As we approach the tail-end of 2019 it’ll come as little surprise to the majority of readers to learn that Madness news has pretty much dried up for the time being. The band, like many of us, are taking a well-earned rest. And why not? They’ve certainly worked hard over this past year.
Scouring various online news outlets, we’ve managed to pull back a selection of recent articles featuring our favourite band. You can find these in our usual “Sign of the Times” section elsewhere in this issue.
And, for those of you who still have money kicking around after the traditional festive spending spree, you may want to check out our “Buy it” section this week. You could make some pretty big savings. Take a look!
16th – The Courtyard, Herefordshire’s Centre for the Arts
17th – Bristol, Royal Redgrave Theatre
19th – Exeter, Corn Exchange
20th – Westlands, Yeovil
21st – Aldershot, Princes Hall
22nd – Hertford Theatre
23rd – Forum Theatre (Malvern Theatres)
24th – Warrington, Pyramind and Parr Hall
25th – Lythan St. Annes, Lowther Pavilion
27th – Hexham, Queens Hall Arts Centre
28th – Dundee Rep Theatrre
29th – Aberdeen Music Hall
30th – Edinburgh, The Queen’s Hall
30% off Everything at the Official Madstore
If you’ve still got some money burning a hole in your pocket following the recent festive spending spree then you may be interested to learn that the band are currently offering 30% of everything (excluding music) on the Official Madstore.
Once there, add whatever takes your fancy to your basket. Then, at the checkout enter the code DEC30.
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 816 – Sunday 28th December to Saturday 3rd January 2014/15
We began by commenting that it was time to say goodbye to 35 years of Madness and a big hello to 2015 and 1980. Why 1980? Well, on Friday 2nd January BBC’s Top of the Pops Story would ready 1980. Naturally, the production team interviewed Suggs as part of documentary.
January 16th was also a date to put in your new 2015 diary as well. We were certain that this would be when Suggs would appear on QI, the comedy knowledge quiz show, on BBC2. We suggested you tuned in to see how well he did.
Over in our regular “Buy it” section, we pointed out that Madness were offering between 15 and 50 percent off stock. If you had your eye on an item of Madness merchandise but had yet to splash the cash, this was now you chance!
With the band recently completing their Christmas tour, our Buy it section was full of gig reviews from the press. Reviews were mainly positive, although the Evening Standard finished off their review of the recent O2 gig by commenting;
“… there was not much sign of Madness as a contemporary creative force; new song The Last Rag and Bone Man was an off-kilter tune that could have been written in 1981”.
Next, we covered January to April 2014 in part 1 of our lookback of 2014. This would eventually span three parts in total, reporting on some of the highs and lows of the year gone by.
Further on, and our “Tweets of a Dove” section was packed with quotes from various band members. While Mike was busy thanking fans for being a magnificent crowd at the recent O2 gig, Chris was giving us a heads-up that all three “On the Buses” films were going to be shown on ITV3. Umm, thanks.
We brought this issue to a close by suggesting you popped over to the band’s official Facebook page where you could watch a video of Mike playing “Lovestruck” on bottles of beer!
10 years ago…
Issue Number 556 – Sunday 27th December – Saturday 2nd January 09/10
As with previous years, we found that this Christmas week has been light on the old news front, but regardless, we still had a packed issue for you.
Chris Carter-Pegg an Emma Southerby were here for yet another one of their Retro Madness weekly offers for MIS subscribers, and a chance for those who missed the previous weeks’ offer to take advantage of the discount price.
We took a second and final look at 2009, with our July to December lookback, and we felt you’d be surprised at just how busy the year has been for Madness and their fans.
Elsewhere, and Madness fan Claire Riou journeyed all the way from France to see Madness perform at the O2 Arena. She was now safely back at home, and had been kind enough to let us know how her short (but unexpectedly extended) London stay was.
