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The Happy Mondays
- Me, Myself, and I
- Happy Mondays are an English alternative rock band from Salford, Greater Manchester. Formed in 1985, the band's original line-up was Shaun Ryder on lead vocals, his brother Paul Ryder on bass, lead guitarist Mark Day (aka "Moose" or "Cowhead"), keyboardist Paul Davis (aka P.D), and drummer Gary Whelan. Bez would later join the band onstage during a live performance after befriending Shaun Ryder (known to him as "X") and served as a dancer/percussionist. Rowetta Satchell joined the band to provide backing vocals in the early 90s. They have stated that the band name is a take on the title of New Order's song, "Blue Monday."
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The Happy Mondays are back - and we can reveal they've already recorded a brand new album - their first in more than 14 years.
Bjork and U2 producie Howie B is currently mixing the record and he told 6 Music its being produced by US hiphop producer Sunny Levine.
He also revealed that legendary guitarist Ry Cooder guests on the album.
Howie told 6 Music: "Sunny has done a fantastic job getting the best out of the band. Shaun is writing about what he's always written about, whatever's happening in his life really. His health, drugs, the weather. In fact there's a beautiful song about the weather that he's written and it's a classic."
He continued: "It's a mental project. It's really exciting, quite incredible. It's Shaun back on it. Shaun's a diamond. He's singing well, he's rapping well, his lyrics are just right on it. His language, which was always unique, has got even better. And he looks great. I wouldn't say he looks sexy, but he looks great."
The Happy Mondays are currently without a record deal. Their last album Yes, Please was released in 1992 through Elektra.
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Manchester pop impresario Tony Wilson discovered the Mondays at a battle of the bands contest held at his Haçienda nightclub. The story goes that Wilson signed them to his label, Factory Records, even though they came in last. Their first album, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out), debuted in 1987. A number of other albums followed, most of which were released in the United States on the Elektra Records label. By the late 1980s, the Happy Mondays were an important part of the Madchester music scene and personified rave culture. Shaun Ryder fought against a serious drugs problem which typified the scene and the era.
Musically, the band fused indie pop guitars with a rhythmic style that owed much to house music, techno and northern soul. Much of their music was remixed by popular DJs, emphasizing the dance influences even further. In terms of style and dress, they crossed hippy fashion and ideals with 1970s glamour. Sartorially and musically, the band helped to encourage the psychedelic revival associated with acid house. One of their most popular songs was "Lazyitis (One Armed Boxer)", featuring a surreal duet between Ryder and country music legend Karl Denver.
The Mondays disbanded in 1992, and Shaun Ryder and Bez formed Black Grape with ex-Paris Angels guitarist "Wags" (who would later go on to serve in the 1999-2000 reincarnation of the Mondays) and ex-Ruthless Rap Assassins star Kermit. Seven years passed, but in 1999 Happy Mondays reformed, minus Paul Davis and Mark Day. In their place were Wags and a number of other musicians close to Shaun Ryder. However, the reunion with a world tour and the release of a new single, "The Boys are Back in Town," was to be short-lived. The single sunk in the charts, reaching only number 30 in the UK singles chart. It was also dropped from the live set after proving difficult for the band to perform live. In 2000 the band called it a day after providing support for Oasis on their "Standing on the Shoulder of Giants" tour.
The band is featured in the 2002 movie 24 Hour Party People, with Danny Cunningham as Shaun Ryder. Paul Ryder had a cameo role as a gangster and Rowetta (who sang for the band on Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches and Yes, Please!) appeared in the film as herself.
2004 saw another reformation, comprising Bez, Gary Whelan and Shaun Ryder, following the latter s unsuccessful solo career. The musicians released a live DVD that year of a show in Barcelona, and rumours abounded that the band was recording a new album. The Mondays played a variety of festival dates in 2005 (including Glastonbury), capping it off with a concert at the Manchester Evening News Arena in their hometown.
