Paul Ryder, longtime bassist for the “Madchester” band Happy Mondays, has died at the age of 58. Paul’s brother Shaun Ryder, the band’s lead singer, confirmed the bassist’s death on social media. No cause of death has been provided.
The Ryder brothers formed the Happy Mondays in 1980 along with Gary Whelan, Paul Davis, and Mark Day. Mark “Bez” Berry later joined the band on tambourine and percussion, and their father Derek became the band’s tour manager. After signing with Factory Records, the Happy Mondays released their debut EP, Forty Five, in 1985. John Cale produced the group’s first album, 1987’s Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), which they followed up with two more acclaimed LPs, 1988’s Bummed and their 1990’s Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches. With their euphoric mix of funk, punk, psychedelic rock, the band became associated with the rave movement that was taking over the UK at the time, and its influence bled into their sound.
The Happy Mondays broke up in 1993 following the release of Yes Please!, which was recorded in Barbados with Talking Heads’ Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz and went so far over budget that it drove Factory to bankruptcy. They reunited in 1999, scoring a minor comeback hit with their cover of Thin Lizzy’s ‘The Boys are Back in Town’, but Paul left the group in 2001. He did not contribute to the band’s 2007 comeback album Uncle Dsyfunktional, but he did join the reformed lineup in 2012 and remained a member until his death.
“The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning,” the band said in a statement. “A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time. Long live his funk x.”