SEVEN RAGGED MEN | 2000-2001
The story of Madness... in their own words
madness, ska, camden, music, suggs, barso, kix, woody, chrissy boy, thommo, chas smash, john hasler, dublin castle, london, the nutty boys, pop, 2-tone, two-tone, seven, ragged, men, baggy, trousers, house, of, fun, our, house, my, girl, one, step, beyond, story, words, interviews, embarrassment, Madstock, doc martens,
page-template-default,page,page-id-660,ajax_fade,page_not_loaded,,qode_grid_1300,qode-content-sidebar-responsive,qode-theme-ver-10.0,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-4.12,vc_responsive



Bolstered by a new generation of fans, the second incarnation of Madness starts the new year with a new single… then grinds to a halt.

CARL (speaking in 2000): We’re not performing this year as a few members don’t want to do anything with Madness for reasons of their own.

JANUARY 3: Suggs appears on A Question of Pop

Read more

The singer adds yet another string to his TV bow, becoming a regular team captain on the BBC’s new music quiz show, playing against a team led by Slade legend Noddy Holder. The show goes out on Saturdays at 6pm, while over on Channel 5 at the same time, Night Fever is still running too.

CARL (speaking in 2000): I’ve worked long and hard since 1991 to get us to record a new album. Whether we do so again is in the lap of the gods. It’s mainly down to the songs being there. There is a definite sense of quality control within the band, so if the songs turn up then there’s hope we may be inspired to write again.

JANUARY 29: National Lottery Show

Read more

Madness perform new single Drip Fed Fred on the primetime show, but only after changing the controversial line, ‘So we’ll take pity on your souls and only cap your knees’. As in previous years, the band get in trouble with producers – Lee is told off for not wearing his Reverend Greene outfit to the dress rehearsal, while Suggs is chastised afterwards for waving a wad of cash around.

watch the performance

BEDDERS (speaking in 2000): Record releases are now totally governed by appearances on TV. None of us think that the Lottery Show is great television but it does reach 17 million people, which gets record companies very excited. So the Lottery wanted us to go on, originally, on February 12. Then they said they wanted us on January 29. But that doesn’t coincide with the Drip Fed Fred poster campaign, as slots have already been booked and different posters are going up over three weeks. So the release date gets moved to February 21, the week of half-term. Every boy and girl band will release a single that week. So that’s why the single landed the release date of February 28.

FEBRUARY 10: Spanish TV

Read more

The band playback Johnny The Horse and It Must Be Love on Madrid’s TVE 1 station.

FEBRUARY 11: Radio 3 session

Read more

Madness perform a 30-minute session for an intimate crowd which will also be broadcast on RNE radio on November 11. All band members are dressed in black, with Woody and Lee wearing ‘Vote For Fred’ T-Shirts. The set opens with a bilingual version of One Step Beyond, and during the bridge of Johnny The Horse Suggs replaces Regent’s Park with ‘Regendos Po-cos’. During Lovestruck, he says, ‘This is a song about lamp-posts. I don’t know what they’re called in Spanish.’

watch performance

FEBRUARY 16: Vote For Fred rally cancelled

Read more

Ahead of the single release, Madness had organised a day out in London to promote new single Drip Fed Fred, encouraging fans from far and wide to descend on the capital. The band planned to travel across the city on a red double-decker bus, with stops at Hyde Park, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Gold Square and Marylebone. They even hired a tank and enlisted a scooter club to accompany them, with Phill Jupitus and local radio stations GLR, Capital and Virgin all on board. The BBC also planned to film the activities – but alas the stunt was cancelled after police and the council expressed concerns about public safety.

CARL (speaking in 2000): Interacting with fans is all part of it – it’s always interesting to hear their views. I mean, what’s so difficult about people telling you they love your music? It’s just great to feel you have brought some meaning or happiness into someone’s life.

