24 Hour Party Aliens: Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder BELIEVES
12:39 pm


Happy Mondays
Shaun Ryder

ryder ufos
In what could be construed as an effective warning as to the risks of cognitive impairment that can accompany long-term ecstasy abuse, Happy Mondays vocalist Shaun Ryder has traveled the world seeking evidence of UFOs. His travels were documented for air on a forthcoming new program, Shaun Ryder on UFOs, for the ever-increasingly misnamed History Channel, TV home of God, Guns and Automobiles, Storage Wars, and Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy.

In advance of the show’s debut, Ryder spoke to The Guardian about the close encounters he believes he experienced in his youth, his ongoing passion for UFOlogy, and his most recent sightings:

His sentences become disjointed. “Well, all I’ll tell yous, right, is that I’ve seen one, really close up, about 50 foot above, and it looks like a cartoon. It doesn’t look real. It looks like it’s made out of Airfix kit. They look like toys. When you’ve seen something as close as I’ve seen – and bullshit drink, drugs, bollox, none of it, absolutely normal and straight – and you see it and you know they’re here … “

Tell me more, I say. “I can’t go into any more detail, apart from that it was literally 50 foot above me.” Did he have any contact with it? “No, no, but the thing is I wasn’t frightened one bit. I was very peaceful and placid when I was looking at the thing.” He says it happened after he finished making the documentary series.

Well, there you go, someone call SETI and tell them to turn off the machines that go ‘ping,’ England’s most wasted saw it with his own bleary eyes, so clearly the matter’s settled.

(Before any believers go all berserk on me in the comments, I’m not dismissing the likelihood of life elsewhere. I just think it’s telling that the world’s best and most dedicated scientific minds have thus far located none, despite decades of rigorous search, but we’ve got plentiful anecdotal testimony from hayseeds, drug and alcohol casualties, the mentally ill, and profiteering charlatans. In a universe as vast as the one in which we occupy a pitiful little corner, it’s incredibly unlikely that self-reproducing organisms and sentience are unique to Earth. But it’s even less likely that whatever technologically advanced E.T. life as may exist has made it its mission to traverse the vastness of the cosmos and stick things in our butts.)

Truth is, though, it’ll probably be a vastly entertaining show. Ryder is a gifted bigmouth. I was so fortunate as to interview him face-to-face in the late ‘80s, and though he was only just barely coherent from God knows what he and Bez were dosed on, it was massively enjoyable - captivating, really - just to be in a room with him talking. The sheer force of his lively personality is nothing to dismiss, which is why he’s lately experienced a career renaissance as a UK reality television personality. If his show turns up on Hulu, I will most certainly check out an episode or two. After all, the Mondays were basically a rickety band whose sheer energetic joy pushed them into transcendental greatness, maybe Ryder can tap that magic again on television? Failing that, he’ll still be himself, merrily opining, a sort of lumpen, less-literate Julian Cope. And that’ll be fun, too.

Enjoy Ryder in his prime, in 1989 on BBC Four’s “Club X”

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Is Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder the UK’s Bob Dylan? One man’s opinion
07:28 am


Happy Mondays
Shaun Ryder

While it feels a bit strong to call Happy Mondays a great band—they managed to produce one great album in their shambolic, drug-fueled history—or even a great singles band (although that’s nearer the money), pop music would certainly be a poorer place without their twinkling handful of finest moments, while singer Shaun Ryder (a degenerate pop poet in the mold of Shane MacGowan and Serge Gainsbourg) had a tendency of coming as close as anyone ever has to Bob Dylan in his mid-sixties prime. And this in spite of (or because of?) a complete absence of emulation on his part, or even effort.

Take his words for “Wrote for Luck.” I am currently OBSESSED with this tune (specifically the Vince Clark remix “W.F.L”), and oddly enough am similarly obsessed with its amazing video (see below for both). While Ryder’s cawing, derisive voice bears a distinct resemblance, couldn’t the words themselves have flowed from Dylan’s own pen circa 1965?

I wrote for luck. 
They sent me you.
I sent for juice. 
You give me poison.
I order a line.
You form a queue.
Try and think hard
Is there anything else you can do?

Dylan at a spiteful, lazy and inebriated nadir, perhaps, Dylan heartbroken and flu-ridden and slapdash to an almost unimaginable degree, but definitely Dylan all the same…

Don’t ya think? 

