Read This! Part Two of Gary Whelan’s Happy Mondays short Story – Plus Brand New Love & The family Tree Tune
So, after the popular response to Gary Whelan’s Happy Mondays short story, Louder Than War bring you not only part 2 of the Mondays’ drummers own hilarious and insightful band bio ‘All My Friends Are Junkies’ but also the latest tune from Whelan’s new solo group Love & The Family Tree. Titled Kobi Jones Rides Again it’s probably the baddest song ever to be written about the true life and adventures of the real Lone Ranger.
The track is powered by the unmistakable vocals of Rowetta and MC Sugar Mikes’ stoned spaghetti western rap and the dark groovy riffs of Whelan on guitar (and vocals). The song pays homage not to the Hollywood / TV masked-cowboy version of The Lone Ranger who supposedly won the west, but rather it tells the real life story of the African American bounty hunter named ‘Bass Reeves’ who amazingly tracked down and successfully brought over 3000 runaway criminals to justice. But thanks to the famed TV series, the man’s legend has been sadly distorted since the 50’s, but its here through L&TFT’s new track that his story is told.
Even going back to the early days of the Happy Mondays Whelan expressed a personal interest in the American Native Indian and their whole history, so it’s no surprise that the Mondays’ drummer and L&TFT singer / guitarist covers such a worthy story line.
Along with the band’s first track, the excellent ‘Phoney’s & Freaks’ and tunes such as Ballard Of A Poor Man, Love & The Family Tree’s latest tune is a classic mix of both hip hop, guitars, blistering bass lines and the acclaimed tones of Happy Mondays singer Rowetta – sounding as big as ever (as well as its crystal clear / tight production work courtesy of one of the members from Burning Spear).
It’s another banging track to add to the bands up coming EP release, which will hopefully be out later this month … but in the mean time check out the new track Kobi Jones Rides Again below, taken from L&TFT’s Soundcloud page.
‘All My Friends Are Junkies’ | Part 2 – by Gary Whelan
Now, if you caught part 1 of All My Friends Are Junkies you’ll no doubt be more than ready for part 2. If you missed it, however, click here.
A quick recap…
Following on from Whelan’s first night out with both Paul and Shaun Ryder, the young but rather eager Gaz goes from the rough arse estate of Hulme, as well as an equally rough arse boozer, to score weed, pills and LSD for the night ahead.
Learning, while sat in the back of Paul’s car, that their next destination is to be The Hacienda no less, he not only talks us through losing his LSD cherry and going on his first ever ‘trip’ but he also paints a vivid picture of his first time entering the now classic Manchester club.
All this while on his very first night-time mission with the cool, calm and adventurous Ryder brothers, what could possibly go wrong? – enjoy the ride…
…then, as if triggered by the very word Hacienda, something happened. I suddenly felt a veil of calmness relaxing beneath my breath and I noticed I was now sitting quite far back in my underwear and I also seemed to have regressed into a state of passive infancy. Both front windows were now open, throwing disregard to earlier stringent regulations, and I for one wasn’t complaining as I was enjoying being slowly hypnotized by a soothing breeze that had already chased away the city centre clouds and created a wonderful, lucid, starlit evening free from mystery and impurity.
Ah, I get it, this must be signifying my new awakening into the world of mind-altering substances? Manchester, famous for being grey, wet and a city void of shadows was now animated in a dazzling show of mid-summer evening colour as we continued to drive in total muteness as if all three of us were now swimming in our own little mental adventures. Shaun, never satisfied, swiftly rolled and ignited a third joint. He took four deep hurried drags then passed it back to me.I followed suit and passed it to Paul. I sat back and tumbled into my first ever experience of peaceful deep thought and began to calmly contemplate the amount of years I had been trying to banish the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and negative thoughts that had plagued me since my childhood, a mental civil war that I had long been losing.
