HAPPY MONDAYS: TEXT & TOUR
By Rob Jones
The Happy Mondays originally united as a rock n roll escape route from the daily dramas of an off kilter Lancastrian existence. Their nascent manager Phil Saxe stated: ‘it’s about making money and securing a job, because otherwise Happy Mondays are on the dole’.
The subsequent path to pop fame was to score swathes of notoriety, incalculable excesses, anarchic allegiances, major in and out of house squabbles and a reputation that was prone to putting them out on a limb. However, the band created a legacy of magnificent grooves aligned to a pertinent clothes sense that has singled them out as catalysts.
Several lifetimes of adventures, scrapes and lunacy fuelled by a seemingly insatiable appetite for drink, drugs and living on the wring side of the law ensues. Despite the devilish distractions the lads work their socks off to perfect their seminal sound even though hedonism often upsets the applecart!
Happy Mondays: Excess all Areas-a biography by Simon Spence (published by Aurum Press) analyses this world. Shaun and Paul Ryder, Mark Day, Bez, Gaz Whelan and Paul Davis lead a massive cast of characters and an array of venues that play integral roles in this tantalising tale e.g. Tony Wilson and his Factory Records associates as well as Elland Road (home of Leeds United FC) and The Hacienda. There is also a kaleidoscope of musical, cinematic, literary and fashion influences that help shape five working class lads on their trip (s)! Early producer John Cale described the dancing dervish Bez attempting to play tambourine as akin to ‘a building collapsing’-but at the same time in amongst the nuclear narcotic nuances some special sounds were brewing.
The Happy Mondays can be: Discordant, vitriolic, surreal, disturbing, captivating, uplifting, mellifluous, humorous, charismatic, spellbinding and chaotic! The Spence text delivers a lot of the mirth, magic and mayhem associated with these generation defining gurus whose psychedelic funk-soul wed with alt. indie-rock mix has made many cry ‘Hallelujah!’
2015 marks 25 years since the epic Pills, thrills and Bellyaches album; and despite splits and indifferences a potent original format of The Happy Mondays (with the bonus of Rowetta and the change of Dan Broad replacing Paul Davies on Keyboards ) plays Solus, Cardiff University on Sunday, November 29, 7.30pm. Get your tickets via: 02920 781485 or cardiffboxoffice.com or ticketmaster.co.uk