FEBRUARY 18: Appear on TFI Friday

Read more

The band play Drip Fed Fred, minus Lee, who is on holiday with his family. Terry Edwards takes his place on sax, while comedian and Madness fan Phill Jupitus plays his ‘Right Honourable Reverend Greene’ part.

watch the performance

CARL (speaking in 2000): We’re probably seen as a bunch of old farts now, which feels a bit weird, but we take each day as it comes and we try to protect each other and allow each other to be happy. Success is relative, we share everything equally and we’ve all got pensions – we’re very sensible. How can I put it? Some bands are like a motorway, but Madness is the trunk road. We’re not on the same road as other bands – we’re not going for world domination. That’s why we’re very happy men. We only have three rules: One, be as fair to one another as we were in the beginning. Two, do it as long as we’re happy. Three, don’t forget one and two.

FEBRUARY 28: Drip Fed Fred is released

Read more

The third single from Wonderful, with Ian Dury’s last recorded performance, peaks at number 55 in the UK singles chart. For the video, Phill Jupitus briefly appears as a monk with a noose, while Lee is Reverend Greene, complete with the white face make-up and eye-patch from the video for Crunch! track It’s OK, I’m A Policeman. The promo is a home-made effort, with fans volunteering to appear on screen.

LEE: Everything was looking up, then at the 11th hour Virgin decided not to make a video, so I said, ‘Fuck that, I’ll do it myself.’ Various members of the group persuaded me not to go it alone, then Virgin, along with Madness, met the costs half way. I got myself a couple of flip cameras, told Ian the score and he said, ‘Not a problem. See you at Kenwood.’


MIKE: It was possibly the only video that we made entirely by ourselves. Me and Lee sorted out locations.


CARL: Parts of it were filmed in the Duke of Hamilton pub, where we met all those years ago.


LEE: Time and the budget were against us but we got some friends and fans to help out. Everyone pulled together – it was packed lunches and travelcards and a neighbour of mine, Lizzy, made the outfits. It wasn’t an extravagant video but it caught Madness and Ian in a mood reminiscent of earlier videos, when we were in control. It was a fantastic time; a joy.


CARL: It was a very enjoyable one to make and it was a shame it didn’t get more of a show.


MIKE: Yeah, it didn’t come out too badly.


LEE: We went into the second day and even though he wasn’t a well man, Ian was like, ‘Not a problem.’


WOODY: He was very frail and fragile, but it was lovely for him to come along.


SOPHY TILSON (Ian Dury’s widow): Ian looked like a skeleton because he was dying. Him and his son Baxter did it with Madness in a little theatre at the top of the road. It was very moving. He was yellow and skeletal but still found the energy to make the film with Madness – a great group of men.


LEE: My last memory of Ian was of him being carted on a sedan at Kenwood. There was a look of horror on his face as he nearly went arse over tit and then the look of relief once he had got things back in control. You can see he’s having a right good knees-up. We came, we saw, we left with a smile. As I said before – a trooper.

FEBRUARY 28: Suggs on Radio 2

Read more

The singer talks to Johnnie Walker, revealing that Drip Fed Fred will be the last track released from Wonderful. He says the band may put some stuff together later in the year ‘to see if there’s any interest’.

MARCH 27: Ian Dury dies

Read more

The singer loses his long and public battle against liver cancer at the age of 57. He dies peacefully at his home in North West London with his sculptor wife Sophy Tilson at his side. He leaves behind sons Albert, two, and five-year-old Bill, plus Jemima and Baxter by his first wife Betty, who had also died of cancer.

SUGGS: He was probably the biggest inspiration to me and the band – we certainly copied his lyrical and singing style. Ian Hunter once said you could call a song All The Way To Memphis but you could hardly write a song about Walthamstow. Ian Dury was the person who proved that wrong and, for ordinary Londoners like myself, that was inspiring.


LEE: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if there hadn’t been any Kilburns, there most certainly would not have been any Clash or Pistols for a few years down the line. Madness and The Jam would still be walking around with glitter in their hair and Robbie Williams would still be in Take That.


SUGGS: I saw his last concert at The London Palladium, which was a very poignant experience. He was the people’s poet laureate, one of the finest lyricists this country has produced, and he was still giving it his all to the end.


WOODY He did love us all, it seemed, and he was always lovely to us because I think he could relate to us. He used to hold court with us, which was brilliant, because we all loved him too.

APRIL 5: Ian Dury’s funeral

Read more

Members of Madness are pallbearers for the emotional send-off. A plumed horse and glass-sided carriage leads the cortege from Belsize Park, north London, picking up mourners from Ian’s family home in Hampstead and passing near Kilburn High Road before arriving at Golders Green crematorium.

