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Paul Ryder Dies, Aged 58
Christian Eede , July 15th, 2022 17:18

The Happy Mondays bassist's death was confirmed today by the band

Paul Ryder, founding member and bassist of Happy Mondays, has died, aged 58.

A cause of death has not yet been made public, but a statement shared today (July 15) via Happy Mondays' social media pages read: "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. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time. Long live his funk."

Ryder was a founding member of Happy Mondays when the group formed in 1980, with a lineup also consisting of frontman and his brother Shaun, drummer Gary Whelan, keyboard player Paul Davis, and guitarist Mark Day.

Ryder, a year younger than his brother, was born in Salford in 1964, and taught himself to play guitar while growing up. First taking inspiration from the sound of Motown, he later became fascinated by the Chicago house music that was a key fixture of Manchester's Haçienda club in the late '80s.

Taking inspiration from house and rave music alongside the rest of Happy Mondays, his basslines helped to power the band's now iconic "baggy" funk sound on breakthrough album Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches, which featured the hit singles 'Step On' and 'Kinky Afro'. Before that, the band released two albums through Manchester's Factory Records, 1987's Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) and 1988's Bummed.

After releasing a fourth studio album in 1992's Yes Please!, the band disbanded in 1993. They've subsequently reformed a number of times, with Ryder rejoining the lineup between 1999 and 2001 for the first of those reunions. He quit again, however, due to an increasingly fractious relationship with his brother. He later said of the decision to quit, "I would have ended up killing myself or killing him."

Opting against joining the group for a second reunion in 2004, all of the band's original members, including Ryder, later reconvened in 2012. They continued to play live shows together from that year up until now.

Outside of Happy Mondays, Ryder joined the band Big Arm in 2007, releasing one album, Radiator, as part of the project. He also performed live with Tom Tom Club, the band of Talking Heads' Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth, who produced Happy Mondays' Yes Please! LP.