I had been diagnosed at age twelve as suffering from a ‘phobia of thoughts’ and informed that there was no cure, you just have to try and live with it. But not until I had sampled the thought numbing retreat that alcohol delivers had I experienced any kind of respite from this conflict with my omnipresent opponent. Why hadn’t the medical profession instructed me to simply “stop being so fucking self indulgent and go drink several pints and smoke a few fucking spliffs”! My thoughts were now occurring without any specific pattern. Was I just a tiny addition to the totality of all matter and energy in the vastness of space and the universe? And stupid things like why was abbreviation such a fucking long word? I was gently brought back to the present as the car began to reverse into a vacant space outside a semicircular four story office type building. At the entrance stood a cluster of stern looking individuals dressed in immaculate and expensive looking long black crombie coats, grey shirt, tie and trousers. “Where’s the Hacienda”? I enquired. The brothers both smirked. “There, ya blind cunt!”, both nodding furtively towards the impressively turned out doorman. I examined the building for some kind of neon approval without success. Minutes later and at a much closer examination I notice embedded into the wall a steel plaque taking up the full space of a couple of house bricks that read ‘The hacienda fac 51’.
The brothers approached the entrance with laid-back confidence as I suddenly started to display the characteristics of anxiety, acute paranoia and slight light headedness brought on by the strong effects of the weed – I knew I shouldn’t have had that last spliff. Pure weed spliffs are like women’s breasts … one is not enough … but three is too many! “Where you from lads” questioned the first doorman in a low, deep baritone that would have put a bronchial Barry White to shame. Oh no, we are truly fucked now, it was blatantly obvious by our dress that we weren’t from student friendly south Manchester but the bleaker setting of the north side. “Ladybarn road, Fallowfield”, Shaun lied (a south Manchester parish popular with students). The doorman looked Shaun up and down and paused just for suspense value. “Go ahead” the doorman muttered, not even affording myself and Paul a glance. I shuffled prudently behind the brothers but was stopped in my cautious tracks by a wall of twenty-foot transparent industrial style plastic ribbons hanging from the ceiling like the kind found in a meat packing warehouse. I nervously parted a couple of ribbons and took my first steps into an industrial fantasy art-house. It was like entering into a vacuum or bubble.
The current choice of vinyl, Gil Scott Heron’s new single Washington DC was ricocheting between the cold unforgiving floor and the high empty ceiling in a vigorous haphazard manor that sounded like several records were playing simultaneously and slightly out of sync. The industrial Pale Blue floor encompassed a maple dance-floor bordered by black and white street bollards the type you encounter in mainland Europe. The dance-floor space was interrupted by two huge vertical girders with 45 degree yellow and black stripes giving a sense of what a post modernists eastern block dream would look like. In fact the rest of the club was a subtle cross between an eastern European industrial unit and a huge trendy New York loft apartment. Only the TV studio lights hanging from steel trusts and two trampoline like screens hanging with confidence either side of a long narrow puppet show type stage were reminders that this was a live venue.
We walked with usual cockiness and bravado towards the long open bar at the back of the room and ordered our beers, 3 cans of breaker from a student barmaid blatantly bemused at our presence. Beers in hand we then proceeded to the quiet mezzanine area above the dance-floor and positioned ourselves around a chrome round table next to the DJ booth that sat resting in the centre of the mezzanine level overlooking the dance floor like a prison guards watchtower. We sat in almost silence and watched unfold below us a very sparse audience of punks and students seemingly dancing in random fashion whilst ignoring the New York electro hip-hop being played by the DJ. One student character was dressed head to toe as Napoleon complete with silly hat and over sized rosette. Without fear of making any physical contact with any of his co-dancers he proceeded to skip, arms swinging in gay abandonment continuously from one end of the dance floor to the other. As we sat overlooking the dance floor in our herb induced silence proudly sporting our sharp haircuts, designer clothes and adidas trainers I suddenly became self conscious of the three of us and how out of place we looked. “Just dropped my trip”, Shaun announced, Paul and I decided to follow suit. Reaching deep into our pockets we did the same without a second thought. I had taken Mushrooms once but didn’t enjoy the experience so I swallowed
the Acid tab before fear of letting any doubt invade my consciousness … MISTAKE.
