While many wait for the official launch of the Madness book “Before we Was we” on 10th October, 500 or so Madness fans have already been the lucky recipients of signed books which started landing on doormats during the course of this week gone by.
Several MIS readers also spotted their younger mugshots inside the book sleeve and were keen to show friends via social media that they’d made it in there.
If you’ve yet to order the book then check out our “Buy it” section for the direct Amazon link. You could always add it to your Amazon wish list as a Christmas present idea for others stuck with what to get you for the big day if you don’t want to buy it yourself.
Later in this issue our second of two MIS features take an initial first impressions look at the new Madness publication. If you’ve yet to add this to your collection then you’ll want to check out Jonathan Young’s article.
So, what’s our first MIS feature? Our first MIS feature this week comes directly from the one and only John Hasler. The legendary Bed and Breakfast Man is back with details of his new band. John contacted us earlier in the week and was keen to bring us up-to-date regarding what he’s been up to. Check out what he had to say and have a listen to his new music.
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 through its tenure including the aforementioned Specials with key singles ‘Gangsters’, the UK Number singles ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Ghost Town’. They also helped launch the careers of Madness with ‘The Prince’, The Beat with ‘Tears of A Clown’, The Selecter with ‘On My Radio’ and The Bodysnatchers with ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’ (The Bodysnatchers). The label ended its chart run of singles with ‘Nelson Mandela’ by The Special AKA.
This 40th Anniversary 7” Collection has been curated by Jerry Dammers, selecting his favourite 12 singles released on the label between 1979 and 1984.
– Presented with their original sleeve designs in a bespoke 1960’s style carry case
– A Bespoke Two Tone 7” slip mat
– 7” Art Card signed by Jerry Dammers.
Nick Woodgate’s “The Music” CD Album ** new **
Due to popular demand Nick’s new album is now available to purchase on CD. Priced at a mere £5 including U.K. shipping, this is an absolute bargain!
Celebrating 40 Years Of Madness – The 1979 Retro Range (Plus new T-shirts)
This Limited Edition MADNESS XL 40th Anniversary TOOTAL Scarf is now available @ The MADSTORE!
When Madness decided to celebrate their 40th Anniversary of entertaining the British Public, by launching a Strictly Limited-Edition Silk Scarf, teaming up with iconic British Accessories brand Tootal was the obvious choice.
Using Tootal’s centuries of Silk Scarf expertise and heritage within the Ska scene, the Band was instrumental in the design process, incorporating the unmistakable Madness logo with a nod to their truly outstanding 40th Anniversary.
Taking inspiration from their archives, Tootal took vintage styling and added Madness’ flamboyance into the Design.
This unique collaboration piece by Tootal for Madness is made from luxurious pure silk.
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 803 – Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2014
With the full House of Fun Weekender line up to be announced immanently, Suggs appeared in a Facebook video on the Madness page teasing the announcements, which would also outline Madness’ own sets at the event.
Speaking backstage at this week’s 02 Arena appearance by Madness, Suggs proudly proclaimed there were two bands lined up for a sound clash at the weekender. One that hadn’t played for 35 years, and the second that hadn’t recorded in 9 years. “Can you guess who?”, asked Suggs before wink-like pushing an eye into the camera frame.
Speculation was now rife amongst the fans and on on-line communities, with masses of two tone bands getting a reference, and acts from The Jam through to Oasis getting a shout out, along with amusing ones from The Wombles and to One True Voice (we jest!).
If it was to be a The Invaders Vs Dangermen for a Friday night battle set, then it would make for an exciting set of ska and reggae covers to start the weekender’s fun this year.
Over in our Live Intensified section, newly announced gigs this week were November 8th at the Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes for The Magic Brothers, and October 2nd at The Jazz Cafe, Camden for The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra.
