Ipswich: Bad Manners frontman Buster has Corn Exchange performance licked

Bad Manners frontman Buster Bloodvessel talks mooning the Pope, the state of children’s TV, the enduring appeal of SKA and returning to Ipswich with entertainment writer WAYNE SAVAGE.

“WE were young and foolish,” laughs Buster as we talk about the band’s wild reputation back in the day.

Once banned from Top of the Pops and Italian TV, fans needn’t worry the years have mellowed them.

“I’m getting in the mood now; I’m going to go have a few pints and then get up on that stage and go crazy and tomorrow my muscles will ache,” Buster says ahead of their first gig together in the UK for a while.

“I’ve been taking it easy for a couple of months, just sitting on me a*** recording; it will be quite a shock to the system to have to bounce about and go crazy. I’ve got to watch it otherwise I’ll give myself a heart attack; but I’ll be building myself back to me normal fitness.”

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Sounds like fans are in for a treat when Bad Manners arrive at the Ipswich Corn Exchange on June 18, their first visit to the town in some time.

They’ll be joined by Max Splodge of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps fame; adding a punkier base to proceedings.

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“We’re all a bit ready for it. We just want to get up there and do it now because we haven’t played for so long together. It’s going to be exciting.

“You can expect lots and lots of good old classics and me dancing and making a fool of myself and encouraging the crowd to do exactly the same. If anybody’s in a party mood we are the band to come and see.”

Nobody can accuse them of being boring on stage, something that’s got them in trouble from time to time.

They were banned from Top of the Pops after Buster painted his head red for one appearance.

“It never really did [bother him, being banned].They didn’t need to, it was a na�ve thing that happened. It mucked their cameras up basically, they had a blue filter which made me look almost invisible and they sacked the make-up lady, which is quite a strange thing to do,” he remembers.

The band got the chop from Italian TV too after Buster accidently mooned the Pope.

“It was quite a gentle moon. I didn’t know he was watching the telly at the time, you just don’t think of somebody like the Pope watching it so I just mooned the cameras who thought it was the funniest thing in the world.

“Because the pope was actually watching, it shocked everybody so we instantly became very successful in Italy. It was quite a strange move really but it worked to our advantage,” he laughs.

My first experience of Bad Manners was on Saturday children’s TV show Tiswas.

“I was thinking the other day when I turned the telly on that it’s a sign of the times when you’re bored with kids’ TV these days. I wish it was more like Tiswas; there’s no comparison.

“We just had fun on those shows; I suppose that’s why we were welcomed back time after time. It crossed the whole of the music spectrum. The artists that they had on were very different in comparison to today where everyone’s the same.”

Some musical styles may fall in and out of favour, but SKA has endured.

Buster puts this down to it just encouraging people to have a good time, guaranteeing audiences come away from gigs feeling good.

“It don’t matter what image people have of SKA. They think it’s two-tone, original SKA, skinhead, mod. Whatever way it comes, the most peculiar people in the world who you would never associate with any of that style loves it; that’s the great thing, it’s an all-round great music.”

There may have been a lot of line-up changes since the band first formed at North London’s Woodberry Down Comprehensive; hitting every pub they could with the motto just play for beers.

What hasn’t is Buster’s love for performing.

“Someone said to me just a couple of days ago, ’you know I’ve worked on a building site for 30 years, the whole time you’ve been going out and having the time of your life, enjoying your life to the full. I just can’t believe you spent all your life having a good time’,” laughs Buster.

“Well I have and I still am. I’m still a happy chap. A lot of the other bands, they got tired of doing it. Me? I can’t wait for the next gig it doesn’t bother me at all. We’ve always said we’ll just carry on to the end until someone stops us.”

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