These days Gary “Gaz” Whelan is living it up in the Canadian city of Toronto, a far cry from the days he shot to fame as an integral part of the Madchester scene as drummer for the Happy Mondays.
Today Gaz spoke exclusively to SalfordOnline.com about Bez’s political career, growing up in Salford and why David Moyes ended a Mondays overseas tour.
— Tom Rodgers (@SalfordOnline) April 24, 2014
Bandmate and friend Mark “Bez” Berry recently announced his plans to stand as a candidate for Member of Parliament for Salford and Eccles in the next general election, declaring he wants “free energy for everybody.”
Whilst he admires his friend’s spirit, Gaz believes the reasoning behind the move is to shine a spotlight on plans for fracking at Barton Moss: “I don’t think Bez feels he will become an MP, I think he’s just trying to bring as much attention to what is going on and starting dialogue.
“I think it’s great that he is actually doing something with conviction, he is very passionate about the environment and other issues, as am I.”
So will Gaz become a campaigning champion for the environment?
“I have little spare time; one day, maybe.”
One thing Gaz is passionate about is his beloved Manchester United.
The latest palaver, the sacking of manager David Moyes, or as he calls it, “the Moyes situation”, has left a particularly sour taste in the mouth.
The ousted Scot, Gaz reveals, was the reason a tour to Australia and Japan had to be shelved.
“He was never my choice. I was up a ladder in Toronto painting my house when I heard the news on the radio.
“I hit the ladder with my hand out of frustration and the ladder slipped Harold Lloyd-style to the ground and I damaged my ankle and wrist and we had to cancel, so it was a bad start for me.
“United are my passion, I always see them as a Salford club and explain the connection to folk when I travel.”
Speaking of Salford, Gaz is a proud Salfordian (as are all the Mondays – bar Mark Day).
Born in Weaste and bred in Swinton, speaks fondly of his days growing up in Salford: “I miss the Salford humour and the Joseph Holts pubs, but being the youngest in the band, I have pretty much been on tour since I was sixteen, so I’m used to being away.”
“I go back to Salford quite a lot as the band is still based in the region. Salford’s the gateway to Manchester. Everything that built Manchester came through Salford Docks. And, of course, it’s the birth place of Tony Wilson.”
Will he ever return to his native land? It’s a tough ask for Salford to compete: “Toronto has over three hundred days of sun a year. I’ve lived here for six years now, prior to that it was Australia. Not sure where next…”