BBC news report

Mourners including Robbie Williams and Cabinet Office Minister Mo Mowlam joined 250 mourners at the funeral of rock star Ian Dury, who died last week. A traditional horse and carriage led the cortege from Belsize Park, North London, picking up mourners from his family home in Hampstead and passing near Kilburn High Road, which gave its name to his first band. A pair of Friesian horses with black plumes drew a glass-sided carriage containing his coffin, draped in a black cloth. Members of the band Madness acted as his pallbearers at Golders Green crematorium. Dury, who died after a long battle with cancer aged 57, was one of their inspirations and performed on their recent single Drip Fed Fred. Robbie Williams travelled to Sri Lanka with Dury in 1998 to work for the charity Unicef, while Mo Mowlam was a fan of the singer, who had seen him in concert weeks before he died. Other mourners included BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Nightingale, who championed Dury’s career in the late 1970s, and musician Nick Lowe, a label-mate of his on Stiff Records. Humanist Annette Furley, who conducted the service, said: “He was one of the few original personalities in the music business. He used to write music that made you want to dance and also made you laugh. He was aware that he couldn’t sing but he knew that he had a good feeling for tempo and rhythm. When told a year ago he was going to die, in true Ian style his reaction was ‘Oh blimey’.” Speaking of his love for his two youngest children, Bill and Albert, Ms Furley added: “The only time he became sad about his illness was when he knew he would not see them grow up. He inspired all those around him and changed people’s lives. Many people have said what they did because of Ian. He continued to gig even through his illness and he never lost his sense of humour. Even on the day he died he was still telling jokes.” There were more than 60 wreaths for the singer, many of them tongue-in-cheek. One was a floral tribute in the shape of a pint of Guinness, another shaped like a guitar, and one from Madness, reading ‘Uncle Ian from Madness’. Others read ‘Oi Oi’, ‘Dad’ and ‘Durex’ – a play on his name. His second wife, sculptor Sophy Tilson, was at the crematorium, along with their children Bill and Albert. His grown-up children, Jemima and Baxter, from his first marriage to Betty, were also there. Many watched the service on a TV screen outside. Dury’s band, The Blockheads, performed a song on which he had worked with them in the week before his death. After the service, Robbie Williams called him a “wonderful man”.   “Because of Ian I went to Sri Lanka with Unicef. I am off to Mozambique this year to carry on Ian’s work,” the singer said. “He’s been an inspiration – as a person and as a musician – and my thoughts are with his family and friends. May he rest in peace.”   Mourners then continued the service by heading to the Forum venue in Kentish Town, where Dury performed when it was called the Town and Country Club.

CHRIS: They wanted a couple of members of Madness to carry the coffin. I thought the frontmen would be asked, but because The Blockheads were small, they asked Lee and me. So we carried Ian, and I was crying. It was all very emotional.

APRIL 10: Suggs is the subject of This Is Your Life

Read more

The popular show involves the singer’s wider family as well as band members Woody, Lee, Bedders and Chris. Other guests include Hope & Anchor landlord John Eichler, Boy George, Jools Holland, Phill Jupitus, Noddy Holder, old school friend Richard Dickson, Clive Langer, two members of The Farm, Night Fever conspirator Tony Blackburn and various Chelsea footballers. Mike and Carl don’t appear.

SUGGS: It was a complete shock and quite odd as I’d always said to my wife, Anne, ‘If they ever ask, say no.’ I’ve always thought there was something slightly embarrassing about the whole process, although it would be churlish to say it wasn’t flattering or charming; it’s a feeling of having your ego completely buttered. We didn’t start filming until 1am and one of the biggest problems for the producers was keeping my family away from the drink. I think it was worse for the people who worked there who had no idea who I was. And of course there was a big worry that they’d bring somebody from 20 years ago and my reason for not keeping in touch had been deliberate.

A proposed Madstock V on June 11 is cancelled, along with plans for a US tour later in the autumn.

