WHEN Shaun Ryder rides back into town this weekend it’ll be with nothing to prove.
And, if anything, this tour by the original line-up of the Happy Mondays is proof of the power of music in bringing people together. That and a decent payday, of course.
“This more than all the other ones,” he replies when asked if he’s enjoying this comeback.
“I wrote a book in which I got a lot of things off my chest, things I never spoke about in interviews that were left for a long time.
“And basically, before we were a band, we were mates. I’m 50 in a couple of months – we’re all grown up men, and that’s how it was when we met up again.”
Shaun was last at O2 Academy on his Ryder greatest hits solo tour.
His own album is still yet to emerge, on ice partly because of the Mondays reunion, but he’s stoical – after all, wasn’t all this meant to be about good times, music taken at face value instead of social analysis.
“There was a whole bunch of great bands from the Manchester area in the early ’80s who at the time were better musically than us. Their song-writing was better than mine.
“The difference between them and us is we played the rock ‘n’ roll game. We used the press, we used ourselves, we extended our own youthful characters and became cartoon.
“We played the game and we got well known worldwide.
“It’s not and never has been just about the music. Pop music has always been about individual people, clothes, fashion, not just music. If you’re a bit highbrow you can say ‘that’s a shame’, but it’s a mixture of all these things.”
Of course, Shaun, like so many stars in his position began to enjoy the rock ‘n’ roll ‘sundries’ a tad too much. These days he’s soaking up the buzz of the occasion rather than other stuff.
“As we got on we got better. I got better at song-writing. The life gets crazier as well. It’s a life that we all wanted to live. We were all young and there’s no rule book in handling what happens to you.
“Everyone takes these things in different ways. The way I took it was to get on with it and I’ve had a successful career out of it.”
So when can we expect that Ryder solo record? “When they started on the Mondays thing we held back my solo album. It should have been out at Christmas. I’m working on another one now.
“I’ve got no plans to do a Happy Mondays album, but my solo album is definitely going to come out at the end of this year. Then there will be another out straight after.
“You can take that how you want it, either dread it or look forward to hearing it.”