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"We all hated each other, I just started speaking to me brother again. But the rest of the Mondays, they're just a joke. One of the guitarists is selling encyclopedias door-to-door and another one's a cook. They're a bunch of d*cks. I tried me hardest to tell them not to split the band. It was just b*llocks. The rest of them thought they were rock Gods. They just wanted money. They didn't care about music." - Shaun Ryder on why he formed Black Grape

Current line up: Shaun Ryder (vocals), Paul "Kermit" Leveridge (vocals), Paul "Wags" Wagstaff (guitar), Ged Lynch (drums), Bez (vibes), Martin Slattery (keyboards/sax on live performances)

When the Happy Mondays disbanded in 1993, Salford scally Shaun Ryder seemed to disappear from the limelight amid rumours that his decadent rock'n'roll lifestyle had finally caught up with him, killing off his creative mind. In reality the visionary pioneer of Madchester had in fact been putting a new band together.

In 1995, the superb "It's Great When You're Straight...Yeah!" debuted Black Grape straight into the top spot in the album charts selling over half a million copies in the UK alone. The perfect mix of Shaun's clever sound-bite rhyme and the straight-up rapping provided by Kermit (ex-Ruthless Rap Assassins) with the funky jazz sound supplied by drummer Ged and ex-Paris Angels guitarist, Wags could only ever be complimented by Bez doing his stuff (whatever that is!?!). The Smiths Gary Gannon also helped out on a few tracks.

The three single releases from the album, "Reverend Black Grape", "In The Name Of The Father" and "Kellys Heroes" all reached the UK Top 10 and demonstrated that Shaun had not lost any of his Manc humour. Surely the lyrics, "Neil Armstrong, astronaught, he had balls bigger than King Kong" are the best on any song ever! (then again, you could not imagine Queen including them in Bohemian Rhapsody!)

Black Grape were awarded the NME Brats 'Best Single' award - for "Reverend Black Grape" and the following morning a still hungover Shaun informed the nation on Chris Evans Radio 1 Breakfast Show about how he had got so drunk at the bash he lost the award on the way home. Typical Shaun!

The 1996 singles "Fat Neck" (featuring The Smiths' Johnny Marr on guitar) and the Euro'96 football theme "England's Irie", (as used by Sky Sports) scored further chart success. Shaun and Kermit also wrote and sang on The Heads [previously Talking Heads] "Don't Take My Kindness For Weakness".

Whilst performing "Reverend Black Grape" on a TV programme, the producers requested that the lyrics, "Talking bullsh*t, bullsh*t, bullsh*t", be replaced. Kermit came up with the relatively weak alternative, "Talking stupid, stupid, stupid." This in typical Black Grape fashion though gave the band the idea for the name of their second album.

1997's "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid" continued Black Grape's unique funky soul party sound whilst it also incorporated elements of techno, hip hop and drum'n'bass (without Bez), highlighted by their first single, "Get Higher", which sampled Ronald and Nancy Reagan impersonators announcing a shortage in World marijuana supplies.

The album included a drunken sing-a-long version of Frederick Knight's Northern Soul classic, "Lonely", and also spawned the hit single, "Marbles"

Interestingly, during the making of the album, Shaun also appeared alongside Sean Connery in the movie version of The Avengers. "It's been really good, but I don't fancy myself as an actor. I've got no big ambitions to be De Niro," he commented.

The future of Black Grape is unclear as Shaun, Bez and the lads decided to reform the Happy Mondays in 1999. Whatever name they decide to go under though, we hope that the rock'n'roll drug-induced lifestyle they lead fails to catch them up, even if they are "Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!"

BLACK GRAPE MERCHANDISE AT
1999 Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!
(Get Higher -- Squeaky -- Marbles -- Dadi Was A Badi -- Rubber Band -- Spotlight -- Tell Me Something -- Money Back Guaranteed -- Lonely -- Words)
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1997 It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah!
(Reverend Black Grape -- In The Name Of The Father -- Tramazi Party -- Kelly's Heroes -- Yeah Yeah Brother -- Big Day In The North -- Shake Well Before Opening -- Submarine -- Shake Your Money -- Little Bob)
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1998 High Life 'n' Low Down Dirty
(by Lisa Verrico)
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1998   Shaun Ryder: In His Own Words
(by Mick Middles)
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1997 Shaun Ryder: Happy Mondays, Black Grape and Other Traumas
(by Mick Middles)
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Lots more BLACK GRAPE CD's, Singles and Rarities at
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- Highly Recommended by united MANCHESTER
 

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