Happy Mondays founding member Paul Ryder dies hours before gig


Paul Ryder, the bass player and founding member of 80s Indie band Happy Mondays, has died just hours before he was due to perform at a festival in Sunderland.

Alongside his frontman brother Shaun, Paul founded the group in 1980 and was credited with giving the band their signature rolling groove, present on hits such as Step On and Kinky Afro.

A statement from the band said the Salford-raised musician died on Friday morning. He was 58.

The group said on its official Facebook page: “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.

“Long live his funk.”

The original line-up also included drummer Gary Whelan and guitarist Mark Day, and they were later joined by maraca-wielding dancer Bez.

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Paul Ryder, bass player and founding member of the Happy Mondays, who has died aged 58. Pic: Kevin Donnelly

The band later achieved a successful crossover into the musical mainstream with hits from albums such as Pills ‘N’ Thrills And Bellyaches and also earned a reputation as hellraisers.


Synonymous with the “Madchester” music scene, their blend of psychedelia and alternative rock continues to influence other acts.

Ryder remained an active member as the Happy Mondays broke up and reformed multiple times across the past 40 years.

Shaun Ryder, left, and Bez, of British band Happy Mondays, perform on stage at the Brixton Academy in south London, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015. Happy Mondays are on tour to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their album Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Shaun Ryder, left, and Bez, perform as the Happy Mondays revived. Pic: Associated Press

‘Great friend and great musician’

Outside of the band, he also acted in several films including The Ghosts Of Oxford Street and Losing It, and also made a cameo as a gangster in the film 24 Hour Party People, about the Madchester music scene.

He also formed the band Big Arm and released a 2008 album titled Radiator, and played DJ sets around the world.

In January 2012, it was announced the Happy Mondays were reforming with all of the original members, including Paul.

Oasis and Ride guitarist Andy Bell was among those paying tribute, tweeting: “Really sad news about Paul Ryder, RIP.”

The Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown added: “Rest in peace Ryder. A great friend, a great musician, a great fella, big love to Amelia, Jacob, Sonny, Chico and the family and band. Love ya longtime Pabs.”


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