2020 is rapidly drawing to a close, and following this issue we’ve only another two before we’re into 2021 and hopefully a better 12 months ahead of us!
This week we were pleased to read that the Stateside Madness podcast had crossed the landmark 1,000 downloads total. The team only released the first podcast in late August, so it’s likely that many of you have yet to listen to it.
Episode 9 has just been released and looks at 1985’s “Mad Not Mad”. NME magazine named it in their 100 Best Albums of All Time list. Lead singer Suggs called it “a polished turd.” Few Madness albums elicit more divisive opinions than “Mad Not Mad.” Podcast presenters Laurie and Poly weigh in on this 1985 album release: the good, the bad, and the ugly.
If you listen to the end you can also find out how to enter their competition to be in the running to win a copy of the new 180gm vinyl re-issue of “Absolutely”.
Our congratulations go out to the SSM team, and we hope they continue to go from strength to strength.
On to this issue and we also have a competition running where you can potentially bag yourself a copy of the “Absolutely” re-issue. We also have the latest news on the forthcoming Lee Thompson autobiography, plus the usual walk down memory lane in our regular “I Remember Way Back When” section.
Description (from Lee!): It starts with my humble beginnings in NW5, on to petty criminality in N6, then onto the wide open spaces of 681, Hitchin Road, Stopsley, Luton and all the Shenanigans in between.
And Parking up on that mental bus – The 2Tone Tour in October of 1979, the first 22 Years.
Further items have now been added to the web site including the classic “ransom note” one from 1992 which spells “Madness” by using lettering from various famous logos, and a lovely “Wings of a Dove” t-shirt.
This album was previously available as a pop-up 4 disc gatefold LP priced at around £50. The 4-disc release is now sold out on vinyl.
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 866 – Sunday 13th December to Saturday 19th December 2015
This week, over on the “All things Madness” group page on facebook, a conversation started, advising a young fan where to go in Camden Town.
Thankfully, over the years numerous online resources had catalogued this kind of information, and so we gave a lowdown of what we found to be the best web sites to visits if you wanted to plan your very own trip to Camden. One of our favourites was put together by Madness fan Jeremy Wright, and can still be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PIH6YC0Qq00&feature=youtu.be
The video runs for just over half an hour and is well worth a watch.
Moving on, and in “Sign of the Times” we reported that Suggs had recently been seen attending a reunion of The Farm where the band celebrated 25 years of their hit “All Together Now”.
Next, and in “Live and Intensified” we pointed you in the direction of a House of Fun Weekender review which had recently appeared on the E Festivals web site. The author, Sean Tizzard, rounded off his review by commenting “For some bands, a convention such as this could be an embarrassment – but for Madness it’s clearly something that they will enjoy for many years to come”. He wasn’t wrong!
We brought this issue to a close with the news that we’d heard that Cathal Smyth was continuing to develop his musical stage project HMS MISERY, and that we should expect news in the new year.
10 years ago…
Issue Number 605 – Sunday 12th December – Saturday 18th December 2010
We were expecting this issue to have been packed with reviews of recent Madness gigs and very little elese. Surprisingly few reviews had surfaced, and instead we had an MIS featuring a real variety of content.
Getting our articles underway, we kicked off with a heads-up revealing that Lee Thompson would be hosting a Madness DJ set on new year’s eve, at The Queen of Hoxton, Hoxton, London. A fair number of other DJ’s were also listed, but as we were far from being down with the kids, we had absolutely no idea who they were.
Remember last week when we reported that the Hull and Sheffield gigs had to be cancelled due to heavy snow? Well, there was good news this week as the band announced re-scheduled dates for both.
For the Hull gig the new date was Saturday 5th Feb 2011, and for Sheffield the band had re-scheduled for Sunday 6th. All tickets were still valid.
Next, it’s was over to Suggs, who was telling reporter Mike Bevan about his Welsh roots, how he narrowly missed out on being Prime Minister and the biggest problem Madness had with playing live.
What was this biggest problem?
“The biggest bind is trying to fit into the set all the favourites from a career of more than 30 years, having too many great songs.
Then again, that’s not a bad situation to be stuck with, I suppose.
Most bands would kill to have a problem like that.”
Further on, and if you still had some spare pennies knocking around this close to Christmas, you could put them towards a new book – “Ska: An Oral History”.
