Madness: Suggs on 30 years as music’s most dysfunctional family

From The Telegraph:

Last year, someone sent Madness frontman Suggs a cutting taken from Smash Hits in the early Eighties, an interview by a young journalist called Neil Tennant. In it, an even younger Suggs made the kind of schoolboy error many of us make as we enter adulthood, the mistake of thinking that we will never get older. “There is no way I will still be jumping about onstage when I’m an old man of 30!” he declared.

Shortly afterwards, Tennant left journalism to concentrate on his band, the Pet Shop Boys. And much, much later – this summer, in fact – a 51-year-old Suggs had cause to remember this encounter. “We’re standing on the back of a truck next to One Direction, waiting to go out for the closing ceremony of the London Olympics. And there’s Neil Tennant, on a bicycle with a traffic cone on his head. And I thought, ‘Wow! We’re all still here!’”

It’s been over three decades since Madness, then seven teenagers from north London, first started making music. It’s been a long haul, but as this most British of bands releases their 10th studio album together and embarks on a big British tour, they are – finally – being acknowledged as national treasures. A status sealed, perhaps, when they received a letter from the Queen, officially inviting them to play at her Diamond Jubilee celebrations – on the roof of Buckingham Palace. “One can play on top of one’s house, in the middle of one’s Mall!” laughs Suggs, between puffs on his cigar. “It’s quite bizarre considering the people we were and where we come from and what we get up to in the nefarious moments of our darker corners.”

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