About Happy Mondays
As UK indie pop and rave culture collided in the mid-’80s, the Happy Mondays were right there in the middle, like the jovial drunk who steps into a bar fight and forces the two adversaries to hug it out. Originally formed in 1980 by singer Shaun Ryder and his bassist brother Paul, the Happy Mondays signed on with Manchester’s iconic Factory Records imprint and, alongside flagship act New Order, helped bridge the city’s post-punk past with its acid-house future. But compared to those synth-pop sophisticates, the Mondays seemed less like a proper band than an unruly gang, the sort that would invite their best mate (Mark Berry, a.k.a. Bez) onstage to dance around and make him an official member. With epochal albums like 1988’s Martin Hannett-helmed Bummed and 1990’s Paul Oakenfold-produced Pills ‘n’ Thrills and Bellyaches, the Mondays were largely responsible for putting the “mad” in Madchester, pairing psychedelic-funk grooves and strobe-lit club beats with Shaun’s dime-bag philosophies and incisive nonsense. Alas, every great party leads to a brutal hangover: After recording sessions in Barbados went notoriously over-budget and off the rails (ahem), 1992’s Yes Please! wound up marking the end of the Mondays’ first phase (though Shaun and Bez soon found their way back to top of the UK charts with their post-Mondays outfit, Black Grape). But once their origin story was immortalized in Michael Winterbottom’s 2002 film, 24 Hour Party People, the Mondays embarked on a 21st-century comeback that yielded their first album in 15 years, 2007’s Uncle Dysfunktional.