Hello, and a very warm welcome to this, the final issue of the MIS for 2017.
It’s been an absolutely packed year for us fans and the band, with masses of gig dates, and the much-anticipated Minehead Weekender rounding it all off last month.
While only a few Madness gigs have been announced, we already know that Suggs has a busy first quarter ahead, with performance after performance of his “What a King CNUT” show penned-in.
Combine that with a pair of forthcoming Deaf School gigs, and a certain Lee Thompson appearing under multiple guises, and you can see that the first few months of 2018 are already starting to look rather busy.
While many of us wait to ring out 2017, why not sit back and plough through the last MIS of the year?
Full House – The New Madness Best of Album – Review
Available to order now from Madness.co.uk & Pledge music. Out now!
2 CD’s and 4 LP’s make up a house full of Madness hits as latest in a long line of “best ofs”. It’s 42 tracks neatly split into 21 on each CD or set of LP’s. That includes the biggest singles and songs of the FULL band era on Full House part one. Then Mike leaves home. Uncle Sam starts part two which brings us up to Carl-less date with the band still making great music in a house occasionally with someone who’s not home today. In fact the CD mirrors this fact slightly, a beautiful cover bulging with multiple mad men all together in our full house of fun then opens up on the CD version to reveal just Woody inside another version of the house on the inner image, where the full band are driving away in their car, and a business man runs for the buss. The Vinyl is even more stunning, housing a black and white checkered floor and an upstanding 3D pop up design of the full house cover.
Product description: Ladies and Gentleman, for your drinking pleasure Madness bring you one of the fines beers to ever pass your lips. An idea born in the Dublin Castle (the very pub where we played our first gigs), Madness Beers go one step beyond with flavour and style.
ABV 4.2%, Units 2.1
MIS Feature – Happy Old Year 1985
From mutants invading Mega City, to a Whistle Test New Year’s Eve broadcast, read about the first comeback of a post-Barson Madness as they mastermind Zarjazz a release Mad not Mad. It’s 1985 over on SevenRaggedMen website as the band dance over the foreboding chimes of Big Ben.
Growing up in public is starting to lose its appeal, as the melancholy mounts behind the scenes.
SUGGS: We had gone from being 18-year-old yobbos to being the biggest band in the country in a matter of years. We were trying to psychoanalyse ourselves as we went along, but the f*cking information was too fast. For all that laddishness, we were sensitive people.
LEE: Ultimately, we grew up a little too fast for the fans. Other issues took hold outside the music – it happens to a lot of groups.
SUGGS (speaking in 1985): Virgin have given us a budget for the year which is quite a lot of money, which we can decide what to do with. That’s the worst situation we’ve been in so far, having to sit down and work out what we should give someone, like as a shopping list, and you’ve got to have so much money for the rest of the year, and the fucking new Beatles might turn up next week and we won’t have money left.
CARL (speaking in 1985 on fink bros): Y’see the comic is full of thrill power, every Friday we get up and we look for our comic, so if we let the front slip and admitted it was by us, then our thrill circuits would be sucked.”
CHRIS (speaking in 1985 on the wayfinders): This is it – we premier our new album, Lost in the Museum, upstairs at the Bull & Gate in Kentish Town. We ask all our old chums to come along and they do. Live on stage we have two keyboard players, Steve Nieve and Roy Davies, and also Professor Morley to turn on the drum machines in a couple of songs and look the part. The gig was a sell out (cos we gave the tickets away) and good fun.
WOODY (speaking in 1985 on Starvation): It’s impossible to put the Ethiopian situation into words because it’s such a desperate situation; the only thing we could do to show our feelings on the subject was play music.
LEE (speaking in 1985 on the Argonauts): The lyrical content to Apeman is as important today as it was when it was first released by the Kinks 15 years ago this December. I’d been wanting to record this track ever since Liquidator studios had opened but just never got round to booking up.
BEDDERS: (on Yesterday Men) Suggs’s vocal is perfection and the track lost none of its naivety and pathos on its journey from home to studio; I just wish we could have captured that more often. Sometimes the gloss of a big recording studio smoothes over these things.
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 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 712 – Sunday 30th December – Saturday 5th January 2012/13
The past 12 months had been exciting times, not just for us, the fans, but also for the band, who had experienced one of their most active periods in many, many years.
In this issue we took a look at the first six months of the year just gone, and highlighted some of the highs and lows of January to June.
With so much having taken place, we weren’t able to cover everything, but we hoped to at least have jogged a few memories along the way.
On to the articles, and Suggs continued the lookback theme when he spoke to Claire Balding on Radio 2, about the year 2012. Highlights for Suggs included the Jubilee, the Olympic Games, and Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da. Suggs also hinted of 20 racecourse gigs for 2013. Exciting times ahead!
Were you one of the few people who still had some money to spend following the Christmas spending spree? If so, you may have been interested to learn that the online Madness store were currently running a 15% off nearly everything offer until the 4th of January. Not only that, but order over £30 would receive a 2012 tour programme.
