Photos by Sue Dean and Lena Kagg Ferrero
Next came the Sally Cinnamon video; a catastrophe. It was a put together by FM Revolver to promote the re-release of the 1997 single the Roses had recorded for the label. Slung together, without the band’s involvement, from a couple of days filming around ‘Madchester’ shrines such as Afflecks Palace, the band Roses reacted aggressively to its release. They famously attacked the label’s Wolverhampton HQ (the boss, his wife, his cars and his accountant) with paint. The Roses spent the next nine months with a jail-threat hanging over their heads. It meant their liberty was at stake when the came to play Spike Island, their most famous gig to date. The fiasco of filming that is documented in War And Peace. Briefly Evans had arranged a £100,000 deal with Central TV to film the event. The compnay had set up an 8-camera shoot and outside broadcast vehicle on site. On the day of the gig the Roses refused to be filmed. Only the quick thinking of promoter Phil Jones resulted in footage existing of this seminal moment [it has been found]. A random kid had been hanging out with his little camera during the stage build, and when the Central TV deal collapsed, Jones told the kid he could film the show.
The official nadir was the video for the single One Love. The long awaited follow up to Fools Gold; a single planned to be released to coincide with Spike island, but for various reason, not out until July 1990. One of the delays concerned the problematic nature of the video shoot: like Fools Gold, a slow-mo affair with the band miming the song as if live – this time in front of a fire backdrop; the Roses going up in flames.
The band had wanted the video to be directed by The Bailey Brothers but the idea had been derailed by Tony Wilson’s objections to the Mondays’ famed video team working with Roses. “The Roses ended up doing the [One Love] video in Vector Television in Stockport [Heaton Mersey, a massive studio where they made ads and programmes, and where Take That’s first video was made in 1991],” says Keith Jobling of The Bailey Brothers. “The guy there didn’t have a clue what he was doing. They super-imposed on the fire back drop and it was amateur, awful, rubbish. On a technical level you play at the highest level you can afford.”
“For One Love we had about three ideas with them and we kind of got stuck on one to do it on the top of a building with a helicopter,” said Jobling. “And we were genuinely disappointed when Wilson came along and threw his toys out of his pram and said there’s fucking no way you’re doing it. He turned up once when they were there and typically he put this really brave smile on and was really nice to them. The Roses said, okay guys we’ll talk to you and we’ll get the label to get in touch and Wilson would be going no no you’re not fucking doing it. You can’t fucking do it. Well, why? He said, Think about it, it’s not right for the story. And we’d be like what story are you talking about? He’d be like the story about the war of the bands [between the Mondays and Roses]… and we’d be like of yeah I forgot - because there wasn’t one. Wilson was a genuine mate, we spent huge amounts of time with him. It would have been like a family feud if we’d turned round and said we’re doing it. We’d talk to him and say look there’s nothing wrong with it and it’s a really good song. He’d say give it to someone else I don’t want the Bailey Brothers touching it…
“Part of the reason we never did anything was we were warned that you’ll never get paid, you’ll get fucked over, don’t trust him Gareth"
“I felt the Roses got a bit of a raw deal on the visual front,’ added Jobling. “They’re not really videos are they? Shaun [Ryder] can quote you whole films verbatim, every character. Shaun knows every film that’s ever been made. You can talk to Shaun about a film you think no-one else has every seen and Shaun’s got two copies of it. The Stone Roses were exactly the same. You’d talk about Zebriskie Point, or weird underground West coast Shit, The Trip, Vanishing Point, and they’d know everything… The Roses got some really shit advice… We ended up doing a lot of things with the Monday because they trusted us to do something that was valid for them, the other thing was they knew we weren’t trying to rip them off… the Roses didn’t have a label who were inventive enough or creative enough to work with them or do them justice visually.
“In some ways how we used to treat the Mondays [for video shoots] was like wild-life documentary makers,” laughed Jobling. “We used to get them to be as completely natural and try and get as far away from them as we could, and film them like they were like a pride of lions on the Serengeti, don’t disturb them just let them do their own thing, they never had a camera shoved in their face until late in the process… It was sympathetic to their character, we could have done something equally sympathetic with the Roses but the Roses never ended up finding anyone who could do that for them. John [Squire] was incredibly visual, literate guy. Ian was like Shaun, he had tons and tons of stuff that he’s got to play with… both bands had much more intelligence than you would have given them credit for from the outside.
