Madness and Madness related news may be rather thin on the ground at present, but we’re still busy producing the MIS on a weekly basis.
The big news this week is the full transcript from the recent Tim Burgess “Absolutely” Listening Party. Here, you could listen along track by track with comments from Chris, Mike and Lee. Check out our “Tweets of a Dove” section for all the details.
Also this week we learn that Carl will be appearing at the Pikes Hotel in Ibiza as one of the special dinner guests and that a national American TV advert is currently using the music of Madness to promote lawn fertiliser. No, we didn’t make that up!
Description: TWO TONE RECORDS was created in 1979 by The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The label spawned a youth movement and a number of well-known artists and singles throughout its tenure including the aforementioned Specials.
This 40th Anniversary 8-CD Collection contains the first 8 albums released on the label, with offerings by The Specials, The Selecter and Rico, along with the sought-after live concert album ‘Dance Craze’ and the ‘This Are Two Tone’ which includes a host of non-album releases.
Record Store Day – Work Rest and Play ** confirmed release date **
Release date: 29th August
Format: Double 7″ single
Cat No. BMGCAT430DSV
Fortieth anniversary re-issue of Madness’ “Work Rest & Play EP” – the follow-up to their debut album, 1979’s “One Step Beyond…”
Limited edition Record Store Day 2020 release on double 7” format with a triple gatefold sleeve including photos from the time of the original release.
Night Boat To Cairo
Deceives The Eye
The Young And The Old
Don’t Quote Me On That
Record Store Day – Dance Craze 40th Anniversary Edition ** confirmed release date **
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.
Mirror in the Bathroom
Lip up Fatty
Razor Blade Alley
Three Minute Hero
One Step Beyond
Man at C&A
Inner London Violence
Night Boat to Cairo
Too Much Pressure
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 849 – Sunday 16th August to Saturday 22nd August 2015
Although we were a good four-and-a-bit months until the end of the year dates were already starting to appear for 2016. This week The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra announced their first gig of 2016, which you could find in our regularly updated “Showtimes” section.
Moving on to a Madstock related note, and we revealed that Amazon now had pre-order links to a Madstock CD/DVD double-pack, which is due for release in October. Full details could be found in our “Buy It” section.
Into our “Buy it” section and unsurprisingly, the big news was the forthcoming Madstock CD/DVD double-pack, due for release on October 9th; just over 23 years after the famous comeback gigs.
The CD contained 22 tracks with Land of Hope and Glory, Razor Blade Alley, Tomorrow’s Just Another Day and Take it or Leave it as bonus tracks. Chrissy Boy pointed out they weren’t part of the Live Album’s original mixing by Clive Langer and instead were sourced elsewhere as masters are impossible to find nearly 25 years on.
Next it was on to “Sign of the Times” where we featured the full tracks of his years, following Carl’s recent appearance on BBC Radio 2, where he revealed his favourite tracks. Carl had a real mix of music, ranging from Blur and The Beach Boys to Madonna and Bjork, to name just a few.
Further on, and in our “Live and Intensified” section we featured an absolutely huge write-up detailing the recent Ska Orchestra gig which took place at The Garage. If that wasn’t enough there was even a selection of YouTube clips taken on the night to accompany the review.
If you were into your ales you and were based over in Ireland then our next article would have been right up your street; a list of venues in Ireland now known to be serving Madness beers.
We brought this week’s issue to a close by continuing on a beer related note as we announced that the Dark Star Brewery had recently released a “Blockhead Ale”. Lovely!
10 years ago…
Issue Number 589 – Sunday 15th August – Saturday 21st August 2010
Those of you with cable TV subscriptions couldn’t have failed to notice that UK Gold were still featuring Madness very heavily in their “Summer Madness” TV scheduling.
It was fantastic promotion for both UK Gold and the band alike. The TV station had a collection of really eye-catching idents at their disposal, while the band were advertised every 20 minutes or so.
We hoped that this coverage had generated many more sales for the band, and whoever had managed to get this whole thing arranged should’ve been congratulated, as the band are getting absolutely stacks of promotion.
On to our articles, and these got underway with a transcription from the XpatLoop.com web site, who were reviewing Madness’ appearance at the first day of the Budapest Sziget Festival.
“The stunning ska and reggae atmosphere of day zero was there on the first official festival day, too: the headliner of the evening, the British band Madness happen to be one of the most outstanding acts of the ska scene – well, of course, if this odd, 30 year-old mixture of pop, musical, 2Tone ska and Monty Python can be referred to as ska at all”
Next, it was on to the ViewFromPublishing web site, and reviewed Madness’ recent appearance at the “Glastonbury Extravaganza” festival. Not to be mistaken with the Glastonbury Festival, this event had taken place in the town since 1996.
