‘24/7 Valencia’ interviewed Bez in Valencia in a hotel in the hip barrio of Ruzafa. This was a few hours before the legendary dancer & percussionist and his son played a 4am DJ set at PLAY CLUB, just around the corner. For someone who has been described as a cultural icon and one of the most hedonistic figures of the late 20th century, we found Bez to be cool, calm and collected and disarmingly approachable and unassuming.
24/7 VALENCIA: Tell us something about your background…
BEZ: I’m originally from Lancashire. My father was a policeman and he believed in the iron fist. I’ve been in full-blown rebellion going back to being a five year old. I was involved in petty crime and in and out of borstals, young offender’s institutions and jail as a teenager and young man. However, my dad was man enough to apologize to me many years later for not understanding who I really was. I was somebody so alien to him, in the way I saw and understood life. We get on fine now and we’re great friends. These days they’d probably give me some mad name like “Attention Deficit Disorder”. Maybe it was vaccine damage. It’s worth looking into what’s really behind compulsory vaccines…
How do you get on with Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays and Black Grape?
Yeah, he’s great. He’s very funny and very dry. I think we’ll be mates until the day we die. We went out to Panama to record with a local tribe with the Happy Mondays for a song that was released a while back. Black Grape are less known but we actually sold a lot more than the Mondays ever did, we even got to number one in the British charts. Michael Hutchence was a big fan and he befriended us not long before he passed away. I have my own theory about how he died but I’d rather keep it to myself…
How did you get into music?
As a kid, I loved the acid vibe of 60s psychedelic music and my whole aim with the Happy Mondays was to recreate that vibe, which I lived and breathed…the music and the drugs. I am a product of drug culture. I had such a great time on ecstasy, it changed my life. It was a way of expressing myself. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the drug culture…
Having said that, I gave up drugs 18 months ago. I used to think I was being a rebel by taking drugs as a kid but then I found out that I was just part of the “mind control programme”…interested in distracting people from really changing society for the good.You could argue that the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Elton John and Jim Morrison were all guilty of selling drug culture to the youth and helping the “programme.” They were all involved.
Did those musicians actually know they were part of a plot to control the youth?
In my opinion, the fuckin’ Beatles did know what they were doing regarding “the mind control programme” and were admirers of that right evil c**t, the magician Aleister Crowley. You’ll find they used a lot of that sort of magic in their songs. (Eerily, the hotel radio is playing the Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy for the Devil’ at this point of the interview). I was brainwashed by drugs. Drugs are a diversion tactic. Even though I don’t regret taking them and I had such a great time on them, I knew that I had to escape the fuckin’ monkey on my back…
What helped the change?
I have my own stage at the Glastonbury festival and I was invited to what was for me a life-changing experience with ‘The Vision Quest.’ You go out into the wilderness on your own, with basic survival gear and you fast for four days and four nights. It’s like a cleansing. You are given directions and instructions. The West is death; the South is dealing with all your issues from childhood to present day. The North is responsibility and discipline. So, for example, when you face the North you deal with those specific areas.
The first night, I built a little fire during the setting sun and burnt a piece of paper symbolically with ‘free will’ written on it, thinking all it has ever done for me is to get me in trouble! The process partly comes from the Native American tradition as an initiation rite from boy to man. As a boy playing games, I always preferred being an Indian to a cowboy. At the time, I was reading and inspired by the South African writer Deon Meyer. One of his books teaches that we live in a state of awareness and consciousness that is both male and female. The Holy Trinity concept is real as is the Aphrodite state. Another of his books is about the warrior state and I love a good scrap but he shows us that the fight is within us and therefore with yourself.
So, Bez, to misquote George Best: Where did it all go right?
Ha-ha! I also gave up drugs for health reasons and made lifestyle changes, I live organically now. I juice every day and I make sure I get exactly the right amount of nutrients for my body each day. I like to know exactly what I’m putting in my body and that includes distilling my own drinking water. Fluoride calcifies your spiritual development. I discovered that my body was being poisoned by the chemicals that they put in our food…
Donald Trump released thousands of secret papers on the JFK assassination. What is your view of what really happened?
Kennedy was talking about ending the Federal Reserve so I think the bankers were involved on some level and did him in. They rule the world. You don’t get in their way. Divide and Rule. There’s always a conspiracy theory for everything. Regarding Britain, look at the Bank of England. We have been part of the state of Germany since 1960 something. Our Queen clearly has German roots from the Hanoverian royal dynasty and the British police drive around in BMWs and Volkswagens for fuck’s sake! That should give you a massive clue! They say that all world leaders are 33rd degree masons…
You founded ‘The Reality Party’ in 2014 and stood as a candidate for Salford for the UK general elections in 2015 and it disbanded in 2016. What was the manifesto?