And as for that Happy Mondays video…

Posted by Thomas McGrath | Leave a comment
Happy Mondays: 24 Hour Party People
10:20 am


Happy Mondays

“You know you talk so hip man! You’re twistin’ my melon man!”

Although, of course, they are still well-loved and known as one of the two defining bands (along with The Stone Roses) of the so-called “Madchester” rave era in the UK, for the majority of American rock fans, Happy Mondays are seen more as early 90s British one-hit-wonders for “Step On” and just that. For a brief spell they looked set to breakthrough here, too, with their incredible third album, Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, but that never happened. Today, in the US, Happy Mondays are no better recalled than, say, the Soup Dragons or Jesus Jones, something you might see flipping past Vh1 Classics.

I had the good fortune to see Happy Mondays do one of the greatest live sets, like, fucking ever, at the Sound Factory in New York in 1990. The Sound Factory was a legendary dance club catering mostly to black and Latino gay men. Hallowed House music DJs like Frankie Knuckles and Junior Vasquez spun there and the place was known the world over for having one of the most insanely powerful, bass-heavy sound systems that you could ever possibly experience at top volume while tripping your face off on Ecstasy. It was the sort of place where the bar sold mostly bottled water and the crowd spilled out into the streets as the sun was coming up. Although not generally thought of as a live music venue, the Sound Factory seemed to be THE place where all of the British “Acid House” and rave-related groups wanted to play when they came to New York in the late 1980s/early 1990s.

Dee-lite were the (perfect) opening act and they killed it, as they always did (I saw them dozens of times during that era), leaving the E’d up crowd good and energized for the headliner’s set. The Mondays came out and absolutely blew the roof off the place. From the minute they walked onstage, hundreds of joints were lit up and with that crazy Sound Factory BASS moving the crowd as one, it was a high-energy, you had to be there to believe it experience. It was you might say, a memorable evening of music being made for people on drugs by people who were on drugs themselves. A crazy good time was had by all and this was on a week night!

As far as rock shows go, their druggy, trippy, shamanistic set was a triumph by any standard and the Happy Mondays must’ve felt like they were the kings of New York that night. They were! From low-level Manchester hoodlums and drug dealers to the top of the pops at home and being welcomed as heroes in New York City? What an experience that must have been for them.

But it didn’t last long. Singer/lyricist/ringleader Shaun Ryder—whose surreal wordplay Factory Records boss Tony Wilson compared to W.B. Yeats—was deep into a heroin habit that turned into crack addiction in Barbados as the band recorded Yes, Please! the follow-up to Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches with Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth of Talking Heads. The idea was to get Ryder to a place where drugs would be difficult for him to find… like Barbados?

Chris and Tina usually get the blame for Yes, Please! but believe me when I tell you that when I saw Happy Mondays around the time of that album’s release—I think it was at the Manhattan Center that time—they were but a hollowed-out shell of the scrappy, confident to the point of being arrogant group from just a few months prior. In contrast to the Sound Factory gig, this time The Mondays performed what could barely be called a perfunctory set, standing under a large neon sign that said “DRUGS” in chunky letters. To say that they seemed “tired” or “uninspired” would be too kind, they were like burnt-out ghouls. They were fucking horrible! The best thing about the show was that neon sign.

Nevertheless, through tabloid drama, drink, drugs, reality TV, more drink, more drugs and a guest spot on the classic Gorillaz single, “Dare,” Shaun Ryder inexplicably lives on. A few weeks ago it was announced that the band’s original line-up would reform for some UK tour dates in 2012.

For those of you who might’ve missed out on their charms back in the day, here’s a sampling of classic Happy Mondays from, uh… when they were peaking…

The “Step On” promo video directed by Jean-Baptiste Mondino:

After the jump, more Happy Mondays…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Happy Mondays’ Shaun Ryder Bitten by Snake in TV Jungle

Shaun Ryder - hard as fucking nails. As viewers to the UK’s reality show I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here witnessed last night, when the Happy Monday’s frontman was repeatedly bitten by a snake.

Ryder wasn’t the only victim - former politician Lembit Opik was also on the menu.

This is the best quality version of the clip from You Tube, but ignore the link to some pop star wannabe.


Posted by Paul Gallagher | Leave a comment