Q&A with SHAUN RYDER of THE HAPPY MONDAYS, BLACK GRAPE and GORILLAZ.
Posted On 13 Jan 2015
Tag: All Access, All Access Music, All Access Music Group, Amateur Night in the Big Top, Anthony H. Wilson, Bafta, Beatles, Black Grape, British, British musician, Damon Albarn, Danny Brocklehurst, DARE, David Essex, Dean Martin, DeNiro, English, For Sale, Gorillaz, Granada Television, Happy Mondays, History Channel, I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!, It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah, Jim McLain, KATY PERRY, Kermit, Miley Cyrus, Pills n Thrills, Robert DeNiro, Shaun Ryder, Shaun Ryder on UFOs, Stardust, Taylor Swift, The Rolling Stones, Twisting My Melon, UFO, UFO sightings, Years and Years
Shaun Ryder is an English musician, singer-songwriter, actor, television personality, author and newspaper columnist. He is best known as the lead singer of the Happy Mondays and Black Grape. He has also worked with Gorillaz , (he lends his vocals on the track, “DARE“) and his own solo projects. He was also the runner-up of the tenth series of I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Ryder returned to the spotlight in 1995 with his new project, Black Grape, an immediate success with its first release, It’s Great When You’re Straight…Yeah. Ryder has taken part in two reformations of Happy Mondays (1999–2000 and 2004–present) and released a solo album, Amateur Night in the Big Top and he is currently working on his next solo album.
His autobiography Twisting My Melon has been optioned by Granada Television and Bafta winning writer Danny Brocklehurst has been enlisted to write the screenplay.
In 2013, Ryder starred in a new television show called Shaun Ryder on UFOs on History channel. Ryder reveals a lifelong interest in UFOs and that he has personally encountered space aliens, “It’s not that I want to believe – it’s impossible not to,” he said.
All Access Music writer, Nicole DeRosa had a chance to catch up with Mr. Ryder where he talks about his latest projects, what music he’s currently listening to and UFOs! Read more below:
Happy New Year Shaun! Where does this interview find you today? What’s on the agenda today besides our interview?
I have a meeting with the production company regarding my new tv show. I can’t really say much, but if any one wants to get hold of me in the next couple of months I will be in the Amazon!
What has been the highlight for you personally this past year?
Creating memories with my 5 and 6 year old daughters. When I became a dad the 1st time ’round I was too busy building a career. Being an older parent is the best.
What has been the highlight for you musically this past year?
Finishing my new solo album.
For those not as familiar, how did you get your start in music? Was it always something you knew you wanted to pursue? Or did it more or less, find you?
My start in music came through Mr. Manchester himself…news reader, chat show host, factory record and night club owner Anthony H. Wilson (Tony).
Also, when I was 13, I went to see the David Essex movie (and to me still one of the best ever music biz movies) Stardust (which is not to be confused with De Niro’s pirate escapade…) I saw David Essex playing the character of Jim McLain and thought I want some of that!
You and Kermit have a very crafty, intoxicating mix of slogans, hymns, and slang that you infuse in your lyrics. What is your songwriting process / style like?
If an interesting thought or line comes in to my head I write it down. If it comes with a tune, I will record it. I never get a note pad and sit down and say I’m gonna write a song today. Sometimes it’s a chorus that I have going on in there, some times a verse. Once I have that, then I sit down,write and structure.
What was the first song you fell in love with growing up?
I’m not sure. As a kid listening to the radio in the 60s, there were just so many great songs around. I was 6 in ’68, as a little kid, British radio and the DJ’s were just amazing to me.
I was given two LP’s as presents, The Rolling Stones 1st album and the Beatles…For Sale. When you opened the cover of the Beatles album there were all these great photos of old movie stars as well as the band. I still love those two records.
Which musicians or bands are you currently listening to and inspired by?
At the moment I am listening to what my girls are playing which is…Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, Taylor Swift. If I do put some music on it’s Dean Martin for me, although I’m liking Years and Years who look about the same age as my girls!
What about collaborations? Is there anyone you’d like to collaborate with in the future?
Who knows I am up for anything as long as I like it and enjoy what I am doing. I do love working with Sunny Levine.
In 2013, you starred in a new television show called Shaun Ryder on UFOs on History channel. Who or what was the catalyst that started your interest in UFOs and such?
When I was a teenager back in the 70s and 80s, I saw a couple of things in the sky zig zagging at ridiculously fast speeds.
What’s on tap for you next? What are you most excited about for this year?
It’s 25 years since the Mondays ” Pills n Thrills” album, we have the original band back together so we are gonna be out touring that. I would also love to do another Mondays album (new) at some point in time. Also getting my new solo album out. It’s also 20 years since the Black Grape album “Its Great When Your Straight…Yeah” and I wouldn’t mind doing something live with that as well. I’ll go get Kermit out of his box n see if he can still do it! I am not 100% on what is happening regarding Mondays in USA in March, so I had better not comment.