Madness will be releasing their acclaimed 2021 global livestream event The Get Up! as a CD/DVD set on November 18, 2022. An inventive response to the pandemic lockdown, The Get Up! featured the band playing live at the London Palladium to an audience consisting only of themselves (as snarky hecklers), interspersed with comedy bits crafted by co-star and screenwriter Charlie Higson.
Among the production’s many highlights are special guest vocalists Paul Weller and Roland Gift, the sparkling new compositions “If I Go Mad,” “Baby Burglar” and “The Theatre of the Absurd,” tardy Lee Thompson’s farcical efforts to find his way into the Palladium, and Mike Barson’s monumental performance as the late Queen Elizabeth II.
The CD/DVD track list:
Act 1 – Rehearsals
My Girl (Rehearsal)
Bed and Breakfast Man (Rehearsal)
Feel So Fine (Rehearsal)
Theatre Interlude 1
Concrete and Clay (Audition feat. Roland Gift)
Theatre Interlude 2
The Harder They Come (Audition feat. Paul Weller)
Theatre Interlude 3
The Prince (Audition feat. Suggs)
Madness (Band Naming Rehearsal)
Theatre Interlude 4
Act 2 – One Step Beyond
House of Fun
Night Boat to Cairo
If I Go Mad
It Must Be Love
The Theatre of the Absurd
House of Fun (Reprise)
The Get Up! was billed as a “one-time-only” streaming event, but thank goodness it’s being issued in a more permanent format where more fans will have the opportunity to see and hear it. This is more than a simple ephemeral live show. It’s a bonafide film, and in many ways the direct sequel to Take It or Leave It some 40 years later. Suggs asks early on, “Won’t it be a bit weird without an audience?” Not really, now that the overlooked gem of The Get Up! can score the broader viewership it deserves. Don’t miss it! Order from the official Madstore or Amazon US.
On March 24, 2022, Madness performed at the Royal Albert Hall supported by very special guest Paul Weller, as part of a concert series to benefit the Teenage Cancer Trust. Man, what a dream show that would have been for me personally. My two all-time favorite British acts together on one bill, at the magnificent venue where I was lucky enough to see Caro Emerald from the front row in 2017. It’s a lovely thing when your top music heroes happen to be friends who enjoy one another’s company.
There was plenty of fan carping about exorbitant ticket prices for the gig, which was after all a charity fundraiser. But if I’d had the wherewithal to fly back to London at this juncture, I would have gladly emptied my wallet. It doesn’t get much better than Madness and Weller at the Albert Hall.
Weller and his band played the unfamiliar role of opening act, serving up an acoustic set of 10 numbers spanning the whole of his 45-year career. Madness followed with a reported barnburner of a show, as per usual. I was hoping Paul might might join Madness for a rousing Motown classic encore as he’s done on occasion in recent years, but alas, it was not in the cards this time.
So let’s take a look at the longstanding history between the Modfather and the Nutty Boys, who seem to always have been good mates. I can’t find any evidence of The Jam and Madness ever performing on the same bill together, but surely they did at some point, at least on Top of the Pops or somewhere. Please let me know any details about any shared gigs I’m missing. In his memoir Growing Out of It, Lee Thompson relates an anecdote about seeing Jam-era Weller swimming naked at a Hollywood pool party, so the two young bands were running in the same sordid circles in those early days.
One interesting artifact where Madness and The Jam intersected, however indirectly, was the 1981 compilation LP Life in the European Theatre, a fundraiser to benefit the anti-nuclear peace movement. The stellar track list included “Little Boy Soldiers” from The Jam and “Grey Day” from Madness, alongside the likes of The Clash, The Beat, The Specials, Peter Gabriel, Ian Dury, and Echo & The Bunnymen.
After Weller moved on to The Style Council, he interacted with Madness with more regularity. The two acts teamed up at a number of benefit concerts promoting political causes, including a 1984 Liverpool concert supporting a miners’ strike where Suggs and Paul duetted on Smokey Robinson and the Miracles’ “Shop Around.”
Madness later took part in the controversial 1986 Red Wedge tour, in support of the pro-Labour group organized by Weller, Billy Bragg, Jimmy Somerville and Rhoda Dakar. Chas was apparently the member of Madness most engaged with Red Wedge, and as it happened, he would later be instrumental in signing Weller to the Go! Discs label as a newly solo artist in the early ’90s.
