The Stone Roses is one of the greatest albums recorded. Most right minded people over the age of 30 would agree. It's influenced everything from Mick and John Head's masterpiece Waterpistol, to countless ill advised 90s bands that have since faded into obscurity.
They're a band that came along at the right time.
For me it was an end of term school trip, lads turning up on the bus comparing flare sizes and basin haircuts. Lads from Bradford suddenly wearing 'And on the Seventh Day...' t-shirts - something that irks now as much as it did then. The first time I saw that low-fi, whispered purple hazed bass kicking Kickers video on the third week of the month Indie Chart Show Chart.
I'd be going to gigs shortly after that. Then going from hanging round the village to heading into town. Dancing with people from all over Bradford. Mondays, Mary Chain, Screamadelica, Sonic Youth t-shirts a plenty. It was the music of the time. The 50s had rock and roll, the 60s the Beatles and the Stones. The 70s Glam, stadium, Punk. The 80s had Postcard, Ska, electronica. We had the Roses and the Mondays. The Mondays being the better band, mind. They may have been recycling 20-year-old Byrds songs over a funky drumbeat, but so what. It sounded amazing.
Skip forwards to a couple of weeks ago. An 'Indie do' in town. An infrequent event in a Bradford thats venues were demolished during the recent 'improvements' seemingly based on Hitler's plans for Coventry. The music? Mondays, New Order, Primal Scream and, getting the biggest cheers of the night. The Stone Roses.
The problem? It's a room full of blokes, mainly blokes, in their mid to late 30s at best. Dancing to music from 20 odd years ago. I had the sudden hollow stomached sense of realisation that we probably looked ridiculous. Especially to the younger kids who were milling about. The ones that would no doubt say: "The Stone Roses? Yeah, my dad plays them in the car." A young dj came on to take over, all piercings, odd hair and tattoos and looked at us like we were daft. We were cleared out for others to come in and dance to new music, long after they should be at home in bed. This isn't to say that the music of The Stone Roses isn't any less brilliant. Just that we've changed. As have those four plucky young lads from Greater Manchester.
There's a deep suspicion here that this is something driven by PR, box set deals, Sunday supplements and bandwagon chasers. A gentrified swagger. Packaged and iPhone 4s ready
Ian Brown has built himself rather a nice solo career as a singer and clothes horse for stuff he never used to wear - you almost expect photos of him to come with Ikea style product names and descriptions. In the process becoming something of a 'national treasure'. Not quite up there with Sir Mick or Cliff yet, but fawned over on various TV appearances by the type of people that were never there he first time round or would have probably got a pasting if they were. His first few albums, in places bettering the music of the Roses, begs the question why go back? He was struggling to sing songs written in the 80s in the early 90s. He was practically murdering them when I saw him at The Apollo a few years back. Fortunately you couldn't hear him, or the band over the thousands of blokes screaming the lyrics back at him in the kind of display that forced the Beatles to give live gigs up as a bad job.
John Squire has repeatedly said he's more interested in painting - which if you're into that kind of stuff he's pretty good at - rather than playing the guitar. Anyone that saw The Seahorses would think that was a wise move. Why the sudden change? Does he have a new found desire to create music again? It's only last year he said he'd never make music again, he couldn't do both. Reni did a Syd Barrett-esque vanishing act and Mani's had a pretty successful career himself coasting with Primal Scream by virtue of joining after their finest hour.
We've seen it with The Happy Mondays. A band that reformed as a tribute act to themselves, with Bez doing a bad impression of Bez that was less melon twisitng and more office Christmas party. Ryder's turned media darling to people who'd never have dared see them in their heyday. There's a deep suspicion here that this is something driven by PR, box set deals, Sunday supplements and bandwagon chasers. A gentrified swagger. Packaged and iPhone 4s ready. There'll no doubt be an app. A far cry from covering Manchester in graffiti and seeming like the type of lads you'd meet at a pub or gig.
Other bands have had a good stab at reforming. The La's have performed admirably. The same dozen songs they wrote all those years ago. And to be fair sounded majestic. But they're not The Roses. And good as The Roses were, there's no hint of Mavers' genius in them. And Mavers hasn't changed.
If the reunion does go ahead the frenzy will no doubt be unbearable. The websites selling tickets for 10 times the face value. Touts that don't even have to stick on their North Face and lurk on the street corner. Just log on or tip their 'mate' at the ticket agency. The whole thing has let down written all over it. There's a reason for the phrase 'never go back'. For every Stuart McCall coming back to lead your club to Premier League glory, there's a Stuart McCall coming back as manager only to depart 'by mutual consent'.
The Stone Roses created a great album. A sublime album. The soundtrack for a generation. It was right for that time. But the time's gone. They’ve all moved on, so have we and there's plenty of new bands for the next generation to enjoy out there. They don't need to latch on to past glories with the matching retro sportswear. So no, I'll stick with the memories and will celebrate The Stone Roses in the most fitting way. On the pub jukebox with a nice pint.
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