Shaun Ryder got so paranoid about being poisoned by Vladimir Putin he changed lyrics mocking the despot.
The Happy Mondays frontman, 60. wrote lines poking fun at the Russian warmonger in tunes for his new group, Mantra of the Cosmos, which also features Zak Starkey, 57, from The Who and Oasis bassist Andy Bell, 52, and Happy Mondays’ dancer Bez, 59.
Shaun told the new issue of Uncut magazine that even though he started off wanting to “put the boot into Putin” with his new tracks, he toned down the words after he started to get scared they could make him a target for assassination.
He said: “It started off worst than that, but we thought, ‘Let’s give this band a chance before we all get poisoned.’”
Shaun’s fears come after the 2018 Salisbury Novichok poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – and amid warnings 70-year-old Putin, who experts have said could be suffering from Parkinson’s disease, cancer and dementia, could launch a nuclear attack on the Ukraine and the West.
Dad-of-six Shaun added that instead of going down the political route, he started doing fun rhymes such as matching “laughing gas” with “working class”.
The former drug addict and party animal said about his chaotic songwriting technique: “We just press record and I get to throw a s***load of ideas down.”
He said lyrical themes have become “whatever floats me boat at the time”.
Zak Starkey has said Mantra of the Cosmos’ first single ‘Gorilla Guerilla’ is “a fantastic psychedelic groove from a band of misfits, outsiders and innovators”.
Shaun has said about the group: “It doesn’t sound like the Mondays or Black Grape or Oasis or The Who, it’s what we’re doing all together.”
The group, which played this year’s Glastonbury festival, was described in a press release announcing its formation as “a dubby, electronic, 21st century Hawkwind of a band destined to be experienced through epic live performances”.