HE is the larger than life lead singer of the Happy Mondays with a hellraiser past.

Now Shaun Ryder is back on the road with the band for a marathon 29-date Greatest Hits Tour which includes a date in at Bournemouth’s O2 Academy on Thursday, December 19.

We caught up with the star to find out more...

What can Happy Mondays fans expect from the upcoming Greatest Hits tour?

“We will still be alive. We will still be breathing. It will be a good show, better than ever really. The sex and drugs have gone and now it’s just the rock ‘n’ roll. We are better than ever live and when I listen to the old records – like when we took Bummed out and I listened to the album for the first time since 1988 – I said to myself: pat yourself on the back, lad.”

How do you feel the band has progressed?

“Between me and you, the Mondays onstage now are better than ever. We are adults now and everyone can see the truth. We worked out how to be a band. We all get to the gig differently and show each other respect…and it doesn’t hurt that the songs are brilliant!

“I’m not an artist and I don’t say I come alive on stage. When I walk on stage I feel naked and I feel like I’m dying. I’m not a proper artist.

“I come alive when I come off stage and I’m with normal people and I can be Shaun. I don’t have to be off my nut any more. I’m happy with who I am. I know from doing TV that I can just go and act, play the part.’

The Happy Mondays’ classic line-up of front man Shaun Ryder, Bez (freaky dancing and percussion), Rowetta (vocals), Gary Whelan (drums), Paul Ryder (bass), Mark Day (guitar) and and Dan Broad (MD/guitar/keys) will perform timeless hits such as Step On, Kinky Afro, Hallelujah, W.F.L., Loose Fit, Judge Fudge and 24 Hour Party People, amongst many others.

The Happy Mondays were pioneers of the 'Madchester' sound in the 80s, part of the UK’s emerging rave scene, with their blend of funk, rock, psychedelia and house music.

In 2016, the Happy Mondays won the Ivor Novello’s Inspiration Award, cementing their reputation as one of Britain’s most influential and loved bands.