MAY 3: Suggs hosts pilot XFM radio show

Read more

Suggs tries out a three-hour late morning show on XFM. As a result, he’s gifted the slot from Monday to Thursday. Over the ensuing months, the singer shares a studio with the likes of Maxim from The Prodigy, The Charlatans, Space, Mark Thomas and David McAlmont.

SUGGS: I was out with the XFM guv’nor drinking absinthe one night, and about 4am he asked me if I’d like to try a spot of DJ’ing. He said, ‘Do you want to start on Monday?’ and I thought, why not? My first show blasted onto the airwaves with three minutes of silence as I tried to work out which fader to push. It was a pretty random affair. The best thing about it was hearing great records and inflicting my opinions, of which there are many, on an unsuspecting world. I carried on for a few months, and good fun it was too. But they wanted me to be there five days a week, live, and that was getting a bit onerous. To be honest, I was no expert on indie rock, so I was finding it hard to enthuse about some of the stuff I was playing.

MAY 25: Madness receive the Ivor Novello Award for Outstanding Song Collection

Read more

The band are honoured for their song writing at the 45th awards event organised by the British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors. After a lunchtime ceremony at the Grosvenor House in London, they celebrate well into the night.

CARL (speaking in 2000): When you get the seven of us together, something brilliant happens. We don’t needs lots of stuff – we need seven people on the stage doing what they do.


LEE (speaking in 2000): Madness is like a runaway train; you feel like you don’t control it any more, it controls you.

MAY 7: Crunch! Rehearsals

Read more

Lee and Chris reunite with their side project bandmates to rehearse for upcoming gigs. Among the tracks are three new numbers – Can’t Touch Us Now, Given The Opportunity and You Can’t Keep A Good Thing Down. The first two appear 16 years later on Madness’s 10th studio album, Can’t Touch Us Now, while the latter turns up on the special edition of Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja da Da in 2012.

MAY: Carl starts rehearsals with his new band, The Velvet Ghost

Read more

The Ghost is a nine-piece collective fusing Celtic folk, glam and rockabilly. Carl’s cousin, lawyer Sean MacGloin, plays violin, harmonica and bagpipes. (Sean’s father was Tommy MacGloin, who’d been name-checked on The Return of the Los Palmas 7 as ‘Tommy MacGloin and his combo’). Musical director and guitarist is ex-Polecat Martin ‘Boz’ Boorer, while other band members are David Ruffy (drums), Jason Wilson (double bass), Damian Hand (saxophone), Jason McDermid (trumpet), Louis Vause (keyboards, accordion) and ex-Mike Barson stand-in Seamus Beaghen (piano).

CARL (speaking in 2000): I feel I have to be performing, so if Madness don’t want to work then I have an outlet. The Velvet Ghost is a means of stimulus for me and a way for me to tell my story. Style-wise, it’s not a million miles away from Madness but it’s more acoustic-based. I’m just enjoying the new sensation of it being my band and the vehicle of my musical expression.


BAZ BOORER (guitarist): Although Madness was on the backburner, Carl was still being creative and had something he needed to get out of his system. He’d written a load of songs and I said, ‘I’ve got a studio you can use. Put them down on tape to get them out of your head so you can hear them as a collection.’ They were all his ideas. There was only one song I co-wrote with him, it might’ve been called Check The Fruit.


LOUIS VAUSE (keyboards): We rehearsed for a week at a studio up in Mill Hill East. That was a joy. It went really well. Sean was introduced halfway through rehearsals. The music was really organic, mainly live takes; me and Seamus alternating on organ and piano.


CARL (speaking in 2000): Some songs recorded by Madness were altered and not completely to my satisfaction, so the Ghost performs them in their original form as I had intended. Johnny The Horse I will record with the original long intro as it’s stronger. My main focus is to complete enough material for an album. I’m hoping to record in September and the album will then be available on my website. I’m not approaching a record company as I think it will be more interesting for me to release it myself on my own label. I want it out this year so I might find a good engineer and produce it myself. I’ve been in music for 25 years and feel confident I know the moods I want. The plan is to perform some shows soon, tour the album through Europe next year, and hold a special event in the summer.


LOUIS VAUSE (keyboards): The last day, me and Seamus were walking away with Carl and we said, ‘Do you think there’ll be any money in this?’ And he pulled out a wad of money and gave us I think £200 each and said, ‘There you are.’

