Happy Mondays’ , 58, on why now is the right time to shed light on his rock’n’roll career, swapping painkillers for ginger and turmeric and working with on .
You’re releasing your autobiography – why now?
I don’t know really. It was suggested to me and I was getting married – and obviously getting married ain’t cheap these days. So I thought every little bit helps. I told my stories to my ghost writer and he wrote them.
How did it feel, going through all you’ve experienced?
It wasn’t until I read the book for the audio recording that other stories started coming back that I could have included because the biggest problem was trying to remember all the shenanigans I got up to. There are a lot of them.
A lot of the time you were drunk or stoned which doesn’t help…
A lot of the stuff I just don’t remember whatsoever. Me and Shaun [Ryder] have a collective and maybe selective memory so we started reminding each other of things that have gone on. You could sit us down and get us to both tell a story about something that happened and we’d both have completely different recall.
How did going to Strangeways prison when you were 16 change you?
That didn’t have any change on me in any sense of reforming my character. At that age it’s an inconvenience more than a life-changing event. While I was there, I made the most of it and made friends. It wasn’t a miserable experience. I escaped my own reality through reading and I still do today. When I find myself reading, it’s normally not the most positive time. I believe there’s no such thing as a bad experience, just gaining knowledge.
You’ve got nine lives, and some. Is it just luck do you think?
It’s an element of luck because I wake up in the mornings, pull open the curtains and say to me wife, ‘How f***ing lucky are we?’ But you create your own luck as well. You create your own reality. I have been extremely lucky with my reality-making.
How many cars is it you’ve totalled now?
I don’t count. Cars and motorbike crashes, I’ve had a few. But I think I’ve got over all that now I’m older.
There was one motorbike crash where you nearly died…
When you’re at death’s door that’s a life-changing moment because you realise how precious and short life is. At any given moment it could just end like that and you don’t know when it’s coming. It made me realise that you’ve got to try and live your life to the fullest and as impeccably as you can.
You were kidnapped at gun-point in a drug-deal situation…
That was a major turning point as well. I eventually walked away from that side of my life forever. I realised that ifI can’t make any kind of living out of being myself, a f***ing , without having to resort to criminality, then I may as well give up.
I’m glad that happened because otherwise I might never have learned that lesson. Unfortunately I always learn my lessons the hardest way possible. The most important thing I’ve ever done for myself was going on a Vision Quest in the wilderness with basic survival gear.
You do all this self-psychology with no drugs involved, it’s just you fasting and drinking water. I even gave up smoking weed coming back from that journey, which I never thought I could do. I got that monkey off my back.
And your son Arlo is involved in your book as well…
I work with Arlo most weekends DJ-ing, so I got him to tell a few stories as well. He’s more sensible than me. He says, ‘Dad we’re going home now!’ Before I worked with him I could end up going out on really bad nights out.
You had quite a party for your wedding to Firouzeh…
Father Bob thought he’d lost control of his church at a few points. We started singing in the aisles and it was quite a rowdy service. My wife organised the wedding side and I took care of the party, which went on for two days.
Which TV show has been your favourite experience?
Gogglebox because I’m sat with my mate having a drink and a laugh. I’d love to see the outtakes with the stuff they can’t use.
Do you still see Shaun?
My youngest son and Shaun’s youngest daughter have struck up a friendship and I’m like, bloody hell! They got together at our wedding. I’m not sure a Berry/Ryder cross would be good for the world. Shaun’s in Salford, I’m in Herefordshire so it’s not too far.
Is it true you use ginger and turmeric instead of painkillers?
I’ve juiced for 10 years. I’ve got arthritis, I keep it under control through foods – things I use are anti-inflammatory. Like they say, food is medicine.
Buzzin’ by Bez is published by White Rabbit and available in hardback, paperback, ebook and audiobook