The Happy Mondays made music that hadn't been done before, on their terms and in a haze of hedonism and tabloid headlines.

Their 1989 Madchester Rave On EP provided the name for the Manchester music scene that became a global phenomenon by concocting a cocktail of alternative guitar music and acid house electronica. Drugs, particularly Ecstasy, were the not-so-secret ingredients of the movement.

The band, who were always a shambles, eventually fell apart and since then there have been side projects, reunions and reality TV appearances.

The group's dancer Mark "Bez" Berry is on the line from Sydney and is fairly open about the role cold hard cash plays in the bands reforming . . .

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Bez, left, and Shaun Ryder during a 1989 show at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester as the band were on the cusp of chart success. Photo / Getty Images
Bez, left, and Shaun Ryder during a 1989 show at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester as the band were on the cusp of chart success. Photo / Getty Images

"Obviously we make a living out of the Happy Mondays," says Bez, in has nasal Mancunian twang. "We've been 30-odd years in the industry and couldn't really go out and get a normal job. We've left it a little bit too late. Our CV wouldn't look that good. We've left it too late for a career change."

The band are going to perform their classic and defining record Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches ... in full and Bez reckons they'll be at their best,

"In the past we've not always been on such great form," Bez admits. "We were off our heads. It was hit and miss whether you got a good show or a bad show. Now we're more mature... in principle."

It's hard to believe the Mondays have gone monk-like. But their new promo photo does show four of the seven members – including Bez - sitting down. Maybe he's conserving his energy. His role in the band is to bring the vibes, dancing with his trademark maracas.

Now mid-50s, he reckons his natural fitness sustains him, but says he needed knee strapping after last year's live outings.

"We done 28 days and at the end of that I was creaky dancing not freaky dancing," he laughs, referencing the group's second single.

Happy Mondays rebooted for 2018, with Bez far left and Shaun Ryder third from left. Photo / Supplied
Happy Mondays rebooted for 2018, with Bez far left and Shaun Ryder third from left. Photo / Supplied

Although the tour is angled around Pills 'n' Thrills ..., expect other classics, but nothing new, despite talk of fresh material in 2012.

"It would be good to have a few new tunes out there," says Bez. "It's all talk and no action at the minute which is quite annoying because I'd like to hear something different myself."

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Although the band were bullish in the early days, Bez says they had no idea of the legacy they were creating.

"We've been really fortunate – part of Factory Records, part of the Manchester scene that went worldwide. Not in your wildest imagination would you think it would still be happening today. We can't believe our luck."

Bez has to go. To another interview, before another DJ gig. Yes he's happy, he says, but after standing for Parliament for the anti-fracking Reality party in 2014, perhaps these days more of a hippy Monday?

"I've got no pension plan. I've lived an exuberant lifestyle and I'm not very organised that way but I am looking at the future – self-sustainable so I can look after myself.

"I live with a few friends on a plot of land. I keep bees, I make all my own booze, from cider to beer to elderflower wines and all that, growing our own food, creating our own energy, making sure that in the future I never have to go with a begging bowl in my hand and won't have to ask the corporations for anything because I'll be able to provide everything I need for myself. That's the way I'm looking at life."

LOWDOWN
Who: Mark 'Bez' Berry of Madchester icons Happy Mondays
What: Performing their classic album Pill;s n' Thrills and Bellyaches in full
When: Thursday, 28 February at the Powerstation

• Happy Mondays play the Powerstation in Auckland on February 27 and February 28 (sold out).