INTERVIEW: Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays

Updated: Apr 9, 2019

The Happy Mondays are celebrating 30 years since the release of their iconic debut album

“The Mondays are playing better than ever; we all get along better than ever!”

Salford icons Happy Mondays are set to embark upon a massive winter UK and Ireland tour to celebrate their greatest hits. As part of their ’24 Hour Party People’ tour the Madchester veterans are set to visit the North East as they take to the Stage of Newcastle’s O2 Academy on Friday 8th December. On behalf of NE Volume Magazine, North East Noize caught up with frontman Shaun Ryder for a chat.

It’s been thirty years since the release of your debut album, ‘Squirrel and G-Man Twenty-Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out)’. How does it feel to be hitting the road again as part of your anniversary celebrations?

Yeah, I mean I’m not just saying this cause I’ve got a tour to promote but it’s more exciting and better than ever now. The Mondays are playing better than ever; we all get along better than ever. We’re a lot older, and I was gonna say wiser but yeah, we’re just as daft. So yeah, it’s a lot more enjoyable, it’s not like we’re on a hamster wheel anymore like it used to be, so we just appreciate what we’re doing a little more as well now.

As well as your debut album, your other records from throughout the years have equally as interesting title’s. From ‘Madchester’ to ‘Bummed’, would you say that the emerging 90’s rave culture influenced your choice in album names?

Yeah, absolutely! I mean we were pretty much at the front of that rave culture and ecstasy pretty much shaped the way for all of that, blame it on the drugs!

As part of your tour you’re taking to the stage of the Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday 8th December. Can you tell us a little bit about your past experiences of playing to North-East crowds?

Yeah, Newcastle and Sunderland are great! We’ve been playing there for over thirty years. We always have a great time there so we are absolutely looking forwards to it this time round.

Have you a favourite track when performing live?

We sort of went out and we took the ‘Bummed’ album out and played it in its entirety, and I hadn’t listened to Bummed since we left the studio in 1988. I had to listen to it again, learn it again and it was like, wow! It’s pretty good. So yeah, I just treat them all as one body of work and I enjoy the lot of it.

Happy Mondays have played some iconic festivals and venues throughout the years, from Glastonbury to Fuji Rock in Japan. Is there any particular gig that sticks in your memory?

Rock in Rio stands out massively, it was our first time in Brazil and it was a pretty mad time! We should have only been there for four days and we ended up there for nearly two weeks. Our gear went missing and we should have been playing with George Michael but we ended up playing with A-ha and had this completely mad time there, so that will always stick out!

You’ve been an influence for many bands throughout the UK, including Oasis and The Stone Roses, but who would you say was your major influence in the 1980’s? 

In the 80’s I was pretty much stuck in the 60’s really, apart from the likes of Orange Juice, Echo and the Bunnymen and New Order. But yanno, I was listening to everything really, from The Velvet Underground to The Doors and Northern Soul, all sorts. When I was a kid it was very tribal, it was either Punk or you were a mod or whatever, and you had to fall in line with that music, but it’s nice that things have changed nowadays and kids can listen to a bit of everything.

Manchester has always been a renowned location for spawning musical talent. In your opinion, who is the best artist to be born from the city? (except for yourselves, of course!)

God, I think The Hollies have got to be Manchester’s best ever band, and Graham Nash and all that crew are just out of this world.

Thirty years is a pretty special anniversary; can gig-goers expect any additional surprises from your set? 

We’re gonna do stuff that we haven’t played since 1982, stuff like ‘Freaky Dancing’ and the likes of that. We are pulling out a few songs off the first album and some of the singles that we have never really done since the early 80’s, so it’s gonna be a pretty special mix.

As the new year approaches, what does 2018 hold in store for Happy Mondays?

Well for 2018 I’ll be off with my other band Black Grape, but The Monday’s will be playing some festivals throughout the year so keep a look out for that!

Happy Mondays will play Newcastle O2 Academy on Friday 8th December. Tickets, priced at £33.75, are available from

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