The Stone Roses may have just made a mint from their Heaton Park shows at the weekend. But after watching this revealing BBC documentary Blood On The Turntable – War Of The Roses – originally screened in 2004 – you can’t blame them for cashing in. Thanks to an unscrupulous manager and a series of legal wrangles, Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni were left with nothing but a big fat legal bill the first time around.
The hour-long programme is well worth watching in the wake of the band’s comeback. Here are five revelations we gleaned from it.
This guy blundered his way through record deal after record deal with the Roses and they rarely saw a penny of it despite their success. At one point the band were even awarded a Christmas cash bonus of £10,000 each by their record company, which he kept for himself to pay legal costs for their court cases. To add insult to injury, when the band found out about the bonus in question and Evans was eventually sacked, he sued them for a hefty chunk of their earnings, and won.
“The Roses could have been bigger than The Beatles”
That’s according to Noel Gallagher, and – who knows? – if things had panned out differently, they at least could have had a shot at it. After releasing their self titled debut album in 1989 they were blocked from recording any new material for three years when their former label Silvertone Records slapped an injunction on the baggy legends. Who knows what they could have produced if they’d been allowed to just get on with the job in the first place?
Despite bringing us Joy Division, New Order and the Happy Mondays, the late Tony Wilson hated The Stone Roses in the early days. According to former guitarist Andy Couzens, “he actively tried to stop us doing anything. Every corner we turned we felt like he was there shutting the door.”
The Stone Roses knew how to rebel
When former label FM Revolver released a shambolic video for ‘Sally Cinnamon’ without the band’s consent the Roses didn’t take it lying down. They each picked up a few tins of paint and drove down to the label’s offices in Wolverhampton. When MD Paul Birch answered the door, each member took it in turns to shower him and his wife in paint before they trashed his cars. They ended up in court but were let off with a fine.
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Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis wanted to sign the Roses before the success of their first album and the Roses were keen to put pen to paper. But Evans had other ideas and instead signed a deal which tied them to Silvertone Records for life at the time. This was the contract that eventually blocked the band from recording any material for more than three years.