“If I’d have been them and come to see us and said can you do us a video, and we’d said yeah we’re going to do it and then we said we can’t…” added Jpbling. They said oh don’t tell us because of Gareth [Evans]? We’d go like Wilson hates Gareth, get rid of Gareth and we’ll do a video. The Roses never said a bad thing, they never behaved badly… people kind of look at them and think, look at all that attitude they must be terrible to work with but they were genuinely just nice guys… same goes for the Mondays. If the Roses had found a visual guru to work with they could have done anything. They could have done animation… the sound was very expansive it was like a big sound, and I think when you’re doing visuals, you have to do something that matches that sound…
“Part of the reason we never did anything was we were warned that you’ll never get paid, you’ll get fucked over, don’t trust him Gareth,” reflected Jobling. “I very rarely heard anybody say a good word about Gareth… if he’d had leprosy people would have been kinder about him.”
The Roses didn’t release another single for over four and a half years. By then Evans had been sacked; the Roses were managerless and rudderless. Brown and Reni didn’t want to do any photographs or videos for their comeback with the album Second Coming. Squire would use various clips from the footage he’d taken on his Super 8 camera over the years to make a video for lead single, Love Spreads (released late November 1994). It featured Brown, Squire and Mani in death, chicken and devil costumes. It was easily the band’s best video to date – but another disaster as it was deemed so low-fi as unfit for purpose by their new label Geffen (who had been waiting almost four years for this moment).
In LA the Roses re-shot the video for Love Spreads with director by Steve Hanft who’d directed the video for Loser, the breakthrough US Top 10 single for the Roses’ Geffen label mate Beck. True, you could see the band more clearly in this version, but the original video had been far superior. The band performed live in front of oil wells pumpjacks, Brown looking healthy and handsome in a deer stalker and Squire throwing guitar shapes in a fetching tanks top. Mani and Reni seemed less enthusiastic. The as if live studio playing was intercut with a bizarre bar room scene that featured Reni laying asleep on top of the bar. Beck (who struck up a rapport with Squire) had a small cameo and Squire memorable was shown playing his guitar riding on a donkey.
Now over 16 years later, Shane Meadows has a chance to finally get the best out of the Roses on film. It will not be easy.
In March 1995, a second single from the album was released; Ten Storey Love Song. The video was shot by English director Sophie Muller best known for her work with The Eurythmics, Sade, Shakespeare’s Sister and Annie Lennox. Remarkably, drummer Reni did not even bother to show for the video shoot, and was instead represented by a Pennie Smith photo of his head blown-up and stuck on a stick. Brown also missed the first day of the two days shoot.
Miller, who had recently, made videos for Weezer, Hole [both on Geffen] and Jesus and the Mary Chain had discussed the video storyline in New York with band. Geffen handed her huge budget. The shoot was planned to take place in London. Muller hired a huge crew and did a big set build. On the first day, just Squire and Mani showed. “I think what happened was that it was Ian's son's birthday,” she said. “And he wanted to go to the birthday party and he was still up north. And I remember saying to them, does he realise that there's sixty people just sitting waiting? It was one of those weird, kind of surreal things. He phoned and said he'd be down later, and I was like, down later ? This is a film-shoot! The record company were freaking out. Ian turned up right at the end of the day and said, let's get on with it. I showed him the script and he said, oh I don't want to do any of this. I was like, what do you mean you don't want to do it, that's the script, haven't you seen it before? And he went, no! I just thought it was hilarious, there was this huge video and two of the band didn't turn up and then when one of them did turn up, he didn't want to do the idea because he hadn't read the treatment!”
Finally, in November 1995 - with Reni now departed and replaced by new drummer Robbie Maddix and a much-anticipated UK tour starting at the end of the month - Begging You was released as single. Always adverse to remix work, this was the first Roses single that featured only that, the original track plus six remixes for various formats. “I got asked to do Begging You,” says Maddix. “So we’re in Monmouth, we’re bored. The record company asked if they could do mixes. So straight away Ian, said Robbie you’ve got to do a mix. I did have a feeling - I don’t think John would like me to. I did it and it was funky as hell. But I wanted John to put guitar on it, just to have fun with it. Mani heard it, said wicked, kind of like Fools Gold, same kind of thing, funky drummer kind of thing. John came in and he didn’t like it. They weren’t used to doing remixes. When John came in, he didn’t say it was good or bad, he just made a face. I thought, I don’t want to do something you don’t like but to be honest that’s what happens with a remix. He didn’t really get what the process of doing a remix was for. I think he thought I was doing what I think the Roses should sound like. I think he was bit put out.”
The single peaked at No 15 in the UK charts. The band barely bothered to promote it. The video intercut live footage from the European leg of 1995 tour with four kinky booted, bikini clad female dancer gyrating, each wearing a mask of one of the band members, plus indigenous dancing from around the world. It was actually pretty funny.
Now over 16 years later, Shane Meadows has a chance to finally get the best out of the Roses on film. It will not be easy. The film has the potential to be a Scorsese-classic, and a huge commercial hit. But, this being the Roses, there is the strong possibility that they could fuck this up as well. All you can do is cross your fingers and check the wind.
The Stone Roses: War and Peace by Simon Spence is published by Viking, £20 hardback, available here.
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