Paul Ryder, the co-founder and longtime bassist for legendary British alt-rock band Happy Mondays, has died at the age of 58, the band confirmed today (July 15).
"The Ryder family and Happy Mondays band members are deeply saddened and shocked to say that Paul Ryder passed away this morning," the band wrote in a statement on social media.
"A true pioneer and legend. He will be forever missed. We thank you for respecting the privacy of all concerned at this time," the statement continued. "Long live his funk." No cause of death was given.
Born in Salford, England in 1964, Paul Ryder took up the bass at 13, and formed the Happy Mondays with his brother Shaun (who served as the band's dynamic frontman), guitarist Mark Day, drummer Gary Whelan, keyboardist Paul Davis and dancer/percussionist Mark "Bez" Berry in the early '80s.
Like their Manchester area contemporaries the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays mixed the tunefulness of British Invasion era pop-rock with the flower-power optimism of psychedelic rock, and the infectious, open-ended grooves of dance music.
Usually using a Fender Jazz bass, Paul Ryder supplied much of the band's exceedingly club-friendly low-end, which helped give the band a massive crossover audience.
Happy Mondays reached their commercial zenith in 1990 with their third album, Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches. Propelled by the hit single Step On, the album went platinum in the U.K., and helped spread what came to be known as the "Madchester" sound – that same blend of dance rhythms and tie-dye psychedelic pop-rock hooks – across that country and, eventually, the rest of the world.
An integral member of Happy Mondays throughout their original run, Paul Ryder participated in the band's 1999 reunion, before subsequently departing the band in 2000.
He would, however, re-join when the band reunited once more in 2012 – with their original lineup – and remain with them up until his death.
"I kind of liked it all," Ryder (then out of the band) said of his time with Happy Mondays in 2011. "I liked writing, I liked rehearsing, I liked being in the studio and I liked all the traveling – doing all the shows all around the world. It’s the perfect job for me – or should I say a well-paid hobby, not actually work."