Last Saturday, 27 years after Madstock (1992), in Madness’ 40th year, and in Finsbury Park’s 150th year, Suggs and Mike were ready to return to the park to play live.
They were due to play live music, at a celebration event held their in a tented area. This time it wasn’t an earthquake that was happening. It was wind that stopped the event! How terrible a tiny Madstock Moment blew away on Saturday! (See our “Sign of the Times” section for the news and quotes.)
Lucky then that the whole band has moved from the 90’s anyway. House of Common is the South London, larger and nuttier Festival in its third established year and stuffed full of stages and reggae legends, like Jimmy Cliff and more. Alongside that little lot you’ll see Madness team up with a choir this year.
It’s still under £40 a ticket and it’s the big late Summer London Birthday gig in just over a week. With Suggs and Lee seen filming in Camden this week also, we wonder what further surprises for the end of this year might be screen teased somewhere soon.
Displayed for your pleasure at HOC? maybe? A seal clap at Clapham. Or online playback? XL is a YEAR of continued delights. Enjoy the last big Summer gig and keep your eyes open, to see beyond the current plans for more 40th thrills.
On Saturday, the day The Prince turned 40 Lee was in Camden, too. (See reports below in our Live section.) The band is now 40. The single on 2tone is now 40. There are more 40th moments to come. It’s a top 40th time. .
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
The Near Jazz Experience
August 13th, Chat’s Palace, 42-44 Brooksbys Walk, E9 6DF, London
“The Music”; the new Album From Nick Woodgate
Nick’s album finally saw release on Friday 9th of August, with much excitement from the online Madness fan base if Facebook is anything to go by.
The album was initially released on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, iTunes and Amazon Music. Following this, Nick posted in an update that he’d removed the tracks from these sites and that he now plans to go the whole hog and release the album on CD!
The other great news is that Nick has continued to make the album available for your listening pleasure on his web site while he investigates going down the CD route.
You can find Nick on Twitter at @nick_woodgate, so if you like what you hear then please let him know.
The Simmertones’ new Album – “Ten Feet Tall”
As we await the next Madness album (whenever that may be!), we’ve been on the lookout for something to keep us going during this lean period. Thankfully, MIS subscriber and Simmertones bassist, Del Anning kindly sent us a promo copy of the new Simmertones album “Ten Feet Tall”, which came out last Friday; 9th August.
Featuring a whopping 13 tracks, it’s 46 glorious minutes of Summer on a disc. The album’s so much fun to listen to that you’ll have a massive smile on your face as you go through each track.
We’ve been listening to the album regularly for the past few weeks, and our personal favourite tracks are:
Travelling Man – A bouncy ska/pop track about the joys of being on the road
Stand Firm – Jump-up Ska which bounces its way through a message to anyone who’s been through dark times.
The Place That I Know – A lookback on childhood with a catchy chorus and a cool groove.
Do yourself a favour and get this added to your music like library. You won’t regret it.
If you need further persuading of the band’s musical pedigree…
Between 2016-2018 The Simmertones’ performed at numerous events including The London International Ska Festival, The Looe Music Festival, Bestival, Camp Bestival and Madness’ House of Fun Weekender (twice!!).
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.
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 797 – Sunday 17th August to Saturday 23rd August 2014
The exciting news from Madness this week came in the unveiling of the 35th anniversary version of One Step Beyond. The mined, raw gemstones within it were April 1979 rehearsal recordings of “Sunshine Voice”, (desired by fans ever since it’s chorus appeared in the Take It Or Leave It film.) and “Lost My Head” (we’d wondered about ever since it was named in a set list picture in the centerfold of the Complete Madness LP).
We had much, much more on this exciting news elsewhere in the issue – from the pre-order details, to the mini website, track previews, set list notes, additional downloads, the remastering and even your chance to get hold of the album early in our competitions. All was very timely as the album had just been voted by the fans the title of best Madness album ever, and now it was back in a new edition.
This week Madness announced the first set of acts to be performing at this year’s House of Fun weekender.
Centre Stage Histrionics
The Cuban Brothers Present: Barry Peters, Dub Pistols, Reeps One, Giselle The Burlesque, DJ Woody
David Rodigan’s Ram Jam: Shy FX, Bitty Mclean, Rootikal DJ’s
Norman Jay Presents: Good Time Sounds System.
We were promised more line-up announcements would follow.
