A true British icon and a national treasure to boot, Shaun William Ryder brought the sounds, sights and unrivalled hedonism of ‘Madchester’ to the world. From ‘Kinky Afro’ to ‘Step On’, the Happy Mondays’ music – much like Shaun’s tales of excess and the ecstasy-fuelled acid house days of yore – are the stuff of legend.
Now sober and in as fine form as ever, the Happy Mondays frontman is back with a brand new comeback single ‘Everything You Know Is Wrong’, having just announced plans to release a brand new album with Black Grape – their first in 20 years!
The collaboration will see SWR reunite with the one and only Kermit for the release of Pop Voodoo, following a series of live shows to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut LP ‘It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah’.
With a new generation of fans and an army of life-long loyal supporters, 2017 is shaping up to be a huge year for the one-time Factory Records stalwart. Shaun recently returned to the city that made him (okay, technically that’s Salford) to BIMM Manchester for a tell-all interview and Masterclass with BIMM students and staff.
Not one to skirt over the juicy details, the Salford-born lyricist covered the full gamut of his life in music, from meeting Factory Records boss Tony Wilson at a Buzzcocks gig to recording the Mondays’ first ever album, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out).
On the subject of albums, Shaun also recalled the band’s fourth and final record on Factory Records, 1992’s Yes, Please!, which saw the band – then at the height of their addiction – travel to Barbados to record. The trip would later spell disaster and bankruptcy for Factory Records, not least due to the group selling off the studio’s equipment.
Shaun also touched on the later success of his solo career, including his work with Damon Albarn’s Gorillaz on the track ‘Dare’, revealing: “My lines in the Gorillaz track literally me telling the sound engineer that the volume needed to come up in the headphones I was wearing. It’s coming up, coming up, coming up…it’s dare!’”
But despite his decade-spanning career and countless international live shows, the Black Grape frontman admits that he still gets nervous from time to time. He also told us about his musical heroes, David Bowie and George Michael.
Following the Masterclass, Shaun opened up the floor to a Q&A with our students before offering some very sound advice about the songwriting process In his own words: “Write notes, record ideas, wherever you are, they’ll come in handy for those days with writer’s block.”
It’s great to have him back!