Interview: Paul Ryder – we talk to the Happy Mondays’ man about his charity event, his new book, band plans and more

Carl Stanley interview’s Happy Mondays Paul Ryder about his recent live charity event raising funds for Chico’s Kickin Cancer with the Happy Mondays and friends. He also talks about his new book, tells us about upcoming plans for the band, and explains why Shaun probably won’t be reading the Happy Mondays new biography.

On Friday October 17th the live event ‘Chico’s kickin Cancer’ was held within the grand setting of Manchester’s Palace Hotel. And what a night it was a – one which included comedy sets, auctions, a surprise set from Northside, Peter Hook and the Light, Clint Boon and Mani DJ sets and more. And headlining the whole lot, of course, were The Happy Mondays themselves, making this a very special night raising money for Chico’s charity.

I caught up with Chico’s father (Happy Mondays bassist, Paul Ryder) after the event and asked him for his thoughts about it, about Chico’s treatment, about the new Mondays biography, the band’s future plans and why Shaun probably won’t be reading the Happy Mondays new biography.


Louder Than War: ‘Chico’s kickin Cancer’ event, your thoughts on the night Paul?

Paul Ryder: Fantastic, we only had two weeks to get it together, my wife Angela’s been great, she was kinda left to sort a lot of stuff out in a very short time so all together it was a great success, and Amelia my daughter, she helped save the day so a big shout out to her too.

But most of all Chico loved it, it was his night, though I don’t think he expected to find himself on stage with Bez and Tony, so he was made up. I did get a bit concerned for him at one point because he was walking about on his tip toes, it’s because he can’t put his feet down flat very well and I did see him stumble a little. But he did it and was OK and really enjoyed the whole night.
Highlights on the night?

Highlights on the night for me, one of the highlights was Northern Uproar playing a samba sounding set, this kinda Spanish style influenced music, it was great.

But to be honest I didn’t really get to see any of the other things that were happening on the night, mainly because I was running around with my wife like a pair of headless chickens making sure it all went off right. It was great from the show onwards, but back stage it was ridiculously mad, so I missed quite a few things.

I tell you what was a bit weird though, we’d never played to people wearing shirts and ties sat at tables with big white table cloths before, truly bizarre, but it was something different. And that’s what we wanted … something special, something a bit different.

Do you know how much the event raised?

Paul – So far we’ve covered the costs because they were quite high, and the final figure we won’t find out until next week.

A great show out as well by some of your fellow Mancunians; Northern Uproar, a surprise set by Northside, Peter Hook and the Light, Mani and Clint Boon and 808 State playing DJ sets, what a line up.

Yeah, when I told them what we were going to do they put themselves up for it straight away, which was really nice of them and I’d like to thank all of them for doing that, it made it much more of an event with them being there as well.

How is Chico doing right now with his treatment?

He’s progressed, he’s doing well, like I said before he can’t put his feet flat on the ground so he walks on his tip toes and goes to physiotherapy 3 times a week.

There’s another way of getting rid of it but that’s going to hospital where they slice his tendons so he can walk better, though that could cause complications later on in his life so were going down the physio route. But he’s also back in school now and kinda starting to enjoy life again.

Interview: Paul Ryder – we talk to the Happy Mondays’ man about his charity event, his new book, band plans and more

Is he still using the cannabis oil, and would you say its continuing to help him with his treatment?

Yes, he’s still having the on-going treatment with the oil to help prevent relapse but he’s taking a smaller amount than he needed when he was going through treatment. But I would like to say one thing regarding Chico’s treatment, and that’s we can’t claim that cannabis alone cured our son’s cancer like some of the press have quoted me as saying. Chico received conventional treatment as well so we’ll never know how much of his recovery can be attributed to cannabis oil and how much to the conventional treatment.

Obviously both me and my wife Angela firmly believe that the cannabis oil tremendously helped the conventional treatment do its job, but for us to claim that cannabis oil alone cured Chico’s cancer would be wrong.

We do however know of many people who claim that cannabis oil has cured their cancers, people who were sent home to die by the conventional doctors who then decide to give it a go and ended up cancer free a couple of months later. There are many examples of this happening. Plus there are tons of studies that have been done all over the world, places like Spain, Israel, Switzerland and even the USA and one recently at the University of London and all of them have shown that cannabis and in particular THC and CBD which are two of the most active components of cannabis, when used at the right ratio at the right dose definitely does have a significant impact against cancer. We’re not talking about smoking it here – that isn’t a concentrated enough form – you need to ingest the oil, building up your dose slowly to the right level.

