Performer Profiles

Black Grape

Who Are They?

After Happy Mondays disbanded in 1992, most observers would have guessed 
that the group's leader, vocalist Shaun Ryder, would succumb to the myriad of 
drug addictions that hastened the breakup of the group. Instead of dying, Ryder
recouped his strengths and came back with a new band, Black Grape, in the 
summer of 1995. Black Grape were embraced by both the British public and 
press, making Ryder one of the more unexpected comebacks in rock & roll 
Ryder formed Black Grape in 1993, recruiting ex-Happy Monday Bez (dancing, 
percussion), rappers Kermit (born Paul Leveridge) and Jed from the Ruthless 
Rap Assassins, and ex-Paris Angels guitarist Wags. Black Grape began recording 
demos only weeks after the implosion of Happy Mondays. Over the course of 
recording and writing It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah, Ryder recruited a 
number of musicians, most notably producer and bassist Danny Saber, 
keyboardist/producer Stephen Lironi, and former Bluebells and Smiths guitarist 
Gary Gannon. Black Grape's debut album was recorded over a period of seven 
weeks in late 1994 and early 1995; after it was completed, the band signed with 
Radioactive Records. The group's first single, "Reverend Black Grape," entered 
the Top Ten upon its release. The group's debut album, It's Great When You're 
Straight...Yeah, was released in August of 1995. The album entered the U.K. 
charts at number one. 
"In the Name of the Father" and "Kelly's Heroes" followed "Reverend Black 
Grape" into the Top 20 later in 1995. Toward the end of the year, Kermit
suffered a severe case of septicemia, a form of blood poisoning caused by bad 
water he drank while in Mexico; although he came close to death -- bits of his 
heart and liver were flaking off -- he had recovered by the spring of 1996. Black 
Grape were prepared to head to America early in 1996 when the group was 
denied entry into the country due to its members' prior drug convictions. After a 
couple of months, the passports were cleared and the band was admitted into 
the U.S. Due to his illness, Kermit had to miss the tour, and his spot was filled by 
Psycho, who became a permanent member of the band after the completion of 
the tour. Before Black Grape launched their U.S. tour in spring of 1996, Bez left 
the band due to financial disagreements with the record company. 
In May 1996, Black Grape returned with the single "Fat Neck," which entered 
the U.K. charts in the Top Ten; the song featured former Smiths member 
Johnny Marr on guitar. A month after the release of "Fat Neck," the group 
released its football anthem "England's Irie," which was recorded with Joe 
Strummer. Like "Fat Neck" before it, "England's Irie" became a Top Ten hit. 
Stupid, Stupid, Stupid followed in 1997.

When Are They On?

The The Bish Stage on Sunday 5th May 2019 at 22:00

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