Paul Ryder, Happy Mondays Bassist, Dead at 58

Written by on July 16, 2022



Paul Ryder, whose funky bass lines bridged rock and dance for Manchester’s Happy Mondays, is dead at the age of 58.

Happy Mondays and Paul’s brother, vocalist Shaun Ryder, made the announcement on social media. “The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning. A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time.” No cause of death has been made public.

Born April 24th, 1964, Paul formed Happy Mondays with his brother Shaun in 1980 alongside Gary Whelan (drums), Paul Davis (keyboard), and Mark Day (guitar). With fellow Mancunians The Stone Roses, they helped pioneer the Madchester sound, sometimes called indie dance or indie rave, beginning with their 1985 EP, Forty Five.

Happy Mondays released their debut album, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), in 1987, and followed it with Bummed in 1988 and the EP Madchester Rave On in 1989.

In 1990, the band put a twist on John Kongos’ “He’s Gonna Step on You Again,” retitling the song “Step On” and achieving their first international hit. The track appeared on Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, their only album to be certified Platinum. In 1992, Happy Mondays released Yes Please! By this time time, Paul had begun to struggle with heroin use, and amid near-constant infighting, Happy Mondays broke up in 1993.

Paul Ryder took part in the band’s first reunion in 1999, touring the UK and covering Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.” But he left in 2001 as his relationship with his brother deteriorated. “I would have ended up killing myself or killing him,” Paul said. He skipped the second reunion in the mid-2000s that resulted in Happy Mondays’ final studio album, 2007’s Uncle Dysfunktional, but rejoined in 2012 and had been an active member ever since.

Ryder was also a member of Big Arm, who released an album in 2008, and performed live with Tom Tom Club.

His passing was mourned on social media. “Paul Ryder was a pioneer and an inspiration to all of us that followed,” Tim Burgess wrote. “He played on so many era defining tracks. Listening to Bummed right now. Safe travels.” Sleaford Mods posted, “Very sorry to hear about the passing of Paul Ryder. RIP mate.” Ian Brown added, “REST IN PEACE PAUL RYDER A GREAT FRIEND A GREAT MUSICIAN A GREAT FELLA.”





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