Moving on and In last week’s MIS we brought you two new quotes from Woody and Lee regarding the band’s first appearance on Top of the Pops being shown in full on BBC4. This week we teamed up with Madness In Quotes MIQ on facebook to publish a new quote on the show from Chrissy Boy…
Chrissy Boy: “I would have remembered Roxy Music for sure. I think a lot of the acts were pre recorded or video. I can’t really remember any of them to tell the truth, although we were watching the Crusaders. I think they kept us in a dark room until we were due onstage.
The thing that struck me was how small the studio looked in real life. They used some sort of slight wide angle lens, maybe a 9.5. The standard camera lens [I think] was a 9.4 so a 9.5 gave a very slight fish eye effect making everything look larger, if that makes sense. Later on I learnt about lenses when we made the videos. When we filmed the Dublin Castle scenes in ‘Take It or Leave It’ (movie) we used a slightly wide angle lens to make the Dublin Castle look bigger.
Anyway, when I watched Top of The Pops on TV at home I thought, ‘wow it looks really big in that studio’..”
Next, and in Live and Intensified we learned that Madness had appeared at the London O2 on the 24th September alongside Tinie Tempah and Florence and the Machine. The event was organised by KPMG as a 12,000 employee team building event.
The Evening Standard commented at the time “The host for the night was Lenny Henry. Spy hears there was also a free bar, so any clients hoping for some sage financial advice the following day were likely to have been disappointed”
Next and in out MIS feature subscriber Lindsey Davies was kind enough to send in a detailed review of the recently released Cathal Smyth album “A Comfortable Man”.
Lindsey finished the review by commenting; “For some the album may arrive out of curiosity, and for some they may have been charmed lyrically by Cathal before, but whether you have fallen victim of the Smyth charm already or are simply intrigued to learn what he has to offer outside of Madness as a solo artist and looking for some good quality music, ‘A Comfortable Man’ can be your album.
One could even make a strong case for ‘A Comfortable Man’ being Cathal’s finest songwriting to date”.
Now, if you had money burning a hole in your pocket the next article would have been of interest to you as the Retro Madness web site were advertising that they had a further 250 items up for sale. This brought the site total to over 2000! Impressive.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that another Madness related Facebook group had recently launched. Going under the name of “Madness They Call it Madness”, the group had been set up by the French MIS’ Jean-Pierre Boutellier.
10 years ago…
Issue Number 543 – Sunday 27th September – Saturday 3rd October 2009
It’d been a busy seven days in the world of Madness. Monday saw the release of the latest in a long line of Madness compilations in the form of “Total Madness”, and on the evening this issue was blasted out across the internet the band took to the stage on London’s famous Regent Street.
On to the articles, and we got things underway with the news that Suggs was encouraging people to help give vulnerable children the love and care they desperately needed. How? By becoming foster carers.
Suggs commented at the time “There are so many North Somerset children that are desperate for a loving home, somewhere where they feel safe and secure, that need your help”.
We hopped over to some Specials related news next, as we reported that a new book charting the story of the legendary band had now been released. Priced at £14, this could be ordered from the Cherry Red web sute.
Now, how did you fancy getting your hands on the new Total Madness CD and DVD release? Well, thanks to Richard over at Remember The Eighties you could be in with a chance as he had three copies to give away. All you had to do is drop him an email and you’d be entered in to the prize draw.
On to Folgate news, and this week we learned that The Liberty of Norton Folgate had been named on the long list for the 2nd Annual Uncut Music Awards for their best album of the year. It wasn’t restricted to UK and Irish music, so there was tough competition from the likes of Bob Dylan and The Kings of Leon.
It was over to Paul Rodgers next, as he returned once again to the MIS with more Madness chart stats, facts and figures. With the release of Total Madness this week the band enjoyed their 20th week this year in the top 75 album charts and their 6th week in the top 40.
Paul also speculated that this calendar year would see the band pass 100,000 album sales.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that a deluxe edition of the Norton Folgate album was due for release on the 9th of November.
15 years ago…
Issue Number 281 – Sunday 26th Sept – Saturday 2nd Oct 2004
We started this weeks’ edition with a massive in-depth review from Tom Baxter, who covered a recent gig by ska tribute act Shut Up who had performed at the Ashington Football Club. With a mixture of Madness classics and self-penned tracks in their repertoire, the band received a fantastic write-up.
