[a]Shaun Ryder[/a] to reunite Madchester's finest for gigs next year...

Shaun Ryder is reforming THE HAPPY MONDAYS back together to play a series of shows in 1999.

Following the demise of Black Grape, Ryder has been offered a deal to reform the band that helped create the 'Madchester' scene of the late-'80s/early-'90s.

Ryder's friend, film-maker 'Too Nice' Tom Bruggen told NME: "He has had offers for reforming the Mondays involving enormous sums of money."

The Mondays split in February 1993 after the release of the poorly-received 'Yes Please' album and problems involving drugs, Bez breaking his arm in a car crash in Barbados and the bankruptcy of their record label, Factory. Ryder formed BLACK GRAPE soon after and released the Number one album 'It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah!' in August 1995. The follow-up, 'Stupid Stupid Stupid', was released in July 1997 and fared less well. At the end of the year Shaun sacked the band, although he never actually confirmed that Black Grape was defunct.

A close friend of Shaun's told NME: "Something is likely to happen next year. It is something that Shaun has talked about for a while. I know his agents have talked to a promoter who has put a deal to him.

"There is a large amount of people who never saw the Happy Mondays and who have been influenced by them and there is still a great deal of interest. Shaun is still a bit of an icon."

Ryder first hinted at the Mondays comeback in his weekly Daily Sport column, 'It's Great Talking Straight'.

He said: "I'm starting to miss the buzz of doing the music. I don't have to have the full line-up. For a start the keyboard player's out, the guitarist's out. "It'll be GAZ the original drummer, original me, original bass player PAUL RYDER and I don't know where BEZ stands, he'll probably want about 'pound;27million."

Ryder and Bruggen are currently working on their film project, Molly's Idle Ways, a movie about the underbelly of Manchester and described as "making Trainspotting look like Larry The Lamb". Bruggen, who directed the Black Grape documentary The Grape Tapes, is directing the film, with Shaun billed as a co-writer and star.

Is it "welcome back" or "what the Hell are you on,fool"? Will it be The Stone Roses next? What about the Paris Angels? How low can it go? Post a message on Angst![/url]

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