- July 2, 2018
Frontman of seminal 90s bands The Happy Mondays and Black Grape, Shaun Ryder has a reputation for living large and waxing lyrical. He spoke with Victoria Nangle about his myth, his missus, and Taylor Swift – ahead of Black Grape’s November show at Concorde2.
Are you looking forward to touring?
Yeah. We’ve got the festivals with the Mondays shows, and then in October the Black Grape stuff starts. I’m well looking forward to it – I love it!
It’s all new and shiny and sparkly and fresh innit, so it’s fantastic with new material. Ask me in about three or four years’ time when I’ve been around the world twice and… hah hah hah… and I hate Kermit again. It’s all fantastic.
Are you guys getting on now?
Oh yeah. We’re old men aren’t we. All that sort of ding dong’s gone out the window. No sex, no drugs, just rock’n’roll really.
Nice one. Do you find it’s different playing with Black Grape as opposed to with Happy Mondays?
… well, I suppose. There’s more sort of full-on stage for me, isn’t it? I’ve got Kermit and I get to bounce around a bit and have sort of a laugh with him on stage – we’re really good together. Whereas with the Mondays I’m stood sort of stationary and just sort of leave all of those shenanigans up to Bez. So I get to act young and foolish again with Black Grape.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever read about yourself that wasn’t true?
Aw god, these are all just too many to mention. All sorts of bullshit. I mean, some of it… people will start with “this!” and “that!” and you’re like – give over.
“My mate saw this, you was there and this and that, and he knows you!” Well, okay.
Perhaps there should be a Legendary book of you that doesn’t quite correlate with the truth…
Apparently one of those is on the way! There’s all sorts of stuff going in that one, written by my former boss – he is my best pal and he was our tour manager for years and years, and he was a (alleged) drug dealer, and he’s got a book coming out. And so it’s going to be very funny I suppose.
All that sort of ding dong’s gone out the window. No sex, no drugs, just rock’n’roll really
What’s your own writing process?
Writing process? Hmmmm… to get… pissed! Haha! Really chilling, put some music on, and start bouncing off each other.
Sounds like fun. Do you prefer to be in the studio or out on tour?
Well I mean, we sort of get together writing. I mean I’ve got a shed at the back where we go in there and just mess about with beats and write, and so that’s what we do. And then when we’ve got something we get into the studio.
What do you think is the secret to a happy life?
A happy life? My happy life is just saying “yes” to everything the missus tells me. That makes her happy and that makes me happy – so I just do what I’m told. What she tells me to do, and that steers me a very happy life.
Who inspired you when you were younger and started writing – I really like your lyrics, manifesting ideas?
When I started playing, listening to ‘I Am The Walrus – Koo Koo Kachoo’, and ‘Paint In Black’, Ziggy Stardust type lyrics, it all conjured up made images and stories and that’s sort of where I come from.
So that’s what I do, I write cartoon songs. Kermit’s big love is cartoons and comic books and we both write with a comic strip point of view.
What do you listen to now?
You know what, because of where I’m at now with the girls – a nine year old and a ten year old – it’s all sort of Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande and all that sort of stuff. I mean new music at the moment – I don’t really go and watch new bands or know what’s going on. When the girls get to probably about 13 and they start wanting me to take them to indie bands then that’ll be another lease of life for me on that front. At the moment it’s all Taylor Swifts at the arenas and stuff.
What I listen to at home now is Absolute 70s and Absolute 60s and Gold, and then I’ll switch Dean Martin on or a CD of Northern
Soul, or – you know – whatever.
Well, it sounds like you’re living life well.
Yeah – I wish I discovered 30 years ago how your life can be without excessive amounts of drugs and 24 partying booze-fuelled madness.
Black Grape, Concorde2, Friday 16 November, 7pm, £25, www.concorde2.co.uk