Straight after the review, the subsequent article was from Shut Up band member Garry Scurfield who gave us a brief lowdown of the gig from his point of view. Here’s what he had to say;
“A very intimate gig with about 100 in attendance, we all had a fantastic time and the music went down very well, we did some brand new tracks called “Look At Me Now” and “Want Love Need” along with My Girl, Baggy Trousers, Too Much Too Young, Mirror In The Bathroom etc.
We were on stage about 50 minutes and I was personally sweating like a fat lass at a disco. The feedback from the crowd was fantastic”.
Next-up this issue were rumours hinting that the band would be headlining next year’s Isle of Wight Festival. The rumour came from MIS subscriber Jordan Leigh, who emailed in to tell us that Suggs was on a recent Virgin Radio show where he’d announced that the head of the radio station wanted the band to headline next year’s event.
We decided that it was certainly a possibility, but we were cautious when we’d learned that Suggs had announced that the band were going to be paid 1 million pounds for the performance. It sounded more than a little fishy to us!
Moving away from rumour mill, and on to something far more concrete were Chris Carter-Pegg and Emma Southerby, who had attended Suggs’ recent performance at the Koko Club (formerly the Camden Palace), on the Friday just gone.
Here’s a small snippet from the whole article;
“Suggs opened the new Kitsch Lounge Riot night at KOKO, Camden High Street, on Friday night with live performances of Baggy Trousers, It Must Be Love and Our House. Straight from his Friday night Virgin Radioshow, Suggs was in great form and was supported by a full live band. Was particularly good to hear him supported by a full compliment of musicians comprising a keyboard player, a sax player, a trumpeter, a bass player, a guitarist and a drummer (quite an appropriate line up!) and their slightly improvised versions of the familiar Madness tracks were excellent”.
Further on in this issue was Stav, who had some very exciting news that indicated that a November tour was possibly in the making. Chas on his Smash Portal revealed that there should be some live dates before the year was out, and Suggs indicated on his radio show that the band may be touring in November. Chas confirmed that the dates were just being finalised.
20 years ago…
Issue Number 19 – Sunday 16th September to Saturday 2nd October 1999
With the recently released ‘Five Cuts of Madness’ promo sampler now landing in the hands of collectors up and down the country, we didn’t have to wait long for the reviews to start coming in.
First-in with his write-up was the one and only Peter Gardner, who gave us a track-by-track review of the 5-track sample disc. Pete declared that Johhny The Horse was top twenty material, but revealed this his favourite track on the sampler was Elysium, which he described as “Absolute class. Fantastic. Superb”.
Elsewhere in this issue we featured a stunning review from Vince Foley, who was kind enough to provide us with a write-up of the BBC2 screening of the Ian Dury documentary ‘On My Life’. “Mr. Dury you are an inspiration to us all. Respectus Maximus!” write Vince as he finished his lengthy and detailed review.
Simon Roberts (at this point not a full-time member of the MIS) continued the flow of articles with a report announcing that he had managed to get his hands on a recording of the ‘Rock on the Dock’ gig. Recorded in Hartlepool on the 4th of July 1986, the significance of this gig in Madness history was (and still is!) enormous, as it was their last gig in the UK before they split.
For some reason the donator of this recording asked for their identity to remain anonymous, but was kind enough to give us the all clear to upload the recording and make it available for all to download. Whilst Simon didn’t put the full performance online he was kind enough to upload the first track as a taster. (He didn’t have the web space to put up the entire thing).
Those subscribed to the Total Madness Mailing List certainly had an up and down week this week, when Nigel Ward announced that the band had booked Finsbury Park for next year (2000). Naturally, the mailing list went berserk, only for the subscribers to have their hopes dashed the following day when Nigel revealed that he’d been given incorrect information, and that the band had just made a preliminary booking.
