After a few weeks of mentioning the inevitable cancellations of Madness events, we start this weeks issue of the MIS with more positive news. In recent interview with BBC Radio 5 Suggs mentioned that all being well in the world, an Arena Tour with Squeeze as support is in the planning for the end of this year.
We know that the band shot publicity photographs for this Christmas tour promotion before the nation went into lock down. So, even if all summer touring should need to sensibly shift for our band and all the fans to remain safe (and Henley festival is the latest event to move their date into a new 2021 date for sensible safety reasons)
there is still the chance of getting Nutty in 2020 with our heroes towards the tail end of the year.
Expect the usual cities, when the country reaches a clear enough point for this to go ahead. And until then, remain indoors and safe where possible.
Suggs is currently isolating in Whitstable with Anne, and had taken some songs to work on with him. We can also hope that with the band all stuck inside they start to bring together elements which will contribute to that next album.
You can read the full transcript of this interviews later in this issue, all thanks to the amazing transcript efforts of subscriber Nicky Elkins.
This week, the band’s booking at the Henley Festival on 8th July was one of the latest casualties of the Covid-19 fallout. Thankfully, this booking hasn’t been cancelled, and instead has been moved to 8th July 2021.
The York Festival performance booked for there 19th July has also been cancelled, but no re-scheduled date has been announced.
On the subject of 2021; while this year continues to see cancellation after cancellation next year is already looking busy. With gigs booked for May, June and July there’s certainly a lot to look forward to, especially for US-based Maddies who have a mini tour coming to their shores.
Don’t despair. You may just have to wait that bit longer for your nice slice of live Madness.
This is a new half-speed master exclusively for RSD and part of the Two Tone Records 40th Anniversary celebrations. This is a soundtrack to the live movie of the same name featuring exclusive live recordings by The Specials, Madness, The Selecter, The Beat, Bad Manners and The Bodysnatchers. This is also first vinyl repress since its original release in 1981.
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 831 – Sunday 12th April to Saturday 18th April 2015
The majority of this issue was taken up with our MIS Feature, which this week reported on 2015’s Record Store Day. Due to take place on the 18th April we listed all 65 record stores that were due to stock the Lovestruck 7” back by Grand Pantalon. This would be limited to 1,000 pressings, and was certain to get snapped-up almost instantly by collectors and scalpers alike.
If Record Day wasn’t of interest then you were in luck as this week we took a break from our regular “Live Intensified” column, and instead passed the reigns over to Duff Kelly.
Duff reporting on the long awaited documentary “Legends of Ska: Cool & Copasetic” as it made its UK debut at the BFI Southank on Saturday, 04 April 2015, as a part of the BFI’s African Odysseys film series, and in conjunction with the London International Ska Festival. Duff was lucky enough to be among those in the packed house to see this film which he felt would be an essential part of every Ska fan’s collection whenever it was finally released.
Moving on, and in “Tweets of a Dove” the band had been rather quiet, although Carl did have this to say;
I hope you have all had a Happy Easter weekend and a blessed Passover. I want to thank you all for the kind words you have posted and feel much encouraged. Life is such a beautiful dance and today I am filled with much hope and gratitude for my family, my friends and you all.
With love Cathal”
We brought this issue to a close by reporting that photographer Neil Mackenzie Matthews had an exhibition on show at “The GrEAT British Restaurant” entitled “My 80s through the lens”.
Why should this have interested Madness fans? Well, a photo of our favourite band formed part of the collection, that’s why.
If you’d like to a see a selection of classic 80s bands taken back in the 80s then check out Neil’s gallery at: http://myeighties.com/galleryhome.html. Chris, Lee and Suggs make an appearance here.
10 years ago…
Issue Number 571 – Sunday 11th April – Saturday 17th April 2010
Special offers were the order of the day this week as we kicked off the issue with the news that Retro Madness had reduced the price of the Forever Young UK promo CDs from £9.99 to £4.99, including UK postage. The bargain price was even less than Retro Madness had payed for them in the first place!
We were also reminded that last week’s offer of brand new Our House t-shirts ranging in price from £3.50 to £5.99 was continuing until the end of April.
It was on to re-release news next, as we reported that the day after this issue went out would see the re-releases of classic albums “Absolutely” and “7”. Each album cost a mere £6.99, and spanned two discs.