Moving on, and in our regular “Sign of the Times” section we re-printed an article from he Essential Ibiza web site, which covered the band’s recent appearance at the Ibiza Rocks Festival. Author Graham Currie rounded off his review by stating “Madness played another blinder and we left the west end with ear to ear grins on our faces and without our voices”.
Next it was over to “Nick Woodgate’s Magic Dawning and Magic Brothers Part 2” as this week his spoke to us about a project he’s excited about; he planned to release his first solo album as Nick Woodgate.
Our Special Feature this week looked at “The Service”, a Ska band from Ireland who featured on the new album “Specialized Mad Not Cancer”.
The next article continued on a Mad Not Cancer related note as subscriber Graham Yates gave us further track by track reviews of this multi-disc album release. It was such a comprehensive set of reviews. It must have taken him hours and hours to put together.
We brought this issue to close by reminding you that you had two weeks left to promote the Mad Chat Facebook group and with that, be in the running to win some great prizes.
10 years ago…
Issue Number 537 – Sunday 16th August – Saturday 22nd August 2009
This week we brought you details, revealing the latest line-up for The Isle of Wight gig. Additions included the legendary Jerry Dammers and Gentlemen’s Club.
In football news, we explained how you could sign-up for the Madness Central Football Dream Team League.
Armed with a pin code, team name and password, football fans could then join in and play against fellow Maddies.
Elsewhere, Jonathan Young gave us the heads-up on Suggs’ latest cinematic appearance, which saw him appear briefly in the film “Billy and Lilly go to New York”. Filmed in Soho, Suggs played himself
Further on, and Australian Maddie, Michael Gillis gave us the lowdown on his visit to the Melbourne International Film Festival, where he managed to catch the Norton Folgate Film, and Jonathan Young made a welcome (temporary) return to the MIS to review the forthcoming ‘Suggs and The City’ book.
We also had material from Paul Rodgers, who was here with yet more Madness chart news, thoughts and opinions.
Alongside all that we had news which indicated that the license for the Isle of Wight gig had yet to be issued, and was up against some serious opposition.
Add to that lot our usual collection of Madness related news snippets, and we had one packed issue to plough through.
15 years ago…
Issue number 275 – Sunday 15th August – Saturday 21st August 2004
We started off this week’s issue by announcing that the mailing list problems we’d been experiencing over the past three or four weeks would soon be resolved.
The downtime with the list server stemmed from our host, Brian Edmonds, moving from his place in British Columbia to the sunnier climes of the California Bay area, and a job at Google – lucky swine.
For the tech-heads who were interested, the move would also see us moving off the old Majordomo software which we’d been using since 1995, and on to the Mailman platform.
Moving on to more Madness related bits and pieces, one of the biggest items of news this week was the release of a 148-page collectors’ special edition from the makers of Q and MOJO, starring…
The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter and more
Foreword by Suggs
Jerry Dammers speaks!
Collectables & Memorabilia
The 20 Greatest Ska Revival Songs
And much more
This magazine would be available as a Q special edition in the UK and a MOJO special edition overseas, including the US, with a release date of the 19th of August.
Whilst the above was certainly a nice piece of news, what was to follow was of much more interest to the majority of the Madness online community.
A quick and to the point message from co-editor Simon Roberts, to Chris, on the official web site simply read;
“CB-How about some more samples from ‘Perfect Place?’
This is the holy grail for the hardcore fans (all 6 of them) and a tune close to your hearts I believe.
It’s your 25th birthday now, so please.. please..
pretty please..begs etc..”
Chris was quick to reply;
“Well it’s funny you should say that, because it’s on the agenda.. As soon as me and Bedders get back from our holidays.
Would this mean that we’d finally be able to get our paws on the full studio version of this much sought after track, or would we be given a few more bits of the track to download instead? Only time would tell.
Moving on, and a few weeks back Woody kindly asked fans to send in pictures of themselves for inclusion over on the official web site.
Well, it seemed that many of you were only too willing to have your ugly mugs plastered all over the internet as veritable selection of fan pictures were now on display behind Woody’s door.
Maddies on there this month were:
Alex and Marco from Italy
Kevin Crowther (jerseykev)
Michael Evans and Phil Jupitus
Colin Reynolds and Bedders
Colin Reynolds and Woody
We finished off this week’s issue with a slightly non Madness related item, as it turned out that Phil Jupitus’ column in the latest issue of The Radio Times magazine was giving the Kinks’ legendary album ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ the once-over.
20 years ago…
Issue Number 13 – Sunday 15th August to Saturday 21st August 1999
MIS subscriber Dave Scocca kicked off this week’s issue of the weekly bulletin with a number of snippets relating to the band’s future releases.