JUNE 5: Divine Madness rereleased

Read more

Virgin Records put out the reworked Greatest Hits collection, with digitally remastered versions of It Must Be Love, Driving In My Car, House Of Fun, The Sun & The Rain, Wings Of A Dove and (Waiting For The) Ghost Train. The tracklisting is as per the original Divine, but with Lovestuck and Johnny The Horse added. This time, all the single versions are used instead of album mixes, apart from a heavily edited version of Shut Up, which fades out more than 30 seconds short of the actual single version. All the music is re-mastered, apart from the Wonderful tracks, and new video images are also taken for the artwork.

JUNE 10: Carl appears at The Fleadh with Velvet Ghost

Read more

Carl makes his one and only appearance with his new outfit at the Celtic music festival in Finsbury Park, minus Seamus, who is unavailable. The set features The Alligator Song, AKA Alligator With A Stanley Knife, which Carl had performed at Madness’ Red Wedge dates in 1986.


The Wizard / We Are Love / Johnny The Horse / You’re Wonderful / Light Of The Way / The Communicator / The Alligator Song / This Friend I Know / Hoodle La La / Welcome To The Dark Side

CARL: At 1.25pm, with Sean playing the Scottish warpipes, we walked through the crowds to the stage. I knew no one would be familiar with the songs and that this was the acid test. What would it be like to front the band as the singer? Would I be happy? Would it feel right? We played nine songs, and seeing the reaction of the people, I knew I wanted to continue this as it felt so completely fulfilling. To say I was over the moon gets close to how ecstatic the feeling was.

JUNE 16: Ian Dury memorial concert, Brixton Academy

Read more

Madness join Robbie Williams, Joe Strummer, Mick Jones, Kirsty MacColl, Kathy Burke, Tom Robinson, Keith Allen, Phill Jupitus and Mark Lamarr as part of an all-star cast paying tribute to the man and his music. Madness perform four songs, including the Kilburns’ Crippled With Nerves and It Must Be Love. In addition, Suggs teams up with The Blockheads for My Old Man while Carl sings What A Waste and Lee takes the mic on Plaistow Patricia. Glen Matlock also performs the Ronnie Lane song Debris with Lee, Davey Payne, Terry Edwards and Mick Jones.


No matter how many stars pack the stage tonight, you can’t shake the sad, overwhelming sense that there’s something missing. When Ian Dury died of cancer in March, thirty something rock fans felt their first great loss. And they’re here in their thousands at this sell-out celebration. Though his career peaked in the early 80’s, Dury’s warm, earthy Essex brogue, his saucy poetic postcards from the edge and his love of the music hall, bolstered by the Blockheads’ quirksome funk, won him many friends and influenced a generation of bands. Many of whom are here. Sets by Madness, Wilco, Chas and Dave and former Clash man Mick Jones {Strummer didn’t turn up} warm up the masses, while The Blockheads smile as they work their faultless magic behind the parade of guests. While the star of the show isn’t here, his timeless tunes are. And his mates do them justice. The comedians acquit themselves well. Kathy Burke grins through the rude reminiscences of Billericay Dickie. Mark Lamarr throws himself into a riotous version of Blockheads. Cocksure Keith Allen does a Dury shout for Blackmail Man. And Phil Jupitus runs through Reasons to be Cheerful before hailing the Blockheads as “the best fucking band in the world”. Madness play their part. Suggs does My Old Man, Chas Smash gets tender on What A Waste and Lee Thompson, donning a dusty suit and a comedy false nose and moustache, thrusts through Plaistow Patricia. Mick Jones returns for I’m Partial to Your Abracadabra. Saffron from Republica bounces through Mash It Up Harry. Kirsty MacColl makes her shaky way through Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and in a supreme piece of ironic casting, Tom Robinson sings I Want to be Straight. Meanwhile Humphrey Ocean, bassist with Dury’s earlier outfit Kilburn & The High Roads, does There Ain’t Half Been Some Clever Bastards. Robbie Williams is joined by the entire cast for the grand finale, and in a great performance pays his respects to his friend with Sweet Gene Vincent and Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll. A fine send-off, then, for one of British rock’s truly individual greats. Goodnight, Ian, God Bless. You clever bastard.


