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'There's no sex or drugs but there is rock 'n' roll. Pure rock 'n' roll, baby'

November 28, 2013

YellowBrix

From pills, thrills and bellyaches, to a quiet life of fatherhood and early nights, via a stint in the celebrity jungle and hunts for UFOs, Shaun Ryder has been there, bought the T-shirt and soaked it in the sweat of hundreds of nights of heavy partying.

But he's happier now than he's ever been, he tells The Week, and that includes when he's playing on stage. Because although the Happy Mondays were once known for their penchant for recreational drugs as much as for their music, the frontman says he can't be bothered with all that now.

Tonight, you can see for yourself, as the band will be performing their second album Bummed in full, 25 years on from its release.

"At least we get to enjoy it this time round," he says. "We're not all stoned and arguing, we're just respectable old dudes.

"There's no sex, no drugs but there is rock 'n' roll. Just pure rock 'n' roll, baby."

At the time of Bummed's release, the Happy Mondays were on the touring/promotional treadmill, says Shaun. "Oh, there were loads of arguments and just drama throughout. Now, it's very... very different. It's a different kind of enjoyment, you know? "It might be more boring but you know what, it's good. I should have worked that out 25 years ago.

"You go out, you do your show and then you **** off home. That's what I do now."

It wasn't the case the first time round.

"I certainly wasn't going home after the shows back then, no," says Shaun. "In fact, I probably wasn't home before or after the shows. I certainly enjoy it more now. I talk to the audience a lot more, interact.

"Doing Bummed will be really good. The set we do, we've only done about four tunes from Bummed. We haven't done some of the tracks for about 25 years."

Shaun's not sure what his young self would have thought, had he been told 25 years ago that he'd be doing this now.

"Naively, 25 years ago I did think we'd be together as a band. Of course, it all crumbled, but we're here now.

"I always thought we'd be doing this - I never thought of doing anything else. But did I think it would be how it is now, that 25 years later, we'd have an album like this and be playing it in full? "I don't know. I tell you what, though, it's more of the band's album than any of our others.

"It was recorded pretty much live, the band together in the rehearsal room."

After various splits and reformations, it's good to be back together this time round, says Shaun. They're all a lot calmer about it all - well all, that is, except for Bez.

"Bez is Bez, he's still exactly the same as he was 25 years ago. The kid's made of rubber. Or, should I say, the old man's made of rubber.

"You don't know with Bez. He still parties, absolutely. He's not been home since the '90s." Despite the fact Shaun usually heads straight for bed when he steps off stage now, we suspect tonight could possibly be a special occasion, as there are plans for an after-party in town. You never know.

Although he's not a regular visitor to Leicester, he has got a few friends here.

"Yeah, my bass guitarist is from Leicester," he says. "I'm hoping to hook up with a couple of my old mates."

Aside from the touring, Shaun has also been working on the History Channel TV show Shaun Ryder on UFOs - "it's impossible not to believe," he says - as well as a couple of other things that he's sworn to secrecy about at the minute.

What he can tell us a bit about, though, is that ITV have bought the rights to turn his autobiography into a film.

"They've got some actors they want me to have a look at," he says. "I'd like a total unknown kid, but someone really good, obviously. It should be good."

If you're going to put anyone's life into a film, we imagine his would make for a fairly entertaining 90 minutes or so.

"All I can say to that is yeah, I guess so. And we couldn't even put a lot of things in it, the lawyer won't let me because it's a PG. It will be good, 24 Hour Party People was a very funny film, but it wasn't exactly real. This will be different."

info HAPPY Mondays, the Bummed 25th anniversary tour, is on at the O2 Academy tonight, with support from The Sunshine Underground and Sulk. www.o2academyleicester.co.uk

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