Whilst rummaging around the CDZone website he noticed that they had Johnny The Horse pencilled in with a release date of 27th Sep with a cat number of VSCDT1740 and of even more interest, they had the Madness 6 CD box set down for a 1st November release with a cat of `Madbox2`. These packages would apparently cost 4.31 and a wallet busting 57.81 UK pounds respectively.
Elsewhere this issue we had exciting news on the fanzine front, as long-time Nut Inc contributor, Vince Carden announced that issue one of his newly released zine ‘Madness Unsugged’ had just been released.
To coincide with this, we featured a full lowdown of this first issue, along with contact details so you could order yourselves a copy.
At the time we wondered if we really needed another fanzine, what with Stuart Wright’s Nut Inc already doing the rounds, but over the coming months Madness Unsugged would prove that there was more than enough room for two fan publications on the block.
Moving on, and Vince Foley emailed in to let us know that the Lovestruck single had fallen 7 places in the UK chart, and was now sitting down at number 27. Vince commented that he thought
“Lovestruck captured the fickle record buying public at the right time and is surely one of the anthems of the summer.
So well done gents and roll on the next.”
Further on in this issue we featured a huge article taken from a 1992 edition of Vox magazine (between the release of Divine Madness and the original Madstock weekend in Finsbury Park), and painstakingly typed up by subscriber Mike Hearne. Although it was certainly a lengthy read it was a fascinating one, and revealed just how the planets aligned in order to make the whole Madness comeback possible.
Possibly the most amusing thing in this week’s issue had to go to the reply subscriber Andrew Langmead received from Jeff Smith, Head of Music Policy at Radio 1, when question as to why Lovestruck hadn’t been aired on the station.
It was good of Jeff to reply, but the comments that the station felt it wasn’t one of Madness’ finest moments, and that it was more suited to Radio 2 didn’t go down too well with fans.
Andrew urged us to not take this as an opportunity to start flaming Mr. Smith, and pointed out that a long as we still loved the band any kept buying the singles they’d keep releasing them…
with or without Radio 1.
The Prince at 40
In a boot shop in Camden Town, where the band famously once sat in 1979, (waiting for Top of The Pops to send them a car to the BBC, with thoughts of TV fame and fortune and music history awaiting them), now sits a lone Saxophonist having a cup of tea.
Nicky, a fan and Lee’s newly appointed assistant this morning, is cutting up a set of free commemorative stickers for him made by Alan Flynn, that say “The Prince 40th Anniversary”. It’s been that long now that Madness music has been available to buy.
It’s 11am and a queue of fans builds up ready to grab and have Lee sign his One Man’s Madness DVD’s, albums and the odd other item such as that early Prince vinyl 7″ with it’s 2tone paper label. Lee poses for a few selfies assuring that House of Common posters appear in the shot that are displayed in the shop, plugging the imminent Madness massive event for the summer. Paul Roper, Ryan West, Sarah Hamlen and Duff Kelly join and chat with me when I arrive and sit among the long laced boots hanging from every available hook. Lee chats a few tales and even does a One Step Beyond sung video with some over enthusiastic fans, while Madness tunes are played in over the speakers there, and some salesman turns away people who’ve bought inferior boots telling them to come back and buy his genuine quality ones.
By 12.30 When the last of the current set of fans is satisfied with their signatures, Lee does a runner out the door quickly, winking and whispering “underworld”. He even buys the first round! What an amazing day this first Madness record’s birthday truly is!
Archway tube station, some time before it’s release, was the day John Hasler handed Lee that first single, and as Andy Shoultz, Hazel Foster, Alan, Tim and Natalie all join the group we have a toast in the pub, to Madness, to that song, and not forgetting to toast Buster for his influence and the sad fact he isn’t around anymore himself.
There is a sing along to the tune, and all join in.
The most touching moment of a very touching afternoon all told, was seeing Lee unprompted miming out a treasured moment. Holding his hand to symbolise a piece of paper, with an imaginary pen formed of fingers from the other hand he just drifted back in his mind to the earliest point of song writing. Mumbling a couple of lines from the song he repeated and placed them together in the jigsaw like way that a song constructed from inspired Buster lines all put together, must have come about in formation. 40 years later this first tune of Madness will ring out soon to more thousands this year, and is treasured in fan hearts.
