Complete Madness was formed in 1994 out of a band called Beat The System which itself was born in 1989 with original members Mark Keegan and Derek Wood who are still with Complete Madness today.
Mark was always into the original Punk and Ska scene while Derek was more of an old School Rock person, so finding a happy medium of music was always difficult but in 1990 they decided to settle on the New Wave type of stuff featuring bands such as The Clash, Alarm, U2, Nick Lowe, Big Country and Flock of Seagulls to name a few and even though it was great playing this stuff it wasn’t always well received in a lot of clubs.
In 1992 our then bass guitarist, Steve Cliffe, brought up the idea of maybe learning a few Madness tracks, Night boat to Cairo and Baggy Trousers if my ageing memory serves me well. At that time the tracks sounded a bit on the rock side of Ska with having no keyboards but it went down in the clubs very well, it was original and different to say the least.
The band started doing showcases and signed to a decent agency and the work started to get better, and more and more Madness and Specials tracks were being learnt, so it was decided that this was the only direction the band were going to take.
In 1994 we felt the only thing holding us back was the name Beat The System as it didn’t say a lot about what we were doing and even tough we had a decent following in South Yorkshire, to branch out a bit more we needed a more appropriate name.
Not sure whether it was Steve (bass player) or Dave (Drummer) who thought of the name but Complete Madness was born, simple, straight forward and more to the point, was also the first Madness album I’d bought.
This was really the turning point for the band, also getting a Sax player Chris Halford who could also play the Keys a little bit as well, all helped the band to sound something like it should be, but in 1998 it was felt we needed an out and out Keyboard player and we got one in the form of Mr Chris Collier who is still with the band to date.