A few years back, Shaun Ryder, along with Kurt Cobain, beat older stars such as Keith Richards and Keith Moon in a league of rock ‘n’ roll excess compiled by UK music weekly Melody Maker. (Liam Gallagher, Robbie Williams, Courtney Love and Marilyn Manson all featured in the Top 10).
On this day in 2000, a Manchester judge reprimanded Ryder after he turned up a day late in court to give evidence in an on-going case. Ryder told the court he was sorry for getting the date wrong but had been on ‘a bender’. Now a ‘bender’ in the North of England entails large amounts of alcohol, drugs and no sleep, so I think it was jolly decent for Shaun to make an appearance at all.
During recording sessions for the Happy Monday’s ill-fated 1992 album Yes Please Ryder was heavily addicted to heroin, so the band’s manager shipped the group out to Barbados to finish the record. A studio on the Caribbean island was chosen due to it being completely clean of smack. While this proved to be the case, the island was unfortunately in the midst of a major crack cocaine epidemic.
Within 48 hours of the Mondays arriving, the band had managed to develop a new drug dependency, with Ryder eventually racking up a habit of up to 50 rocks a day. The group soon ran out of money, prompting them to start flogging the studio’s equipment to pay for more drugs.
Back in the UK, Shaun was given a lifetime ban from appearing live on Channel 4 television, after swearing on two separate occasions while appearing on live shows before the ‘watershed’, before which inoffensive language must be used. He is the only person to be specifically referred to by name in Channel 4’s Compliance Manual, which states: “Please note that the Channel 4 Board has undertaken to the ITC that Shaun Ryder will not appear live on Channel 4”. Some accolade!
I love stories about Shaun. How about this one – while on tour in Newcastle, Ryder went for a few drinks on his own and returned to the venue to find the band were already on. After explaining he was in the act, he was hurriedly rushed through the bowels of the hall, only to find himself on stage with Simply Red. His group, The Happy Mondays, were playing down the road.
In 1999 during yet another court case, (which he lost), Ryder was ordered to pay £160,000 to his ex-management team over a dispute in his contract. Ryder said he was so high after a ‘joint’ he didn’t bother to read the small print when he signed the document – telling the court that the contract had ‘done his nut in’.
Shaun entertained us all when he appeared recently in the British reality TV Show (filmed in Australia) I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! The great British public loved him – and voted for him in their thousands. He showed us all what a nice bloke he is! He was even almost sympathetic to a snake, which gave him a nasty bite! The singer finished as the runner-up on the final show.
He leads a quieter life now, choosing to live away from the city of Manchester but instead a small village in the countryside, which is known to be a UFO hotspot. Shaun claims he was once abducted by a UFO, and if so, those aliens must thought us humans were an unusual bunch.
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