Excess all areas – a biography
by Simon Spence
Aurum Press | 30th October 2014
£20 | Hardback and e-book
‘Happy Mondays are the best group in Manchester’ Ian Brown
In 1985, when the Happy Mondays exploded onto the Manchester music scene like a Molotov cocktail, no one had heard anything like them before. As they developed into the face of the Acid House ‘Madchester’ movement, critics ranked them alongside The Velvet Underground and Sex Pistols as cultural lightning rods, and that was just for the music.
The stories of their excesses are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend: the overdoses, fights on stage, the death threats, the gangsters, the stabbings and shootings in the studio. Yet this seemingly unhinged and uncontrollable band – encouraged by their equally crazed benefactors at Factory Records – transformed British music forever, leaving behind five infectious albums of unparalleled dirt and delight.
Twenty-five years after their breakthrough appearance on Top of the Pops, in November 1989, Simon Spence, the acclaimed biographer of The Stone Roses: War and Peace tells the story of how the Happy Mondays came to provide the soundtrack to Britain’s last great youth movement. Based on extensive interviews with the band and key associates and including 30 unseen photographs, many from the band’s own private collection, he reveals the truth behind the mythic stories that ensured their outlaw reputation, and unravels the chaos that led to the group’s ultimate implosion and the tragic collapse of Factory Records.
A riotous mix of pills, thrills and joyous chart hits, this is the untold story of Britain’s greatest rock ’n’ roll gang.
Praise for The Stone Roses: War and Peace
‘A comprehensive, no-holds-barred account … Spence details with steely, forensic precision the story of the group’s ascent, heyday and spectacular implosion. All the triumphs and disasters are here.’ The Sunday Times
‘A forensic, detailed and beautifully researched history of The Stone Roses … full of new stuff.’ John Harris, bestselling author of The Last Party
‘An era-defining, definitive biography.’ Q Magazine
SIMON SPENCE is a music journalist who experienced the Madchester scene at first hand. He has written for NME, The Face, the Independent, Q and the Guardian. He collaborated with Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham on the memoirs Stoned and 2Stoned and won further acclaim for his 2012 biography of The Stone Roses, War and Peace. His latest book is Still Breathing: The True Adventures of The Donnelly Brothers. He reviewed the Mondays’ most famous UK gig, at Leeds’ Elland Road, for the NME. He lives in Stockport.