grand Stand Stadium. “All Things Madness” were hosting this year’s event, with prizes.
The Mad Header! – The 2014 Mad Album’s World Cup. – For Specialized: Mad Not Cancer!
There were 16 albums and 12 head to head matches. Each match would have a prize draw so there were loads of opportunities to win something. These prizes included a signed Suggs Book, signed drum sticks by Woody, a vintage Madness football shirt, a copy of The Madness, sealed Suggs Selection albums and German Madness CD’s
Not only that, but you could also win some uniquely crafted Madness Clocks, Madness Football Stickers, brand new Crunch! and Magic Brothers shirts, even a CD promo fit for Father’s Day.
We brought this week’s issue to a close with another one of Paul Rodgers’ excellent “Madness Stats, Facts and Figures” articles where he reported on the chart progress of the recently released “Suggs Collection” where it entered the compilations chart at a very respectable number 5!
10 years ago…
Issue 527 – Sunday 7th June to Saturday 13th June 2009
Following Madness’ recent performance at the Pinkpop festival, which took place between the 30th of May and the 1st of June, we had links to the entire concert, specific songs (if you’d rather skip to a particular track), and an interview with the one and only Suggs.
The audio and video quality was great, and for the vast majority of us who were unable to get along to the event, it was a fantastic way to see just what we’d missed without having to miss out.
Following that, the band continued to work through an extremely hectic schedule. On Tuesday Suggs appeared on the Five Live radio network, taking part in a short interview for the station, then on the 4th of June the band played at The Newbury Racecourse.
The following day the band flew to Berlin, where they played a full gig at Zitadelle Spandau, and then on the 9th they’d be off to Portugal for Lisbon Calling.
These gigs were only the tip of the iceberg, in what was going to be an extremely busy couple of months touring for the band. It would be pretty unlikely that any of us on the MIS team or you, the readers, were going to be able to get along to all of these performances, so we urged you to keep subscribed and reading, and we promised to do our best to give you the lowdown on just what went on at these events.
On to the articles, and we had a packed selection for you. We began with a transcript of the Newbury Racecourse programme, featuring Madness. “Loud, Manic and Surreal” were how the organizers were describing the band’s Party in the Paddock, coming this summer.
Paul Rodgers took time out of his busy schedule to give us an update on, as he called it, “The Folgate Success Story”, as he reported that the album was more than halfway towards silver status in the UK.
Following Suggs’ recent appearance on Five Live, Owen the Nutter had been busy transcribing the whole thing, and was kind enough to submit it to the MIS for publication in this very issue.
Suggs discussed many things in the interview, including how he’d been compared to Status Quo and Tom Jones!
We moved on to German Folgate reviews next, as Pete On The Beat from the Madness Central Forum had been kind enough to translate and transcribe a review from Rolling Stone, where the magazine had given the album a very favourable 4 out of 5.
Next, we reported that we’d been contacted by Mark over at Cancer Research, who emailed in to tell us that there were still tickets left for the Busking for Cancer lunch, which featured Suggs and a number of other band members.
At the time the original article appeared in the MIS, the band had been around for a good 30 years, and while many other bands had also been around for as long as them they’d been blessed with a legendary Brit Award. It would seem that North London’s finest had sadly been neglected.
Campaigns had come and gone over the years, so it came as no surprise to us when we learned that a brand new campaign had gone live, and this time it was via Facebook.
This week you were all invited to a wedding. Yes. Seriously. MadGirlAllie and OnTheBeatPete of the Madness Central forum were about to get married and they wanted you to join them in a drink or three to help them celebrate their big day.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that subscriber Vicki Lee had attended the Madness gigs in Zitadelle Spandau Berlin, and had been kind enough to send in a full tracklisting. What’s more was that she promised to send in a full review shortly.
15 years ago…
Issue 265 – Sunday 6th June – Saturday 12th June 2004
We started off this issue with an article by recent M.O.T convert, Celia Moore, who was kind enough to give us all the lowdown of the lads’ most recent performance down at the famous Bull and Gate.
It certainly sounded like she (and everyone else present) had a fantastic night, but there was complaint – the band weren’t on for long enough, as they only got to do a mere 30 minutes!
