Happy Mondays Reunion Solidified

Black Grape frontman Shaun Ryder has solidified the return of his old band, Happy Mondays, with the addition of the band's old dancer/percussionist, Mark "Bez" Berry, backing vocalist Rowetta, and a new remixer known as Nuts to the expected line-up. (see "Happy Mondays On The Road To Reform"). They'll be joining Ryder's brother Paul, who's the original bassist; original drummer Gaz Whelan; and Black Grape guitarist Paul 'Wags' Wagstaff for at least a mini-tour and a new single.

While some reports said that original members Mark Day and Paul Davies have refused to get involved, Ryder recently confirmed to Britain's New Musical Express that he didn't invite them.

Ryder told the BBC's Radio One that the reunion of the legendary Manchester band was inspired by a gigantic tax bill that was threatening his job as a journalist and columnist for a local newspaper. He added that the band project soon became fun and

exciting, and particularly gratifying that he didn't have any "muppet managers" to pay 20 per cent to. He said the group was "old, free and single" and prepared to put on a "damn good show."

The plan apparently is to perform 'remixed' versions of the old Happy Mondays repertoire live during a mini-tour of the U.K. scheduled for late April. The band will also be recording a new single with DJ/producer Paul Oakenfold to be released prior to the tour.