Moving on, and Jonathan Young was back with information relating to an early version of the track “Mad Not Mad”. Previously he’d told us that it was originally titled “Bird”, and now he’d returned with some of the early lyrics.
If that wasn’t enough, we went back 5 and 10 years to see what was going on in the world of Madness half a decade and one decade ago.
We also had news in from Steve Bunyan of Union Square Music;
“Just a quick note to let you know that Total Madness passed sales of 100K over the counter in the UK today (23rd Dec) – meaning that the band sold in excess of 250,000 sales across Total, Complete, Liberty and One Step Beyond – an incredible achievement”
As Chris Carter-Pegg pointed points out – this meant that the album has managed to achieve Gold status, for crossing the 100,000 sales barrier.
With 100,000 sales of Total Madness, and another 150,000 sales spread over Complete, Liberty and One Step Beyond, it was clear to see that the band had one of their most successful 12 months in many years.
Whether the band would be able to keep up the momentum in 2010 remained to be seen. Regardless of how many albums and singles the band would go on to sell in the forthcoming year, with gigs already being booked us fans were certain to have another exciting 12 months ahead of us.
15 years ago…
Issue number 294 – Sunday 26th December to Saturday 1st January 04/05
In this last (and short!) MIS of 2004 we took our second and final look at 2004 in our annual lookback, where we reviewed July to December.
The real biggie this week however, was that Madness had decided to give us a really special Christmas present – The much-loved and previously unreleased track `Perfect Place`, which they’d made available for download.
The blurb from the official site read;
“You have found The Perfect Place: Recorded at Liquidator Studios in early 1985 – The Perfect Place is a forgotten gem. It was written by Suggs and Chris, part of a batch of songs which included Yesterday’s Men.
Performed live on The Red Wedge Tour (minus Woody and Lee), with a battered drum machine nicknamed `Ron`. No one quite knows why it was never released in any shape or form.
From the collective memory: Ian Horne was the engineer on the session, Bosco D’Oliviera on congas.
Woody played the drums and triggered sounds. Seamus Beaghan on keyboards, Chris doubles up on piano and acoustic guitar, Bedders on bass.
This, the only version, is a rough mix which was never taken any further…
All rights reserved. Unauthorised performance or broadcasting prohibited”
We finished off this issue by thanking everyone who had contributed to the MIS over the past 12 months, as without their help the weekly bulletins would not have been possible.
20 years ago…
Issue number 32 – Sunday 26th December to Saturday 1st January 99/00
As with most new year’s issues this one also suffered from a slight lack of news, but that didn’t meant that the issue was lacking. With the Christmas tour well and truly over, and there being no risk in us spoiling things for those yet to see the band during this tour we included a selection of some of the best reviews.
Madness had appeared in numerous charts over the past couple of months, and that trend continued with the news that VH1 and Heart 106.2 FM had placed The Magnificent Seven at number 45 in `The Millennium Honours List`. The top 100 bands and artists were listed two at a time, every hour from 6am to 6pm, from Monday December 20th to Friday December 24th.
The lads also appeared in the latest issue of `Bass Player` magazine.
Ian Peterson of the TMML reported that they had a big article on the bassists and inventions of the century, and it named some of the major bassists of each genre of music for the decade and Madness’ very own Mark (Bedders) Bedford was listed in the ska section.
On Monday 3rd January BBC1 would be airing `A Question of Pop` – a music version in the style of the ageing `A Question of Sport`. One of the team captains would be none other than Madness front man – Suggs.
A few weeks back the call went out across the net from the BBC who were after Madness fans who had followed the band since their earlier days All this was part of the 45 minute Madness documentary to be aired in early 2000. Well, around 10 Maddies turned up and about half a day was spent filming them.
Everything was shot around Camden Town with the fans chatting about how they got into the band, the fashions and the music. Stuart Wright of the excellent `Nut Inc` fanzine took part as did a number of lads from the ska band Rough Cut, Totty, Scatty. Angela Chan of the BBC told us that everything went very well and with any luck some of it should survive the brutal editing process.
