You can argue over whether they were the greatest band to come out of Manchester or not somewhere else but there’s no doubting they were the coolest. Happy Mondays looked and sounded like they could do whatever the fuck they wanted and they very clearly believed it to.
I first saw Happy Mondays when I was fifteen. I’m fort…erm…much older now and I’ve seen them lots more times since then. I’m a fan. I’ve read a lot about them over the years, used to pore over NME, Melody Maker and Sounds just for the merest mention of them and done similar on the Internet since that was invented. I’ve read Shaun and Bez’s various ‘autobiographies’ (‘went on Top of the Pops, bought loads of drugs, won celebrity shows, bought loads of teeth’) but I’ve never read a well-researched, well-written, honest history of the band but I’d really like to. Luckily for me this situation is now well in-hand because Simon Spence has sorted it and gone and written it.
Spence wrote the definitive biography of The Stone Roses in 2012 and he’s now repeated the dose with a book about Little Hulton’s finest with Excess All Areas. Research, balance and affection for the band are Spence’s style. He knows what he’s talking about and he’s a cracking storyteller. If you’ve read his Roses book you’ll know what you can expect and he doesn’t disappoint. The Mondays story is the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll legend: It’s a story containing the inevitable pills, thrills, bellyaches, drugs, overdoses, drugs, fights, gangsters, drugs, guns, stabbings, more drugs, great clothes and some of the most unique music ever produced by a British band. It’s a story that makes for a brilliant read and read it you should.
(I’ve put in a request with the PR company handling the launch of the book for an interview with Shaun, mostly so I can ask him why he’s started wearing such shite jackets, so fingers crossed you can read it here soon).
For more information have a look here http://www.excessallareas.org.uk/
Excess All Areas is published by Aurum Press and is available from the usual places that books are available from October 30th 2014.