On the subject of bookings, Fiona Linnell contacted us with news of booking that would have been one of the best new year’s eve parties ever, but sadly wouldn’t be taking place.
“Yesterday (22nd September) I took a day trip to London where among other things I collected my ticket for next week and paid a visit to The Dublin Castle. I got chatting to the barman and mentioned that I was a Madness fan and he then told me that Madness had wanted to book The Dublin Castle for New Years Eve BUT The Dublin Castle would not be open for New Years Eve so they refused”.
We finished off this issue with a review of issue 4 of Ian Taylor’s excellent Mad Not Mad fanzine, which marked the publication’s first birthday. Ian informed us that “The pregnancy is over and the baby that is ‘Mad Not Mad’ is no longer breast feeding”. Umm, indeed.
John Hasler’s New Band
Earlier this week John Hasler dropped us an email with details of his new band, asking if we’d mind giving it a plug. Of course, we were happy to oblige.
“Hi All. John Hasler here, the Bed and Breakfast Man, one time editor at MIS and a few other Madness related jobs.
I’m getting in touch because after a break of more than 30 years I am back behind the traps playing in a band called Crabs!.
We are a surf music band ( think pulp fiction soundtrack) playing all instrumental guitar based rock and roll.
We have a four track EP out. It’s on Digital release and a numbered limited edition (300) 7 inch 45rpm vinyl version.
“CRABS! Debut EP. Full of snarling surfy, punky riffs melded with crashing, splashing reverbs. All original compositions, these tunes are CRABS! take on the sound of 1st gen. surf and instrumental rock and roll, drawn from Dick Dale and the Del Tones, The Trashmen, The Surfaris, Link Wray and others”
I hope you like it, all tracks are original.
Obviously I think it’s brilliant!
It was new to me when I got recruited but really enjoy playing it. We always did do a bit of R&R like see you later alligator and rocking in A flat so not too much of a leap.
Anyone from MIS who wants to Facebook friend me I have opened an account:
All the best
Sign of the Times
Suggs Wants to be a Hologram
Suggs wants a hologram of himself so he can continue to perform for as long as possible.
The Madness frontman revealed that when his body is no longer able for touring, he hopes to be able to still perform for the fans via hologram after seeing how impressive the Tupac Shakur one was.
He told the Daily Star newspaper’s Wired column: “We saw the Tupac hologram and it was flipping amazing. I would like nothing more than for me and my mates to perform in my living room and then project that around the world.”
However, Suggs, 58, doesn’t believe he will need a hologram in the near future.
The star – whose real name is Graham McPherson – said: “We’ll keep performing as long as the knees hold up. There’s nothing I love more. As a band we are still mates, we still enjoy it.”
Madness have been performing for 40 years and Suggs recently admitted he can hardly believe the band has lasted this long.
He told BristolPost.co.uk: “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. 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.”
WW2 Treasure Hunters presenter Stephen Taylor joins Suggs to explain how they struck gold, and heard first-hand accounts, while unearthing Portsmouth’s rich Second World War past.
“On October 7th which airs on BLAZE®, Freeview channel 63, at 9pm, you’ll see Suggs and I in Creech Wood, just north of Portsmouth.
In the Spring of 1944, hidden beneath a tree canopy, a secret army of Canadian and British troops was amassing.
They were preparing for the greatest amphibious landing the world had ever seen – codenamed Operation Overlord; D-Day.
I was privileged enough to meet a veteran who was part of that hidden army waiting in the woods. His story will resonate with viewers from Portsmouth as we share his first-person account of what the invasion was really like.With our team of archaeologists and detectorists we unearth evidence of the lives of those brave soldiers waiting to invade Normandy.
We managed to find plenty of Second World War relics from Brylcreem to ammunition and, for the first time, we’ve been able to see the extent of the camp. So it’s a deeply interesting find.
Of course, you’ll also see Suggs from Madness who’s been finding out more about the top-secret plans being hatched at Southwick House on the edge of the woods.