“Ska An Oral History is the story of ska music, told through the words and narratives of those who invented it. In Jamaica, and later in England, this music defined the culture and social conditions of the people. Through the words of their songs, the uplifting rhythm of their vivacious tunes, and the character and skill of each musician, ska music was the foundation for musical forms and the musicians that evolved. Hearing first-hand the stories of these tumultuous times, these creative times, the story of ska music is finally told by those who were there”
Elsewhere, Paul Rodgers reported that;
“All of the Madness releases put out by Union Square and Salvo over the last two years have been eligible for the indie album charts and last week’s chart saw these combined releases notch up a fairly significant milestone. Madness have now spent 100 weeks on the indie albums top 50 with their USM releases. This started when Complete Madness made its debut at a modest number 42 way back on 28 March 2009…
The main contributors to the 100 week total were Complete, Total and Ultimate Madness with 44, 25 and 14 weeks respectively. One Step Beyond… managed 9 weeks in the top 50, with Absolutely, 7, Rise And Fall, Keep Moving and Wonderful each managing a week or two.”
We brought this issue to a close with the news that on Sunday 19th December the Dublin Castle would be hosting an end of year Ska Christmas Party at the legendary Dublin Castle.
15 years ago…
Issue 345 – Sunday 11th December to Saturday 17th December 2005
Many of us had to travel some distance to make it to last weekend’s Astoria gig. However, it was unlikely that anyone had trekked as far as MIS subscriber Dean Elliot. Dean and his wife had flown all the way from Detroit, Michigan to see his favourite band play.
Dean was kind enough to give us a detailed write-up of his stay and of his first Madness gig, and finished by saying;
“Madness was unbelievably good. They blew away every band I’ve ever seen including Bad Manners (in their prime), Skatalites, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker, Laurel Atkin, The Selector and The Beat. I was amazed how friendly everyone was. My wife said that she had never seen a crowd as intense as the fans at the show. All in all it was the best concert I have ever seen. I will be back next year if they have a Christmas show again”.
Next-up, and we were hoping to bring the great news this issue of a Crunch gig in the Dublin Castle for New years eve. It got as far being on a few websites and in a leaflet in the DC but this was all premature as due to other commitments a full band could not be gathered for the show.
Crunch! bassist Paul Tadman explained;
“I’ve had a lot of enquires about a Crunch! gig at the Dublin Castle on new year’s eve. The gig wasn’t confirmed.
Not all of the band are available, so I’m sorry to say that we won’t be playing at the DC new year’s eve…
But I thought I’d let you know asap to save people a journey”
It was over to The Nottingham Evening Post next, who gave a glowing report of the band’s recent performance at the Rock City. As with the current tour Lee was up to all sorts of acrobatics back then, too;
“You could hear the gasps when, egged on by the audience, [Lee] leapt from the highest point of the PA, flattening several fans in the process.
When he finally clambered back on to the stage, Suggs announced: “He’s still shaking!”
Thompson declared that any insurance claims should be addressed to his lawyers. His solos were great as well. Oh, and this happened after only about 20 minutes of the gig had passed”.
Ten years ago MySpace was the ‘big thing’, and keen to embrace the new promotional platform were Crunch! who had just set up a new page on the social networking web site.
The Mighty Chrissy Boy had even uploaded a number of tracks that you were encouraged to use on your own pages.
We went back to the Rock City gig next, with a massive review of the night, courtesy of the one and only Steve Saunders. Steve was kind enough to give us a full tracklisting of the gig, which spanned just under two hours.
Remember The Dangermen picture discs loads of us had put orders in for many moons ago? Well, after months of setbacks Birchy was pleased to announce that he’d finally received the stock, meaning that they could finally be sent off to fans. With 110 discs to send out to over 100 people, he was certainly going to have his work cut out, as were the local post office!
It was over to the Hampstead and Highgate Express next, as they reported that Suggs and a number of other celebrities helped entertain crowds at the local switching on ceremony. Suggs was responsible for the Primrose Hill switch-on.
We finished off this week’s MIS with a review of MOT’s latest gig at The Bull and Gate, which took place on the 26th of November. Reviewed by Lee Hookway, it was clear that the night was yet another stormer by the band.
