Losing My Edge: we asked Shaun Ryder what his favourite song is, really

Each month we ask an artist what's actually their favourite song. Shaun Ryder thinks he can remember his

DC: Hi Shaun! We’re here to talk about your favourite so–

SR: Now you see, already, this isn’t my favourite thing to do. My ADHD brain doesn’t really allow me to have just one fucking song. What did I pick again?

DH: It says here that you picked ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ by the Rolling Stones.

SR: Did I?

DH: Yep.

SR: I suppose you want to know why I picked it, don’t you?

DH: Yeah. Is that alright?

SR: I mean, I love all sorts of things in all sorts of different genres; I have so many different favourite songs, it’s hard to pick just one. ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash’ just always gets in my brain because it’s the perfect length for a pop song in the charts or if it’s playing on a jukebox or something like that.

DH: I know what you mean; it’s definitely one of those songs that get stuck in your head.

SR: It’s one of those songs that’s always been there, isn’t it? It was on the jukebox down the local when we were kids; in fact, one of my earliest memories is Tony Blackburn playing it on his show in the fucking ’60s or early ’70s. It’s always been around.

DH: What do you like most about it?

SR: I’m not really good with this sort of shit, mate. You’re not going to get any wonderful explanations out of me, like descriptions of the riffs or what key it’s in, mainly because I have no fucking clue. I don’t have the same wide range vocabulary of, like, what do you call it? A music journalist. It’s just a song I like, y’know? It’s groovy. I like the guitar licks on it. I like Bill’s bass. Jagger sounds great on it.

DH: That’s fine. You can enjoy a song just because it’s good. What’s wrong with that?

SR: Yeah, it’s just perfect. It’s a perfect fucking pop song.

DH: So I’m guessing you’re more of a Stones guy than a Beatles guy?

SR: Beatles, Stones, The Kinks, Motown, I like everything. Like I said, it’s impossible to choose just one.

DH: One of the things I hate about music is that everyone forces you to choose between the Stones and The Beatles like they’re football teams or something. You’re allowed to like both.

SR: Yeah, I won’t have it. I absolutely love both bands. The only thing that the Stones really have over The Beatles is that if you want to, you can still go and see them live, mostly because most of The Beatles are dead.

DH: Even when Lennon and Harrison were alive, they stopped touring and playing live shows back in ’69, right? I guess the best most people can do now is see Macca.

SR: That’s true. I’ve never seen Paul McCartney, though.

DH: You’ve seen the Stones, then?

SR: Oh yeah. I actually went to my first Rolling Stones gig with Ronnie and Keith.

DH: No way!

SR: I don’t really remember a lot about it. It was in the ’90s, and it was all sort of weird back then, but we ended up going to a gig because we were hanging out with the Stones a lot at the time. I’m pretty sure we were in LA, but it could also be London. But I do remember riding with them to the show and watching them play from the side of the stage. I remember there were all these tents and fairground rides set up outside their gig; it was like a fucking carnival or something.

DH: So you actually got to hang out with them quite a bit, then?

SR: Yeah, it was when we did that first Black Grape album. Ronnie’s kids and Keith’s kids loved the album, and me and Danny Saber met up with them and, I think, one of Keith’s sons. Danny ended up working on some Stones stuff and Stones remixes because they liked the record. In fact, we sat and listened to that first Black Grape album about ten times with Keith and Ronnie in an apartment somewhere.

DH: What did they reckon?

SR: They just kept saying “put it on” over and over again. It was fucking great.

DH: I mean, that’s high praise. They’re like the last of the proper rock stars.

SR: You know what, they’re the only people I’ve ever let sit talking to me and absolutely rip the fucking piss out of me. They just had proper fucking rock star vibes, if you know what I mean. They even spoke like fucking rock stars, with this sort of laid-back English-American “yeah man” kind of accent going on. It was wild, man, if you know what I mean?