We were described as an anti-austerity party, interested in renationalization and socially managed housing. You don’t always need money; you can create many things without a currency. I live the life I preach, which is within a self-contained little community on the Herefordshire/ Welsh borders. I have a small place surrounded by people living in caravans. I share what I make and have. I’m all for communal living. I don’t see it as a revolution to bring the fuckers down… it’s more like evolution.
I keep my own bees and brew my own ale and cider and elderflower wine and I grow my own vegetables. I was invited to anti-fracking protests in the Manchester area, which was one of things that reignited my interest in politics. When I wrote to Theresa May that I was withdrawing my assets from the state in protest of a serious injustice I suffered in a court case, she sent me a one sentence reply in a letter: “You can get in trouble for that, Mr Berry.” Iv’e been getting into trouble all my fuckin’ life!
Tell us about your memories of Valencia…
I remember first going to Valencia with the Happy Mondays and the La’s. It was mad! We played at some club on the beach and went on stage at 7.30am! Another time, we flew thousands of miles from England to Spain and we were due to play in the ‘Plaza del Toros’ bullring in Valencia with The Pixies but the stage collapsed… so we didn’t play!
I remember ‘La Ruta de Bakalao’ period in Valencia. It was great, very free. There’s plenty I would like to tell you about them days but I can’t because, for one, we were breaking the law a lot. We were coming to Valencia and scoring here and taking stuff back to Ibiza, which is not a good thing. I spent quite a lot of time in Valencia, you could do whatever you want and it was all kicking off here with the raves on the beaches…
Infact, I’m off to Ibiza to take part in a silent film. It’s directed by Julian Temple, about the history of the Ibiza. I’ll be playing the Phoenician God of dance ‘Bes’, the island of Ibiza was named after him. The cult of Bes was called ‘Iboism’, which eventually became the ‘Ibiza’ we know. He was a Dionysian-type, a party lover. He was the god of safety and dance. It has been written that: “He would ward off evil spirits by dancing and making noise like a jester.” Bes came from Egyptian times, he was a demi-god and he was also a protector of the people and I was given the part to play in the film. In the times of Atlantis there was a Toltec priest who was also called Bes…so the tradition is a long one. The fact that it is also my name is just a complete coincidence!
What did you learn from being on Celebrity Big Brother 3?
That I actually won it was surprising in itself. Having said that, when I saw the people I was with I thought: Fuckin’ hell! If I don’t win this then there’s something wrong with me!!! (Laughs) Do you know what I mean?You had Brigitte Nielsen, Jackie Stallone, Germaine Greer, Caprice and that racing fella John McCririck and more.
I was in with a lot of people who cared about winning. There were some fuckin’ strong characters and they were very competitive. I realized that from ‘Day One.’ The whole household were trying to evict me. What they didn’t realize was how fuckin’ strong and massive the Happy Mondays fan base was. I got on really well with the feminist Germaine, we had some really good chats and John was a really nice bloke too. He decided to take on the role of the pantomime villain where everyone booed. He was actually a really likeable fella.
The reason that I actually did win it is that I stopped bullying in the house. I can’t abide bullies. That had won me over to the older women. They had thought before that fuckin’ Bez is off his head, we can’t understand a word he says, blah-blah!
Do you still follow Manchester Utd?
Yes, I have had some great times at Old Trafford and still go occasionally and take my sons. I remember keeper Alex Stepney running down the players’ tunnel with a cig in his mouth, with smoke bellowing out of his mouth and putting it out just before he got on the pitch! I remember the 1970s well, when the players all used to have little beer bellies in them days. However, I have become a bit disillusioned with the modern game. You don’t know if it’s all betting. You can’t trust the results anymore, there’s so much money because they are all prolific gamblers you don’t know how much debt they’re in…
You were DJing at Play Club in Valencia with your son. What sort of music do you play?
Bez’s son: We play stuff like 808 State, New Order, the classic bands from the 90s like the Stone Roses and Mondays and sometimes new stuff like Cabbage. People like to hear what they know.
(With a gentle smirk) Bez’s son to Bez : “You don’t really like playing the Mondays much!”
Bez: You adapt to the crowd you are with. If I played them stuff from my record collection like Can or Cumbia it would put them off! We do weddings, funerals and bar mitzvahs!
Interview by ’24/7 Valencia’ team
Article copyright 24/7 Valencia
Many thanks to the good people of PLAY CLUB on C/Cuba in Ruzafa for helping set this interview up…