As part of their ’24 Hour Party People’ tour, Madchester veterans Happy Mondays are set to visit the North East as they take to the Stage of Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Friday 8th December. Kyrie Dawson caught up with frontman Shaun Ryder for a little chat.
It’s been thirty years since the release of your debut album, ‘Squirrel and G-Man Twenty-Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)’. How does it feel to be hitting the road again as part of your anniversary celebrations?
I’m not just saying this because I’ve got a tour to promote, but it’s more exciting and better than ever now. The Mondays are playing better than ever and we’re all getting along better than ever. We’re a lot older, and I was going to say wiser but yeah, we’re just as daft. So yeah, it’s a lot more enjoyable and we just appreciate what we’re doing a little more as well now.
As well as your debut album, your other records from throughout the years have equally as interesting titles. From ‘Madchester’ to ‘Bummed’, would you say that the emerging 90s rave culture influenced your choice in album names?
Yeah, absolutely! We were pretty much at the forefront of rave culture and ecstasy pretty much shaped the way for all of that – blame it on the drugs!
Do you have a favourite track when performing live?
We sort of went out and we took the ‘Bummed’ album out and played it in its entirety – and I hadn’t listened to ‘Bummed’ since we left the studio in 1988. I had to listen to it again, learn it again and it was like, wow! It’s pretty good. So yeah, I just treat them all as one body of work and I enjoy the lot of it.
Happy Mondays have played some iconic festivals and venues throughout the years, from Glastonbury to Fuji Rock in Japan. Is there any particular gig that sticks in your memory?
Rock in Rio stands out massively; it was our first time in Brazil and it was a pretty mad time! We should have only been there for four days and we ended up there for nearly two weeks. Our gear went missing and we should have been playing with George Michael but we ended up playing with A-Ha and had this completely mad time there, so that will always stick out!
You’ve been an influence for many bands throughout the UK, including Oasis and The Stone Roses, but who would you say was your major influence in the 1980s?
In the 80s I was pretty much stuck in the 60s really, apart from the likes of Orange Juice, Echo and the Bunnymen and New Order. But you know, I was listening to everything really, from The Velvet Underground to The Doors and Northern Soul.
Manchester has always been a renowned location for spawning musical talent. In your opinion, who is the best artist to be born from the city?
God, I think The Hollies have got to be Manchester’s best ever band. And Graham Nash and all that crew are just out of this world!
Thirty years is a pretty special anniversary. Can gig-goers expect any additional surprises from your set?
We’re going to do stuff that we haven’t played since 1982; stuff like ‘Freaky Dancing’ and the likes of that. We are pulling out a few songs off the first album and some of the singles that we have never really done since the early 80s, so it’s going be a pretty special mix.
Happy Mondays will play Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday 8th December. Tickets, priced at £33.75, are available from seetickets.com.