O2 ACADEMY ISLINGTON London
14th December 2023
LIVERPOOL GUILD of STUDENTS (Mountford Hall)
16th December 2023
with Very Special Guests IT'S IMMATERIAL
artwork: Steve Hardstaff
🎤 Back in my youth I met some characters who were a right
bunch, but what we had in common was that we loved Deaf School.
It’s strange how this theatrical band from Liverpool touched the
children of North London. In Madness we’d all listened to Deaf
School records. Their first album was a big phenomenon in our
In 1975 they played at the Roundhouse in Camden - the greatest
music venue in the world as far as we were concerned - and I was
bowled over by them.
You’d had glam rock, which was starting to go all brickies in
stack-heel boots. Even pub rock was getting flabby. But Deaf
School seemed to elevate themselves above everything. Though
they occasionally played in pubs, you were transported into some
faded theatre at the turn of the century.
They totally informed the way we formed Madness. It was
inspiring that you could have that many people on stage. They
offered you the whole mixture, the all-encompassing night out.
The music itself was absorbing, but with the visual
theatricality you really had 180 degrees.
The interaction of different people on stage, the fact that we
had saxophone, piano, two vocalists – a lot of things came from
And we loved the notion that they all had pseudonyms, like
Enrico Cadillac. This was all before punk, when everyone did it.
Or Max Ripple, stopping the show half way through to deliver a
sermon on the dangers of celery.
Bette Bright, though, was the one that caught my eye . . .
For me, the gigs Deaf School have done recently have been some
of the best I’ve seen by any band. It’s not just
One of the first times I got on stage with them, I’d had a few
cold drinks and I was a bit emotional. I was going to join in What
a Way to End it All, and I said, ‘I’ve got to tell you:
Deaf School were one of the biggest influences on Madness.’ And
some Scouse wag shouted, ‘Where the fuck did it all go wrong
then?’ Which slightly put me off my stride.
Please enjoy . . . . 🎤