In 2019, Weller guested on Suggs’ BBC Radio 4 series, Love Letters to London. The two discussed their shared fondness for Soho, then joined their voices in a Kinks song, “Nobody’s Fool,” known as the theme song from 1970s TV series Budgie.
Later that year Weller joined Madness at House of Common for another rendition of “Shop Around” along with Martha and the Vandellas’ “Heatwave.” Reportedly, the camaraderie at this gig led to Thommo appearing on Weller’s 2020 album On Sunset with a featured sax solo.
The mad/mod chumminess continued with Weller turning up as a surprise guest vocalist on Madness’s triumphant 2021 streaming event, The Get-Up! Along with Roland Gift, Paul gave a mock audition in Barso’s bedroom to replace Suggs (or were Madness auditioning for him?) with a knockout cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come.”
In their handful of musical collaborations to date, Madness and Weller have stuck to covers of classics from their mutual influences. As far as I know they’ve never tackled one of their own hits together. Weller has often mentioned his admiration for “Embarrassment,” which actually influenced the sound of The Jam’s “Town Called Malice.” I’m still holding out hope that Paul will cover “Embarrassment” one of these days, preferably live on stage with Madness in front of a raging crowd. Failing that, my runner-up nomination for Weller to sing would have to be “NW5.”
Conversely, Madness is superbly well-suited to take on any number of Weller’s songs. Mark Bedford’s expressive bass style is a lot like Bruce Foxton’s to begin with, and the late-period Jam hits with the horns and keyboards inch into the Madness instrumentation range. Just imagine Bedders and Woody barreling through “Start!”, Bedders and Barso owning “Town Called Malice,” or all members of the band getting a major workout on “Precious.” I can practically hear it.
But something even more enticing than those hypothetical Jam sessions is in the works. For the past couple of years, scuttlebutt regarding a new Weller/Suggs composition has been making the rounds. In a June 2020 “Chris’s Covid Cupboard” Zoom call (which I myself was honored to attend live), Chris Foreman related the following on the topic of songwriting in lockdown: “I actually sent one song that I’d thought up to Suggs because I thought he’d like it, and he forwarded it to Paul Weller, who added some lyrics and it’s sounding really good. So we’ll see what happens with that – I could have a new career writing songs for Paul Weller.”
In a Mojo interview in May 2021, Suggs spoke further on this intriguing collaboration. “I’vе written a song with Paul Weller called ‘Who Do You Think You Are, Sunshine?’ [Whether this is the same song that Chris originated remains to be seen.] You know those people who say they had one teacher who turned their life around? I didn’t. I’m trying to couch that fact, not too negatively, that one makes one’s own path. We haven’t recorded it yet, no. But it’s there.”
Weller confirmed the story in a radio interview around the same time. “We’re still in the process of writing this song together, which is going to be great, but it’s just getting us both together in the studio. So I think we’re going to try and do it this summer anyway, and then whatever happens to it I’ve no idea. And I did that livestream gig, I did a song on that with them a couple of weeks ago at the Palladium as well. But they’re just great fellas, aren’t they? … I’ve always had a soft spot for all of them, for all the fellas in that band, and they’re just great characters.”
Asked about the vibe of the co-written tune, Weller offered, “It’s great. It’s called ‘Who Do You Think You Are, Sunshine?’ so the title alone… [laughs] But the concept, I can’t tell you the concept. But the idea is good anyway, so yeah, we just gotta get in there and finish it.”
On a December 2021 installment of Dan Jennings’ The Paul Weller Fan Podcast, Weller’s tour manager Kenny Wheeler approvingly mentioned a demo recorded by his boss and Suggsy. So progress has continued. Sooner or later we can expect to hear “Who Do You Think You Are, Sunshine?” at last. Will it be a Weller guest spot on the next Madness album? Or a Weller track with vocals by Suggs? Or a Record Store Day single, or part of a fabulous Suggs & Paul Weller originals EP?
Whichever way they may choose, I would give these blokes anything, for just the smile they bring, for just a song to sing, stuck together for all time.
Update: “Ooh Do U Fink U R?” was released as a single by Suggs & Paul Weller about five weeks after this article was published.