Following the recent 10th anniversary of the sad passing of Ian Dury we passed proceedings over to Lee Thompson and his tale of hose Uncle Ian found himself as lead vocalist on the classic Madness track “Drip Fed Fred”. Although a short article it was extremely amusing, and one that’s still worth a read even today.
Next, and with the Summer holiday season just around the corner many of you would be on the lookout for some reading material to take with you. Being our ever helpful selves, we pulled out five titles that we felt you may have wanted to pack in your suitcase before jetting off.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that Chris Moss of Bristol based ska band “The Communicators”, had recently set up a Facebook group and you were urged to take a look.
15 years ago…
Issue number 309 – Sunday 10th April to Saturday 16th April 2005
We started off this week’s edition with news that Mike Edwards, the sax player from ska band Orange Street, would be running in the forthcoming London Marathon, in aid of Cancer Research UK. It wasn’t known if he’d be playing the sax at any part during the event – we suspected probably not.
Moving on, we then took a look at the Mad Not Mad Scooter Club. The group were a small, family run club that was slowly growing. The name came about because they were all Madness and scooter fans
A few weeks back we’d printed what we assumed to be the full line-up for the forthcoming 3 day Badfest (running from Fri 29th July – Sun 31st July). However, we were subsequently contacted by Stewart Rennie of Ska band `Orange Street`, telling us that despite them not being listed in our previous listing, they were actually booked to play on Saturday 30th.
Armed with this information we decided to pay the Orange Street web site a visit in an effort to find out more about the band.
Next up co-editor Jonathan Young asked “Is it time for a Madness Symposium?”. Why, well, on the weekend this issue went out across the net, Manchester’s Metropolitan University put The Smith forward as the subject of academic study and debate. At the much publicised event, world class university lecturers and researchers gathered to assess the band’s social, cultural, political and musical impact.
As Jonathan rightly stated at the time:
“But if “The Smiths” can be the subject of deconstructed examination at a dedicated Symposium, then surely Madness, should have the same opportunity.
After all, Madness are a much bigger band in our lives. We Demand our own MADNESS Symposium!”
Jonathan then went on to draw up his own list of academic suitable lectures centred around our favourite band. Did this man have too much time on his hands? Quite possibly!
20 years ago…
Issue number 47 – Sunday 9th April to Saturday 15th April 2000
Before we got this issue underway, we had to clear things up with all those people who mailed us asking for more information regarding the Madness world tour mentioned in last week’s edition of the MIS Bulletin. We were sure the majority of you realised that Simon Roberts had quite cleverly put together a little April Fool’s joke complete with mock-up promo sleeve on his website.
In a recent E-mail to the `Total Madness Mailing List`, Simon Roberts reported that he was receiving so many enquiries from people asking for copies of this non-existent promo and more info about the tour, that he had to put a disclaimer on his website informing people that it was indeed only an April fools joke.
Moving on, and the ball continued to roll with regards to Scatty’s Madness festival pencilled-in for later in the year. The whole day would be a charity event, with proceeds going to Cancer Bacup, the charity Ian Dury put so much of his time and effort into. Since the sad loss of Ian Dury the previous week, the event had now been dubbed TMML ID Day. The event would start at 12noon on Saturday 11th of June and would go on till around 1am.
The number of people offering their help and support for this event seemed to be reaching truly mammoth proportions. As well as a large chunk of the online Madness community offering assistance, big name contributions included;
– Cancer Bacup.
– Gilad Atzman. (who toured with the blockheads)
– Terry Edwards. (who has recorded & appeared with madness)
– Virgin Music.
– Tristan Olivia. (grandson of lord Olivia)
– The Kings Appeal.
Some sad news now, and for those who were waiting for the rumoured US tour and Madstock 5, Vince Foley was able to confirm 100% that there would be no tour or MS5 this summer.
Many of you were no doubt familiar with the age-old TV series, `This is Your Life` which nine times out of ten featured someone so completely boring that you just had to change the channel. Well, for once we could assure you that you’d have the blank video tape in the player all set to record this one. Last Saturday, the legendary Suggs recorded an edition of the show which was due to be aired in the next couple of weeks.
