Black Grape

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A band from England, who featured former members of the Happy Mondays and the Ruthless Rap Assassins.

Their music was an eclectic mix of vibes, including Alternative Dance, Britpop, Alternative Rock, Funk, Madchester, with varied instrumentation and samples.

They were also liked by the Baggy movement.


They were formed in 1993 by former Happy Mondays members Shaun Ryder and Bez.

It was Ryder's first musical project after the disintegration of Happy Mondays.

The formation of this new band was intended to draw a line between his past life and his new one. Ryder and Bez recruited Rappers Paul "Kermit" Leveridge and Carl "Psycho" McCarthy, drummer Jed Lynch (like Leveridge, a former member of Ruthless Rap Assassins), and guitarist Wags (formerly of the Madchester-based group the Paris Angels). The recording of new material started that year, although the group was not under any contract.

In 1995 Black Grape their debut album It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah. It immediately charted at number one in the UK Albums Chart, and spawned three Top Twenty singles.

The first single "Reverend Black Grape" managed to outsell the Happy Mondays cover of John Kongos "(He's Gonna) Step On (You Again)".

The third single, "Kelly's Heroes" – a song lampooning society's obsession with celebrities and idols that had much to do with Ryder's own previous hero worship of people he now saw as wastrels – had its opening lyric changed before recording from "Don't talk to me about heroes – Most of these guys snort cocaine," to "Don't talk to me about heroes – most of these men sink like subs.". Another song on the album, "Temazi Party", mocked the then-current craze for abusing Temazepam sleeping pills (a.k.a. 'jellies'), but was deliberately misspelt on the album sleeve as 'Tramazi' instead of 'Temazi' to forestall any legal injunction against the album's release.

It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah received critical acclaim in the UK, but the group made little impact in the US. However, Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich listed it as his favourite album of 1996. The album cover featured a picture of then-recently imprisoned terrorist Carlos The Jackal.

The subsequent album Stupid Stupid Stupid was less favoured. The group split in 1998 after Ryder fired the rest of the band while touring, starting with Kermit (who was suffering from septicaemia) and ending with Bez (who was unsatisfied with his financial situation).

Lynch went on to play drums and percussion on many other musical works, becoming a noted session musician.

On 2 February 2010, NME reported that Ryder will be reforming Black Grape with producer Danny Saber and Kermit for a concert as part of the 'Get Loaded in the Dark' gig series on 1 April at The Coronet in London.

In 2015, Black Grape signed to Creation Management run by Alan McGee and Simon Fletcher and announced a reunion tour to coincide with 20 years of the It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah album.


Albums List

1) It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah (Released: 10 October 1995)

BlackGrape ItsGreat.jpg

2) Stupid Stupid Stupid (Released: 24 November 1997)

BlackGrape Stupid.jpg

Singles List

  • 1995 "Reverend Black Grape"
  • 1995 "In the Name of the Father"
  • 1995 "Kelly's Heroes"
  • 1996 "Fat Neck"
  • 1996 "England's Irie"
  • 1997 "Get Higher"
  • 1998 "Marbles"

External Links

Facebook Page