Shaun William Ryder. Man of the people, jungle bunny, and according to the late Tony Wilson, one of the great poets of our time. Smashing teeth too.
Following his unlikely success in the jungle, he’s heading off on tour again, heading to Leeds, and has been back in the studio to record a new album, due out later this year.
Simon Binns caught up with him to talk about the Mondays, the jungle, and Lembit Opik’s sexual magnetism...
SB: You bagged a National Television Award last night. How’s the new-found fame treating you?R: Yeah, it was a good night. We just had a little drink afterwards, but just for an hour. It’s all good stuff. It’s nice to have grannies and 12-year old kids coming up to you in the street and shaking your hand.
SB: Is this the start of a new career in reality TV? Strictly Come Dancing? You’d have to take Bez.
SR: The jungle was a one-off. I went in there to do a job for the record company, to promote two albums and the tour. I did that. I won’t be doing any more reality TV.The jungle was three weeks and it was a great experience. It wasn’t hard. The difficult bit is dealing with people, but they were all ok actually – even Gillian. It can get boring but you can always occupy yourself with something.
SB: And you’re back living in Salford, you seem pretty settled? No chance of moving down to London and mixing with the tabloid set?
SR: I’ve lived all over – LA, Ireland – but I’m happy where I am. I can’t be bothered with up-their-own-arse celebrities. I don’t knock around with them - not even in the music industry. I hate that celebrity circle. Some of them have been so spoilt they just can’t deal with anything. I thought the jungle was a picnic.
SB: Touring must be easy after the jungle? What can people expect from this one?
SR: The February tour will be for the greatest hits album – a bit of Black Grape, a bit of Mondays, a bit of solo stuff – then in May there’ll be another tour for the new solo album.
I haven’t got a title for it yet. I was going to call it ‘XXX’ but I think the greatest hits album is called that. Maybe I’ll have to call it ‘X’. I find touring easier now. There aren’t as many complications when you’re solo.
SB: Do you still enjoy the writing process? It’s always been your job.
SR: The new record took a while to write but I’ve got at least 12 tracks and I enjoyed doing it. I normally work pretty quick. The last Mondays album, ‘Uncle Dysfunctional’, I wrote in a fortnight. Would I ever let people pay what they want for an album? No chance.
SB: How about a Happy Mondays reunion? People are always trying to get the Roses back together.
SR: We’re the only ones left from that Madchester scene I suppose. The Happy Mondays have gone to bed for now and my solo stuff will keep me busy for three or four years...but I’d never say never. If the chance came up and someone offered us daft amounts of money, who knows..?
SB: Describe the sexual magnetism of Lembit Opik. What is it about him that young girls find so hard to resist?
SR: Lembit’s a legend, man. All I can think is that he’s got some sort of monster cock. After about a week in the jungle, I was looking at him, and I thought ‘You look like Bez. That’s what it is.’ Bez always pulls the women man.
I’ve seen him a few times since, he comes up here to do bits for the Sport and stuff, and we’ve just done a Comic Relief thing with Harry Hill. He’s a good bloke. Fair play to him.
Wednesday 16th - Birmingham O2 Academy - 0844 477 2000
Thursday 17th - Nottingham Rock City - 0115 822 1314
Friday 18th - Sheffield O2 Academy - 0844 477 2000
Saturday 19th - Manchester Academy - 0161 832 1111
Monday 21st - Newcastle O2 Academy - 0844 477 2000
Tuesday 22nd - Leeds O2 Academy - 0844 477 2000
Wednesday 23rd - Glasgow O2 ABC - 0844 477 2000
Friday 25th - London O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire - 0844 477 2000
Saturday 26th - Cardiff Millennium Music Hall - 02920 230 130
Sunday 27th - Cambridge Junction - 01223 511 511