“Lets fuck-off back to my gaff before the trips fully come on” Shaun ordered.
As we exited the venue I had a quick look back over my shoulder at the mismatched clientele bouncing around as if encased in a transparent cube of bizarre trendiness. And even though I felt slightly out of place I was still intoxicated by the whole experience and I suddenly decided there and then that this was the kind of place I wanted to be part of. We climbed back into Paul’s car and settled down for the long trip to Shaun’s new residence in the far reaches of north west Manchester suburbia, Astley. Actually, to call Astley a Manchester suburb is a misleading description as our destination was closer to the Rugby town of Leigh, in darkest Lancashire.
Astley was almost semi-rural and the several new model housing estates had been built as to offer cheaper properties to first time buyers. Due to this Astley had experienced a recent influx of young families who had begun a slow migration from their respective West Manchester suburbs. Shaun and his new wife had recently purchased such a house a mile or so directly off the East Lanc Road, the main artery that linked the rival cities of Manchester and Liverpool. Shaun had recently married Denise Lomax, the older sister of Bev, the girl in my school class who had instigated my addition to the band. Denise, or ‘Bull’ as we called her, was a no-nonsense women brought up overseas in a military family and we were all a little bit scared of her. But ‘Bull’ wasn’t meant as a bad nickname or anything, it was just what we called her … I really liked Denise.
Almost Thirty minutes later we found ourselves within a mile from our destination driving along a quiet road, each passenger lost in their own artificial odyssey. We had exchanged only a few words during the journey mostly of comical encouragement when our driver, feeling the first pangs of the lysergic acid, was having trouble exiting a large roundabout close to Salford shopping precinct. We must have done 20-to 25 cycles before accidently returning to the East lancs road, fortunately in the desired direction.
Just as it seemed our journey was nearing its end I was disturbed from my drifting state by the sound of an overbearing Police siren screaming out of our cars stereo system – or so it seemed?
Before I could question either host’s musical taste I was consumed by an immense flash of the deepest blue light. So rich and intense was the Blue tincture it was as if the very word ‘blue’ had solely been created just to describe this very shade. Shaun turned around to face me, the Blue light crudely painting his vacant face, making him look like an extra from Apocalypse Now. As we all looked at the approaching Police vehicle through the rear view window our polluted minds began searching for some kind of divine inspiration as the Acid was gradually becoming the author of our collective consciousness. Shaun (as usual) took action. “Shiiit, the scuffers. Quick Horse swap seats, I’ll deal wiv this”. “But you can’t drive”! Horse pleaded. “Dunt matter, none of us can fuckin drive, we’re tripping our tits off “.
Paul carefully brought the vehicle to a cautious halt and lazily traded seats with Shaun. Paul and I watched through the rear window in concentrated silence like children watching a 3D movie for the first time as Shaun and the copper came together at the rear of our vehicle. The Police officer in question seemed somewhat out of place driving a squad car at this late hour. He was more suited to a bicycle and whistle, in custom with the small town he protected. In fact he wouldn’t have looked out of place in an episode of Dads Army. It was plain to see that years of uneventful service in this small community had rendered him with complacent features and the patience in his eyes suggested he was just biding his time until retirement. He looked friendly and slightly inconvenienced by the fact that he felt legally obligated to stop us. I could see he was pointing towards our car lights and suggesting that we had been driving without any on – a clear hazard at 2 a.m. even at our slothernly pace. I was deducing all this with effortless sublime accuracy even though I was struggling to make out any words that managed to exit his inaudible mouth. It was as if his voice box had been fitted with silencers and although his lips moved similar to a sleeping goldfish no words escaped.