Will Madness ever come sailing across the sea to be with their Uncle Sam? Not in 2022.
The U.S. tour first slated for 2020 has now been scuttled for a third time. In contrast to the previous postponements, this time the dire word “cancel” is invoked and ticket refunds are being issued outright, despite a loose assertion of 2023 plans.
Madness is back. The audience is back. The magic is back.
For their first proper live show since the COVID-19 pandemic, Madness took to the main stage at the Victorious Festival in Portsmouth on August 27. Although Woody missed the show for personal reasons, the rest of the band made a spectacular return before a jubilant crowd. Here are a couple of great audience videos that give some sense of the electrifying experience of witnessing the moment. Welcome back, boys!
Editor’s Note: Welcome aboard our first guest blogger: Laurie Alfaro, Stateside Madness Social Media Director and Podcast Producer. Laurie has contributed this glossary in conjunction with her deep-dive podcast on The Liberty of Norton Folgate. Sit back, relax, and we’ll travel many a long dim silent street… together! – D. Trull
In 2009, Madness released their magnum opus The Liberty of Norton Folgate, a concept album referring to a small area in east London named after Norton Folgate Street. Historically, this area was known for its colorful immigrant population, especially in Victorian times. Rightly or wrongly, the Liberty of Norton Folgate had a reputation for lawlessness, crime, and prostitution.
The album concludes with the ten-minute, ten-second epic title track, “The Liberty of Norton Folgate.” The song references many people and places in Victorian England that may not be known to American audiences. In this article, I will outline the people and places mentioned in the song to give listeners some context so that they can truly appreciate this masterpiece.
“This is the story of the Liberty of Norton Folgate” (0:10)
As we learned in Episode #23 of the Stateside Madness Podcast, Norton Folgate was a liberty in Middlesex, England, adjacent to the City of London in what would eventually become the East End of London. A “liberty” is an area in which rights reserved to the king had been devolved into private hands; in other words, it was self-governed, ruled by a court of ten elected officers who derived their authority from the people. Notable for the time, the elected officers included women. It was an 8.7-acre site originally occupied by the Priory and Hospital of St. Mary Spital. Playwright Christopher Marlowe was a resident of Norton Folgate, and the first-ever staging of a Charles Dickens play was held at the City of London Theatre in Norton Folgate (titled The Pickwick Club or The Age We Live In). William Shakespeare himself reportedly lived and worked in the neighborhood as well.
A short time ago Old Jack Norris died suddenly and an inquest was held on the body, before Mr. Stirling, Coroner, at the Black Horse, George-street, St. Giles’s. It was reported the deceased had starved to death. The evidence proved, that latterly the deceased, who was nearly seventy years of age, was unable to pursue his occupation of a dealer in shrimps, which, from his peculiar cry, gained him the appellation of the “Musical Shrimp Man”….
Battling Levinsky versus Jackie Berg (0:42)
Battling Levinsky was the world light heavyweight champion from 1916 to 1920. Jack Kid Berg, or Jackie Kid Berg, was an English boxer born in the East End of London who became the World Light Welterweight Champion in 1930. Both were inducted into the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. Since their boxing careers took place much later than Victorian times, their inclusion may seem like an anachronism; but after all, Suggs is taking a broad survey of Norton Folgate’s history that extends to street hucksters flogging bootleg DVDs.
Arnold Circus (2:00)
This area had once been one of the worst slums in London. In 1890, the entire area was razed, and a new housing development was built in its place. According to Atlas Obscura:
Rather than lifting London’s poorest from squalor, the Boundary Estate forced them into neighboring slums. The construction of the estate did, however, succeed in revitalizing the immediate neighborhood. Crime and violence in the area decreased substantially and Arnold Circus was viewed as a haven by London’s Jewish immigrant community.
Petticoat Lane (2:03)
A clothing market in Spitalfields. In the late 1800s, the area experienced a wave of Jewish immigrants fleeing persecution. Many of these immigrants went into the garment industry and set up stalls in the clothing market.
