The irreplaceable Alan "Reni" Wren turned 53 this week
The man once dubbed “the most naturally talented drummer since Keith Moon” by The Who’s Pete Townshend, Reni is the magic element binding The Stone Roses together, past and present. The bucket hat-donning prodigy has serious skill – a mad octopus when he picks up the sticks – and nowhere is it documented better than in this version of 1994 song ‘Love Spreads’.
With Reni’s drum part isolated, the spotlight shines on his incredible ability. In this version of ‘Love Spreads’, he sounds like he could play forever without breaking a sweat. Sod the Keith Moon comparisons, this guy was one of a kind. And to think that for the 1992 ‘Turns Into Stone’ compilation, former record label Silvertone swapped his recording on ‘I Am The Resurrection’ with a drum machine, thinking nobody would mind.
It’s a talent that extends to bass and guitar, according to his bandmates. Mani once said of him, in The Stone Roses 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Book: “He was that good, he could do anything. He’s done gigs with one arm – and he played with one arm it was as good as two! The guy is a total genius, a proper fucking one-off you know.” And an early NME interview saw journo Danny Kelly singing his praises: “In Amsterdam I’d watched him soundcheck for an hour on his own, slapping 17 shades of shining shite out of his kit for the sheer unbridled joy of playing.”
Reni turned 53 yesterday (April 11), and although he’s had a fractious relationship with the rest of the band in recent years (Ian Brown called him a c**t in 2012), now seems a good time to reflect on his talent.