Gary Crossing, MOJO

CARL: The concert was an emotional event and an honour and privilege to participate in. To see fellow artists show their respect and admiration for the passing of a true genius and excellent observer of human nature was impressive to see. The whole venue swelled with emotion and love for him as his songs were echoed throughout the 4,000 people there. It was a night I will ever remember.

SUMMER: Woody sets up a floor sanding company

Read more

In lieu of anything else to do, and after doing part-time work for a pest control company to make ends meet, the drummer forms his own company called Woody’s Floors.

WOODY: I needed to earn a living while Madness were out of action. No one needed a drummer so I set up a floor sanding company. I had sanded all the floors in my own house, and was such a frequent visitor to my local hire shop that the man who worked there suggested I sanded floors for some of his other customers. Before too long I had clients, a van, a supplier for sandpaper and varnish and adverts in the local papers. Even my wife Siobhan came and worked on jobs with me. It was knackering, back breaking work. Thank God it was only for a couple of years.

JULY 9: Party In The Park, London

Read more

Suggs appears at short notice, performing Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick and It Must Be Love. Also appearing are Bon Jovi, Elton John, Queen and Travis.

JULY 17: Suggs begins co-hosting The Real Car Show on ITV

Read more

Another new TV gig for the Madness frontman. This time he presents alongside Julia Bradbury, with the six-part series recounting car stories with a twist.

AUGUST 4: Radio 3 RNE, Madrid, Spain


One Step Beyond / My Girl / Johnny the Horse / It Must Be Love / Baggy Trousers / Lovestruck / The Communicator / Drip Fed Fred / Madness

SEPTEMBER 25-29: Carl records with The Velvet Ghost

Read more

The five-day sessions features most of the tunes performed at the Fleadh, along with other tracks As Stars Above, My Heart Is True, This Friend I Know, Bewdley Street, Why Be Brutal and I’m Going Mad Again. Another track, Viva Londinium, is later re-fashioned as Mk II on The Liberty Of Norton Folgate. After an online competition, an album title is chosen – The Father, The Son And The Velvet Ghost – after a suggestion by fan Steve Chapman. However, after the rough album is hacked and bootlegged from Carl’s website forum, the project goes no further.

LOUIS VAUSE: It was very short-lived. I ran into Carl after he’d dropped the idea and said, ‘Carl, why? It was really good.’ ‘Oh, I don’t know, it doesn’t sound as good as I want it to.’ Well, nothing ever does. I might have quoted Robert Graves to him, who said, ‘A poem is never finished, only abandoned’.

SEPTEMBER 27: Young Guns documentary screened on BBC2

Read more

All seven members take part in this worthwhile programme, which boasts unique archive footage of The Invaders from 1977, plus numerous interviews with the band and their associates. The show ends with each member leaving separately outside Camden tube station and the open-ended statement, ‘The band are currently unsure of their future.’

NOVEMBER 2: Suggs appears at French House fund-raiser

Read more

The singer pops up in London’s Soho for an NSPCC charity event. He is presented with the first pint ever poured at the famous boozer, which normally only ever serves halves.

NOVEMBER 22: Suggs appears on Mark Lamarr's radio show

Read more

During A Beginner’s Guide to Reggae, Suggs says he’s thinking of doing some more solo stuff in a reggae style and adds that Cecilia killed off The Lone Ranger as ‘it had too much candy floss on it’.

CARL (speaking in November 2000): There is no activity in the Madness camp as regards touring or music or TV. In fact, there is nothing planned for the immediate future, and whilst that saddens me, there is nothing that I can do about it. It is up to other members of the band whether we work or not, and until they make a decision as to where the good ship Madness is heading then I am afraid it will be in the dry dock undergoing serious structural repairs.

DECEMBER 9: Carl plays The Mean Fiddler closing-down party

Read more

The venue holds its farewell bash exactly 18 years since it doors opened. To mark its move from Harlesden to the West End’s Astoria, the Last Tango In Harlesden sees Carl play a short acoustic set – Johnny The Horse, This Friend I Know and Hoodle La La – before reciting the poem The Weak and The Strong.


