Paul Ryder, the founding bassist of Manchester outfit Happy Mondays, has died at the age of 58. News of Ryder’s passing was made public on the Happy Mondays Facebook page yesterday (16th July). No cause of death was given.
“The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning,” the post read. “A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed.”
Happy Mondays announce the passing of Paul Ryder
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 pic.twitter.com/E8e7x4Tvcw
— Shaun Ryder (@officialswr) July 15, 2022
Ryder helped form Happy Mondays in 1980 alongside his older brother, lead vocalist Shaun Ryder, as well as drummer Gary Whelan, keyboardist Paul Davis, and guitarist Mark Day. Within a few years, the group had become figureheads of the burgeoning Madchester scene, combining elements of rock, funk, and the emerging rave culture of the UK.
Frequent fixtures of Manchester’s Haçienda nightclub, Happy Mondays’ profile was significantly raised by their live performances, which were rooted in Ryder’s house-influenced bass lines. Happy Mondays released four albums between 1987 and 1992, with 1990’s Pills ‘n’ Thrills And Bellyaches reaching number four on the UK charts.
Following Happy Mondays’ 1993 split, Ryder formed his own band, Big Arm, and also played bass in the short-lived Buffalo 66. Although he would take part in their 1999 and 2012 reunions, Ryder refused to join the group for their period of activity between 2004 and 2010, citing a falling-out with brother Shaun as the reason for his absence.
Happy Mondays had been scheduled to perform at Sunderland’s Kubix Festival on the day of Ryder’s passing; the band’s appearance was ultimately cancelled.