Jim : Tony
Larry : A Maverick
Jim : Yeah yeah, a big personality
Larry : A Manchester maverick
Jim : You know, did a lot for us. Could be a pain in the arse. I’d hate to work with the bloke full-time. I mean he’d drive you round the bleeding bend. So over the top, I mean completely over the top. But a heart of gold. And loved James and said some great fantastic things in the press, I mean he compared us to the 1974 Dutch football team. In that they had this kind of natural grace in the way they played football and he compared us musically to them and it was the nicest thing anyone’s ever said to us.
Larry : An unforced natural grace.
Jim : Yeah yeah.
Jim : We were just pains in the arse. We wanted to design the sleeves, don’t like your sleeves, don’t like all this cool stuff, we’re going to design it. So we did, I did, this horrible kind of felt-tipped cover and we took it in and Tony was like “Oh, you want something like this” and we were like “No, we want that” And he was interviewed for the James book, Tony Wilson was, and his interpretation of the events was that he thought it was a great idea but at the time he didn’t. He’s lying, he was lying. He didn’t. He hated it.
Jim : They were so nice. They really were. We should have stayed with Factory, that’s one thing we all regretted, that we didn’t do an album with them. We just thought, we did bump into problems with them that were justified I think. They didn’t promote anything, because they didn’t need to initially. There was all the cool image with it that sold itself, with Factory. Loads of people would go out and buy the new releases regardless and that kind of shifted, that emphasis moved slightly and we suffered. We got to this point where we were in this sort of no man’s land where our records weren’t getting in the stores but they weren’t promoting them, they were “we don’t do adverts, we don’t do blah blah blah” so we were like “Yeah, but come on”
Larry : They thought that if a record was good, it would sell itself and their argument for that was New Order. You know, the New Order records, they didn’t have to take out massive advertising campaigns or do loads of massive promotion. It just had its own natural momentum which was fine if you’d come from Joy Division and the lead singer had died and you’d built up this entire cult, but for a new band, that noone had ever heard of, they didn’t see they had any commitment to undertake any kind of commitment to advertising and we had to argue with them about that and their distribution wasn’t very good at the time so that’s why we started to have these reservations.
Larry : Their ethos and their idea was a little too generous and a little shortsighted, that they didn’t get business savvy until it was too late. That, as in their idea that if the music is good enough, it will sell itself. If the idea is true enough and substantial, if it’s substantial and it’s true, it will work. Then it’ll work almost without any looking after, without any guidance, because it’s a good idea and it’s fair and it’s not what everyone else is doing. It’s different, it’s unique, so it’ll have its own momentum. And I think they found out too late, as they were sinking, as they owed more and more money. I mean the biggest debtor really was New Order. That’s where the twist came – New Order were the most successful band therefore they owed New Order money whereas all the other bands never actually reached that point of breaking even so that they owed them money. And they didn’t have the cash to pay their debt to New Order so New Order became bigger and bigger owners of the Hacienda, they got bigger and bigger shares. They should have seen it then, but I don’t think they did and they couldn’t, by the end they couldn’t turn it round.
Jim : Why Manchester? Why is Manchester special in that respect? No other city in the world could you give a list of bands from it. I don’t know why that is. I think it’s easy to look at like second cities and go, you know, you have the capital and the second city, and this is where everyone is trying a little bit harder and pushing a bit and left to their own devices as well to some degree. I think that’s probably why things happened like what happened in the 80s when Manchester was left, well the bands were left, to find their own sound and develop. The A+R were just too lazy to come here so bands arrived on the scene that had played a lot that had got a lot of songs, that were good and the spotlight was shone on them all at the same time and you got what was called a scene even though the bands hadn’t just arrived at the same time, they’d been playing around for a lot of years.
Larry : We didn’t go there that much, did we?
Jim : No, no
Larry : We weren’t the 24 hour party people
Jim : We’d hit that monastic streak by then hadn’t we really?
Larry : Yeah, yeah.
Jim : It was hilarious
Larry : No they supported us.
Jim : That was hilarious.
Larry : They missed the first gig.
Jim : It was cartoon. We played the Ritz in Manchester, they played the first night, we played the Ritz and they were there all right and the next morning they couldn’t find Shaun and we were supposed to be, we were playing Newcastle and they were meant to be supporting us and they couldn’t find Shaun and they had to drive around for like three hours until they eventually found him and dragged him in the van and sped off and of course they were late, they crashed the van on the way to the gig. Turns up at Newcastle, starts unloading the gear out of the van and this bloke says “Oh, what you’re doing.” “We’re the Happy Mondays, supporting James.” He said “This is a Simply Red gig, you’re at the wrong venue.” So they got back in the van, turned up at our gig, they’d missed their slot and we were just about to go on stage at this point and they piled out of the van and they were backstage, effing and jeffing, and blaming each other for it, and this, that and the other. And it was just like “Oh God, what have we done, what have we done”
Larry : They were a complete and utter shambles weren’t they?
Jim : They were.
Larry : But they were so apologetic.
Jim : They were lovely. They really were lovely. They were cartoons. They were It was “What’s happened today with the Mondays. Is everybody here? Just about. It really was” They were funny.
Larry : It really was, it was like having your own daily copy of Viz.
Jim : Yes it was.
Larry : It really was. You didn’t know
Jim : They lost the tour support didn’t they? They “lost” the tour support.
Larry : One night we came off stage, got backstage and went to the dressing room and went in the dressing room, no beer, everything had gone. All our clothes and money were still there and everything, but the entire rider, all the food.
Jim : We knew they had a party in Manchester and we were wondering (rubs chin) ” I wonder who’s done this then.” There were security on the door, they must have got in through the window, the door was locked and they had no idea what was going on.
Larry : They completely cleaned us out and the next day they were really sweet and apologetic.
Jim : Didn’t give it us back like.
Larry : They had this really banging party so they left as soon as they got off stage, nicked all our beer, and sodded off back to Manchester for the party.
Jim : But they were great as well as a band. They were brilliant, we used to go out and watch them every night and they were wonderful.