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Shaun William Ryder - Born 23rd August 1962 in Little Hulton, Salford, England.

Happy Mondays and Black Grape frontman Shaun Ryder was brought up in Little Hulton, Salford by his mother and father (Derek) with his only sibling, brother Paul. Shaun’s family was relatively small compared to previous generations, his mother and father both came from families of eleven or more, this may explain why Shaun spent a lot of time around his aunty Mary’s where there was a household of thirteen kids. Shaun’s mother worked as a nursery nurse and his father Derek worked for the Post Office. When Shaun started Happy Mondays, he was soon keen to take his father Derek on the road with him, but only when he was able to pay him the equivalent of his father’s Post Office wage. His explanation for become the lead singer of Happy Mondays was that no one else would do it and he was the best at song writing, before the band he was a regular churchgoer until the age of ten, but soon fell wayside and left school at just fifteen.


 Then things started to change

Shaun soon became involved with drug use and   became a heroin addict by the age of eighteen.

He later moving on to crack, which propelled him in to a long term lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.

Black Grape

Happy Mondays first release was the ‘Forty Five’ EP in September 1985, the band later went on to have high chart successes with singles ‘Step On’ and ‘Kinky Afro’ that both reached number five in the UK charts. Happy Mondays finally disbanded in 1993, Shaun and Mark ‘Bez’ Berry went on to form their new band Black Grape. In the mid nineties Shaun became in dispute with his then management team of Black Grape, locked in a legal argument, he had to pay several hundred thousands of pounds, but still owed money even until early 2007. This happened just before he had broken up with his partner Felicia, payments to his ex-managers lapsed, which caused Shaun to violate a court order, his assets were frozen and every penny he owed had to go to the receivers, so consequently he refused to work as he would not get any of the money. He even turned down an offer from Damon Albarn on receiving the writing royalties for the Gorillaz ‘Dare’ material, he said there was no point.

 Unable to earn any money due to the legal dispute, together with falling out with his father Derek and his brother Paul, Shaun had to confront his drug problem. After a couple of years on the road with the second incarnation of Happy Mondays, Shaun decided to stay at his cousin Peter Carroll’s house in Perth, Australia, where he spent time in rehab and made use of his cousin’s studio to rediscover his music, before returning to England.

 In 2004 he resolved the legal action that had meant his finances were frozen. He reached a settlement with Black Grape’s management, which meant he was free to keep his earnings once he had paid back his debt, which allowed him to resume his musical career. There was then a third incarnation of Happy Mondays in 2004 who have performed recently at the UK ‘ V Festival’ in 2009, plus toured in the US later that year with the Psychedelic Furs. Shaun recently pulled out of a UK tour with the Gorillaz to participate in the ITV show ‘ I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ 2010. Shaun has said that it was his wife and kids that finally persuaded him to enter the jungle scenario. Let’s hope that Shaun takes this opportunity to show he is worth giving another chance of a successful career and it springboards his musical material back in to the public eye.


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