We were promised that The Madness documentary should be aired sometime in May as part of a four part series called `Young Guns go For it`.
Sign of the Times
Suggs says he wouldn’t be where he is now without being in ska group Madness
The 58-year-old frontman – who was born in Hastings, Sussex, in 1961, but moved around a lot, living in Wales, Liverpool and finally settling North London – has admitted it was difficult growing up because there weren’t many opportunities and everyone was hard up, and he credits joining the ‘Baggy Trousers’ group in the 1970s’ with putting him on the straight and narrow.
In an interview with the Daily Star newspaper’s Wired column, he said: “Madness saved my life. From where I came from, there was no real options for me, seriously.
“I was talking about it with Ali from UB40 because they came from a rough part of Birmingham. It was the music and and their friendship that saved them.
“It was the same for Madness. There weren’t very many ways I was going to get out of that situation.”
Suggs says the band plan to keep going for as long as their fans turn up to their shows.
He vowed: “We’re just going to keep going until we can’t sell tickets!”
Things got so bad, that the ‘Our House’ singer used to pinch clothes from charity shops.
He recalled: “You’d go in the cubicle, take the clothes, put them on under what you were wearing and walk out.”
Madness have been performing for more than 40 years and Suggs recently admitted he can hardly believe the band has lasted this long.
He said: “It is amazing, that we’ve been able to do this for so long. It constantly surprises me – for me, I’m one of those people that the 80s only feel like ten years ago to me.
“It’s a privilege to still be doing this, we’ve done festivals all over Britain and still enjoying it, which is great.
“We spend more time arguing than anything else, but it’s healthy and we all still get on great and that’s the major important point about it.
“I’m name-dropping terribly here but Paul Weller was standing in my kitchen chatting about this very thing the other day, and of course, he famously dropped his band [The Jam].
“He was saying how do we do it, how is it we’re all still together and still close?
“I said that democracy is a very difficult thing, and it’s hard but the fact is that for important decisions we all have to agree.
“Everything you see us do, we’re all on board with. If there’s something that we could do, if one person in the band doesn’t want to, the chances are we won’t do it.”
Madness Aren’t Ready to Quit
From the Irish Mirror
He says the band aren’t ready to call it quits yet as they prepare for three London dates and says they’ll only hang up the microphone when they can no longer sell tickets to their gigs
Baggy Trousers singer Suggs doesn’t think he would be alive now if it wasn’t for Madness .
The 58-year-old claims the group saved his life.
The singer, real name Graham McPherson, is gearing up for the band’s three London dates.
He told the Daily Star that there are no plans to call it a day and revealed how much he owes his pals.
He could carry on until he drops but revealed Madness saved him – and giving up just isn’t an option.
Suggs said: “Madness saved my life. From where I came from, there was no real options for me, seriously.
I was talking about it with Ali from UB40 because they came from a rough part of Birmingham. It was the music and and their friendship that saved them.
“It was the same for Madness. There weren’t very many ways I was going to get out of that situation.”
He added: “We’re just going to keep going until we can’t sell tickets!”
Suggs admitted he was stealing from charity shop Oxfam at around the same time a pal suggested they start a band.
“You’d go in the cubicle, take the clothes, put them on under what you were wearing and walk out.”
He also revealed he and a friend were still committing crime in London at the time Madness were first on the show.
Daily Star Quote
That means Suggs and Madness have an incredible work ethic, so giving it all up isn’t an option.
He added: “We will only retire when we can’t sell tickets! We will have never-ending last tour.
“As long as we are still enjoying it, which we do, I don’t see it in the foreseeable future.”
That’s just about it for this week’s issue.
We’d just like to sign-off by wishing you all a very happy new year. We’ll be back next week; ready to see what the 41st year of our favourite band holds.