Following this we went over to the Birmingham Post, who were interviewing Woody about his plans to run the next London Marathon faster than he’d ever run it before. Not bad when you consider he’d be reaching the big five-oh in October.
“I did my first London marathon two years ago in three hours 42 minutes. Last year I knocked five minutes off my time, three hours 37 minutes, and I’m determined to do it in three minutes 30, absolutely determined.
I’ll be 50 for the next marathon so it will be quite good. I keep saying to people ‘when I hit 50 I’ll be the youngest in the 50+ category’. At 49, I’m the oldest at the moment.”
We brought this week’s issue to a close with the news that on 20th August a one hour showing of Madness’ performance at Scotland’s T in the Park would be airing on BBC4. Time to get those recorders at the ready.
15 years ago…
Issue 327 – Sunday 14th August to Saturday 20th August 2005
We started off with news in from MIS subscriber Suggsylia, who reported that on September 1st Madness would be appearing on German TV comedy/talk show `TV Total`. For you non German TV viewers, Suggsylia told us that the host was a guy who takes himself very seriously, but takes the mickey out of everyone else.
From Europe to the USA, and Kevin Tizzard posted news this week on the MTR from V2 (USA). As well as the KROQ gig on the 17th September at Hyundai Pavilion, which the band were now at contract stage with, it looked like the lads forthcoming visit to the US was gathering momentum.
Jimmy Kimmel(LA tv show) and Letterman (New York) were rumoured to be in the planning stages, with other live dates to be announced. This news was backed up by Adele over on the Smash Forum who has said the US dates would be added to the Diary section as soon as they were confirmed.
On to this week’s collection of articles, and we started off with a transcription of a Suggs interview carried out by ireland.com. In it he spoke of the early days of Madness, and also about the new album, The Dangermen sessions.
Next-up, and with “The Israelites” appearing on the new Dangermen album, Jon Young thought it would be amusing to dig around the net and list some of the more hilarious mis-heard versions of the song.
After much digging, Jonathan declared the following lyrics to be the absolute worst:
“Get up in the morning shaving me head sir
Sold out to every monk and beefhead…
Ooh ooh me ear’s are alight…
Why fine your kids when they pack up and a leave you?
Darling Cheesehead I was a yard too greasy..
Ooh ooh me ear’s are alight.
Shout dum a terror trousers a go
I don’t wanna end up like bunny and Clive.
Oh, oh me ear’s are alight sir”
Moving on to a non Madness related note for the next article, and it was here we gave a gave a heads-up on the new Pama International album, which featured re-recorded or remixed versions of classic Pama tracks, complete with contributions from Lynval Golding and Lee Thompson.
Elsewhere we featured a review of the Dangermen Sessions from the sound.com web site, who gave it a 3 out of 5.
Following that was the album review from the Belfast Telegraph, who were more praising in their review, giving the album a very respectable 4 out of 5, and rounding off with “Twenty-seven years after their first hit, Madness are still very much the entertainers – and long may it continue”.
Things were passed over to Birchy next, who gave us an update on the Dangermen Sessions picture disc he was arranging to ship out to fans who wanted to add this limited (to 1000) edition item to their collections.
We finished off this week’s issue with news that “Almighty” (they had previously remixed Duran Duran’s “Reach up for the Sunrise”) had produced a dance remix of Madness’ version of “It Must be Love”.
At the time we commented: “As dance remixes go it’s fairly faithful to the original song whilst creating it’s own smooth dance track. Not really comparable with what most Madness music is about but if you were p*ssed in a club you’d probably dance to it”
20 years ago…
Issue number 66 – Sunday 13th August to Saturday 19th August 2000
We got this weeks’ issue underway with news in from Total Madness Mailing List subscriber, Chris Mountain who reported that a Two-Tone show would be taking place in Coventry during September.
Next, and as a number of subscribers to the TMML had rightly pointed out, last Thursday (10th August) saw the 21st anniversary of the legendary release of Madness’ first single – `The Prince`. Needing very little excuse to have a few drinks, a small band of Madness fans descended on Camden Town to raise their champagne glasses to help celebrate this momentous day. Want to find out what went on? Scatty revealed all in section 7 of this very issue.
Peter Gardner commented at the time that;
“A certain Mr. Smash has written a wonderful piece regarding this very special anniversary on his website (www.ChasSmash.co.uk). Go to the Sez Smash bit. It’s a great read, as words from the Great Man invariably are!”
