same time as he was buying punk singles — embraced the return of hippy values like a long lost soulmate. All that‘s missing is Vietnam. Were there to be another conflict like the Falklands War. you suspect. the outcry from the young would be quite different from the dazed acceptance of 1982.
And by 1992? Crackdowns on partying are muzzling a culture which may be starting to play itself out already. Plus the number of Ecstasy advocates pointing to young people in casual clothes and saying. 'He’d have been out cracking heads on the terraces otherwise. so you can‘t say E isn’t doing some good.‘ or words to that effect. is getting predictably close to talk of the zealots who saw their Garden of Eden bulldozed by Altamont. Most youth movements tend only to be the launch pad for a couple of brilliant groups anyway. The question then is what do The Stone Roses do? Fade. or become another Who, who by the time they produced Tommy had no trace left of the Mod scene that they had cut their teeth on?
They grew out of the same Manchester melting pot that spawned Happy Mondays, 808 State, A Guy Called Gerald. Inspiral
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Carpets and a legion ofothers. building a following by passing out flyers to clubgoers advertising their warehouse gigs. But the schisms in the melting pot were apparent from the beginning. Other than their common background, Inspiral Carpets and A Guy Called Gerald have little in common.
The Stone Roses have all the ingredients that make a good rock band a great legendary one. But Ian Brown claimed last year, ‘We're trying to pull people away from rock’n‘roll, even though we use guitars. England hasn‘t done anything, musically, for quite a long time, I don’t think. Chicago and New York have been giving people the soundtracks.‘
When they released the ten-minute ‘Fool’s Gold’, reminiscent of Sly Stone, they were going for the danceﬂoor credibility and warning the industry that they were not willing to be turned into the next U2. While defining their fan base, they were asking the world to come to them on their terms.
Their attitude is prickly and uncompromising. ‘We‘re the most important group in the world.‘ said Ian Brown, ‘because we've got the best songs and we haven‘t even
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begun to show our potential yet.‘ It‘s one attribute they have in common with all the great rock bands. and showed in their refusal to open anyone else’s show, and the episode when they splashed paint all over the office of the boss of FM Revolver Records for re-issuing ‘Sally Cinnamon‘ with a video they didn‘t like. Watching from a distance. the consequent court case seemed like a stunt that had been set up so that The Stone Roses could join the ranks of the immortals like The Beatles or The Rolling Stones.
Their first brush with the tabloids came early. when Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens attacked them for being anti-Royalist — they were the first group to stir up antipathy in that particular quarter since The Smiths. and they don‘t stop there. Contemptuous ofthe British myth. Ian Brown is keen to point out that it was the British who set up the first concentration camps and Churchill who sent the army out to striking miners, with instructions to shoot to
kill. They‘re not even particularly enamoured with the democratic process. In their eyes, that’s just shuffling the deck when what is needed is a whole new pack. with vague guidelines of ‘positivity' and ‘communication‘. It‘s a familiar restlessness. an almost self-destructive desire for. as Jim Morrison would have put it. the whole shit-house to go up in ﬂames. Just to see what would happen.
Made uneasy by the constant harping-back to the past. we should. they insist, be looking forwards. but their own reference points — the ﬂares, the aura ofbands like the Stones. The Beatles. The Who. The Doors. The Byrds. the indelible mark ofJimi Hendrix on guitarist John Squire, the stimulant use — are all solidly rooted in rock. Which is why their avowed membership of the 8(ls-90s dance culture is so tenuous and fragile. The ethics of rock and the danceﬂoor are incompatible. which is The Stone Roses‘ central contradiction. When the band comes on, the revellers become spectators and the celebratory mood is overtaken by adulation. They are a rock band that threatens to be huge, which has reached the bursting point ofthe movement that sustained it through its early years. They began playing warehouses. moved on to playing Alexandra Palace and - last weekend — Spike Island in the Mersey. They dread ending up on ‘the Town and Country Club circuit'. but they must know that a crossroads is looming up before them.
The Roses are showing signs of nervousness. having recorded their new single. ‘One Love‘. three times before finding a version they were happy with. As when ‘Fool's Gold' came out. only more so, they know it has to be Number One or nothing. No disappointments will be tolerated by their growing legion of supporters. Will they break their fetters and fly. or fall when the hooded tops with their Aztec symbols are folded up and put at the back ofthe drawer?
The Stone Roses play on Glasgow Green on Sat 9.
They’re not even particularly enamoured with the democratic process. In their eyes, that’s just shuffling the deck when what is needed is a whole new pack. It’s a familiar restlessness, an almost sell-destructive desire for, as Jim Morrison would have put it, the whole shit-house to go up in flames. Just to see what would happen.
The List 1- l4June 199013