Here’s what she had to say at the time;
“The crowd was great and were disappointed when MOT came off stage after such a short time. Their set mix of ‘old’ and new songs is brilliant, `Tell Me` is a new and very moving song – for young lads they write with great insight, and following in the footsteps of Madness, each one of their songs has a meaning”.
Back to Madness, and news reached us, courtesy of Metro gossip columnist Neil Sean. We’re not sure how Neil obtained this information, but one Chris Carter-Pegg was quick to ensure we all took this with a pinch of salt, offering the following words of wisdom;
“Personally speaking as the musical hasn’t even yet toured the UK, I’m a bit surprised that it would be heading first for the US, but you never know. On the basis that his column is generally just a plethora of rumours, I wouldn’t rely too heavily on this news just yet”.
A decade on, and Chris has yet to be proven wrong on this!
We all know that Suggs is a man of many talents, and always seems keen to try new things. So when we learned that he’d be Djing on Virgin Radio there was a certain amount of excitement amongst the Madness fanbase.
So, how did he get on presenting his first show? Here’s what Steve Bringe reported back with at the time;
“I’m listening in on Suggs via webcast and the first impression is, “He’s not doing too bad.”
I’d heard him dj’ing a few other radio shows, like the Stiff Story a year or so ago, and I wasn’t too impressed with his hosting style.
He seemed a bit stiff and forced previously.
The Mighty Man is much more relaxed in this format (Virgin Party Classics), and it shows in both his cadence and in the tunes he’s choosing. It seems like he knows he’s in familiar territory”.
In a lengthy piece of research one Jonathan Young investigated a set of Russian bootleg Madness flexi vinyls that were doing the rounds in the usual places.
The items were certainly curiosity pieces, but as to whether they were worth adding to your collection, only you could answer that one.
With that lot out of the way, we finished this issue with an amusing question and answer session between MIS subscriber Graham Wardlaw and a certain Chris Foreman.
20 years ago…
Issue 3 – Sunday 6th June – Saturday 12th June 1999
Three issues in, and I was obviously confident that the bulletin was going to be around for a while, as at the very top of the issue were the words “website coming soon – watch this space”. Part of the reason for this was a certain feeling of confidence as the emails of support for the service the MIS was trying deliver continued to come in.
On the subject of emails, I’d been receiving a fair number from fans asking “Robert, what were the US shows like? What new songs were played, and were they any good?”. I’d been planning to produce a write up of each show, but was beaten to it by Total Madness Mailing List maintainer, Jenny Payne, who had already produced a massive gig by gig lowdown.
Moving on, and we had news revealing that thanks to Lars of the ‘Madness Site of Hope and Glory’ web site, Windows users could download and install two Madness themes on to their PCs. The themes didn’t provide a complete re-skinning of your system, but did come with new backdrops and sets of sound samples to annoy those sitting close by you with.
Elsewhere, and for those who weren’t able to attend the recent Stateside shows and hear the new tracks, all was not lost. Thanks to the efforts of Steve Bringe and Alan Redpath, we were promised that there would soon be a selection of samples taken from short segments of each tune.
Sign of the Times
Important Clapham Common Info For Those Travelling by Train
The link above I feel is important info for anyone north of Peterborough planning to go to House of Common – it has certainly messed up my plans but at least I saw it when it was released so I can make new plans to work around it.
Thought it would be of interest to others who aren’t as organised at booking train tickets in advance (which I would have left until nearer the time if me mate wasn’t on about booking them on Tuesday coming up!
Just thought it may be useful to any northern fans planning to be at House of Common.
Terry (MIS subscriber)
Liverpool band The Farm to support Madness at Montrose gig
Ska legends Madness will be joined by Liverpool band The Farm at their gig in Montrose in the summer.
Promoters LCC Live announced the band – known for their song All Together Now – would play a support slot at the East Links gig on August 24.
The alt-rock outfit – whose debut album, Spartacus, was produced by Madness frontman Suggs – will also be joined by Manchester reggae rock band Jeramiah Ferrari.
