Happy Mondays' singer Shaun Ryder recently told a Manchester, England, newspaper
that he is reassembling the band for some gigs in Britain. At last report, the reunion will
not include guitarist Mark Day or keyboardist Paul Davis, who was born 33 years ago
today in Manchester.
Spacy, acid-house band Happy Mondays were formed by Ryder and his bassist brother
Paul in Manchester in 1980. In addition to Davis and Day, other members included
percussionist/dancer Bez (born Mark Berry) and drummer Gary Whelan.
Happy Mondays toured with new-wave dance band New Order, which led to that band's
Bernard Sumner producing the Mondays' single "Freaky Dancin'." Former Velvet
Underground member John Cale produced Happy Monday's debut LP, 1987's
Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White
Out). The album's singles, "24 Hour Party People" and "Tart Tart," set the standard for
Britain's acid-house sound (lengthy, heavy drum-&-bass/dance grooves influenced by
'70s R&B and psychedelic rock).
Happy Mondays were a key part of the "Madchester" scene, which also included the
Stone Roses, the Soup Dragons, Charlatans UK and Inspiral Carpets.
Bummed (1988) was a hit at home but proved a bummer in the U.S., where it
flopped, partly because Happy Mondays reportedly played sloppily during their gigs in
the States. In addition, the band's druggy, thug image and its sex-and-drug-filled lyrics
didn't go over in the U.S. as well as in the U.K. But 1990's Pills 'n' Thrills and
Bellyaches was a U.S. club favorite, thanks to the minor hit "Step On."
The Ryders were big fans of '60s folk/pop artist Donovan, about whom they wrote a song
on the album. The Ryders also dated two of Donovan's daughters for a time.
Talking Heads Chris Frantz and Tina Weymouth helmed Yes Please (1992). The
LP's "Cut 'Em Loose Bruce" was a dance and modern-rock hit, but the album's lackluster
sales led to the bankruptcy of Factory Records in the U.K. Also, Davis and Day were
reportedly angry that Shaun Ryder walked out of a record-company meeting, allegedly
for a heroin fix -- which perhaps partly explains their absence from the Mondays'
planned 1999 reunion.
In 1993, Happy Mondays broke up and Shaun Ryder formed Black Grape, which also
included Bez. Happy Mondays have since been cited as an influence by Oasis and the
Chemical Brothers. Elektra Records issued Double Easy: The U.S. Singles, which
included cuts such as "Loose Fit" (RealAudio excerpt), in
The 1999 Happy Mondays U.K. tour will include a singer named Nutz.
Other birthdays: Chris White (Zombies), 56; Matthew Fisher (Procol Harum), 53; Peter
Wolf (J. Geils Band), 53; Taylor Dayne, 36; and Townes Van Zandt, 1944-1997.