British Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder dead at age 58

Paul Ryder, a founding member and bassist for British rock band Happy Mondays, passed away Friday at the age of 58, according to The Guardian.

His passing was announced by the band on social media, but no cause of death was given.

A “true pioneer and legend” who will be “forever missed”

“The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning,” a post to the band’s official Twitter account announced.

“A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed,” the statement added. “We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time Long live his funk x”

According to The Guardian, the brothers Paul and Shaun Ryder formed the Happy Mondays group in 1980 and, despite internal conflicts that caused the band to break up multiple times, Paul reunited with the group in 2012 and continued to perform with them until his death.

A self-taught guitarist, Ryder developed a particular style of play for the bass that drew inspiration from both Motown as well as the electronic house music that became popular in the 1980s, as well as other influences.

Hit music and hard partying

Rolling Stone described the Happy Mondays’ musical style as “A mishmash of funk, punk, psychedelic rock, and the then-burgeoning rave scene.”

The band released three critically acclaimed albums between 1987 and 1990, but ended up bankrupting their music label and splitting apart following the release of a 1992 album due to their hard-partying tendencies and Ryder’s own drug abuse problems.

Following that initial split in 1992, Ryder would intermittently come and go as a member of the band for various reunion efforts before finally returning for good in 2012. Unfortunately, the band had actually been slated to perform at a festival in Sutherland, England on Friday evening, just hours after Ryder passed away.

Pitchfork reported that Ryder, while away from the Happy Mondays, had performed and recorded albums with other bands as side projects, prior to returning to the fold in 2012 for a reunion of all of the original band members, including him and frontman brother Shaun, as well as Gary Whelan, Paul Davis, Mark Day, and Mark “Bez” Berry.

Ryder’s family and friends and fans will undoubtedly miss him and his talents for making music, but can take solace in knowing that his legacy will live on through his work.

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