Tuesday 28th November 1995. Bridlington Spa. The Stone Roses were playing up the road from me and I had a ticket. I didn’t go. Why? I’m still kicking myself to this day, why. Granted, Reni had already gone but John Squire, Ian Brown and Mani were still going to be performing in front of me on the stage beside the seaside. Maybe I stayed at home to press ‘next’ on my CD player trying to find the hidden track on Second Coming.
Thursday 7th April 2011. More than 15 years later, the holy bastion of truth and journalistic integrity, The Sun reports that Squire and Brown had met up and a reunion was on the cards. Gigs were murmured, a come back and Twitter, Facebook and the news media were all ablaze. The record industry could smell the potential £££s. It was even confirmed by Clint Boon, Inspiral Carpet organist, inspiration and helping hand to many a Mancunian musician, on his Twitter (@therealboon), ‘It's true that Ian & John met recently. It was at Mani's mum's funeral. We all went back to a pub in Failsworth. Ian & John got on great ...they spent a couple of hours chatting. All very relaxed n that.’ Wow. Could this be happening?
Would I get my chance to see them live? Would my unused ticket for the Brid Spa still be valid? Did I want this to happen?
Well, Mani set the record straight to the NME saying, “Two old friends meeting up after 15 years to pay their respects to my mother does not constitute the reformation of The Stone Roses. Please fuck off and leave it alone.”
Fine words from a fine bass player at a very personal time. In the past, Mani had said that the band would only reform after “Man City won the European Cup”. That’s a frightening possibility now. Well, give or take 5 years.
What of John, often cited as the main barrier to a reunion? I was a huge fan of The Seahorses, Squire’s post-split project for excessive fret noodling accompanied by a busker from York. I lost my cherry with Love Is The Law playing on the CD player in the background. But his solo album was, for want of a better word, shit. I’ve got his second album, Marshall’s House, somewhere but it never grabbed me. He seemed to put the final word on the reunion with his art, defacing his own work of a flattened box with the Tipp-Ex scrawled ‘I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses 18.03.09’. Dates are important looking at the history of such a ‘seminal pop group’ because, record company complications aside, it did take them an ice age to create the LP that gave us Ten Storey Love Song. His first solo effort was called Time Changes Everything so maybe there was the warming to the idea of the four Roses riding again. But like I’ve already said, that album was utter balls.
What of Ian Brown? A man whose limited vocal style was his trademark and strength, rather than his weakness. The genius behind F.E.A.R., Dolphins Were Monkeys and My Star. I had my date with him on Friday 18th September 2009, an interview via ISDN phone line for Q Radio Breakfast that I presented at the time.
We talked Michael Jackson , “Musically, I think Jackson’s one of the greatest, absolutely... but let’s be honest, he hadn’t had a great tune for 15 years at least but you can forgive him that for some of the gems he gave us before. To be honest, mixed feelings when he died. He kinda went off my radar in 1993 with the Jordy Chandler pay offs and all of that.”
From that, the trappings of fame, “You just got to be yourself, right. To me, I’m a music maker. I’ve got no ambitions to be a celebrity or even to be famous. My ambition is solely to make music and then take that to people, not for them to adulate me...” That led on to talk about family life, “I’ve just done 3 weeks in California with the kids. Just me and the 3 lads, boys holiday. It was great. Always a shame to come home. I always get depressed when I come back to England. Grey skies, grey long faces”.
He even offered me some special edition Ian Brown Superstars when we talked over our mutual love of the /// adidas. I stupidly knocked ‘em back because they were one size too small. Damn. That, and I don’t share the love of his favourite ZX700s, a style only resurrected because of a scally from Blackburn stealing a sole left shoe in Switzerland.
At the end of the interview, nerves jangling, adrenalin pumping but also strangely at ease after just chatting, not interviewing as such, with a musical hero, the fan part of my brain switched off and the broadcaster part came on. I had to ask THE question… What reply would I get from King Monkey?
“Is there any word on the boys getting back together?”
“Sorry, I think there’s a bit of a fault on the line. I can’t quite hear you.”
There could not have been a more perfect diplomatic yet intriguing answer given.
I’m happy for the Roses never to get back together. Unless they want to play the Bridlington Spa. If then, and only then, it’s a date. I’ll be the bloke in the Reni Hat. You won’t be able to miss me.
Written by Dan Morfitt on Saturday 9th April 2011, just after another away win for Hull City. Dates are important. If you’ve got a spare ticket for Pulp at Reading on Saturday, 27th August 2011, he’d be very gratefull
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