Mark “Bez” Berry
Dancer and Percussionist
He was a Maraca Player, Dancer and the Mascot of Salford alternative rock band Happy Mondays, he is chiefly remembered for his bizarre style of dancing, and use of the Maracas.
After the Happy Mondays broke up, Bez became a member of Black Grape, a group founded by Mondays band member Shaun Ryder, but he left them in 1997. In 1997, he had a feature on the BBC2 Television programme – The Sunday Show called Science with Bez.
A book about his experiences in both bands,Titled- Freaky Dancin’, was published by Pan MacMillan in 1998.
He appeared on Celebrity Big Brother in 2005, and was voted as the winner of the series.
He used some of his winnings to improve the engine of his London Black Cab; the television show Pimp My Ride U.K customized 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.
The Happy Mondays again reformed: the third incarnation of the group had Bez touring with them. On 2 July 2007, they released their first studio album in 15 years entitled Uncle Dysfunktional.
He took part in Series 4 of Adrenalin 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 the Movie Golden Eye, building an ice hotel in the mountains, and undertook a jump from one cable car to another.
On 29 January 2012, Shaun Ryder announced on the 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 Philip Schofield. The band announced in September 2012 that they were writing their first album with the original line-up in more than 20 years.
Now at 54, Bez has no plans to hang up his maracas just yet.
In the film 24 Hour Party People, named after the Happy Mondays song, Bez is played by Chris Coghill.