Remember the Madness documentary being filmed and put-together towards the end of last year? Well, news reached us this week revealing the show had now been put back till September. A definite date had still not been decided.
Onto the lowdown of this issue’s article now. And following the sad loss of Ian Dury last week, we had an article from the BBC website covering the funeral which was held on Wednesday. As expected, so many people came to pay their respects that the service held in the church was also broadcast outside.
Further on we had the latest batch of gigs from `One Step Behind`. As we kept saying, if you’d not seen them, you really needed to get along to one of their shows as soon as possible. You would not be disappointed.
On Valentine’s day this year one Madness fan spread the word to the masses by appearing on Ireland’s `Near FM` radio station. This fan was none other than `Madness Unsugged` editor in chief, Vince Carden who was the guest on 101.6 FM’s weekly `Ska Patrol` programme. You could find out just what went on in the review of events elsewhere in this issue.
And, not to be outdone by One Step Behind, the recently formed, tribute band `Los Palmas 6` were putting together a comprehensive tour over the next 6 weeks. We advised you to take a look at the dates to see if they would be playing in your area.
Sign of the Times
Suggs Speaks to BBC Radio 5
Our thanks go to Nicky Elkins for transcribing the below.
Intro: 40 years madness have been together, 40 years and look at some of the highlights of their career. I think they were the biggest single‘s band of the 80s. You remember when people bought singles. They were the biggest band of that whole decade. Of course I remember them playing on top of Buckingham Palace now that’s not something many bands can say that they’ve done. So it’s a great pleasure to see the man who did this… Plays clips … The Prince and Baggy Trousers
Nihal: Hello Suggs
Suggs: Hello me old mate
Nihal: How’re you?
Suggs: I’m good, yeah I’m good, surviving you know, like the rest of us, up and down
Nihal: Are you become a better cook because I know that you take a backseat, that your Mrs is a much better cook than you, but are you getting?…..
Suggs: I have, yes. Getting in trouble for interfering in the kitchen. I’ve got into sauces recently which I’ve never really thought about before. I’m now an expert on the green pepper and then I did a mushroom and asparagus sauce last night. It’s getting into that, you know those old jokes, time you retire and end up killing each other because the husband would be going, you don’t want to be doing it like that, you know if you went from the fridge to the cooker and back again you can save 10 seconds, that sort of thing. But the worst thing of all, the worst thing of all is my daughter, I’m in whitstable with my wife’s family
Nihal: That’s where she’s from isn’t it, your wife?
Suggs: It’s where she was born so we’re in the old ancestral seat of my Mrs. We came down for a weekend because our house is being redecorated and we obviously thought there’s no point in going back because, as much as you want to be near your family, you realise you can’t be, even if you were next door to them. My daughter told me exercising indoors is great and so my daughter told me her mate was doing these exercises which involve just the things you have in your house, like tins for instance. So you put, like, baked beans tins in carrier bags and make them into weights, you put books in a rucksack and you do squats. So the other afternoon after a couple of gin swizzles, I have to admit, I found a couple of paint tins in the garage and a chair leg and I went here you go, I was bench pressing this lot, so I walked in the living room, I’m starting to sound like that Micky Flanagan, so I walked into the living room, with these two paint tins on a chair leg and guess what, one of ‘em falls off and explodes and now I’ve lost my balance and the other one falls off and explodes, grey paint all over the living room, all up the walls, all over the sofas, all over me. If I’d videoed that I’d be a very rich man, it would be an internet sensation right, indoor exercise and you can imagine how amused Ann my wife was, she was absolutely thrilled!!!
Nihal: She must’ve been, or was she?…
Suggs: If she called me a moron once, it must’ve been around 5000 times, an idiot and a moron
Nihal: But you kind of mitigated against her anger by the fact that it was so funny, she must’ve thought…
Suggs: By the morning, when the dust had settled, of course she’s instagrammed everyone on the planet, there’s me covered in paint and it’s hilarious, in the morning, but it certainly wasn’t at the time no!
