One of the peripheral and leading musical figures to come out of the Mad-chester scene and from Tony Wilson’s renowned record label ‘Factory Records’, The Happy Mondays are the legendary acid house and alternative rock group comprising of enigmatic yet controversial frontman Shaun Ryder and eccentric dancer and percussionist Bez.
Discovered by the late great Tony Wilson at the famous Hacienda Nightclub in Manchester, The Happy Mondays’ music embodied the hallucogenic and psychedelic that came with the mind-bending substances they were renowned for consuming. Not to dissimilar from the later “Sgt Peppers” musical phase of the Beatles, their hallucinatory and trippy approach to music produced one of the 90s most iconic records, ‘Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches’. Featuring classic tracks the likes of “Kinky Afro” and “Step On”, this was an album that spoke for a generation and was anthemic of the rave and house scene.
Always in the spotlight, perhaps not always for the right reasons, lead singer Shaun Ryder and dancer Bez have forever been a source of news for the band. On popular 90s programme ‘Thank God it’s Friday’ fronted by television personality Chris Evans, Shaun courted controversy for uttering expletives when the show was broadcasted live. Bez also famously appeared on Celebrity Big Brother 2005 going on to win the competition and help spark a Happy Mondays comeback.
Not only working as part of the Happy Mondays, Shaun Ryder has also collaborated on a number of other musical projects such as Black Grape and 2D cartoon band from Blur’s Damon Albarn, Gorillaz. Still going strong, on Thursday 10th May 2012, WinkBall video reporters were at the 02 Academy Brixton where The Happy Mondays were performing to fans. Speaking to fans that had travelled down to the academy, they were asked what they were expecting of the gig and what they loved about the band.