Happy Mondays Bassist Paul Ryder Dies at 58

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Paul Ryder, whose house-inspired basslines anchored Happy Mondays, died this morning (July 15), the band said on Facebook. A representative confirmed the news to Pitchfork. No cause of death was given. Paul Ryder was 58.

Ryder co-founded the Happy Mondays in 1980 with his brother Paul and Gary Whelan, Paul Davis, and Mark Day, with Mark “Bez” Berry later joining on tambourine and percussion. The famously hedonistic group peaked in the late ’80s, when its blend of dance and psychedelic rock—dubbed “baggy”—aligned with the rave movement and fed into the Madchester scene. Their 1990 album, Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, and follow-up Yes Please!—both released on Factory—achieved commercial success while the band collapsed amid internal strife and drug use. 

A comeback in 1999 drew huge crowds (and brought a minor hit with a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys are Back in Town”), before Paul Ryder left the reformed lineup, citing feuds with his brother, The Guardian notes. His other group, Big Arm, released an album in 2008, and Ryder played shows with Talking Heads offshoot Tom Tom Club. He didn’t rejoin Happy Mondays for another reunion until 2012. 

In a statement, the band said, “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 x.”

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