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unlikely spokesman of a generation — a generation of drug heads and crazy fuckers, the sort of people who aren’t going to be listening to Steps or gasping with pleasure at Blur’s new direction. The Mondays represent a whole constituency of their own and, along with The Stone Roses, irrevocably'changed the face of British pop in the early 90$, taking it back to the street and opening up the
doors again. Both bands walked the .
walk and talked the talk of the new
E-fuelled generation. They made sure
that rock ’n' roll had a stake in the
new pop order.
Any band burning on the sort of hi-octane lifestyle that the Happy Mondays did'was inevitably going to implode. The last album stiffed at number twelve and their final tour seemed like a slog. Checking out the shows, there was none of the euphoria of the ’89 celebration. Support band the Stereo MCs were mopping up every night, nicking the Mondays crown from right under their over-worked noses.
Ryder walked out of a tabled deal from EMl to ’buy some Kentucky Fried Chicken’ as they say. He disappeared, teamed up with ex-Ruthless Rap Assassin rapper Kermit, returned with Black Grape, put out one superb album and one so-so album, and fell apart within a couple of years.
Ryder hasn’t spoken to Kermit since the split and reports that his former campadre’s post-Grape outfit, Mangde, has since fallen apart. Last . ~W~.writing a column for the ' i i " port, Ryder then stunned e by reforming the Mondays. rumours had been around w n for about 'a year about the ' Indays coming back: did he feel _$.‘5:'~- he may have left it a touch too . " 1.. tie?
" ‘ ' 53":-",-"’l’m not dyeing my hair yet, not using the Grecian 2000, so it will work,’ jokes Ryder with the easy- going cackle of man who knows he’s got a good thing going. The Mondays never traded on youthful good looks,
so, perversely, they actually make sense rocking 'n' rolling into their middle age. They never cleaned their act up, they’ve remained outlaws, they've still got the edge.
Ryder is well aware of the pratfalls that face any band coming back onto the circuit after years in the wilderness. He's got the motive cleared up and knows that, even if the band is crap, he will still have his tax bill paid off. But there is something stirring in his own personal pride that makes him want it to work.
’It could have been cabaret bollocks or hard as fuck — and it's ended up hard as fuck,’ he says. ’We’ve messed with the songs, some of them will be versions of the old stuff. We went through all the remixes I never liked years ago — ha! — and found different versions to play. It stops it being boring.’
The Mondays have a greatest hits album being lined up and a new single ready to roll — a loose cover of Thin Lizzy’s 'The Boys Are Back In Town’. According to Ryder, they are keeping the chorus, but have a new riff and verses. It will be the usual infectious, lolloping Mondays groove and, if they get it right, a swaggering call to arms from the last gang in town.
Only it’s not quite the same gang.
’There’s a couple of different members in. We replaced the keyboard player and the guitar player,’ Ryder says matter-of—factly, not using the original members’ names, and neglecting to mention that Mark ‘Cow’ Day was one of the great unsung strengths of the band. His thrilling skew-whiff guitar shapes were a prime factor in their sound.
Not that they have screwed up with his replacement. Guitar man Wags, once of Black Grape and underrated baggies, the Paris Angels, has his own cool style to add to the new Mondays. Ryder also had to iron
,. out a couple of problems with other
members: ‘With Paul (bass player
’My motto is “do as little as possible”. It’s what I live by! I'm hyped up for these gigs, though, I'm
\\!l‘[i\‘lli/|ii)l)\ilil'i/lUlU‘: " Admiral, the Happy Mondays’ favourite sportswear label, is the official sponsor of the comeback tour. To celebrate, Admiral are offering the first reader to answer the following question a pair of tickets to the SECC gig on Sat 24 Apr. Five runners up will win a collectable Admiral kit bag including signed merchandise, Admiral tour t-shirt and a single to be released in mid-May.
and brother), we fell out fiVe years ago and then made up about a year ago. Then we fell out again about a month ago, but we now nod at each other again. But the band is getting on great. Gaz‘and Bez and all that, it’s ’ a real laugh. It's like old times!’
Another new recruit, Nuts, is a previous unknown whom the Mondays frontman met in Ibiza. ’He’s not a. rapper,’ spits Ryder. ’Can you put it in the piece that he’s a singer, right!’
Also back in the ranks is Rowetta, the leather clad diva whose extrovert whip-lashing, over-the-top sexuality was the perfect foil to Ryder’s on- stage lumbering. She has spent the past few years singing on dance records.
But how long will the old blaggards keep this up for? There is this batch of dates and talk of festivals. How long can the Mondays comeback continue?
’Nothing is planned,’ Ryder answers. ’If I stop enjoying it, it’ll stop. That’s how I live my life. If we get offered any special gigs, we’ll do ’em. If anything interesting turns up in Europe, we’ll do it . . . but fuck touring the States.’
The Mondays will be great at these shows. When Ryder has something to prove, he always delivers. The first tour when Black Grape were out on the circuit was something special. The hunger for success always seems to bring something out of this rag bag crew. You can be guaranteed some great party action, old songs fucked with, a last stand for the Madchester prime movers or a chance to reap _ what they sowed at the beginning of the decade.
The boys, as they will certainly keep telling you, are definitely back in town.
The Happy Mondays play the SECC, Glasgow, Sat 24 & Sun 25 Apr. See rock 8. pop listings, page 48. ’The Boys Are Back In Town’ is released on London
Complete this Happy Monday’s lyric — ’You’re twisting my . . . .. man’. 0
Send your answers on a postcard by Thu 29 Apr to The List, 14 High Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1TB.