x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Step on: reunited Happy Mondays making their Dubai debut

Speaking ahead of the band's Dubai debut, Happy Mondays singer Shaun Ryder confirms there will be a new album by the legendary Manchester band

Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays, who are making their Dubai debut. Yiu Mok / AP Photo
Shaun Ryder of Happy Mondays, who are making their Dubai debut. Yiu Mok / AP Photo

How has the reunion tour been?

Everyone and everything has been brilliant. We are now grown men and not lads with loads of aggro anymore. It is just a breeze. From day one when we met to discuss the tour we realised we were a bunch of 50-year-old blokes who all care about rock 'n' roll.

How did the reunion come about?

Because of The Stone Roses' reunion, we have been getting asked to do the same thing - get the original band back together and play shows. At the end of the day we thought: "Well, go on then, we'll give it a go." When we got everyone together, they all said yes and off we went.

It must have been interesting to catch up with the band after all that time and drama.

I hadn't spoken to [the guitarist] Mark Day for 15 years. And I hadn't spoke to my brother [Paul, the bassist] for 10 years. It was really easy actually, because me and Paul forgot what we argued about in the first place.

The band's third album, 1990's Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches, became a classic with its mix of dance beats and tough rock riffs. Was that style a conscious effort?

We just wanted to sound different, really. So we stole bits and pieces of the people that we liked and tried to disguise it. We just wanted to entertain ourselves and never set out to make music for anyone else. It also had a lot to do with the producer Paul Oakenfold. At that time, we were with the label Factory and we were allowed to let a DJ who never produced a rock album before have a go. If that was a major label, it just wouldn't happen.

The band, the Factory label and the whole classic Manchester music scene was immortalised in the 2002 film 24 Hour Party People. What are your thoughts on the movie?

It was a movie at the end of the day and I didn't have anything to do with it. I thought it was funny but that is not the real Shaun Ryder in the movie. That was the caricature of the Shaun Ryder portrayed by the music press, which I did help to create. The reality actually had a lot more madness than what was portrayed in the media.

But to be honest with you, we played the game. Someone told me before that we didn't get a good deal from the press at the time. I was like: "What? We got a great deal from the press." There were a lot of bands around at the time and if it was just based on the music, we could have failed. We played the rock 'n' roll game because we knew how important it was.

You are also working on a new film based on your memoir, Twisting My Melon.

Now that you mention it, it's probably a good time to plug it. ITV is doing a movie based on my autobiography and we just signed the deal. We have the first meeting next week and we got a guy called Danny Brocklehurst who did the show Shameless to write the screenplay. He is a great writer. A northern kid.

What is the band's plan for the rest of the year?

We have been asked to do another album and we probably will. But at the moment, we've got shows lined up for the next two or three years. I will also be releasing a solo album at the end of the year, so there are a lot of things going on at the moment.

Happy Mondays perform at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium on Friday. Tickets begin at Dh200. Doors open at 7pm, with the showtime at 9pm. For details, visit www.timeouttickets.com

sasaeed@thenational.ae

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