A few months ago I had a full head of hair. Now I look in the mir­ror and I see Uncle Fester

Happy Mon­days frontman Shaun Ry­der talks to MAR­ION McMULLEN about go­ing from in­die rock to hip op as he prepares to go un­der the surgeon’s knife

Bangor Mail - - The Music Interview -

‘I’M breath­ing,” says Shaun Ry­der with a dry chuckle when asked how he is do­ing these days?

The Happy Mon­days and Black Grape frontman has been hav­ing a tough time on the health front, but is de­ter­mined to get back on his feet... with a lit­tle sur­gi­cal help.

“I’ve got a hip op­er­a­tion com­ing up and I had my pre-med the other day,” he re­veals. “They’ve got to break the bone and put a metal re­place­ment in­side or what­ever it is they use these days. I’ve got to be back walk­ing again as soon as pos­si­ble be­cause I’ve got work lined up and,” he adds with a laugh “my wife wants me out of the house as soon as she can.

“I was go­ing to go pri­vate be­cause oth­er­wise you can wait for years, but I went to see the spe­cial­ist and he said he could do it for me on the Na­tional Health so it’s all go.

“In two years time I’ve got to get the left one done as well, but the right one is re­ally bad so we’re do­ing that one first. My Mum needed to have both hips done so I think it must run in the fam­ily. It needs to

be done though. It’s got re­ally bad and I can’t do any­thing at the mo­ment. I can’t even take the dog, Mal­colm the beagle, for a walk. It’s do­ing my head in. I’m a real mess. I did Celebrity Master­mind re­cently and had to limp to the black chair.” Sal­ford’s fa­mous son is also fac­ing an­other prob­lem at the mo­ment after los­ing all his body hair fol­low­ing reg­u­lar testostero­ne in­jec­tions for an un­der­ac­tive thy­roid.

“A few months ago I had a full head of hair now I look in the mir­ror and I see Uncle Fester,” he says in dis­may, but can’t re­sist jok­ingly adding: “I just have to avoid black polo necks.”

Shaun goes on: “I’ve no eye­brows, no eye­lashes. I’ve not even got any hair on my legs. It’s sup­posed to come back and I’ve had in­jec­tions in my head and eye­brow, but so far noth­ing.

“I don’t shave any­more. I’ve got no mous­tache or beard. I never had any­thing wrong with me un­til I hit my 50s.

“The clos­est I ever had was with­drawal symptoms.”

The fa­ther-of-six turns 57 in Au­gust and says: “I had my first panic at­tack in Hong Kong when I was around 51 or 52. I didn’t know what it was. I’d not come across any­thing like that in my life. I got into the ho­tel and I couldn’t breathe.”

He adds with feel­ing: “If I’d had it when I was 21 I wouldn’t have had a ca­reer. They put me on tablets for anx­i­ety and de­pres­sion and stuff like that, but I didn’t have de­pres­sion. It was all caused by this thy­roid prob­lem.”

Shaun sighs: “It’s s**t be­ing older. I want to be fit and healthy by the time I’m 60. Men­tally I’m bet­ter than ever, but phys­i­cally it’s s**t. The hip started to go last year and I don’t want to be wheeled on stage. I’ve been go­ing on and leav­ing sticks at the side of the stage and hop­ing I don’t fall off.”

The Happy Mon­days lived the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll life­style, but Shaun laughs: “It’s just rock ‘n’ roll now... the sex and drugs have gone.”

The I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here favourite is said to have sworn more than 5,000 times dur­ing his 2010 ap­pear­ance on the re­al­ity TV show and he was banned for life from live ap­pear­ances on Chan­nel 4 after swear­ing on two TGI Friday shows in the 1990s.

Now Shaun is fo­cused on get­ting back on his feet for the Happy Mon­days Great­est Hits tour later this year.

The 29-date tour sees Shaun back on the road with fel­low band mem­bers Bez, singer Rowetta, drum­mer Gary Whe­lan, bas­sist Paul Ry­der, gui­tarist Mark Day and MD and mu­si­cian Dan Broad.

They will be per­form­ing time­less hits such as Step On, Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, Judge Fudge and 24 Hour Party Peo­ple, among many oth­ers.

“We’re play­ing bet­ter than ever and we like it bet­ter than ever,” says Shaun. “We’re re­ally en­joy­ing it; I al­ways knew Happy Mon­days would last. When I signed up to the in­die mu­sic thing, I signed up for life.”

With two young daugh­ters, Shaun ad­mits the mu­sic be­ing played at home can be a lit­tle odd these days.

“At the mo­ment I’m into ev­ery­thing on Cap­i­tal Ra­dio. There’s some absolute garbage, but I like some of it and my daugh­ters lis­ten to Han­nah Mon­tana, Tay­lor Swift and Lit­tle Mix so that’s what I get to hear at home. When they are teens then maybe they’ll be go­ing out to watch in­die bands.”

Mean­while, Shaun is count­ing down to his hip op. “They don’t even do mor­phine on re­lease any more for pain re­lief,” he says in mock hor­ror, be­fore adding with a laugh “that’s prob­a­bly be­cause of mo­rons like me around.”

The Happy Mon­days Great­est Hits Tour launches on Oc­to­ber 23. Go to alttick­ets.com/ happy-mon­days-tick­ets for tour and ticket de­tails.

Shuan Ry­der is about to have a hip op­er­a­tion and is still hop­ing his hair will grow back after thy­roid treat­ment

Shaun in 2015 be­fore his med­i­cal prob­lems

Shaun with the Happy Mon­days in 2012

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