Mal Ryder - real name Paul Bradley Couling
Has spent the last 38 years in Italy where he is a household name
Mal Ryder and the Spirits
Paul Bradley Couling started out singing with a group called The Meteors but was soon poached by an Oxford Band, The Spirits. Changing his name to Mal Ryder to fit the mood of the time, the band set off on non-stop tours around the country.
They hit the recording studios where they came up with four 45s - "Cry Baby", "See the funny little clowns", "Your friend" and "Lonely Room".
A new contract gave them the opportunity to work in Germany which they jumped at. They toured with Johnny Mike & The Shades but were working 6 hours a night and when they finally returned to England they were burnt out. They split up.
Mal took up work with his father in the building trade but continued to sing on a semi-professional basis until he was asked to join The Primitives. Having released a single on Pye called "Every minute of every day" the band were offered work abroad and went to Norway, followed by Spain and finally Italy.
The Italians loved them and they had hit after hit. Mal has been there ever since. He does regular TV appearances, has toured the world and had a long running part as 'Teen Angel' in the Italian production of the musical "Grease".
Married to Renata, he has two beautiful children, Kevin Paul, who is the spitting image of his dad and little Karen.
Mal with Jay Roberts of the Primitives who passed away in 1995
They used to say "you weren't anyone until you played "The Cali." It was the
biggest best gig around in the 60's, all the top names went there. We were
honoured to get booked. Even though we'd made 4 records, we were considered a
small group from Oxford, but we soon proved our worth, as the first time we were
put on the small stage at the far end, but after, always on the big one. We had
quite a big following around the area.
"The Cali." was the only gig I can remember where we were asked to turn up, and not down!!! It was a big place, a groups paradise!!, and the girls?? if I hadn't left for Germany just after our last show there in 65, I would have quite possibly settled down in Dunstable??. But Germany changed my life as the band broke up, and we returned to England, so all future bookings at "The Cali." were cancelled. I hope I didn't break too many hearts??
I later joined the "Primitives" and went to Italy in 66. where I've made an incredible success selling maybe 10 million records, stared in 4 films, toured the world many times, USA, Australia, Japan, South America, etc. etc. I'm still living in Italy and even though the years are ticking by I'm still invited on TV at least once a week and doing about 100 or so gigs a year. Anyway its all on my web site. If anyone's interested and remembers me, please get in touch, as, my memory needs a little jogging, because after all that's happened in my life I've decided to write a book, and I want the days of "The California Ballroom" to have an important part in it.!!!!
I'm going back on the road as 'Mal and The Primitives' again after 35 or more years, obviously not all the original members are available, only one, Dave Sumner the guitarist (who played with Noel's group Johnny Mike and the Shades, before joining me and the Primitives in 1965) Dave still lives in Italy and is playing better than ever. As you may remember Jay Roberts our bass player ( real name Geoffrey Robert Farthing ) died on the 21st of September 1995, and David (Pique) Withers after leaving The Primitives and going back to England In the early 70's, Formed The Dire Straits, and did very well for himself.
Even though we're still in touch, and have started to record an album together, this experiment with The Primitives is at the moment only for Italy, but if interest spreads, as it might well do, (because a CD. that was released a few years ago in England, of all the old Mal and the Primitives recordings (28songs) sold very well so they tell me.)
Who knows old Pique might want to join the band again. But for the time being I'm using a mixture of Italian and English musicians I've found working here in Italy. We have also started to record a new album, with the hope of finding a company to release and promote it. These are hard times for us young Musicians!!!!!
All the best for now