He discovers a giant map made by two toy makers who were imprisoned until after D-Day so they couldn’t give away the secret plans. And on calmer waters, he pilots a Second World War amphibious landing craft to discover more about that fateful day.
I think often we imagine the Second World War as a battle that was fought in some foreign field. But it was on the home front where it really began.
Beyond the rationing, blackouts and Blitz, Britain’s landscape was covered with airfields, military camps and secret bases.
There’s not much left on the surface today, but as a military expert and relic hunter, myself and Suggs are on a mission to unearth the truth about Britain’s wartime past.
Over the series you’ll see Suggs exploring the stories of how the war was fought and gets a taste for what it was really like, while I try to help bring the lives of the men and women involved in the war back to life.
We use state-of-the-art technology, original maps and archives to piece together the best places to dig at forgotten sites. They include military bases, airfields, POW camps and barracks. Once we locate them, we perform extensive digs to excavate the relics.
Crucially, we’ll also be trying to return the relics we find back to their original owners and their families. We hope you enjoy this eight-part series and in particular the episode on Portsmouth, which airs on October 7th.”
The signed limited edition of the new Madness book – Before We Was We – has been shipped by Waterstones this week.
The normal edition ships October 10th and is available from Amazon and all good book stores, with an audio version read by all seven available from Audible.
So here’s just a little preview of the joy the book is bringing in its pages, if you’re still waiting for your copy.
Firstly, there were 500 limited copies with pre-signed on pages then bound into the front of the book, which were signed by all six of the current band line up. This has allowed them to arrive on the original early date set back in January. Nice.
With Chrissy Boy hilariously signing his signature into a design, that was then made into a stamp and his stamp on the pages, therefore his signature looks consistently funky and funny with the words “not for resale” underneath. This hasn’t stopped copies selling for over £100 on eBay!! Sheesh.
Suggs clearly got bored signing his pages, as his Gs have been wandering all over the place, he even signed PA Jim’s name on a copy and also declared himself an idiot in a statement on another. It’s rumoured he wrote “this book is shit” on one as well! But it’s isn’t of course it’s the first definitive biography by all seven covering childhood hijinks from the 1970s to 1980 new year.
The book’s foreword is by Dave Robinson, covering his wedding of course. The transcription editor Tom Doyle who ghost wrote the book from the band’s interviews sets the scene then with a beautiful scene setting of the band in a London that was the 1970s. There are 6 chapters on the pre Invaders upbringings and musical influence of mis-spent youth.
Then the story begins as Mike moves to Crouch End and we get a picture of what it was like living with his two brothers, who own pianos too, and are following Jazz and Punk roads through the music world.
Then Mike starts the band. The invaders.
It’s a wonderful tome for the rest of the chapters, mirroring the journey we’ve seen and heard multiple times. From Take it or Leave it, through recent One Man Shows or solo films, or books. This time we get all seven voices together, occasionally disagreeing or countering claims, sometimes spinning hilarious tales and other times offering musical insight. A social document of times long ago too with talk of squats and gas meters and other landscapes and musical modes “out of time”.
We reach beyond the Take it or Leave it film, into 2tone signing and touring and the earliest Stiff album ending with the USA debut gigs and My Girl appearing on top of the pops.
16 sides of glossy photos, range from baby cuteness, to Invaders posters, 70s holiday snaps. While fans 70s picture adorn the inside cover. (Hello to MIS readers Andy Coulter, Sean Gaskin, Nicky Elkins, Iain Mason. If you’re there too let us know which is your picture in the Before we Was we gallery)
Maps of London show then the places the seven band members discuss throughout the books pages.
It’s book Step One then. Let’s hope one day they go beyond.
Madness: It Must Be Stiff. 1980 – 1984 next please!
More words on this first official book, in MIS in October.
As we bring this issue to a close we ask those of you who’ve already picked up the new Madness book to email in with your thoughts on the publication. Let us know what you think and if you recommend others adding it to their collections.
We have a strong feeling this is going to be sitting under the tree waiting to be unwrapped by many lucky fans this coming Christmas.