So the message I’m putting out there is that there is a massive amount of evidence to demonstrate that cannabis oil has huge potential as a tool in the fight against cancer and therefore we believe that anyone wanting to try it who has a life – threatening medical condition should be able to do so without fear of being branded a criminal.

We also believe there should be standards established to make sure people can access decent quality lab-tested oil, as obviously there are a load of sharks out there selling crap oil trying to rip people off – that has to be stopped. Also of course more money needs to be made available by governments for research so we can establish the right doses for the right kinds of cancers etc.

But the main thing now is that people with cancer need access to good quality oil, experts who can advise them on how to take it, and of course they shouldn’t be branded criminal for trying to save their life or the life of their child. That’s why we’re campaigning for an immediate medical amnesty for everyone who finds themselves in a similar position to us. It was easier for us because where we live in California it’s legal, but Chico was horrified when he found out it wasn’t legal here, so he is really keen to do something to help make change happen as fast as possible. He even went to the House of Commons last week to meet with the MP Norman Baker who has spoken out saying he thinks medical cannabis should be legal here, so Chico’s going to be helping him try to get the law changed here.

We’re hoping we can turn around a horrifying experience into something positive. That’s what it’s all about isn’t it?

Though Chico’s been through so much in the last couple of years he seems to have handled it all so well, setting up the charity and wanting to help other people in the same situation as himself, you must be very proud of him?

Paul – Oh yeah, so proud, right now it’s just great to see him getting better. Because the last year and a half he was just wiped-out of his brain and couldn’t remember much at all … and it’s when I look back I realise just how very very poorly he was. But he’s always got a smile on his face and throughout all last year he never complained once.

In fact, he’s just become the paediatrician’s spokesman for cannabis oil, so he’s doing a bit of campaigning and flying the flag for something he really believes in. His plan is to one day have his own “grow” to make oil so he can give it away to cancer patients. So yeah, I’m very proud of him indeed.

End of the month sees the new Happy Monday’s bio released; Excess All Areas by Simon Spence. Did it feel like enough time had passed to finally put your, and the bands, side of the Mondays story out there?

Well over the years I’ve been asked a few times to contribute to books on the band, but I never wanted to do it, I just didn’t think it was the right time, you know. But this one did, the author Simon was in the right place at the right time. And he assured us it wasn’t going to be another crazy drug story, a load of nonsense like the others have been. So I spent 3 hours a day for 5 days doing the interviews down the phone with him, he got a lot of information out of it which hopefully might set a lot of things straight regarding the band’s history. A lot of the other books that have been published were just built on lies and accusations really, there isn’t a Mondays’ book out there which is correct, not until Simon came along.

You reckon Shaun might have a flick through the book even though he himself didn’t contribute to it, maybe to try and remember what went on himself?

I doubt it, he had nothing to do with it because the author didn’t want to interview Shaun Ryder, he only wanted to interview the band. So no, he wont be going near it. We had a few copies of the book to give away at the event so he started screaming and shouting down the phone at the manger that we shouldn’t of been giving them out. But he was just jealous because he wasn’t asked, probably hurt his ego.

Interview: Paul Ryder – we talk to the Happy Mondays’ man about his charity event, his new book, band plans and more

…and finally, the Mondays, since he band’s reunion in 2012 it’s been a real success with some great shows. So what’s next, any chance maybe of recording new material?

Well there has actually been talk among us about recording again. Though it’s not gone any further. I think you could say everyone agrees but not agrees, if you know what I mean.

And tour wise we’ve got the gigs coming up next year in England for the 25th anniversary of ‘Pills, Thrills Bellyaches’. Though it doesn’t seem like 25 years does it? …but we’re all really looking forward to it.


Follow ‘Chico’s kicking Cancer’ on Facebook.

Follow Happy Mondays on Twitter as @Happy_Mondays and on Facebook here.

Finally, you can order your copy of The Mondays new bio, ‘Excess All Areas’ here.

All words by Carl Stanley. More writing by Carl on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.

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