Music History

Happy Mondays’ Drummer Gaz Whelan’s Short Story from All My Friends Are Junkies

Gaz is a mate of mine who, believe it or not, uprooted his family and moved to Burlington, Ontario. (His wife saw a real estate show on the telly and said “Oi! That Burlington place looks like a nice place to live! Let’s go there!” So they did.)

There’s a bio on the Happy Mondays called All My Friends are Junkies. Gaz contributed this short story from LouderThanWar:

As Happy Mondays drummer Gary Whelan looks ahead to not only celebrating the upcoming 25yr anniversary of the legendary ‘Pills, Thrills, Bellyaches’ album with an 18 date tour at the end of the year, but also the release of his own new solo EP ‘Grand Theft Audio’ with his group ‘Love & The Family Tree’ (due out in July) – Louder Than War are pleased to present an exert from his own brilliant collection of short stories; with ‘ALL MY FRIENDS ARE JUNKIES’.

All My Friends Are Junkies is Gary Whelan’s hilarious, honest and rather wonderfully written account about his joining the Mondays and the first impressions of both Ryder brothers he made. It’s probably the best inside story about the band ever written, and it’s just as funny as you’d expect it to be. Believed to be just one of 6 – 7 short stories written by Whelan, some Mondays related and some not, it’s hoped that, together with the now Happy Mondays manager Alan McGee, that these stories may be released together at a further date. But until then kick back and enjoy Gaz’s self penned intro into the world of the Ryder’s and of the Happy Mondays; as well as boozers, strippers, drugs and The Hacienda, with Part 2 due to follow soon…



“F**kin’ell Horse, stop lookin’ at y’swede in the f**kin’ mirror and watch the road.” Shaun blurted out as he casually punctuated his outburst by slapping the rear view mirror towards his direction. His lethargic tone suggested that he was bored rather than concerned with our immediate safety. “Shut up, y’dick,” was Paul’s best response, delivered in a well-rehearsed fashion, whilst aggressively flicking the mirror back into the direction of the driver seat. What ensued were several minutes of bickering and violent threats that exceeded the usual sibling rivalry. I was witness to all proceedings from the rear seat of the ice-blue 1974 Vauxhall Viva. A position I was quickly becoming accustomed to, as I was now the drummer in our newly formed musical quartet, Avant Garde.

The band had formed less than 6 months earlier after I had become the final member following the night I was ‘summoned’ to a rehearsal to watch the Ryder Brothers and guitarist Mark Day run through some rough sounding Joy Division and Depeche Mode songs. I was instantly asked to join for two reasons. One, I owned a drum kit, and two, (and far, far more importantly), I dressed and spoke the same talk as the brothers … I was ‘one of the boys’, or as the Plebes called us, Perry Boys – the Manchester equivalent of Liverpool Scallies.

Continue reading.


Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38165 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

Let us know what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.