SUGGS (speaking in 2001): I think pop music is awash with manufactured music at the moment, I think that is a big problem. There’s not enough room for anybody else. But having said that I made a career out of pop music, pop music was what I did. My kids really don’t like the word ‘pop’, it’s sort of been misappropriated I think by some of these people. Pop music to me was the Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Motown. It didn’t have to be completely asinine. That’s the fault of the record companies to a certain extent, It’s much easier to repackage something you’ve done five times already than it is to stick with someone who’s going to progress. But having said that I can understand the process, some of the Motown records were completely manufactured. I don’t think it’s black and white, it’s a kind of grey area really.

SPRING: Plans for a book about the band are shelved

Read more

Entitled Don’t Watch That, Watch This, and already delayed from autumn 2000, the authorised biography was to be written by journalist and long-time fan Adrian Thrills.

LEE: It wasn’t quite right. There were no fantastic revelations or anything like that. I think we all read it, but it didn’t give an insight into what Madness was about. It tells a few home truths about the band’s characters and people we’ve worked with along the way, but past Page 40 and you’re looking at the clock – or for a bin.


CARL: The book was generally written in a wishy-washy style and the band as a whole just thought it wasn’t up to scratch.


LEE: There’s another complete book, written some years ago, that’s gathering dust on a shelf for the same reason.


BEDDERS: There are actually two-and-a-half books about Madness that have never seen the light of day. There was a book written in the 80s about the band, and one a bit later, and then one was started by Adrian which we rejected because it wasn’t quite right.


SUGGS: It made us realise we could never authorise a biography about the band because we’d never seen one which got it quite right.


PETER RUDGE (Madness manager): Some members have an unrealistic view of Madness’s place in the market and believe their influence and accomplishments haven’t been recognised as much as they should. Therefore, they expect publishers to react to them rather like chasing Bill Clinton’s memoirs. Also, some of the boys were sensitive about revealing the inner workings of the band. No publisher worth his salt is going to give unconditional approval on what’s written. But Chris’s tales about Mike or Carl in particular were something that would have caused such a problem. There are seven books there really.

JULY: Chris marries his third wife, Melissa

AUGUST: Suggs stars in radio sitcom, I Think I’ve Got A Problem

Read more

Also starring Bob Monkhouse and Phil Cornwell, the BBC Radio 4 musical sitcom runs to four episodes, followed by a second series in spring 2003.

SUGGS: Somebody I know came up with the idea of a guy who had an imaginary band in his mind and Bob seemed the perfect person to be the psychiatrist. It’s so surreal that it seemed to make sense. Actually, the same goes for the rest of my life. It’s preposterous but wonderful.

SEPTEMBER 23: Carl plays the Mac Bar in Camden

Read more

Carl performs an acoustic set of Velvet Ghost material as part of Louis Vause’s regular Big Chill slot on Sundays.


The Wizard / This Friend I Know / Johnny The Horse / As Stars Above / Why Be Brutal / I’m Going Mad Again

LOUIS VAUSE: He was really nervous. There were fans at the bar who’d come especially. I said, ‘It’ll be all right, Carl’ and reminded him of a couple of Velvet Ghost tracks he’d forgotten about. ‘Oh yeah, I remember that,’ he said. And he put on a really good show for half an hour.

OCTOBER: Lee forms a new band, Like Father Like Son

Read more

The six-piece includes Lee and son Daley on drums, singer/songwriter Kevin Burdett and his son Danny (both guitar), and 70s rocker Nick Judd (bass) and son Alex (piano). The setlist mixes Ian Dury, The Beatles, Alex Harvey, glam rock and 60s classics with Madness songs. The outfit play sporadically before splitting in 2004.

LEE: We’re just doing the pub circuit, tootling along for a bit of beer money. Got our own PA, get it up there and rock out. We do things like Mott the Hoople, T Rex, The Kinks and Bulldog by the Beatles – good tunes. For Daley and the other kids in the band, it’s all a bit of an eye-opener.

Carl hints at the band’s next project

CARL (speaking in 2001): We have begun working on a Madness musical. It will take some time to develop, but I know I can say that this is something we have wanted to do for ages, and I am sure that we are brimming full of ideas and enthusiasm for it. So that’s going to be one we can sink our collective teeth into.