We brought this issue to a close with a YouTube link to a video of Madness being given their Medals of Gratitude over at the Polish Embassy.
Madness news is always thin on the ground this time of year, so it would come as little surprise to many that this issue featured a mere five sections, and two of those were taken up with the intro and outro text.
The majority of this issue was taken up with a transcript from the June 2006 issue of Sound on Sound, where journalist Richard Buskin interviewed Langer and Winstanley, and documented how important they were to the success of Madness. Even now it’s still a fascinating read.
With the end of the year just around the corner we kicked off our lookback over the past 12 months with part one, which took a whistle stop tour from January through to June.
We brought this issue to a close by passing the baton over to Jermaine of Tour Madness for some small news snippets, before we finished off by wishing our readers a very happy new year, and a thank you for the support over the past 12 months.
15 years ago…
Issue 190 – Sunday 29th December – Saturday 4th of Dec/Jan 2002/2003
This final issue of 2002 suffered a similar issue to this very one you’re reading now – the traditional end of year lack of Madness news.
Still, despite the limited amount of Madness news, it was actually a packed issue.
We started off with some slightly off-topic news from Andy Davarias, revealing that The Beat were booked to play a one-off gig at The Royal Festival Hall on the 7th of February.
Continuing, but on a more Madness related note, subscriber Dan Fossard wrote in with his in-depth review of the recent Docklands gig, which took place on the 23rd of December. Following on from the previous day’s drunken Madmeet Dan forced himself back down to London’s financial capital once more to witness the last date of the Madness Christmas tour.
On the subject of Dan Fossard, drummer of North London outfit, MOT, we spent time this issue looking at his band’s latest release.
Entitled ‘Songs From Seven Sisters’, this 6-track release featured brand new material from the band, which whilst we dearly loved, felt that unlike the tracks on their previous disc, there wasn’t a single release amongst them. They ‘were’ fantastic, but not catchy enough to pull them out of album track or b-side status.
With news being decidedly thin on the ground we took the chance to give UK-based Maddies the chance to spend even more money (if they hadn’t spent enough in the run-up to Christmas) by listing some of the largest record fairs being staged in the first month of 2003.
We managed to resist spending what was left of our cash, but we have no doubt that some of you went out and added to your already bulging Madness collections.
We finished this issue off with a fantastic review of the recently released ‘Take it or Leave it’ DVD, which had been lovingly pulled apart, analysed and investigated by one Jonathan Young. As good as the disc was, Jon was still able to find a few things that weren’t quite right, and this was all down to a batch of mistakes on the packaging itself. Still, for a mere £11.99, he considered it “Another good addition to anyones Madness collection”.
Sign of the Times
We caught up with the charismatic singer Suggs, to give us his take on London today.
Camden, as it’s where I’ve spent most of my life. I was living in Regents Park Estate off Tottenham Court Road and there was a club nearby called The Roxy. I went down there when I was about 15 and there was band on stage called Eater, who were all 14 years old and I realised that not all music had to be made by old farts – it was a revelation for me to realise that you could do it yourself.
What are your most vivid memories of Camden?
The pub rock scene was where I saw the likes of the Pretenders, Dr Feelgood, Dire Straits. In Camden Town itself there were lots of Irish pubs that had function rooms where you could get a gig, plus the Electric Ballroom – an old Irish dancehall that felt like you were in a small town in Mayo.
Where are your favourite Camden haunts now?
It’s got to be the Dublin Castle, where we got our first residency – I still know the family there. Also, Ossie’s barbers on Parkway and the Portuguese cafe on Delancey Street – they’re lovely people and these are the bits I tend to gravitate to. I also love the inner circle of Regents Park when the roses are out.
Where are London’s best spots for live music today?
The 100 Club is still good – I’ve seen Dr Feelgood and the Clash there and it’s a great place to play, too. There are still a lot of venues around and some funny old clubs. The Roundhouse is doing stuff for local kids and trying to involve the community, so that’s a great thing. And then there’s Koko, where I’ve got my film premiere in January. It’s got that old-school music hall feel with the balconies.
You’ve got a day off in the city – what do you do?
Sometimes I just like to wander at random and going through streets I’d never been to before, most recently the backstreets between Highbury Corner to Hackney. It’s nice to go through places that haven’t been overly gentrified.
Where do you like going to take in some culture?
I’m a member at the Tate and the British Museum. I love the V&A as it’s such a beautiful place. There’s an embarrassment of riches when it comes to culture in London. Theres always something to see; it’s just a case of finding out what’s on, which is half my problem. I did see the David Hockney retrospective recently, though, which I really liked.
That just about brings our final issue of 2017 to a close.
We’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who supported the MIS over the past 12 months by sending in articles, links or by simply reading what we churned out each week.
We’ll be back next week for the first issue of 2018.