Shaun Ryder (born Shaun William Ryder on August 23, 1962, in Little Hulton, Greater Manchester) is an English singer and songwriter who became famous in the “Madchester” era band Happy Mondays, and later Black Grape in the mid-1990s.
His lyrics, dismissed by some as drug induced gibberish, also received critical praise for their wit and musical fusion with the sound of the band. Ryder’s struggle with drugs eventually led to the break up of the Mondays in 1993.
Despite rumours of how his substance abuse had finally caught up with him, Ryder returned to the spotlight in 1995 with his new project, Black Grape , an immediate success whose first release topped the British album chart and spawned several hit singles. The follow up album did not reach the same critical nor commercial prosperity, and the group split in 1997. He collaborated with Trigger and Jim on their 1999 comeback MC Hammer and Sickle. Since then, Ryder has taken part in two reformations of the Happy Mondays (the latest in 2004, still on-going), dabbled with a solo career and suffered a litigation with former Black Grape management, a process which he eventually lost.
He was also the focus of a 2004 BBC documentary, entitled “Shaun Ryder: The Ecstasy and the Agony”. In 2004, Ryder landed the job of a voice actor in “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” in which he played Maccer, a washed-up, self-abused musician who was planning a major comeback tour in 1992. In 2005, he collaborated with Gorillaz on the UK number 1 hit “DARE”, a song on their “Demon Days” album.