The Well of Shadows (2:04)
According to author Ed O’Regan, the Well of Shadows is a play on words referring to Shadwell in London’s East End. (Shadwell = Shad Well, Well of Shadows.) In his book Well of Shadows, Underground London (AS Publishing, 2013), he writes:
The social history of London’s East End is that wave upon wave of poor and/or dispossessed immigrants: Hugenots [sic], Irish, Jews and, more recently, Bangladeshis.
The local gang of Bangladeshi youths called itself ‘The Shadwell Massive’.
In Victorian times, the Shadwell area was a slum where opium dens and prostitution were rampant.
Archipelago of Malay (2:33)
This refers to the island chain between Australia and mainland Indochina. The Malay Archipelago consists of 25,000 islands and islets, including East Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and the Philippines. Portions of the archipelago were ceded to the British Empire under the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824.
Shadwell’s Tiger Bay (2:39)
Shadwell, mentioned earlier in the song, was a popular docking location for ships traveling up the River Thames. The rough-and-tumble nature of the area surrounding the docks earned it the nickname “Tiger Bay.” According to Ed Fisher in The Dictionary of Victorian London:
During the Victorian times, “Tiger Bay” was used (mostly by sailors but by others as well) to refer to various of the worst slum areas or districts as well as a few actual streets near the east-end London docks. Allegedly, the nickname was inspired by the awful nature of the brothels (and their operators) in the worst areas where many of the sailors were so badly treated.
“The Welsh and Irish wagtails” (2:45)
A wagtail is a songbird. Here, the wagtail is a metaphor for the people from Wales and Ireland and their native music. This thought continues in the next line, as “The music hall carousal is spilling out into bonfire light.”
Mr. Truman’s beer factory (3:06)
Located on Brick Lane in Tower Hamlets, Truman’s Brewery was once the largest brewery in the world. “Giants dancing up the brick wall” refers to the shadows of drunken revelers cast across the building’s iconic brick exterior. Joseph Truman became owner of the facility in 1683 or thereabouts. (Records from this time are a bit sketchy.) The brewery was passed down over many generations in the Truman family. Its famous 160-foot chimney is now a historical landmark. Today, The Old Truman Brewery is an events space and cultural center.
Spitalfields, Whitechapel, Tower Hamlets (3:14)
Spitalfields and Whitechapel are districts in the East End of London within the London borough of Tower Hamlets. Known for its dense immigrant population, in Victorian times this area was most famous as the hunting grounds of Jack the Ripper. Interestingly, the 2009 Madstock festival that coincided with the release of The Liberty of Norton Folgate shifted from the traditional Finsbury Park venue to Victoria Park in Tower Hamlets.
Due to its large South Asian population, Brick Lane is nicknamed Banglatown (as in Bangladesh). Suggs seems to mispronounce it as “Bangletown.”
Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem (3:48)
Dan Leno was a music hall comedian famed for his bawdy songs and drag routines. Author Peter Ackroyd wrote a 1994 murder mystery novel set in Victorian London, Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem. The book’s fictional serial killer, a menace in the vein of Jack the Ripper, is named for the Limehouse district of Tower Hamlets. Though it was pure fiction, Ackroyd’s novel starred a number of historical figures including Dan Leno and Karl Marx. It was published in the United States as The Trial of Elizabeth Cree and adapted into a 2017 film, The Limehouse Golem. Suggs cites the psychogeographic approach of Ackroyd’s London: The Biography as an influence in his conception of “The Liberty of Norton Folgate.”
“Have a banana” (4:23)
“Let’s All Go Down the Strand” was a massively popular 1910 music hall song about having a night out on the Strand, a lively thoroughfare about 3 miles west of Norton Folgate. An ad-libbed audience singalong line got permanently tacked onto the chorus: “Let’s all go down the Strand, have a banana!” (much like various additions to “Sweet Caroline” popularized by American sports crowds). “Have a banana” has become an emblematic Cockney catchphrase much favored in the Suggs repertoire of stage patter.
In his recent guest spot on the Stateside Madness Podcast, Chris Foreman mentioned how he has profited as co-writer of “Our House,” a staple of the advertising circuit. “I do quite well out of sync licenses, you know,” he said with a laugh. “People want to use it. So yeah, it’s done me well!” The past year has seen the tune become a pandemic anthem in a lovely Miracle-Gro ad as well as spots for midwestern supermarket chain Hy-Vee and UK retailer Very.