20 years ago…
Issue number 83 – Sunday 10th December to Saturday 16th December 2000
Following last week’s announcement from Chris Mountain that there would be a major 2-tone reunion concert at Coventry Football Club’s Highfield Stadium, MIS Online subscriber Ian Wall had been in touch with some further information. The concert would be held on the 22nd December, and tickets were available from the Stadium, priced £18-£25.
Next, Total Madness Mailing List and MIS Online subscriber, Suggsylia tells us that;
“A band called Balloon is using the intro to One Step Beyond for their song ‘Monstersound’, in which they combine Madness and Nirvana (!)samples to form a dance tune. It’s sounds quite weird to say the least”.
Following last week’s report where we announced the return of the BBC’s Watchdog Madness fan, it looked like he’d been at it again. In a recent article concerning Barrat’s Housing we were treated to the legendary `Our House` as the backing music.
On to this week’s articles, and we started off with a report from Jonathan Young, who revealed that an Eminiem track entitled ‘Our House’ was using snippets from the Madness classic in parts of the chorus.
Here’s a small snippet of what Jonathan had to tell us at the time;
“Quite amusing that Madness painted a rosy picture of English upbringing in their song that Eminem has chosen that song to do just the opposite, with some quite funny lyrics of his own. Anyone who doesn’t like rap or Eminem (of which there are millions!) will absolutely hate this!”
It was over to UK TV series Coronation Street next, as following a number of the male actors recreating the famous One Step Beyond cover, they then stopped to re-live their memories of the 1980s.
We passed things over to DotMusic for the next report, who revealed that Robbie Williams’ tribute cover of the Ian Dury track ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’, would be appearing on a commemorative album alongside tracks by other artists including Madness, Shane McGowan and Billy Bragg.
The artwork would be supplied by Peter ‘Sgt Peppers’ Blake, with all proceeds going to the charity Cancer Bacup. This was a cause Dury championed when alive.
Jonathan Young took back the reigns for the next article, as he gave us a detailed blow-by-blow account of the Blockheads gig which took place at Camden’s Dingwalls on Monday the 4th of December.
Andrew Langmead popped-up for the following segment, where he thanked those who had already sent him their favourite Madness tracks, and then asked those who had yet to submit their favourites to get submitting.
Giving little away with how things were going for this year’s charts he did tease us with the following;
“I’m already beginning to see a major change to opinions since the last chart, but it’s early days yet. The new songs have obviously had an impact on us all, and it’s interesting that two of the songs in the Top 5 last time, haven’t yet made it into the Top 20!”
We finished off this week’s issue with a heads-up from Jon Young, who had received a flyer at the Blockheads gig he’d attended, announcing a charity gig on the 8th of December, featuring members of Madness.
Details were limited, and Jon pointed out that;
“the flyer did not mention which members of Madness would be in appearance or indeed what they would be singing or for how long their part of the evening would be”
Grab Yourself a Copy of the Vinyl Re-issue of Absolutely
We’ve got one copy of the vinyl re-issue of Absolutely up for grabs and you’ve got until next Sunday to be in with a chance of winning it.
To be in with a chance of winning this all you need to do is answer the following question:
We’ll announce the winner in next week’s issue and we’ll send the disc out early in the new year.
Lee Thompson Autobiography
We’ve had the forthcoming Lee Thompson autobiography listed in our regular “Buy it” section for several weeks now, but as new information has started to surface along with the book cover we felt now was the time to revisit this future release.
First-up, and over on the Amazon web site the blurb has now appeared and reads as follows;
Whether flying across a screen or lighting up the stage, Madness’ wild, energetic sax player has always been hard to miss. For Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson, life is about having fun even when times are tough.
Growing Out Of It is the tale of one ‘nutty boy’ not really growing out of it at all. From getting up to no good as a teenager to his many musical (mis)adventures in the 1970s, Lee’s memoir of his formative years captures his enduring love for his north London stomping ground, where he first met the other members of Madness.
This is a story of growing up in a certain time and place when anything felt possible, even a bunch of north London lads forming a ska revival band – and becoming one of Britain’s best-loved groups.
Not only that, but the artwork has also been uploaded. We’ve included a grab of it here for your viewing pleasure.
Lee’s autobiography is due for release on the 22nd April 2021.