Later that evening during the second set of The Silencerz in Blackheath, Father Lee joins Son Daley and his band in a rendition of the tune, it sounding as danceable and earthquake inciting as it ever did back in the last four decades of it’s airplay.
Get your album or single out and give it a play. Go on. Then get along to hear it live with the full band at Clapham or soon.
The birthday moments continue… Madness promise you more treats.
Sign of the Times
Susie Barson and one of the musicians Luke Eira who was set to play this afternoon
THE GRAND musical finale to celebrate 150 years of Finsbury Park has been cancelled at the last minute as the stage was about to be “blown away” by gale force winds.
Festival organisers said they are “devastated” after they were told by health and safety officers that all the bands due to play in the afternoon had to be cancelled.
Frontmen from the legendary Ska band Madness were set to take the stage at about 4pm today (Saturday).
Graham “Suggs” McPherson and Mike Barson of Madness were practicing when they were told that their gig was cancelled.
Susie Barson, a member of the Friends of Finsbury Park group who organised the festival, said: “To my absolute devastation and horror the music has been cancelled.
“We had about five or six bands lined up with people having travelled a long way.
“It’s devastating. But what can we do, they’re very fierce about health and safety.
She added: “I was just on the phone to Mike (from Madness) and he was so sad to hear that it had been cancelled.”
Talks had gone ahead from 11am to 1pm in a tent in MacKenzie Gardens.
MP David Lammy had chaired a discussion on the role parks have played in London in the past and the present.
But at the end of the talk Simon Hunt, Friends of Finsbury Park chairman, had to ask people to leave quickly as the tent was apparently at risk of “blowing away.”
Mr Lammy told the Tribune: “I am sad to these that the wind has cancelled the music. I’m really sorry and sad about that.”
Madness in Edinburgh
The next Edinburgh concert seems to be perfectly timed to allow me to travel down memory lane in this 40th year.
As I sit here waiting patiently for my next Madness concert in Edinburgh (Today) I remember fondly most of the other times they have played my hometown.
I think to date Madness have played in Edinburgh six times, ( Edinburgh Odeon once, Edinburgh playhouse once, Edinburgh Ingliston once, Edinburgh Corn Exchange twice, Edinburgh princes street once) with Princes street to come soon that makes seven concerts of which due to not being at the Corn Exchange ones which I had tickets to and missed due to work, I have been to five, all were great shows and memorable in their own ways.
The Ingliston riots and Lee losing his sax at Edinburgh being the worst. Lol. But I still remember my first concert at the Odeon in 1980 the best. I had already seen the Specials a few months before but always loved Madness more, I went to the afternooon kids show as there had been some trouble in the news so being 15 was not allowed to go to the adult evening show this time but that didnt matter to me all I cared about was going to see my heroes.
So there I was properly attired, porkpie hat, stay press trousers, tassled loafers, Ben Sherman polo ( all knock off copies as I couldnt afford the real thing lol) about 20 feet from the stage, watching a magician who was support for the band, probably a good idea on paper for the ‘KIDS SHOW’ but in reality a disaster the poor guy lasted about 15 minutes before being booed off.
We then had an agonising wait for the band but it was a great laugh as everyone was singing and dancing while we waited, eventually the lights went down, the band came on stage, to this day I will never forget the first time I heard Chas sing ‘HEY YOU’ honestly the hair on my neck was standing up I was that excited the atmosphere was electric, I wish I could give a songlist for the concert but I was too busy enjoying myself to count or memorise the setlist but it was a mix of the One step beyond and Absolutely albums, lots of the old favourites that dont get played as much anymore ( believe me, rockin in ab, crying shame, Tarzan’s Nuts, etc) with If I remember correctly two encores, to be honest it is still my favourite live performance from them out of the 40 times I have seen them.
It was the start of a lifelong love affair with what I still consider the best band in the country, it was all over far too soon and I could have watched them for hours more, but went home still singing their songs, the next day I chased their tour bus the length of Princes street to get their autographs, I got Suggs, Thommo, Barso, and Chas ( who wrote the old Chas smash sez slogan and wrote Chas Smash sez ‘see you jimmy’ to this date still some of my prized possessions all in a frame along with the ticket that cost the ‘princely’ sum of £1.00 it costs a lot more nowadays but still worth every penny and I hope to see them many more times before I pop my clogs. Lol.
That’s just about it for this week.
We’ll be back next Sunday for another issue of the MIS. In the meantime, if you get along to any of the 40th anniversary tour gigs and fancy putting together a review please send it in. We’d love to hear about your concert experiences.