HAPPY Mondays frontman Shaun Ryder insists he will still be struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of his brother when they play their first Scots gig without him next month.
Bass player Paul Ryder was discovered dead in his bed by their mum Linda last week just hours before they were due to play the Kubix Festival in Sunderland. He was 58.
Singer Shaun and his younger brother had formed the band – famed for 90s anthems Step On and Loose Fit – in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 1980 and were at the forefront of the Madchester sound.
But The Happy Mondays have vowed to continue on without him when they play a double bill at Summer Nights at the Bandstand in Glasgow and North Berwick’s Fringe by the Sea events.
Last night Shaun said: “Our kid was pure rock and roll. He would have wanted us to go on without him.
“So it’s really not hit me yet, as I sort of slow process things. When me dad died it was a full year before it hit me as I had me mam to look after.
“It’s the same thing now as my attention is on her and not really focused on our kid. But it will hit me at some point.”
Paul and Shaun, 59, who were raised by their nurse mum and postie dad Derek, are hailed as pioneers of Manchester’s indie scene after merging rock music with rave.
However, as Paul struggled with heroin addiction the brothers fell out in the early 1990s.
He later rejoined the group in 2012 when the original line-up got back together and had been based in Los Angeles for years.
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But Shaun reveals his little brother fell ill after returning from The States for the summer festival season.
He says: “It’s a mad one as he does that flight all the time from LA to here. But the day before he got on the flight he had to have that covid booster injection in The States.
“He lands and starts complaining about this headache. It was murdering him. Our mam wanted him to go to A&E but he said ‘no I’ve got to go to rehearsals’.
“So he gets to rehearsals and he can’t recognise any of the band. He can’t recognise the drummer Gaz or anyone.
“He lives in LA but when we play shows he flies in and comes and stays at me mam’s in Salford. So he goes home and takes some more painkillers and stuff because his head’s murdering him.
Happy Mondays star Shaun Ryder pays emotional tribute to brother Paul after tragic death
“Then me mam goes in his room at 6am and he was gone, rigor mortis had set in.”
He adds: “When the ambulance came they said it looked like it had been a blood clot or a brain tumour, but it’s just weird that he’d had that Covid booster the day before.
“We’ll find out as there’s got to be an autopsy so it means we won’t be able to bury him for about another two weeks.
“To top it all off, the next day me mam’s living room ceiling caved in on top of the television which our kid had said was too small and he needed to get her a bigger telly.
“She had to laugh at that otherwise she would have gone mental.”
The brother — along with gormless sidekick Bez — were just as famous for their wild living and substance abuse, which was immortalised in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People starring Steve Coogan as Factory Record boss Tony Wilson.
Shaun says: “Everyone portrayed in that movie is a caricature of themselves. It’s not quite how it was, but it is sort of how it was. But it was still a funny and entertaining film.”
Although he would be the first to admit his memory for several of those years may be a little hazy.
He says: “I can’t remember any of our great gigs from that time.
“Although I do remember the first time we did the Barrowlands, we got leathered off the bouncers for taking New Order’s beer out of their dressing room.
“We were shaking hands in the end, but that was about 1983 or something and we were just a bunch of mouthy kids from Manchester who got a good hiding for being little gobs***es from the Glasgow doormen.”
These days Shaun – who also fronts the group Black Grape – lives the quiet life with wife Joanne and their two kids. He has four other children from previous relationships.
He says: “I’m 60 next month and Bez isn’t far off 60. We still have a pint and all that, but we don’t take up with women like we used to.
“I started knocking it on the head when I was 40 – that’s 20 years ago. If you carry on doing the same stuff as you did in your teens you’re not going to last that long.
“The sex and drugs are gone so we’re just left with the rock and roll.”
Black Grape bass player Mikey Shine will now replace tragic Paul on stage.
Shaun says: “Mikey also played bass in The Mondays for the 10 years or so our kid wasn’t there. So it’s not as if we have to train someone up and learn all the songs.”
And while the show must go on, Shaun maintains he will console himself by looking after their beloved 80-year-old mum.
He says: “Me mam was 78 when my dad died, but this has hit her harder than me dad.
“Me mam and dad had been together since they were 15. But it’s harder because you really should go before your children.
“So I’m just making sure me mam’s alright. I’ve just found a builder to put her roof back together and I’m doing the shopping for her. I’m going to buy her a new telly too just like our kid wanted.
“I also know he wouldn’t have wanted us to sack any more shows, so we’ll get back out there and play for him.”
*The Happy Mondays play Summer Nights at the Bandstand on August 3 and Fringe by the Sea on August 13. For more information visit glasgowlife.org.uk and fringebythesea.com
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