Nihal: I was intrigued to discover that your signature dish is pheasant stew, which is, from a boy who moved from Clerkenwell and was living in a flat with his mum, a one bedroom flat where you had to put the milk on the balcony, no not on the balcony, on the ledge because you had no fridge, that you’re now the kind of man who likes pheasant stew, for crying out loud Suggs
Suggs: well come on mate, you know, the bourgeois
Nihal: That’s social mobility
Suggs: The climbers that we are, I mentioned it once in an article, I was on holiday in Norfolk and there were like pheasants all over the road and apparently, as long as you don’t run them over, you can eat them, so I picked a couple of pheasants up. There you go, you can take the man out the street but you can’t take the street out with man. And I put them in a pot and threw a few carrots and potatoes and swede and all that and let it boil for a few hours and a bottle of red wine and it was good. My other favourite now is that I make pasta, actually it’s a good thing
Nihal: From scratch?
Suggs: Yeah yeah! from scratch, what do you mean from scratch?
Nihal: I just buy the pasta like in a bag, put in a boiling pan
Suggs: Surely you must be getting…. There was a huge bloke in front of me in the shop yesterday and he had two bags of flour and yeast, and I said are you doing some baking? I thought he was going to punch me. All men are doing baking now but pasta, all you got is just flour water and an egg, you know, it’s not difficult at all. But puttanesca sauce, there’s your fella, do you know that one?
Suggs: Anchovies, black olives, tomatoes, garlic and onions, watch out. Anyway
Nihal: Wow! Producer Shaun has just gone in my ear, what you don’t know puttanesca sauce! Wow, they didn’t do that in my school funnily enough, at lunchtime
Suggs: Bolognese Bolog-flipping-nese, Anyway, you were saying, you were holding a modicum of uh what’s it called, talking to me now and I’m very glad my wife isn’t, because she couldn’t. She loves you and I’m getting a bit worried about it. But could you be a bit, a little less flexible in your broadcasts, right, Radio 1, 2, 3, 4, finance and politics, would you give it a rest mate, you know what I mean you’re embarrassing yourself
Nihal: Suggs, listen 40 years Madness has been together, listen this is embarrassing me now, 40 years Madness has been together but actually it was kind of 79 to 86 and then 92 onwards again
Suggs: You got it, you got it, it’s funny when you say that. I’m not like being self-deprecating but we were the biggest selling band of the 80s but in fact we packed up in 86 and gave the others a four year chance to catch up, but they didn’t. But Mike our keyboard player left the band in about 85/86 we’d had about 20 odd hits and it was just like the greatest thing when I look back because it gave us all a chance to re-engage with the real world, you know, I think being a popstar is a pretty bizarre way to exist and when we came back in 1992 Vince Power had this Irish festival in Finsbury Park called the Fleadh. He said do you fancy, look, I could leave it on the Sunday, I could leave all the staging and fences and security. Do you fancy having a come back, and we thought, we’d never actually said goodbye when we split up in 86 so we thought, this might be a good goodbye. And then Virgin records bought out a greatest hits, got to number one. We played the gig, there was an earthquake literally, and they had to evacuate Finsbury Park. A lot of 40odd year-old blokes jumping up and down and it created an earthquake which you can see on YouTube if you don’t believe me. And from then on I think we’ve always been very concerned with performing live, you know, playing live. I think that we had a resurgence that’s for sure I mean, the amount of festivals that there are now means we get to work every year all year. It’s been great, well, apart from this year obviously. I’m unemployed! My daughter has just gone on the dole. I was trying to work it out, how you do it, I’ve been on the, um what’s it called, the um whatever it is website, 90 for the week, I could do with that
Nihal: I don’t think you’re going to get very far
Suggs: No I don’t think so. I might be over the 50 grand a year bracket to be perfectly fair
Nihal: I was watching Take It Or Leave It and I was going back to when you were all kids, there is an altercation between you guys and it’s all kind of staged right, I mean there’s not an altercation between you and a bunch of skinheads, but of course a lot of what’s in there is based on your lives and how it was back then, how…
Suggs: Well it’s funny you say that, yeah go on
Nihal: Was it quite aggy back then? Was it a lot of, a lot of tear ups?
