Happy Mondays heads to Lindisfarne Festival and Hardwick Live this month so Lee Allcock caught up with Bez to find out how he joined the band, why he almost hung up his dancing shoes and more.
You’re well-known for being Happy Mondays’ dancer/maraca shaker, but how did you actually come to be part of Happy Mondays?
Happy Mondays were supporting New Order and I went down to watch the band. That evening, we were completely flying off our heads and Shaun turned around to me and said I can’t go on stage so you’re going to have to come on stage with me or I’m going to look soft. I grabbed a pair of maracas and jumped on stage – it was mad.
For those of us who weren’t born during the ‘Madchester’ scene, what was it actually like?
It had its ups and downs, of course – with all the trouble with the cults and people were thinking they were gangsters – but it was a really good time. And, musically, all of your friends were in bands so it was decent times for Manchester music.
Back in 2012 you told NME that you were going to hang up your dancing shoes and would act only as a compere during Happy Mondays’ reunion tour, so why did you decide against doing that?
At the time, I was really suffering with my leg as I’d had a motorbike accident. However, I found out how to cope with that and deal with the pain and I got a new lease of life. I’m really enjoying it again as well but I wasn’t enjoying it at the start of 2012.
You’re playing both Hardwick Live and Lindisfarne Festival this year with Happy Mondays, so what can festival-goers expect from your set?
If you’ve seen Happy Mondays before, you’re going to see the band at the best they’ve ever been. When we set out when we were young, we didn’t know what we know now; we now understand what our sound is and we’ve aced it.
You’re also playing a DJ set at Longlands Club in Middlesbrough this September (an NE Volume/Longlands Club show), so what can gig-goers expect from that?
I’ll be playing 90s hip-hop and house but it sort of depends on the audience and how we go with it. Really, it’ll be anything I feel that the audience will be up for and ready to dance to. My son is playing too and he’s really good – he mixes indie tunes and is great at what he does.
And finally, what’s your favourite thing about coming to play in the North East?
I’ve been going there for about 30 years now and I feel a lot of love from people from the North East as everybody is really nice and up for it.
For further information about Hardwick Live, head to hardwicklive.co.uk. For further details about Lindisfarne Festival, head to lindisfarnefestival.com. For tickets for Bez’s Longlands Club date, head to skiddle.com.