Interview: Rowetta from The Happy Mondays

The Happy Mondays are well and truly back. Playing live and rumors of a new album, we caught up with the queen of Madchester, Rowetta to see just whats going on….
BM:The Happy Monday comeback is well and truly in full swing. The gigs have been getting great reviews and you are just getting ready for the Bummed 25thanniversary shows. Exciting !
R:Yes, very excited about this tour. I wasn’t on the original album, but I love the songs so much. I’ve had the album on in my car 24/7 working on ideas that will compliment the songs and been sending ideas to the boys, who have been reworking all the tunes. It’s coming together beautifully. can’t wait for rehearsals to start next week, and for the tour to start in November. It’s gonna be special.
How’s the stuff the new album coming along? 
The demos sound great and we’ve loved working on new songs and writing together again after all these years has been great as everyone has got even better at what they do. Something magical happens when we’re all in a room together playing and creating.
How long do you think you and The Mondays can go on for? 
Until we can’t do what we do. Right now I think we’re getting better and we’re all getting on well and  enjoying it more than ever so as long as that continues for everyone and people are still enjoying us and the music then all good.
Apart from The Mondays you are probably best known, at the moment, for your work with Peter Hook. I’ve seen you perform Joy Division songs with Hooky and the Light. What does it feel like performing such iconic songs in front of Joy Division fans?
It was very daunting at the beginning, but I put my trust in Pete, who really believed in me and really wanted to play bass on some songs.
When Pete sings, his son Jack, who is brilliant by the way, plays bass, but Hooky loves to play bass too, so if somebody else takes on the singing duties, Hooky can play bass. All the guys who were approached were too scared of actually doing it and of possible internet criticism.
I felt it was an honour and I wouldn’t have done it unless Pete and the band thought it sounded right, and it felt right.
They are amazing lyrics and melodies, so I never take it for granted and Joy Division fans have been amazing at the gigs. very respectful of the songs and enjoying seeing Pete play bass and knowing that I totally respect the genius of Ian Curtis.
You are one of the Madchester scene’s idols and have been given many nicknames, you famously changed your surname to Ms Rowetta Manchester. Was this your idea?
I just wanted to get rid of my married name after my divorce and couldn’t think of one. I was going to go back to my maiden name of Idah, but hate people pronouncing it wrong (it’s pronounced EEEE-dah) 
Ms Manchester is actually the working title for the autobiography that I’m writing, because of my love for Manchester, and quite a few journalists have called me Ms Manchester or Ms Madchester and I can’t think of a better name.
Photo:Angie Wynne
You quite obviously love Manchester, so if we had 24 hours to kill, what should we do and where should we go?
Back in the day, without question the Hacienda! Now it would depend what you’re into. There’s something and somewhere for everyone in Manchester.
Personally, I would say Old Trafford Football Stadium. The theatre of dreams. It’s a beautiful place! Then cross the road to Media City which is actually stunning when the sun sets. Then, Blackdog Ballroom, Blackdog Bowling, The Factory and finish at South (Clint Boon every Saturday) 
Your well known for being very busy, but its not just recording and singing. What other projects have you got going at the moment?
I’ve been writing my book and collaborating with a lot of dance producers. I love to write with different producers from all around the world.
Most recently with Mirror People from Portugal, Shimi Sonic from Israel and Eddie Le Funk from Germany. All will see new releases in the next couple of months. I also had my own radio show, which I loved, but had to stop when the Mondays reformed as I was away too much. I also do as much charity work as I can. I’m ambassador for several and always important to me to help when possible and frustrating that can’t help everyone, but seriously people ask every day, so impossible to help all.
When you’re at home alone just pottering around, what songs do you find yourself singing?
At home and in the car, the music I listen to and sing along to is almost always tunes I’m either writing, learning or working on for a tour. I don’t listen to much other stuff when I’m working on something, as I like to just focus on that.
Most recently though I couldn’t stop singing along to Blurred Lines. 
I do have a jukebox at home but it’s full of Chic, Beatles, Stones, Marvin Gaye, The Clash and loads of old school tunes on 7″ singles, so nothing recent at all.
You have had a pretty rough ride at times, all of which is well documented. Despite all that you seem happy and full of fun. What makes you laugh?
People and situations. Life! I don’t really let myself get too down. I love life and have great friends who get my humour, so when I’m not alone working – and then I am very serious – I do have a great time and laugh loads. I try not to spend too much time with people who bring me down. Life’s too short!
Tell us two things about yourself that we don’t know – one that’s true, one that’s made up [but don’t tell us which one’s which]
I have an obsession with baths and ironing!
Anything else happening you think we should know about?
Peter Hook & The Light feat Rowetta 1102 / 2011 was released on Limited Edition 12″ vinyl last week. 
New releases coming soon: Eddie Le Funk feat Rowetta – Stand Up, Stand Out and Mirror People feat Rowetta – Telephone Call
I’ve got some new props for the Bummed tour and my outfits arrived this morning.
Can’t wait for Nov/Dec to tour and then I’ll be singing at the Hacienda Xmas Party at Scarborough Spa on December 21st with Graeme Park, Peter Hook and Allister Whitehead.
Loads more Mondays news for next year, but can’t confirm until confirmed.
Catch the action live –
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