Madchester pioneers and British music treasures Happy Mondays are on the verge of a mammoth Greatest Hits tour, with a sold out stop at Rock City next month. Our Rachael sat down for a chat with singer Rowetta...
You’re about to embark on a mammoth 26 date Greatest Hits tour to round off 2019. What hopes do you have for the tour?
I'd like to see a lot of people coming and enjoying themselves. A lot of the young ones have grown up on the music and never got to see it live, so it’ll be great for them.
In 2016 Happy Mondays won the Ivor Novello Inspiration Award, further cementing your reputation as one of Britain’s most influential and loved bands. How did it feel to receive such an award?
It's amazing because we're not the sort of band to normally get awards. We were nominated for a Brit award back in the day – for Best Single - which was great. But it’s amazing to have this, especially for songwriting. The Ivor Novello is a very highly acclaimed award, so it was great for the band.
What made you decide to do this tour?
We don't do a tour every year, but we do festivals every year. We know the people want to come out and it's always a proper celebration night out - we're just that kind of band. You don't sit down and clap or tap your feet, it's much more get up and party. We are all playing better than ever, we are all singing better than ever, so we need to do it. You know, we’re not getting any younger; were coming up to our 30th anniversary, so it would be a shame not to do something.
When you perform a gig, what reactions do you really want to see and feel from your audience?
Years ago there used to be a definite north-south divide, especially in London. The industry's changed now, everywhere is as good as each other. People are more involved, and you look silly if you don't enjoy yourself and start dancing about. We always get great audiences. People of every age come out to party. We’ve not really got any boring songs. Some bands have a song you know, it's on the B-side... the one where everyone goes to the toilet. Well, we don't really have any songs like that. At our gigs they probably wee themselves, because they don't want to miss anything.
You have been through a lot together as a band. Can you tell us about one of your craziest experiences?
Well actually, Piers Morgan recently talked about a barbecue at Ronnie Biggs’ house in Rio. He said Bez had done something to the burgers, that he was in charge of the barbecue and Piers Morgan ended up dancing for eight hours straight. There was a lot of wacky stuff going on around rockin’ Rio. I’m not really the type to tell - what happens on tour stays on tour. I quite like the fact that people aren't sure if things are true. You hear things about our band that are unbelievable, but if that's what it sounds like, then it probably happened!
Why are you called Happy Mondays?
Different members of the band say they made the name for different reasons, but I'm not quite sure who's telling the truth. Someone said it was to do with signing on - because you get your money on Monday, or blue Mondays, or after a song - they've all got different stories so we just don't know.
You’re performing at Rock City in November. Does Nottingham hold any special memories for you?
We’ve played that venue a lot - I love Rock City. Last time we played, Frank the drummer from Fun Lovin’ Criminals came down with his mates and was going “give us a shout out!” That was a good memory for me, because he’s one of our good friends. I've only got good memories of Nottingham and I love the city centre - it's fantastic.
Do you have a message for the people of Nottingham?
We’re doing what we do, and we're doing it better than ever. All the best hits. So grab your baggy jeans and come and party with us!
Happy Mondays play a sold out Rock City show on Saturday 30 November
Since their early days as seventies punk rock rabble-rousers, The Stranglers have been mainstays of the British music scene. Now over 45 years on, the lads are still finding the time to hit the road and make music. Back in Nottingham for their latest UK tour this month, we sent our man LP Mills for a chat with guitarist and frontman Baz Warne, to find out what these perennial punks have been up to.