October 02, 2021
The lead Singer of the Happy Mondays and star of Celebrity Gogglebox mixes funny stories with moments of real poignancy as he looks back at three decades of rock’n’roll debauchery
How to Be a Rock Star by Shaun Ryder review – candid, brilliant and bizarre
The “rock star” is pretty much dead. With the TV-out-the-window lifestyle that dominated pop culture between the 70s and 00s out of favour, you’re more likely to see the term – and all the recklessness and charisma it represents – applied to a chef or a tech-bro than a musician. But there are still some who fit the epithet perfectly. Enter Shaun Ryder a figure for whom rock’n’roll cannot die because it’s not what he does, it’s who he is. Ryder’s reputation doesn’t just precede him, it holds the door open and chucks him through by the scruff of the neck. Possibly the only man in England to be compared to WB Yeats and then busted smoking crack in a wardrobe, the Happy Mondays and Black Grape frontman was always an unlikely icon. Shy on stage and a pain in the arse everywhere else, he was an addict in a polo shirt and a pair of flares who, even during his rise to fame in the “Madchester” era, reputedly earned more money selling Es than records.
Now 59 and 17 years clean, his reputation as “the poster boy for caning it” has proved impossible to shake. To this day, fans will still approach him in TK Maxx and offer him a line.
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