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We are sorry to hear of the passing of the great Derek ‘Horseman’ Ryder (the father of Shaun and Paul).

The ultimate rock n roll dad, Derek was the genial big-hearted soundman, tech and tour manager for the band that was impossible to manage for twenty years  and would often be wilder than his wildest charges. 

He was a gruff-voiced, twinkle-eyed supplier of great anecdotes and bonhomie who would always look after everyone and inspired parts of what is, arguably, his son Shaun’s greatest ever lyric (and there was a lot of great lyrics) – the devilish and leering genius of Kinky Afro.

Manchester was always family and the ultimate extended family was the Ryders with brothers, cousins, mates and mates of mates of mates making up a ramshackle crew who filled stages and concert halls and redrew the map of British pop culture in the late eighties with their wonk funk genius and lyrics that captured the moment with their surreal word flow – a skill that was handed down in Derek’s DNA to his sons. 

In the middle of it all was Derek himself who would always be there bouncing off the vibes of the wonderful band, often with his Viking helmet on and with that huge grin across his face and a lust for life.

It was always a joy to bump into him at gigs – a big-hearted man who had time for everyone, getting involved in the Manchester band scene, immersed in his son’s band – a band that most parents would have been terrified of. Derek not only embraced the genius of his son’s maverick project and their wild 24 party people lives he dived in head first and it was his encouragement and his arua that helped to create the magic of the band.

The photo here sums everything up – a face that oozes a wonk wisdom, a deep intelligence and good vibes and you can also see both his sons in there. For years Derek was one of the real characters on the scene, bounding around Happy Mondays gigs in that Viking helmet, wilder than the rest of the band put together but also somehow in control of the situation in his roles. 

Derek had been the postman who had an artful side – he could play any instrument, played tenner gigs in bars and clubs, told jokes, wrote gags for TV and then backed his son’s maverick band often at the back of the stage with the rest of the extended family all bouncing to that enormous Mondays groove.

They were good times, perhaps the best times and Derek was a big part of the biggest party. God rest your soul Derek, you will be missed.

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. Big big love to the man, always looked after us at gigs, I never paid to see the Mondays once, always ushered in a side door for freeman’s by the mighty horseman, Kuff Dam Dam Gone ….

    • Hi Jake.
      It’s Daz here. So sorry to hear about Derek, what a top guy. Sending lots of love to all the family. Could you let me know when the funeral is pal. Thanks.

  2. Got to know Derek whilst I was in Bigarm.
    He had 50years if Rock’n’Roll under his belt, some amazing tales!! What a guy. He will be missed.
    RIP Derek.

  3. Heard this sad news after the black grape gig in newcastle last night. A real show of strong character from shaun for still taking to the those bands.well done Derek.RIP.

  4. He was a lovely bloke.
    Such a shame to hear of his passing, we’ve lost a real character.
    God bless you, Derek, rest in peace, fella.

  5. Saw Derek come out from sidestage to sing Lazyitis as a duet with Shaun (as a special request by Shaun) on his birthday way back in 1990 at the Diamond Club in Toronto. It was magic. RIP, Derek you legend!

  6. A great guy. Steady and organised when it came to business. Enjoyed every moment I spent with him A legend In the Manchester music scene I would say x


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