THE STONE ROSES FEATURE
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the best thing I ever saw.’
Then suddenly. after a series of one- 77,321.
off Roses happenings, including Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, the Spike Island Festival and Glasgow ’
Green. they were gone. Lord Lucan, it???
Shergar. the'Stone Roses. As time fa,‘
passed, the music and the promise it , , held began to take on a hallucinatory, unreal quality. It seemed the band had avoided the issue of the difficult second album by simply refusing to make one at all.
‘lt’s time to see who’s who.’ was Ian Brown’s verdict on the 905 as the new ﬁg. decade dawned. But for a long time it looked like the Roses would be nothing more than a hazy memory in the minds of twentysomethings for whom the band’s classic repertoire -— ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘Made Of Stone’, ‘1 Am The Resurrection' — had provided the soundtrack for a generation.
Then a year ago they were back with the glorious. arrogantly titled album Second Coming. Court actions against their old record company Silvertone meant its release had taken longer to engineer than that of Beirut hostage John McCarthy. After a low-key launch. the album peaked at number four in the pre-Christmas charts.
Mani. alias John Mountfield. insists he loses no sleep by worrying that the true believers might have turned agnostic during the Roses- free hiatus. He can’t wait for Barrowland. especially as the last single ‘Begging You’ did better in Scotland than anywhere else. ‘Yeah. in like a bullet and out like a thermonuclear device. man.’ he says. ‘I fucking love the city and we‘re really looking forward to it. Glaswegians and Mancunians click. We had a brilliant gig at the Green and the city’s never let us down.’
Last September’s ‘secret’ gig at Glasgow’s Garage was scuppered when drummer Reni took up his hi—hat and walked. The band’s headline slot at Glastonbury in August was filled by Pulp when John Squire broke his shoulder — not by driving Rollers into swimming pools. but by falling off a mountain bike. Last month Ian Brown contrived to get two teeth removed in an Australian bar by a man with no previous record as a dentist. Just how reliable are the Stone Roses?
‘We’ve put the house in order since then,’ says Mani. laughing. ‘We’re in shape for it and we’re prepared. We won’t let you down.’
This seems like a good point to raise the sensitive issue about lan Brown’s singing. On his albums he sounds like a choirboy on a trip. On stage his vocals have been compared to ‘someone shouting into a tin bucket’. Mani is
worried. ‘lan can be a bit flat at times but you can’t be perfect every night. Everybody’s not standing at the side of the stage with clipboards giving marks out of ten for tone. He gets a bit of criticism, but it’s the vibe and the spirit that’s important. It’d be boring if it was predictable every night — it’s good to fly by the
‘A lot of people expected us to repeat ourselves on the last album, but the day you do that, it’s time to kick it in the head. We over-analysed the Second Coming, so this time it’ll be ﬂash, bang, wallop. warts and all.’
seat of your pants.’
This, it transpires, is as near as the Roses get to rock ’n’ roll excess now they are all fathers. ‘We’re more likely to redecorate the hotel room than smash it up.’ says Mani. ‘We’ve always been well-behaved boys on tour. l’ve just got a new son three months ago. It was hard to go on a five-week tour to Japan just after he’d been born, but we’re getting a good chance to do all our father and son bonding stuff now.’
Isn’t he annoyed that Second Coming only made number four while every other Manchester band from Black Grape to the Charlatans and Oasis have been queuing up for
the Top Spot? ‘Everyone says if we’d waited for the New Year we’d have gone all the way. but it’s not about wanking off over your chart position and crying because Shakin’ Stevens is number one and Cliff Richard is number two. It was ready so we put it out. You won’t catch us studying the , schedules to see if Blur are coming out this week so we can avoid them. But I’m really chuffed for Shaun Ryder and Black Grape. Shaun and Bez and the Happy Mondays were our best mates from the first time round. You can’t keep a good band down. man.’
We might not have to wait until the new millennium for the next Roses album. Mani claims that the Roses have discovered the work ethic: ‘lt’s the new, improved brand of Roses. We’ve got gigs until New Year and four, ﬁve, ' six weeks in the studio. The new album will be out by summer. We’re fresh and well-rehearsed and John’s written some amazing stuff.’
The last two albums had more religious imagery than your average «. Greek Orthodox church. Is John still
.' pursuing his spiritual. Led Zeppelin " inﬂuences? ‘I don’t know where all the "' holy themes come from because John’s not a particularly religious guy,’ says ‘We’ll probably end up burnt at the stake for blasphemy. man. A lot of people expected us to repeat ourselves on the last album. but the day you do that. it’s time to kick it in the head. The new stuff could be dub, but it’ll be different. We over-analysed the Second Coming. so this time it’ll be flash, bang, wallop. warts and all.’
Can we take this as reassurance that John Squire’s reincarnation as a 70s vintage guitar icon does not mean the Roses are going progressive? ‘Don’t worry man. we’ll leave the concept albums to Rick Wakeman,’ says Mani.
Most importantly, it seems that the replacement of Reni with new drummer Robbie J. Maddix and a five-year sabbatical has not mellowed the ambition of a band with enough attitude to give second helpings in a borstal. ‘Now we’ve got the momentum going again we’re going to keep it up,’ says Mani. ‘We’re always thirteen in our heads no matter how old we get. It’s going to be a good year for the Roses.’
As Roses hysteria prepares to take a surge of national grid proportions, the agenda remains the one outlined by Ian Brown in She Bangs The Drums: ‘Kiss me where the sun don’t shine. the past is yours but the future mine.’
The Stone Roses play the Barrowland, Glasgow on Tuesday 19 and Wednesday 20 December.
The List l5 Dec 1995-11 Jan 19967