Madness star Suggs always remembers best advice he was given when he’s in a taxi

Tours nowadays are very different.

We ration ourselves out a bit to preserve energy.

Back in the day, we’d just put our foot down on the pedal and go 100 miles an hour.

We can’t do that every night any more, but we still give the same amount of energy on stage as we did when Madness first started out.

The best advice I’ve ever been given is always go for a p*ss before you leave the pub.

Believe me, I remember it every time I thought I didn’t need to go and I’m in that minicab.

I’ll be 24 inside until the day I die.

I had two kids by that time, so I did have some notion of the responsibility of life.

As a kid, I thought you were an old man by 30, but I never feel old now.

Bits of me aren’t working in quite the same way as they used to, but my enthusiasm for life is still the same as it was.

The birth of my daughters changed my life completely.

I was so young – still in my early 20s – and I didn’t realise what impact it was going to have. I’m not a perfect dad, but I do my best.

Being a grandfather is different from being a father, because I’ve got more time.

When you’re young you’re flying around like a lunatic trying to get everything done, but now I can spend a lot of time with them, just getting to know them one day at a time.

My daughter’s 11-month-old twins are little innocent babes, completely vulnerable, and it’s amazing to watch them start to become sentient and learn to start to communicate.

But also crawling around the floor, pulling all the plates off the shelves.

We’ve lived in the same house for 35 years. If you live in the same place long enough, nobody bothers you any more.

They just think, ‘There’s that old pop star, we’ve already got his autograph.’

Plus you can go to your same local and your same newsagent.

They’re good people in my street.

If I’ve taught my daughters Viva, 33, and Scarlet, 36, anything, I hope it is to be kind and tolerant, and to love the people around you as much as you can.

Playing on the roof of Buckingham Palace was a massive validation of all the work we’ve done over the years.

We were performing for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and it felt like we’d suddenly become some part of British life.

Plus, I’ve just come back from the V&A Museum where they’ve made my head into a bit of cheese. It’s too much for me to take in.

I’ve had such a privileged existence – I came from nothing – but if I could do one thing differently, I would have liked to go to Art School.

I don’t regret it, though, because the band took off when I was 17 and most students would probably say they’d rather be in a band.

I feel for young people now, because it’s a lot harder for them to get ahead.

More often than not now, musicians will have rich parents, which wasn’t the case when I was a kid.

In the 1980s we could just squat – it’s hard to imagine now.

Big, posh, empty buildings where you could just change the locks, switch the electricity and set up your band in the basement and just play the drums…

There isn’t that opportunity now.

Secrets behind my snapshot

Just the thought that this is 40 years ago is a real shock – it feels like yesterday that we were 18-year-old kids starting out.

We went to Brighton beach for our drummer Woody’s 18th birthday, in the middle of the 2-Tone Mob Tour (Madness, The Specials and The Selector toured together in 1979).

This was an extraordinary moment when black and white kids started playing music together for the first time in Britain, and it felt like it was possible we could change society, although we’re going through s**t now with racism on the rise again.

We all went on to do our own things, but at that moment in time we were all in it together and that was a really great feeling.

I’ll never forget that tour – 30 crazed musicians with testosterone flying around the bus.

The tour snowballed; every venue was sold out, and they were constantly trying to find bigger venues for us.

The tour manager would stop at a petrol station and try to find a phone box to ring the next venue because kids were rioting outside.

We used to invite everyone on stage, and I remember the stage collapsing in Leeds because there were too many people.

We were all just standing there in the basement with our heads poking up just above the stage.

I’m still in touch with pretty much everyone in the picture, but it’s not like there’s some special club where old pop stars hang around together – we just cross paths at some funny festival in Hungary or Moldova sometimes.

It’s rather sad, but the last time we were all together was probably at the funeral of Brad, the drummer from The Specials in 2015.

– Suggs is doing a four-part Radio 4 comedy called Suggs: Love Letters To London in which he shares his fondest memories of London, with musical highlights from his career and special guests. Catch it on BBC Sounds.

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