Ben Hogwood writes: In case you were caught up in a vacuum yesterday, you’ll have heard the news. The Stone Roses are getting back together. Are you slavering with anticipation, like the band’s thousands of fans, at your idols heading out on tour? This is a world tour, no less, with a sizeable carrot dangled in our direction with the promise of new material. Or are you completely indifferent to another big British band announcing a second chance of a cash windfall?
Either way, this is a second coming you will not be able to ignore. In their heyday The Stone Roses proved themselves as one of the most important bands of the last 30 years, British or otherwise. The combination of Ian Brown’s distinctive vocals – bursting with charisma and promise – and John Squire’s guitar counterpoints, saying without words what Brown was emoting, was irresistible. Add the low slung grooves given by Mani’s bass and Reni’s drumming, and you had a potent mix that not only gave us one of the greatest debut albums but started a legacy of British music.
Oasis, Happy Mondays, The Charlatans – none of these groups would have turned out the way they did without the Roses’ influence. Nor, arguably, would more recent counterparts such as Doves, Kasabian or Reverend And The Makers. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
When musicOMH interviewed Ian Brown back in September 2005, he was pretty unequivocal in his rejection of a band reformation. On being offered £1million to reform, he said, “That was the latest offer, but I don’t wanna cheapen what we had – it meant everything to us after five years on the dole. We always believed, we never stopped thinking. Now, it’s like, I’ve got a nice house, I can have a chicken dinner every day, I’ve got two hundred pairs of trainers, electric gates. But it’s never been about the money. I’m not saying I couldn’t use a million, but I’m not gonna debase what we had.”
So what’s changed? Have Brown and Squire really buried the hatchet? And what can we expect from the new material? Brown’s vocals have improved for sure, and he has an increasingly impressive solo canon that shows an artist continuing to develop and challenge himself. His most recent album My Way was his best. Contrasting with that are the fortunes of Squire, whose main concern until recently has been his admittedly wonderful, Jackson Pollock-influenced artwork. That it has enjoyed considerably more acclaim than his music says much for the impact of his own solo albums, coming as they did off the back of the largely flat Seahorses project. It may well be that the key to the Roses’ success this time round is not the presence and inspiration of Brown, but whether Squire can rediscover that sizeable mojo once again. If he does, then the world could still be there for The Stone Roses to take once again.
The Stone Roses play Manchester’s Heaton Park on Friday June 29 and Saturday June 30, 2012. The dates will form part of an extensive world tour. Watch The Stone Roses reunification press conference now exclusively on www.thestoneroses.org
(Pic: Ken Mckay)