The 40th anniversary of the groupus maximus ‘Madness XL’

Madness is coming to Market Rasen Racecourse
Madness is coming to Market Rasen Racecourse

Ahead of their appearance at Market Rasen Racecourse tonight, singer Suggs talks about life with Madness.

•What are the qualities that make Madness endure?

I think the reason we endure is that we genuinely do enjoy ourselves.

From the very beginning you could see the joy in the early videos we made, and hear it in the records.

The fact that we were friends before this band started is key. I genuinely think the whole spark of art, of craft, and creativity was a by-product of our friendship. I think that’s what people feel. It’s a genuine experience. It’s not manufactured. I can’t ever remember being on stage and feeling fed up with the people around me.

It’s been very flattering and marvellous to see so many different age groups enjoying the band.

We are looking forward to this on the tour – people of all ages.

• How will you keep yourself match fit for the summer shows?

It’s like preparing for war, a war of fun y’know? A war of fun and frolics but, unlike the

Romans, we are going to unleash heaven.

I have a suspicion that if I didn’t have a few tequila shots before I went on stage I wouldn’t be quite as lubricated in the joints. Tequila and orange juice is the secret of keeping those limbs loose!

I suppose our rituals are now so ingrained that I don’t notice what the rest of the band are doing!

• How do you keep the feeling of it being fresh?

Traditionally, we don’t tour for months and months - we gave up on America and they probably gave up on us.

Touring for years on end is what drains the lifeblood out of a lot of acts that I see. Each tour we do we try and make unique – and special.

We can change the setlist nightly if we wish. The main thing is to keep it exciting for yourself, that’s the way to ensure the audience is kept excited too.

• Racecourses make up quite a bit of your itinerary, are you fond of a flutter or a day at the track?

Racecourses are great we’ve played a few in the past where there have been a few races and then you get a bit of Madness. It’s an unbeatable combination.

I have a few flutters every now and then, and have a bit of luck on the horses. I’m not a gambling man generally, but I like it when you can see the steam coming out of the horses’ nostrils and that whole thing in front of you.

I do like it, but I’m a terrible loser, which has been my saving grace as far as gambling is concerned. It’s stopped me getting too involved.

I did wake up with a greyhound in my bed once. We had been to a charity auction at

Walthamstow dog track and there was an auction for the greyhound and we won.

I came home with a greyhound, which my wife was quite thrilled about.

He did alright actually; we called him Nutty Boy and he went on to win quite a few races.

That was quite a nice time and the nearest I ever got to be an Alex Fergusonesque race horse owner.

Turning up at the track as a dog owner was quite an experience.

I’m really looking forward to all the racecourse shows.

Last time we played at Haydock we had a tremendous gig something like 20,000 people turned up and they were only expecting 10,000.

Simply Red had held the record up to that point, so I think we are the record holders for Haydock, returning as reigning champions.

• Are you looking forward to this tour?

It really feels like a tour of the people in places where they can have fun – where we can have fun.