Suggs: It was yeah, it was always fighting yeah and that scene, funnily enough we recreated that scene where we go to the Acklam Hall in Ladbroke Grove, and in those days if you went with a load of your mates to any venue they would often see it as you were trying to take it over in some way or other. And someone got on the phone to their mates, the Ladbroke Grove skinheads, and they all turned up and we had to run for our lives, for sure yeah we did. It was very territorial you know, people talk about postcode gangs today, I think maybe it was just a little less recorded in those days. But for sure you could go across to the wrong side of town
Nihal: You weren’t a stranger to having a tear up though, I mean you’d go to the football and sometimes it would be a bit lively to say the least
Suggs: I think my reputation is over exaggerated, I will say. But it was for sure yeah, there was something about that yeah, going to football was tribal. And you go to Liverpool and you can tell by the clothes that people were wearing who they supported I mean, a lot of running around basically, I mean not very much of any consequence, it was just running around with your mates, that’s what I think from my memory
Nihal: What what kind of family was Madness because Before We Was We is really interesting…. because you get insights from all members of the band and their own personal recollections and they’re different right
Suggs: Which is a book, right, which is out on paperback
Nihal: Yes Before We Was We later this week out on paper back
Suggs: Go to Waterstones, oh no don’t! You’ve got a very good point there you know. The band really were some dysfunctional family. You know we were pretty much all from broken homes which is what we used to call it in those days, one parent families. And we grew up together, you know, we went through this very bizarre thing about becoming famous together, and we had a sort of, you know, like a weird psychotherapy amongst ourselves, because we were very good friends we were all friends before the band started. But we went through this process together, I remember reading about the Beatles, you know, all holed up in a room and and George saying the great thing was we were pals dealing with all this. Because there is a very strange kind of a vampirish business that goes around fame and money, that you have to protect yourself from, and fortunately, I had them and they did protect me from it, yeah
Nihal: Because of course, there were very different, you said there were very dysfunctional home lives going on, how did, how did that affect relationships within the band?
Suggs: Well what I’ve touched on there is I think, that it made us closer, you know….. not necessarily violent, but there was a bit of kind of aggro maybe alcoholism and things around us you know in our parental situation and I think tolerance was thing that we all really got a handle of, was being tolerant with each other and going through times together yeah and talking about it, talking it’s not something that was usual for us in anyway so we talked, we had a lot of time to kill on buses travelling around, we got to know each other and love each other yeah
Nihal: Who found it the most difficult to be open emotionally out of you all?
Suggs: Oh that’s a very deep question. I wouldn’t know to be honest, may be me, I find it difficult, even to this day. I don’t think there was any kind of first and last in that race we just all grew together yeah
Nihal: Because of course from a time when it was, certainly wasn’t encouraged for men to talk about their emotions was it?
Suggs: Yeah and I think what you were talking about earlier as well, that violent scene, it really wasn’t pleasant and I’m not encouraging it or saying I was any good at it but you did get in trouble you know, wandering around, so you had to kind of look after yourself and there were certain people in the band were better at it than me, and I was glad to be in their presence of course. Then you realise that ain’t the answer either, do you know what I mean, so you have to grow emotionally and that’s what happened
Nihal: I’m very glad you never became Morris and the Minors
Suggs: Hahaha! What was it I said, I said I wasn’t to keen on being Morris and the others weren’t not too keen on being the Minors either
Nihal: So that was a nonstarter
Suggs: Much to the disappointment of Mike our keyboard player at the time. That story of course that we were called The Invaders, and there was another band called The Invaders and Mike took it upon himself to put on the posters outside the Music Machine, Morris and the Minors well, he thought, that’s the transport we use, it makes sense doesn’t it. Can you imagine, with bells around our ankles and hankies and all that we probably would’ve been massive in the New Romantic period
Nihal: But record companies weren’t keen on the name Madness either initially were they?
Suggs: No they weren’t and I don’t think we were too either. It’s a bit sort of, I remember a band called Dr in the Madness. It always seemed a bit like you’re trying too hard you know
Nihal: I’m wacky me, look how wacky I am!
Suggs: Well wacky, zany, we used to be saddled with them words
Nihal: But you are songwriters
Suggs: Yes we are Madness and it is Madness, you know, Madness is a word that can be interpretated in a lot of different ways, is interpretated a word?
Nihal: Well if you say it exists, therefore it’s a word
Suggs: How’s Ronajoy by the way?
Nihal: How’s what?
Suggs: Ronajoy, isn’t he a pal of yours?
Suggs: Oh no, somebody else, damn!
Nihal: Maybe you’re pronouncing it wrong.