And now it’s Allstate putting more U.S. dollars in Chrissy Boy’s pocket, thanks to their new “Our House” ad that steps beyond the coronavirus era. Contrary to the whole home-lockdown angle, this one proposes taking your castle and your keep with you on the go, in a manner of speaking.
The whimsical ad features comedic actress Erin Alexis hauling a whole house (albeit of the tiny variety) down the road hitched to her modest mom-mobile, over the familiar strains of “Our House.” The dulcet baritone of Allstate pitchman Dennis Haysbert implores viewers to bundle their home insurance with their auto policy to save a bundle. “You already pay for car insurance. Why not take your home along for the ride?”
It’s nowhere near as magical as the Miracle-Gro commercial, but it’s a good ad. There are two interesting things to note about the sociocultural mechanics that make it work.
First, it’s not until halfway through the ad that the song lyrics kick in. I think most “Our House” ads jump into a chorus or verse straightaway, but this one demonstrates patience. Likewise, we don’t see the whole visual gag at first, just tight shots of the house’s rumbling interior, a window box planter and curtains in the breeze, set to the instrumental overture. This shows that Allstate was confident enough that most people in their target demo would recognize the song and get the joke even before hearing Suggs and Carl. Just like when we hear the distinct bassline and cha-chings of Pink Floyd’s “Money,” we know an ad’s going to be about finances, and “We Are Family” telegraphs blood relations even without the Sister Sledge vocals, the “Our House” melody alone is enough to make us anticipate a commercial about home.
The other noteworthy thing about the ad is how it hinges on a common American misinterpretation of the chorus. “Our house, in the middle of our street.” This phrasing strikes U.S. listeners oddly, evoking nonsense images of a house erected right in the road itself, blocking traffic on both sides and violating of all sorts of zoning ordinances.
Even as a 13-year-old kid, I managed to figure out this meant the house was situated centrally along the length of the street, rather than across its width. Go halfway down our street, turn left at our house. Ten years ago, the blog Separated by a Common Language offered a thorough analysis of the British English idioms in “Our House,” wherein author Lynne “Lynneguist” Murphy astutely notes the following:
To my young American ears, this sounded intentionally funny. The house is in the middle of the street! Like where the manholes should be! No, no, no. This is the British English equivalent of in American English in the middle of our block. … But even if it weren’t in the middle of the street, ‘our house’ would still be in our street, because in British English addresses can be in the street or road.
Indeed, let us not forget that the earthquake was erupting but not in Orange Street. If Lee Thompson had an American editor, it would have been not erupting on Orange Street. And then we have Suggs’s new composition “In My Street,” which puts the Yank-baffling choice of preposition front and centre. Although it is interesting that Suggs also wrote of passing Amy Winehouse on Dean Street, rather than “in Dean Street”… perhaps because the scene of a personal encounter is different from a fixed address?
As a side note, the “Our House” lyric that always tripped me up most was “the kids are playing up downstairs.” I recall one of my friends postulating that the children were on a lower floor above the sub-basement. Murphy’s blog post helpfully explains that “playing up” means “behaving irritatingly or erratically,” which we might express as kids “acting up” or “cutting up” downstairs.
But back to the Allstate ad. Even if it it requires being thickheaded to think the house in “Our House” was literally in the road, where the lines are painted, and where the chicken crosses, that peculiar pinch of British flavour is inherent to our experience of the song in America. So much so that an ad agency selling the benefits of combining car and home insurance was able to find a nostalgic pop hit that expresses this specific concept to us. And Allstate was confident enough to let the music speak for itself, free of exposition by way of lyrics or President David Palmer, for the exorbitantly expensive duration of 15 seconds. It’s pretty cool that Madness still occupies its minuscule niche of American pop culture enough to pull that off. “Our House” is in good hands with Allstate.
And honestly, it makes for a better insurance ad than “Driving in My Car” or “Mrs Hutchinson” ever could.
Chris Foreman has recently claimed that when the band sat down to gather old stories for the Before We Was We book, he was the only one who could remember that they had toured America in 1979. Either Chrissy Boy was exaggerating his bandmates’ faulty memory or they’ve miraculously reversed their amnesia, because we’ve got new evidence of them recounting those early U.S. adventures on film.
