Madness in 1979 … with Suggs, third from left, and Mike Barson, last on right. Photograph: Virginia Turbett/Redferns
Madness in 1979 … through Suggs, third from left, and Mike Barson, last on right. Photograph: Virginia Turbett/Redferns

Suggs, singer and songwriterI gained sacked from Madness just before we recorded One action Beyond, quiet our bestselling album. We offered to practice on Saturdays, and the band started to get annoyed that i was far every various other weekend. I was watching Chelsea! so one day, ns was looking v Melody device and witnessed an refers saying: “Semi-professional phibìc London band looks for professionally minded singer.” when I recognised the phone call number, i knew I’d been sacked.

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They got a various singer and I went along to view them play. Climate it dawned on me exactly how stupid I’d been. But when he left, i was the only one that knew the songs, for this reason they had me back. ~ that, I became much an ext focused, yet it was really tough for us. We were play a mixture the blue beat, ska and also pop – appropriate in the middle of the punk and disco era. It was too sluggish for the punks, no groovy sufficient for the disco chaps. At one gig, ours drummer obtained knocked the end by a Party 7 – that’s seven pints of beer in a gigantic tin. That must have weighed around a stone.

When us met with record labels, they thought what us were law was yes, really odd. They had an ext potted plants 보다 A&R men. Things started to change when we experienced the Specials play live. Lock were favor us, yet turbocharged. We were still diesel at that point. After the gig, Jerry Dammers, their frontman, to be talking around his new label, 2 Tone, i m sorry he claimed was going to be the brand-new Motown. Climate he told us he didn’t have all over to stay, so he kipped at my mum’s flat. We made The Prince because that 2 Tone, not reasoning for a minute we’d ever do one more song after it. Climate it gained to No 16 and also suddenly record suppliers were excited around Madness.

Dave Robinson the Stiff documents was trying to see us play live, however was acquiring married and couldn’t make the dates work, therefore in the finish he just booked us to play his wedding. I deserve to still picture the shock ~ above people’s encounters when we began our set. His wife preserved asking us: “Don’t girlfriend know any type of Hot cacao numbers?” as soon as we i found it Elvis Costello was there, we jumped turn off the stage, ordered him and got a big conga heat going.


We signed to Stiff and recorded One Step past in 10 days. The Specials had just perfect an album in the exact same studio and also there were bits of ice cream lying around. So us looped them right into the reel-to-reels and also crowded ring the speaker to listen what their album sounded prefer – yet all we got was the clang the a snare drum. But there was a heart of competitiveness. Return it was friendly, we were make the efforts to do an album the was better than theirs.

I think it was my idea to carry out One action Beyond, the track. The was among the old Prince Buster documents we used to beat on the pub jukebox. Chas Smash, our trumpeter, come up v the intro: “Hey you, nothing watch that, watch this. This is the heavy, heavy monster sound …” the was influenced by the shouty, contempt preposterous “I am the magnificent” intros you got on Jamaican records.

Because there to be so many of us, that was difficult to obtain us in the picture for the album cover. We had actually to gain really close together. Ian Dury’s old tape Kilburn and also the High roadways did the duck walk on the ago of their album. So we did the exact same for a laugh – and also it came to be iconic.

Mike Barson, songwriter and also keyboardsWe were called the phibìc London intruders at first, but had to adjust the name since there was currently another band referred to as that. The didn’t execute them much good, either. At some point at a rehearsal, our guitarist kris Foreman said: “What about Madness? Nah. It is shit.” but everybody assumed it to be good. If he hadn’t spoken up, we could have ended up being a significant band.

We started off rehearsing in mine mum’s house, playing other people’s music, yet then john Hasler, our very first drummer, composed some lyrics and also we every thought: “Well, if John have the right to write a song, we all can.” Bed and Breakfast man is around him: he supplied to sleep on Chris’s sofa. Chris began the song and I finished it.

Lee Thompson, top top sax, had actually the concept of The Nutty Boys. He come in one day with “That nutty sound” injected on his jacket and talked around our music being a mixture that pop and circus. Since he didn’t know exactly how to track a saxophone, Lee was actually out of song on One step Beyond. Some music professor noticed and also said: “The BBC can’t play that.” Luckily, human being wanted to hear it, for this reason they had actually to.

For the tune Swan Lake, I shared a songwriting credit through Tchaikovsky. I imagined conducting part seance and also him telling me: “Cut the end the middle bit, Mike, it’s boring.” mine Girl, meanwhile, was my effort to create a reggae song. That was motivated by a bloke I’d operated with who said “Me and my girl” a lot. Yet the lyrics were also about my girl friend of the time. Us were having difficulties, talking on the phone because that hours and also all that. That a young guy talking about his emotions, yet I don’t know just how that acquired in the song. Perhaps I to be stuck for a rhyme and it simply came out. In ~ first, i felt uncomfortable recording it. I never ever imagined it would affix with countless people.

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Interviews by Dave Simpson. One step Beyond: The 35th Anniversary Edition, including brand-new footage, is out currently on CD and DVD.