Calling all Maddies North of the border. From the tremendous success of the previous two McMadmeets, a third booze-up was currently being planned by Rob Wardlaw. It was hoped that the meet would be sometime in September, with the meeting place in Edinburgh. If you were interested in attending, we urged you to contact Rob as soon as you could.
Continuing on the same note, Wee Stoo told us that;
“Over in Edinburgh I’ve a mate who lives opposite an American bevvy import shop, and amongst other mind bending refreshments, they sell Black Death Vodka.
You know that’s got to be good!”
Perhaps this meet should have had some kind of health warning?!
We had a quick look at the site, and whilst there does seem to be a fair amount of material there we had absolutely no idea what any of it said. Perhaps an English version would follow?
And with that, we moved on to the articles…
Scatty got things off to a good start with an update on his plans for a Madness convention due to take place in August 2001. After speaking to a number of other Madness fans it turned out that Blackpool was the favoured destination for most.
Watch this space, as they say!
Rob Warne continued this week’s flow of articles, with a mini review of the Isle of Wight Radio Cowes Week, which featured a slew of tribute acts, including the much-loved One Step Behind. Rob commented at the time “There were lots of sweaty bodies, fez’s and sore throats at the end of the night so it must have good!”.
Clearly having far too much time on his hands was one Iain Mason, who had been asking fans to email him with their vote for the favourite character or outfit from a Madness video.
Well, there were 28 nominations overall, and the most popular turned out to be Lee as a bumble bee in It Must be Love.
Next-up was the one and only Stuart Wright, who was pleased to announce that issue 16 of Nut Inc had finally come back from the printers, and was ready to be sent out to subscribers. With the sad passing of Ian Dury on the 27th of March, this issue was dedicated to him.
Scatty brought this week’s issue to a close, with his write-up of a Saturday afternoon out at the The Spread Eagle in Camden Town.
This drinking session was accompanied by such luminaries as Stuart Wright, Jerney, and the one and only Lee Thompson. Needless to say, Scatty rather enjoyed himself.
Tweets of a Dove
Tim Burgess’ “Absolutely” Listening Party
Listen along track by track with comments from Chris And Mike (with Lee)…
The album cover….
“The Absolutely album cover shot was taken outside Chalk Farm tube station. We wanted to use our beloved Camden Town but we couldn’t get the right angle. There were two photos everyone liked. Dave Robinson liked one more than the other, which of course, was the one we liked.
We argued then I said “let’s do 50/50, use both the shots” and Robbo agreed. Of course, you can guess what happened…we never saw our one in the shops haha.. We looked more threatening in the one we liked and he wanted us to be all nice and cuddly.”
The Crombie I’m wearing was from an Oxfam shop. I had it for years then one day about 20 years ago I took it back to a charity shop – that’s recycling!
Actually – I waited till they had it cleaned and bought it back for £5 – much cheaper than the dry cleaning. “
“Baggy trousers fire extinguisher story.
We needed a school bell type sound for the intro, so we got Woody to hit a fire extinguisher, hence his credit on the album.”
“He went on to study this difficult instrument in Vienna and eventually achieved a smokin’ grade level A.
Suggs suggested the 4 chords that lead into the song. It has a hint of a smidge of “Hoots Mon” by The Lord Rockingham’s XI”
“Baggy Trousers” was the first single I’d written. At the time I didn’t think it was that good, as it didn’t have a conventional chorus. Doh”
“Kate Bush remarked on it on Radio One Round table, she said it was “funky”. We were not worthy.”
Suggs wrote the lyrics as an answer to Pink Floyds “Another Brick in the Wall “ the “Hey teacher, leave those kids alone” bit haha”
“Oh what Fun we had. 1st and last time I played the Harmonica, The fabulous Hohner Super 64 Chromonica. An orchestra in the pocket!
“Lee had some lyrics and Mike said “I’ve got this sort of Motown tune”. The song was about his sister having a mixed race baby and the reaction of some of his family to this news. “What will the neighbours think”? You’re a disgrace to the human race!”
Lees lyrics are really good and right up there with the greats but they are often extremely cryptic but we usually guess the subject matter as we all know him so well. In the video Lee said, “I want to be on a rotating plinth with dry ice” [for the two! sax solos]
The single bag was a photo of us apparently whispering some secret to each other like gossips. Well that was Dave Robinson’s idea, I think. Hmmm.”
I think the song made an impression on Kevin Rowland because some time later he worked with Clive and Alan, and they said he liked the brass sound they got. By now Chas was playing trumpet, which was a great addition.