The new documentary series inspired by that namesake autobiography, Before We Was We: Madness by Madness, is being released in the UK on demand on BT TV and exclusively on AMC from BT TV. Through the kindness of our friends at the Madness Information Service, SSM has taken an exclusive sneak peek at the third and final episode of the series, airing May 15 in the UK. In the snippets below, formatted in the style of the book, the band reminisce about those first visits to New York City and Los Angeles, and the distinctly contrasting and lasting impressions they formed there.
Full episodes of Before We Was We are being posted on the BT YouTube channel, although it appears these will not be playable in the United States. Word has it that the series will make its way to digital services in the U.S. later this year. Count on Stateside Madness to keep you informed of any official announcements. But for now, here’s what the band had to say about their maiden voyage to the land of the free and the home of the brave…
MIKE: So we left the 2 Tone Tour early because Dave Robinson had this idea, he wanted us to get to America before The Specials. He thought whoever got to America first was going to be the one that they all remembered, the one they thought started the ska thing. He wanted it to be Madness.
MARK: They got hold of Seymour Stein, who had Sire Records. He said that he would sign us for just America. So it was obvious then that we would go to America at some point to promote the record. But it came very quickly.
The Mean Streets of Manhattan
MARK: Like a lot of people in bands, I think, it was a bit of a dream to go to America. And we got the chance. It was incredibly exciting. It’s that moment, you make that drive in from the airport in New York, and you see the Manhattan skyline. It really is just mind-blowing.
WOODY: It was a mad city.
LEE: Everything was big. Massive. Buzzing.
SUGGS: New York in 1979 was just like in the movies. Steam coming out the subway vents. Street lights not working. Potholes.
WOODY: It was one of the first places where I noticed immense wealth right up against the shoulder of poverty.
MARK: It was pretty depressed. There was rubbish everywhere. They’d almost gone bankrupt. They were having strikes.
WOODY: So you could just walk down one road and go “What the fuck? This is just horrendous!”
CATHAL: I remember walking down the street and the vibe was scary.
MARK: We wandered through some of the worst areas fearless. All around the Lower East Side and Alphabet City, where it was really dodgy. We played three or four clubs in New York in pretty quick succession. We’d sometimes play two sets a night as well, so sometimes we’d go on at 2:00 in the morning, 4:00 in the morning. Weird times.
CHRIS: The first two shows nearly sort of killed us, because we went on late, we were kind of jetlagged, and we were drunk. I really thought I was going to die.
CATHAL: The drink measures were more than we expected.
SUGGS: Of course the other problem was they didn’t go out until 10:00 at night, but we’d have been started by 7:00. So we’d be absolutely fucked by 3:00 in the morning.
CATHAL: Me and Suggs went out early, too early. And we came back drunk and out of our minds.
SUGGS: We were definitely fish out of water. It was kind of like the audiences were coming to see this funny novelty band. Our accents, and what we were singing about, and the music we were playing were so out of step with what was going on in New York. And it just wasn’t making any sense being there.
MARK: But California was just completely different.
WOODY: We hit Los Angeles, and there were palm trees, sunshine. I just went “Ah, it’s just lovely.”
MARK: It was just sunny every day, and the people there had this sort of, not childlike but childish innocence to them. There was definitely a spillover from the hippie times there. Everyone was very laid back, nothing was a problem. Yeah, it was completely different.
MARK: We met the Go-Go’s, who were an all-girl group, and we did shows together with them. We got on very well with them. The great thing about that was that they took us around places, they showed us places to go. So we had a really nice time there.
CHRIS: So we hang out with the Go-Go’s, and Bedders is seeing the drummer, Gina. I thought, that guitarist Jane is very nice, so I sort of ended up with her. You know, we extended English hospitality.
LEE: My missus is convinced that I was knocking the lead singer off. Belinda Carlisle. But, ah… I was in her bedroom with Chrissy Boy, and I had a right old case of the wind. Yeah, she never invited me back in her bedroom again. The fucking bathroom tiles were sliding off the walls. (Laughs.) The wallpaper peeled.
SUGGS: We did two shows a night at the Whisky A Go-Go, wearing the same clothes that were still wet from the first show. The foolishness of youth.
