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Shaun Ryder: 'It used to be all sex and drugs, s*** like that. Now it’s News at Ten and bed'

Black Grape headline Bish Bash on Sunday (9343103)
Black Grape headline Bish Bash on Sunday (9343103)

Here’s what happened when Tom Ryder spoke to his namesake Shaun, of Black Grape, Sunday's headliners at Bish Bash…

Hiya Shaun, this is Tom Ryder from the Bishop’s Stortford Independent newspaper. How you doing?

Hey pal, you all right? Yeah, I’m good. I’m breathing, you know. Breathing.

I just have a few questions ahead of Sunday’s gig at the Bish Bash in Bishop’s Stortford…

OK! Fill me in, is this a Happy Mondays gig or a Black Grape gig?

It’s Black Grape

Okey dokey. I’m doing f***ing press for both at the same time. It gets confusing, doesn’t it?!

It’s for this Sunday. Have you been busy with Happy Mondays and Black Grape so far this year?

Yeah pretty much. I came back from an Australia tour with the Mondays and went straight into the second half of the Black Grape tour. So it’s been preeeettty busy.

Is it quite a different experience playing between the two bands?

Black Grape’s really easy! Because it’s just me and Kermit. We’ve got a great band and it’s dead easy. And it’s new. We’ve only been at it about (f*** me, I can’t even remember) two years, something like that. So it’s still exciting. The Mondays is like putting a pair of slippers on and a dressing gown! Although that might sound really f****** boring, but it’s not, because the Mondays is better than ever. It really is. We’re better than ever.

Has coming back over the last few years given you new energy?

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. With Black Grape, yeah. It’s great. Me and Kermit are really happy with the album. It’s all good. We're out promoting Pop Voodoo now. We did a little bit of it. Then I had to go and do some other s***. Now we're back doing the Pop Voodoo stuff, which is what I want to do for the next year or two, really. Push that album all over the place.

Will it be mainly old stuff at the Bish Bash? Some new stuff too?

Yeah, you know, we’ve gotta do a few off the first album, Reverend Black Grape, Name of the Father… we’ll stick a few in. Quite a few actually. And one or two off the second album.

And Jon Gray from Bishop’s Stortford designed your last record’s artwork?

I never even met the kid! But he did a good job.

You’ve got a busy summer coming up, including a show at Camp Bestival. What gigs are you looking forward to?

D'you know what, I’ve got no idea what the f*** we're doing, mate. I just turn up and do ‘em. And I enjoy it more than ever. It’s totally enjoyable now. I’m off that treadmill of just sort of like album, tour, album, tour, album, tour. It’s all at an easier pace and far more enjoyable than it used to be. It used to be all sex and drugs, s*** like that. Now it’s News at Ten and bed! No sex. No drugs. Just rock and roll now.

Have you grown up a bit now?

Well, I’m pushing 60, so I f****** hope so! I’ve not grown up too much, but f*** me! I’m off at the moment because I’ve got a hip operation. I’ve got to go and have me f****** operation. And then when that one’s finished, I’ve got to go and have another one. A second hip operation. Does that sound like grown up?!

You’ve really seen the music industry change…

It’s funny, because there used to be a lot of f****** waste. Cars at five-ton-a-minute waiting outside the record label waiting for everybody. Everyone arseholed at lunchtime, sticking the cocaine on the f****** bill and everything else. It seems like they’ve cut all the waste out now. You get the f****** what you call it… that taxi guy… Addison Lee! You know what I mean. A lot of the waste has gone. There’s no budget any more for anything.

How have you adapted over the years? Music must really drive you?

Yeah. Well, I just do what I do. We do what turns us on. It’s what we like. I’ve never written or done anything for anybody else, it’s always been for me, really, or for who I’m working with. The same s*** drives me as what drove me through it years ago. That’s just how it is. We’ve been involved in a project that I can’t talk about at the moment, but no collaborations at the moment.

What other artists and bands do you admire / respect at the moment?

There’s loads, I can just never remember the f****** names of anyone! At the moment, ‘cos of my girls… it’ll probably change because they're 11 and 9… the music that's in the house at the moment is all on Capital, Ariana Grande and all of that sort of stuff. In two or three years' time, they'll probably be wanting dad to drive them to watch bands. So at that point I might have more of a clue what’s going on. There’s loads of good stuff out there, I can just never remember the names of it…

It’s a bit of a family festival on Sunday…

Yeah, it’s a PG show, innit? When we do the festivals and all the families are there, we do a sort of PG version of the album for our show.

What would you say to the young people there, to inspire them to get into music?

Music is just there, isn’t it. It’s just in you already, so apart from that I don’t know. Not a f****** clue!

How powerful has it been in your life?

Music is me. Without it, I’d definitely be f***ed. I really would. Music is there, it’s what I am, it's what I do.

How do you compare the Manchester and London scenes nowadays?

Ah god, mate, I haven’t got a f****** clue what's happening in Manchester nowadays. I really don’t. I don’t even go to the f****** centre of town any more, so I really can’t tell you what’s going on there. When I go to London, I go to a restaurant and that’s it. So I haven’t got a clue what’s going on. I’m an old f****r! When I turn the radio on now, it’s Gold or f****** Absolute 60s or 70s. I have to put up with Capital when the girls are in the car. [Moment of silence as Shaun accidentally mutes the phone and the line cuts out]… I mean, I love Wiley and all that. There’s loads I do like, but like I said, I just can’t remember the names of anybody, know what I mean?

One final word… are you looking forward to Sunday’s show? What can people expect?

What can they expect? Well, our PG version, because it’s full of families. But it’ll be good. It’ll be good fun, because we enjoy it. And if we enjoy it, then everyone else has got to enjoy it.

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