I think we had written this well before recording it and we had played it live a few times, which is a great help as you think stuff up live. Many years later, [he recollects] I was in Air studios and Paul Weller said, “I’ve done this song it’s a bit like “Embarrassment” which was…. “ A Town Called Malice”. Great tune that.”
“First time I played the chords in the rehearsal I thought it sounds too much like another song, couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but no one said anything so I thought ok if they dont say anything nor will I”
“E.R.N.I.E.” was a Kinks type strumalong that came out pretty much as I written it musically and only Suggs could actually write a song about Premium Bonds.”
“ERNIE is the acronym for the Premium Bonds computer, AKA the Electronic. Random. Number. Indicator. Equipment. I’ve got some and I have won quite a few times this year but er..only £25 a time, so no retiring for me.
Used 2 play the piano bit by bit through the songs (still do) as soon as ‘it’ went out we stopped & rolled the tape back a bit and then continued – 2 fingers is all I needed most of the time – trying to maintain a certain intensity.
“Had to old Roland Chorus amp on this plus we retuned the piano for that pub piano sound. Well played twice at slightly different speed”
“Lee and I wrote “Close Escape”, a follow up to the “One Step Beyond” albums “In The Middle of the Night” character George, who had now become a dirty phone caller. He’s thinking of re inventing him as an Internet stalker for a third.
I stuck in some James Bond type guitar in the breaks which is something I try to do whenever possible.
Sitar going now yippee. Nutty middle 8, Then Sax is brilliant.”
“Lee was always fond of this one, still is I believe.”
Not Home Today
“Social comment from Bedders and Suggs. This was about a local kid called Perry Buckland. Nice harmonica from Mike over the intro.
From a review at the time;
“The main surprise is ‘Not Home Today’ a very sad song about a murder at North East London Poly for which one Perry Buckland has been sent-down for eight years.
The song avoids claiming his innocence (a popular view in the area) or guilt, simply pointing out the dangers of running with gangs and ruining your life in five seconds (‘When ten hands are aiming, no one is complaining’)”[Tony Fletcher/The Face magazine
On the 26th of December 1981: ‘Perry Buckland is Innocent’ was painted on the Omniturf at Loftus Rd.”
“Oooh had the super 64 out again on this one, guess it wasn’t the last time! Nice tune and lyric from Suggsy. Got the vibes out on this one too. Clive was always up for something different
On The Beat Pete
“Was written by Lee and I did a lot of stuff on it but he credited the whole band which is very fair of him, had just bought a black Fender Stratocaster from Woodys brother Nick and I was very keen to put the tremolo arm to use.
Suggs had murders trying to fit all the lyrics in, common problem with Lees lyrics – that man thinks Suggs is like Eminem
Guitar panned and a very simple solo
As if I can do anything else.
(These false endings were inspired by the ending of Roxy Musics “Re Make/Remodel”, by the way, when it has multiple stops and all the band have a little solo)
ooo when will it end? Press roll by woody”
Whatever happened to the local bobby, I blame Regan & Carter.
“This was a lot of fun to do. Most of us liked Rockabilly and old rock and roll; we used to play “Jailhouse Rock”, before we started writing our own songs. Basically Chas sung it to Mike and we all worked it out around the piano very quickly..
and it really was fun to do. I was pretty good at shouting “YEEE HAAA!!” in the background. We were all shouting YEEEEEHAAAAA!…
Piano solo a la Jerry Lee. We were going for a Gene Vincent type of thing and I did a pale imitation of a Cliff Gallup solo – but it’s one of my favourite solos ever.
“The multi talented Mr Smash getting back to his roots”.
Take it or Leave it
Written by Lee and Mike with very complex bassline, quite a dark song really. A great intro and very popular live. I had fun doing some noisy guitar bits.
I always thought reggae type rhythm guitar should be very neat and clipped but Clive told me why not use a dirtier guitar sound. We used a lot of echo and repeat.
Clive and Alan did a really good dub version, which we called “The Business” and was on the B side of “Baggy Trousers”
I wrote loads about the album haha never get time to put it in
Thommo wrote some sleeve notes about the lyrics recently and I quote the great man here;
“We’d been to Italy, where we saw policemen walking about with guns.
At one particular gig in Turin, there was a load of Italian fans who couldn’t get tickets, and the windows started to get put through. The doors got busted open, and all these punters come running in, and immediately they were engulfed by smoke – the police had fired smoke bombs at them. There seemed to be arms and legs and batons and fists coming out of the smoke, like a Tom & Jerry cartoon…
And when the dust cleared, it was the police smashing themselves up, because the fans had run off. It was a bit of a funny scene. But I remember thinking how lucky we were in England – we could be living in South America, in some dictatorship.