Suggs: Ronajoy, my daughter’s a pal of his and said he went to school with you
Nihal: Really? Alright, I better go and check that out. I might be… I better go and check that out myself. Good grief, 3° of separation from you Suggs, that makes me feel almost famous. So 40 years of being in this incredibly iconic band and that is why Before We Was We, the book is out this week. This is the first time you guys have done anything like this, when you’ve all spoken individually to a journalist
Suggs: Yeah, we had a few books and are on official books. We wanted to write a book to celebrate 40 years, didn’t want it to be another book about the hits we’d had, everyone knows that. Then we thought about sitting around together and talking amongst ourselves and Tom, who wrote the book, said why don’t you do it individually. It’ll be more amusing when stories contradict each other, which of course they do. You always remember things in different ways. I haven’t read it myself but apparently it’s great. I’m looking forward to when the paperback comes out this week. I think my bit is quite good but yeah, so we each tell our own version of different things. We also talk about what happened how …. interference….. 79 when we actually formed the band
Nihal: What were your favourite years Suggs, if you’re looking between 1979 and 1986 what, for you were highlight years in the seven years?
Suggs: The early days are great, you know, when you get a gig in a pub. The Dublin Castle in Camden Town. And then The Specials come along and I see them. A pub in Islington and Jerry Dammers suggests he’s going to start a record label. And then we make our first record. We went on the Two Tone tour, Selector, The Specials and Dexys Midnight Runners and The Beat and all that. And then of course we had all the others. We had Madstock, 75,000 people in Finsbury Park in 1992 and then the roof of Buckingham Palace as you mentioned. Headlining Glastonbury, even now we are supposed to be doing a lot gigs this year. We’re supposed to be going back to America which we never really got on with, or they didn’t get on with us. One or the other and that was all sold out
Nihal: Has this all been rescheduled for next year? Have you got dates for next year and the end of this year?
Suggs: Not entirely sure. We’re doing a big tour at the end of the year, well hopefully. I mean praise the Lord all of us get out of this nonsense, but um that’s what we’re hanging on for. We’ve got a plan with Squeeze, that’s the sort of one that we can hopefully pull our coathanger on but all the summer gigs, well we’ve booked them but they’ve been cancelled so you just hope, don’t you, that it’s gonna come to an end, this old nonsense, yeah
Nihal: How good are you being at home considering you’ve pointed out so many gigs, so many festivals. Are you the kind of person climbing the walls or are you quite happy to just chill there making your puttanesca sauces and other such flash things?
Suggs: No I’m not too bad, I’m not too bad yeah. Because you know it’s a funny old life, you do you touring but then….
Nihal: Oops Suggs – is he still there? my apologies oh…
Suggs: Am I breaking up? Sorry mate. I’m not too bad with solitude. I spend a lot of time writing. I’m trying to write songs an that, and I bought a lot of stuff down to Whitstable, old songs I’ve written, can you hear me?
Nihal: Now covered in grey paint
Suggs: Ha ha ha! that’s some of the best work I’ve done. What’s it say again, I can see and… it….the …
Nihal: It’s Jackson Pollock. You’ve recreated in one colour
Suggs: Well I’m going to recreate this exercise class on the beach and I’ll put it online. I’ll send it to you, just make sure the lids are down properly that’s all
Nihal: I’m now going to try and follow your wife on Instagram so I can see the picture of the grey paint everywhere, all over your living room
Suggs: It’s a metaphor for life grey paint all over
Nihal: Take care Suggs, great to catch up with you
Suggs: Lovely to speak to you take care, bye
We bring this week’s issue to a close with several updates from subscriber Kieron Murphy.
First-up, and last month the Mad Chat Facebook group held a charity fundraiser at the legendary Dublin Castle pub. Kieron tells us that a whopping £1,669 was raised on the day, with all proceeds going to Mad Chat’s chosen charity “Children’s Hyperinsulinism Charity” (CHC). The charity provides support for other families who have children with CHI (Congenital Hyperinsulinism).
Kieron has also been in touch to pass on the news that;
“Over at Mad Chat we have had a 2 week Poll for favourite Madness songs so have created a virtual Album that we have created into a You Tube Playlist for everyone to enjoy. NW5 won hands down with my favourite on the beat Pete in at number 2!