Shaun, without any prompting, decided to open the car boot as if to show there was no dead body being concealed or any other serious crime, but he was having problems with the key until the officer pointed out that Shaun was trying to insert the key into one of the rear lights a good 2 feet off course from the intended lock. With utter bewilderment the policeman intuitively knew this could mean a long night and a lot of paperwork, so with all his experience and wisdom he wished us a safe journey home, turned on his old faithful boots and left the scene. At this point I was leaning out of the car and with a somewhat compressed aggression began demanding the gathering, whispering trees to be quiet and move on as there was nothing to see here! We seemed to arrive at Shaun’s house only a few seconds later, even though we were doing no more than 10 miles an hour, Paul was sweating with concentration whilst gripping the steering wheel with the tenacity and determination that a civil servant holds on to his pension.
As we entered the house, Shaun escaped upstairs to check Bull was sound asleep and then ushered Paul and I into the living room to sit and listen to some music. As Funkadelic spilled out of every item of electronic furniture we all sat in our own cerebral chaos digesting every tone and groove that was passing through every cell of our beings. I closed my eyes and decided to enjoy what my heroes,The Beatles had experienced some 15 years earlier. Behind the darkness of my closed eyes, probing thoughts came powerfully into my mind, followed by an immense flash of light that at once manifested my inner gaze, this was then followed gracefully by wonderfully coloured circles ever widening and then disappearing into miniature cinema pictures swimming in a whole screen of dramatic radiance of clarity and purity within the confines of my forehead.
But gradually and without indication my omnipresent state of peace began to desert my consciousness without leaving any spiritual fucking message whatsoever. I tried desperately to keep the faith and thankfully, like a lovers parting kiss out of the slow dwindling of my devine ecstasy I salvaged a permanent legacy of inspiration of love and light. I was suddenly distracted from my odyssey of divine ecstasy and musical inspiration by the subtle and welcoming aroma of spicy chicken coming from the large Red beanbag positioned on the floor in front of the television. Fuck me…its Margaret! I slipped across the floor to the beanbag and began slowly caressing the smooth rotund shape of Margaret’s now fully inflated welcoming breasts. I felt every oxygenated blood cell rush to my now throbbing love pump and I was lost in a wave of passion I had only wished to encounter at such a youthful age. I was brought to my senses not by my bodies involuntary depositing of love-seed but by both Ryder brothers rolling around on the floor beside me in uncontrollable fits of laughter.
Once Paul was again in control of his breath he decided this was a signal to call it a night as he spat out, “If I laugh like that again I’ll have a fuckin’ asthma attack!” His words littered with stuttered giggles and head shakes. I sat in the front passenger seat of Paul’s car as the bright dawn light gatecrashed our hallucinogenic party penetrating our now comfortable slumber in the uninvited manner that a lighthouse beacon penetrates a thick marine fog. As we entered the road where my parents house was situated I began to digest like never before the approaching familiar architecture and landscape of my local neighbourhood as it proudly displayed it’s working-class-done-good attitude in the form of almost, but not quite new motor vehicles outnumbering the odd random small white shiny touring caravans that were blocking driveways and potential burglar access alike.
As the car pulled to a stop outside my parents house the clouds suddenly raced to take control and reclaim the virgin sky. As I clumsily pilfered my pockets in search of house keys the heavens opened in a somewhat dramatic and orchestrated fashion. The early morning silence was now being invaded by the resonating sound of hard industrial rain galloping off the concrete ground
reproducing what sounded like a round of applause from an invisible audience.
Was this a sign of the future for the newly formed band, or was it simply an acknowledgement of my evenings passage? Or maybe just the parting effects of the LSD? Although I now realised that taking the Lysergic had been a big mistake … as it seemed to have turbo charged my paranoid OCD … but smoking the Herb, I experienced quite the opposite affect, it helped to slow down my ‘Monkey Brain’ … and I was really enjoying my new found medicine … maybe it was this?
Either way I accepted that this was the way life was going to be from now on and that I could no longer know the purity of my youth after this evening … I think … that’s exactly what the Ryder brothers had planned!
END CHAPTER ONE…
- One nation under a groove-Funkadelic
- Over the Wall
Follow Gary Whelan on both Happy Mondays and Love & The Family Tree twitter pages….
Love & The Family Tree: @lovefamilytree.
Happy Mondays: @Happy_Mondays.