Rebecca Corbett of LCC Live said: “The Farm are amazing live, and I expect that their addition to the line-up, along with the memorable sound of Jeramiah Ferrari, will be extremely popular with music fans coming to see Madness in Montrose.”
Cambridge Online New Market Preview
Suggs, what are the qualities that make Madness endure?
I think the reason we endure is that we genuinely do enjoy ourselves. From the very beginning, you could see the joy in the early videos we made and hear it in the records. The fact that we were friends before this band started is key. I genuinely think the whole spark or art of craft and creativity was a by-product of our friendship. I think that’s what people feel. It’s a genuine experience – it’s not manufactured.
I can’t ever remember being on stage and feeling fed up with the people around me. It’s been very flattering and marvellous to see so many different age groups enjoying the band. We are looking forward to this on the tour – people of all ages.
How will you keep yourself match fit for the summer shows?
It’s like preparing for war, a war of fun, you know? A war of fun and frolics but, unlike the Romans, we are going to unleash heaven. I have a suspicion that if I didn’t have a few tequila shots before I went on stage, I wouldn’t be quite as lubricated in the joints. Tequila and orange juice is the secret of keeping those limbs loose!
I suppose our rituals are now so ingrained that I don’t notice what the rest of the band are doing.
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 to make unique – and special. We can change the setlist nightly if we wish.
The main thing is to keep it exciting for yourself, that’s the way to ensure the audience is kept excited too.
Racecourses make up quite a bit of your itinerary, are you fond of a flutter or a day at the track?
Racecourses are great, we’ve played a few in the past where they have a few races and then you get a bit of Madness. It’s an unbeatable combination. I have a few flutters every now and then and have a bit of luck on the horses. I’m not a gambling man generally but I like it when you can see the steam coming out of the horses’ nostrils and that whole thing in front of you.
I do like it but I’m terrible loser, which has been my saving grace as far as gambling is concerned. It’s stopped me getting too involved.
I did wake up with a greyhound in my bed once. We had been to a charity auction at Walthamstow dog track and there was an auction for the greyhound and we won. I came home with a greyhound, which my wife was quite thrilled about. He did alright actually. We called him Nutty Boy and he went on to win quite a few races.
That was quite a nice time and the nearest I ever got to being an Alex Ferguson-esque racehorse owner. Turning up at the track as a dog owner was quite an experience. I’m really looking forward to all the racecourse shows. Last time we played at Haydock, we had a tremendous gig – something like 20,000 people turned up and they were only expecting 10,000.
Simply Red had held the record up to that point, so I think we are the record holders for Haydock, returning as reigning champions.
Are you looking forward to this tour?
It really feels like a tour of the people in places where they can have fun – where we can have fun.
We’re almost done for this week, but before we go there’s a couple of last minute snippets to pass in your general direction.
At the end of this month the Kentish Players theatre group will be performing the “Our House” musical in Chatham? Check out:
What’s funny and unique about this amateur drama group has been the promotion using the “Driving in my Car” drive through challenge. How many Madness songs can you fit in a McDonald’s drive through order!
Check out the video on their page.
We’ve had nearly 200 fans register for our MIS XX twenty years competition system.
65 of you have now had an email confirmation from us stating that you are eligible for entering into all our prize draws for this year. We thank you all for your years of contributions.
The rest of the 200 have been registered, and have been sent the qualification notice.
If you are registered, you can qualify for the future prize draws through proof of a previous contribution to MIS fanzines or to the wider meets, shows, events or films. Or by sending in a new suitable submission before August House of Common.
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org for any future fan submissions of madness news, links, reviews, fandom and opinion etc on Madness and related bands and topics. And we will use any suitable submissions in a future issue. Then you qualify.
Registration is now closing this Wednesday for anyone who hasn’t joined the system at all but would still like to. After that, that’s it for the year’s draws. No more late entry.
The first prize draw is this Thursday. A free entry to the sold out Kenwood Madness Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Park event is for grabs provided ou are able to meet us at The Dublin Castle, Camden parkway at noon this coming Saturday. The winner will be contacted via their registered email Thursday evening and must claim instantly. Ticket is transferable to your friend if you state them as recipient and give their contact when contacted about your prize.