Bez performing in December 2007
|Birth name||Mark Berry|
|Born||18 April 1964 (age 49)
Salford, Lancashire, England
|Associated acts||Happy Mondays
Mark Berry (born 18 April 1964 in Salford, England), commonly known as Bez (and occasionally credited as Bez "Bez" Bez), is a British dancer, percussionist, author and media personality. He is best known as a member of the bands Happy Mondays and Black Grape.
He is the son of a police Detective Inspector. He was a maraca player, dancer and the mascot of Salford band Happy Mondays, having been invited in by lead singer Shaun Ryder shortly after the band was formed. He is chiefly remembered for his bizarre style of dancing, and use of the maracas. The band's second single was called "Freaky Dancin'", and is rumored to be a tribute to Bez, although Happy Mondays vocalist Shaun William Ryder says that this is not the case in his autobiography "Twistin' My Melon".
After the Happy Mondays broke up, Bez became a member of Black Grape, a group founded by Mondays band-mate Shaun Ryder, but he left in 1997 over artistic differences. In 1997, he had a feature on the BBC Two television programme The Sunday Show called Science with Bez. When both faced large tax bills, he and Ryder reconciled and reformed the Happy Mondays in 1998, but the reformed band was short-lived.
A book about his experiences in both bands, Freaky Dancin' (ISBN 0-330-48197-5), was published by Pan MacMillan in 1998. In the opening chapter Bez detailed a revealing incident during a Happy Mondays gig at Manchester's The Haçienda nightclub in 1986. In the middle of the set he fell off the stage and cut his forehead. In the book he writes: "The doc tells me to take it easy and put my feet up. I thought, 'I'm not fucking havin' that'. I got some of [lead guitarist] Moose's acid, dripped it in the cut and ran back out with me shakers. Fuckin' raz!"
He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in the UK in 2005, in order to pay off his outstanding tax bills, and was voted as the winner of the series. He was formally bankrupt at the time under his real name. He used some of his winnings to improve the engine of his London black cab; the television show Pimp My Ride UK customised it to make it suit him. After the cab was "pimped", it had twenty speakers, eight amps, two DVD players, fifteen TV screens and a camera on the grille linked to one of the screens, the sign saying TAXI on the top was changed to PIMP, and it had purple paint on the outside.
Bez has now split with the band Domino Bones, that included his ex-girlfriend Monica Ward. On guitar was Wags of Black Grape and Paris Angels fame with Rob from the Boo Radleys on drums and the Bodines' Ian 'Winker' Watson on bass. Their single "Rattle My Head" was produced and guested on by Shaun Ryder. They were the first unsigned band to be shown on and supported by VH2 and MTV2.
The British popular music newspaper the New Musical Express (NME) carried a series of articles about famous members of bands whose musical contribution to their bandmates' success was negligible. The newspaper used the name "Bez" as a generic label for the likes of Chas Smash of Madness, Andrew Ridgely of Wham!, Paul Morley of Art of Noise, Linda McCartney of Wings, and Paul Rutherford of Frankie Goes to Hollywood.
Bez lived for some time next to Shaun Ryder in Padfield, Derbyshire and in 2006 was promoting a compilation album called Bez's Madchester Anthems: Sorted Tunes from Back in the Day.
The Happy Mondays have again reformed: the 3rd incarnation of the group has Bez touring with them. On 2 July 2007, they released their first studio album in 15 years entitled Uncle Dysfunktional.
On 4 September 2007, Bez went head-to-head with royal correspondent James Whitaker on ITV television programme Don't Call Me Stupid and beat him. Bez and James taught each other about their respective specialist subjects: the Manchester music scene and royal etiquette, and then they were quizzed on what they had learnt. This was followed by a general knowledge round. Despite not knowing that the Queen has two birthdays, Bez still managed to win. His prize, as selected by James, was a bottle of posh red wine and a decanter so he didn't have to drink any cheap "poor person's" supermarket plonk.
Bez was again declared bankrupt on 31 March 2008.
He took part in Series 4 of Adrenaline Junkie (aired on 1 October 2008 on ITV2), the tasks involved taking on the world's biggest bungee down the front of the dam which featured in GoldenEye, building his very own ice hotel in the mountains, and undertook a terrifying mid-air jump from one cable car to another.
On 29 January 2012, Shaun Ryder exclusively announced on radio station Xfm that the band would return with the original and definitive line up of himself, his brother Paul Ryder on bass, Bez, Gary Whelan on drums, Rowetta as backing vocalist, Mark Day on guitar and Paul Davis on keyboards. They appeared on ITV's This Morning, and were interviewed by Phillip Schofield. Shaun Ryder pronounced that amends had been made, friendships reinstated, and that it was just like the old days, but without the madness.
The band announced in September 2012 that they were writing their first album with the original line-up in more than 20 years. The band are currently in the studio writing the new album which is scheduled for release in early 2013.
A UK and European tour has been announced for December 2012 including dates in Brighton, two nights at The Roundhouse, Camden, Manchester, Paris, Oslo, Berlin and Eindhoven. A US tour is planned for 2013 as well as dates in Australia and Asia.
He was announced as the headliner on the DJ stage at upcoming festival Party In The Pines near Scunthorpe and Broughton on May 3rd 2014.
In August 2010 he was convicted of physically assaulting his ex-girlfriend (Monica Ward, with whom Berry has a son) by throttling and threatening to kill her. He was sentenced to four weeks in prison after having first received a community service sentence but refusing to co-operate. He was arrested at Euston Station in London in November 2010 for breaching a restraining order Ward was granted following the prior assault, and escorted back to the North West to appear before magistrates in Manchester.
On 23 December 2010, the newspaper The Sun published an article complete with photographs of Berry in an organised bare-knuckle brawl in a scrap-yard office with Dom Morrison, bass player with Manchester band Space Monkeys. The accompanying article claims the brawl was organised as a 'straightener' between love rivals; Morrison is reported to be in a relationship with Ward. The brawl was ended by a referee after 15 minutes with both men walking away. The photographs show Berry bleeding from the eye and mouth.
Berry currently resides in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, four miles from Manchester city centre. He is a fan of Manchester United F.C. He is also a fan TV's Fifty Greatest Magic Tricks and BBC soap opera, Eldorado.
Bez also keeps bees, brews beer, and has lived on land-shares in Wales and Herefordshire.
- CD Listing
- "Bez Interview – Hit The Floor Magazine".
- Freaky Dancin', 2nd edition, Chapter 1, p. 6
- The London Gazette: . 14 February 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- The London Gazette: . 5 July 2005. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
- The London Gazette: . 8 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-17.
- "Ex-Happy Mondays star Bez jailed for girlfriend attack". BBC News. 25 August 2010.
- "Wanted Happy Mondays' Bez arrested at Euston station". BBC News. 23 November 2010.
- Smart, Gordon. "Scrappy Mondays". The Sun.
- Interview with Radcliffe and Maconie on BBC 6Music 19th, November, 2013
|Celebrity Big Brother UK Winner
Series 3 (2005)