In June 2006 the Mondays performed another one-off gig in Liverpool, although Paul Ryder was not present - having sworn to never perform with his brother again following the 2000 break-up. On Sunday 30th July 2006 the Mondays were special guests at The Fuji Rock Festival - a 3 day festival held at the Naeba Ski Resort in Japan. They performed a 60 minute set - starting with Loose Fit and ending with 24 Hour Party People. Only Shaun, Bez and Gaz Whelan were present from the original lineup.
In early August of 2006, the band announced it had completed its first album in 14 years with producers Sunny Levine and Howie B. As of yet, the album is untitled and there is no tentative release date, considering the band is not signed to a record label. . A new single "Playground Superstar", from the soundtrack for the football film Goal! was released a few months prior to completion of the album.
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Jan 1981: Unemployed best friends Shaun Ryder and Bez start a band in their native Manchester, allegedly to give them something to do besides take drugs. The pair rope in Ryder's brother, Paul, on bass, amateur footballer Gary 'Gaz' WheIan on drums, Paul Davis on keyboards and, finally, guitarist Mark Day, the only member who could actually play an instrument. They call themselves Happy Mondays, although no-one knows why. Inspired by local heroes New Order - if more for their working-class credentials and party mentality than for their music - Ryder appoints himself the band1s leader and lyricist.
Jan 1983: Clothes shop owner and entrepreneur Phil Saxe agrees to manage Happy Mondays. He gets them their first gig, taking part in a 'battle of the bands' contest at the newly-opened Hacienda nightclub in Manchester. The Mondays' ramshackle performance doesn't win, but it brings them to the attention of Mike Pickering, then the Hacienda's resident DJ, later founder of M People.
May 1984: Pickering persuades Hacienda owners Tony Wilson and Rob Gretton to sign Happy Mondays to their Factory Records label, home of New Order. Six months later, the Mondays play their first big gig, supporting New Order at Macclesfield Leisure Centre
Sep 1985: Happy Mondays release their debut single, the three-track Forty-Five. It is produced by Pickering, after original producer Vini Reilly from Factory band Durutti Column quits after just two hours in the studio with the band.
Jun 1986: A second single, the double A-sided Freaky Dancin'/The Egg, is released. Produced by New Order singer Bernard Sumner, it captures Happy Mondays1 chaotic live sound on record and suggests for the first time that the band has potential. "Freaky Dancin' sounds like something A Certain Ratio might have made before Donald Johnson was drafted in to stamp on their toes and make them dance," notes NME in its singles reviews column
Apr 1987: Happy Mondays' debut album comes out to widespread disinterest. It doesn't help that it has the ludicrous title Squirrel And G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out). Or that it was produced by John Cale, a reformed drug addict appalled by the band's unruly behaviour and chemical intake. NME describes Happy Mondays as "someone shouting in a Manchester accent over weak and watery foonk like nearly everything else on Factory". Largely incoherent indie-rock, the album is notable only for the song 24 Hour Party People - although NME praises the first single, Tart Tart, for having "good rude lyrics" - and for landing Factory with a writ from Michael Jackson for illegally borrowing Beatles lyrics.
Jun 1988: Manchester promoter and artist manager Nathan McGough takes over from Phil Saxe and gets Happy Mondays their first written contract from Factory.
Oct 1988: Wrote For Luck is released as the first single from Happy Mondays1 forthcoming second album. It receives mixed reviews, but becomes a minor underground club hit.
Nov 1988: Second album Bummed comes out. Producer Martin Hannett hints at Happy Mondays future dancefloor direction with tracks such as Lazyitis and Ryder impresses with some obscure but inspired, stream of consciousness lyrics. In a 9 out of 10 review, NME's James Brown writes: "If you love the energy of acid and the awkward aggression of good independent rock, but want your music to be scarred with the characters of Dennis Hopper, Charlie Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson and Johnny Rotten, then you can stop looking to the past and taking these pleasures separately by getting Bummed for a truly stimulating contemporary, sensory thrashing".
May 1989: Lazyitis is rerecorded and rereleased as a single. The new version is later named Lazyitis (One Armed Boxer) and features country legend Karl Denver sparring live with Shaun on vocals. It is described in NME's singles reviews column as "Shaun's warbling tributes to The Beatles for Ticket To Ride, David Essex's We're Gonna Make You
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