MIKE: When you played in L.A. everyone was totally out of it. But does it matter? I don’t know. You got the feeling sometimes like it didn’t. You got the feeling you could do anything.
See Ya Later, Uncle Sam
WOODY: It was a brutal tour, really hard work.
MIKE: I guess the performances were good, but touring America takes its toll.
WOODY: Yeah, I’d already been frazzled to fuck on the 2 Tone Tour, and then in America I really felt dreadful most of the time. Hanging on for dear life.
MIKE: The whole thing was all getting a bit chaotic, really. People kept disappearing, meeting Americans, going off in their different directions. So we all had this sense of belonging together, but then everybody was getting into these different situations. Which was exciting and everything, but a bit dispersing at the same time.
WOODY: Being in these amazing places… but we were missing home.
Special thanks to Jon Young of the MIS for setting up this SSM exclusive preview.
It’s a big day in Madness news with official confirmation of the re-rescheduled U.S. tour, plus a major livestream event coming in May. First we have this new slate of 2022 dates in America, following some piecemeal announcements and contradictory information. We look forward to welcoming our Nutty Boys at the following gigs:
The Fox Theater, Oakland, CA
The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Punk Rock Bowling & Music Festival, Las Vegas, NV
House of Blues, Boston, MA
Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY
Tickets previously booked for the 2020/2021 dates will be honored at the rescheduled shows. Contact your point of purchase with any questions.
In the more immediate future, Madness will be presenting a global livestream event on May 14 billed as “The Get Up!” Direct from the London Palladium and featuring comedian Charlie Higson, the show promises “live music, new and classic Madness songs, comedy, some incredibly special guests and even Mike Barson playing the part of HRH Queen Elizabeth II.” With promotional graphics in the vintage style of Ealing comedy movie posters, “The Get Up!” looks to be a right old knees-up chock full of pure entertainment.
Tickets go on sale April 23. The UK livestream is scheduled for 3:30 PM Eastern Time, and later livestreams for the U.S. audience are set for the east coast and west coast, at 8:30 PM Eastern or Pacific. The ticket sales site states “There are no restrictions on which stream you can watch so please choose the most convenient one for you.” It further specifies that “The Get Up” will not be available on-demand afterward, so no do-overs for those who miss out. Get up, get in, got it?
BMG will release a new U.S. exclusive greatest hits compilation entitled Our House: The Very Best of Madness. Originally announced for May 2020, then postponed along with the band’s North American tour, the album is now set for release on March 12.
Our House will be available on CD, vinyl LP and digital bundle, and preorders are up on Amazon. See above for a first look at the album sleeve artwork, which is similar to (but slightly different from) the Full House compilation released in the UK in 2017.
The new collection consists of 12 tracks spanning the whole of Madness’s career (full list below). Of particular note to fans and collectors, this will mark the first physical release of any kind for “Bullingdon Boys,” which debuted as a digital-only single in November 2019.
Our House is clearly designed for the American market, named for and led off by the band’s biggest stateside hit, with the other familiar single “It Must Be Love” in the second slot. As a clever nod to the band’s U.S. beginnings, the track list also includes the subtly polished remix of “Night Boat to Cairo” that first appeared on the 1983 Madness album released by Geffen in the U.S.
But this collection isn’t entirely stuck in the past – Our House is the band’s first-ever hits collection for the U.S. that encompasses their 21st century post-reunion output, making room for “NW5” and “Mr Apples” alongside the most recent “Bullingdon Boys.” Discovering these new tunes, casual American fans who only know the ’80s hits will have the chance to learn that Madness is still very much alive and kicking in the present day!
Can’t get enough SSM via this blog and our social media? Now you can listen to our American-accented take on the nuttiest sound around with our new Stateside Madness Official Podcast!
SSM team members Laurie Alfaro and Poly Collins are your hosts for our new audio venture. “We’re coming at this from a specifically American perspective,” Laurie says. “As American fans, there are things maybe we perceive a little bit differently, like in the lyrics and song meanings. Some weeks we’ll do an album review, a deep dive into the album tracks. Other weeks I’m hoping we can devote an episode to one specific member of the band. We hope to have some exclusive content as we get closer to the American tour dates.”
Stateside Madness Official Podcast is now available for streaming and download from these popular podcast services listed below. Pod up, listen, and DANCE!