“When it’s too late / Don’t come cry to me”, and he added “if” in there – “When, if it’s too late…”. And that little “if” made it more hopeful. He’s very optimistic, our Suggs – I should take a leaf out of his book”.
“They had an old Hammond in the corner… and it still worked! We had to hire in the Marimba.”
Shadow of Fear
“This is a strange and quirky song. I think Mike had the tune and Suggs wrote the lyrics, which are pretty weird and quite filmic. What we would do when writing songs was the musicians in the band would work on.
Nice plucked strings.
We played this again not long ago, first time for many a year. I had to admit it was better than I’d thought. 1st time me and Suggs put pen to paper together
This tune reminds me of something…haha hey it’s a great song. I used the sitar on this one. It was about Alexander Palace burning down, so quite a topical song. Topical at the time obvs.
Almost like an old storytelling folk song actually – that you pass down to your children, if you want to be poncey about it. A popular live song and most enjoyable to play.
great piano break.
The sitar once again.
Who would have guessed my sister Susie would one day get Alexander Place listed by English Heritage and save it from destruction.
I was trying to write a Chic type song and my old pal Lee wrote the lyrics. Songs never came out the way you imagined them in those days. These days its all on Logic® , which is much more refined than a sheet of paper with some chords on – but not so much fun.
I was trying to get that Nile Rodgers fast tight, clipped style and cheated by slowing down the tape haha. Guitar all nice n clipped, tight as a..Studio techniques and secrets revealed, it’s like being in the magic circle and giving away secrets.
Wacky solo by Mr B
“Ooh now were talking, one of my favourites nice moody track, encapsulates the period, brings back memories of getting the train to Eden Studios Acton in 1980.”
“Overdone was about regret. I’ve had many I was thinking about how much shit I’ve put my mum through. As my dad was away a lot, serving for Her Majesty’s, I felt I had to bring in the bread, put the money on the table.
Which I did quite often, but she really didn’t like that I was following in my dad’s footsteps. Every mother’s nightmare. So Overdone’s my apology to my mother. I never brought the song up with her. It was like a hidden message to her.
Anyway, she was more into Dean Martin and Jim Reeves. But it was a letter of regret.”
In the Rain
I think the intro was a bit punky – we were trying to do “Police and Thieves” Clash style. I seem to remember that this was recorded maybe before the “Absolutely” album in between the “One Step Beyond” sessions…
I think Suggs had a cold when we recorded this.
Sounds like Mike had some sort of synth keyboard in the solo bit where he and I play the same sort of tune..He’d moved on from the Vox Continental by now, anyway…
Suggs’s lost love…
“This brings the same memories back as “In The Rain”, maybe I’m mixing them up.
Some difficult bits here near the end – and guess what? We played it recently and I had the chords stuck on the wall ha-ha. Did I get it right? HA!”
“Roll over Elvis, good memories of Finchley Road basement while we was incubating what was to be – thanks 2 the Russell family.”
Return of The Los Palmas 7
Stiffs Dave Robinson wanted another instrumental, so Mike, Woody and Mark “reimagined” an old song into “The Return of The Los Palmas 7”. I said “Mike, give the boys a cut on the writing credits”, as they were bang at it all day.
So he did. Got a lot of airplay on Radios 2 and 4, as all the old gadgies liked it. The single bag was based on a T Shirt I got in LA for a garage called the “PEP BOYS”, which we all liked. I think this is when we first called ourselves the “Nutty Boys” – at least officially
“When the 80’s really took off. In a gentlemen’s club just off Hyde Park”
Lost for words. That was amazing.
A standing ovation for @CBoyForeman
Here’s one for the stat fans:
The longest song on Absolutely is 3 minutes 45 seconds. With 9 songs under 3 minutes.
Sign of the Times
In The Middle of our Lawn:
For the first time, a national American TV advert uses a Madness recording from the modern era. An ad for lawn fertilizer, to the time of the Ally Pally fan singalong from a few years ago. And it’s brilliant. A nice feel-good story for these pandemic times.
That’s just about it for this week, but before we go we’ve got one final snippet to pass your way.
Tomorrow night (Monday 17th) at the Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, Chas will be appearing at a dinner hosted by The Music Walk of Fame. Other guests appearing either in the flesh or virtually include Andy Taylor of Duran Duran, Nightmares on Wax, Paul Oakenfold, Bernie Ecclestone, Henry Conlon of the Dublin Castle and many others.