The Stone Roses have officially reformed. The original line-up – frontman Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Mani and drummer Reni – announced the news at the conference at London’s Soho Hotel at 3pm this week (Oct 18th).
The Stone Roses revealed plans for two homecoming gigs at Heaton Park on June 29-30 next year. They also revealed they are working on new material and intend to perform some at the shows.
This week’s NME magazine tells the inside story of the music event of the year.
In honour of the news, we dug out a classic NME interview from 1999.
Ian Brown reportedly sent a text to a friend saying: “We are going to rule the world again. It’s happening.” Here’s a look back at their history via 50 facts you might not know about the band, starting with the revelation that bassist Mani is a fanatical darts player.
The Stone Roses’ self-titled debut album, released in 1989, was named the greatest British album ever by NME in 2006.
Their first gig was in October 1984, supporting Pete Townshend at an anti-heroin concert at the Moonlight Club in London.
The Stone Roses took their name from a 1959 spy thriller of that title by Sarah Gainham. It was published in the UK in 1971 as a mass-market paperback. It’s out of print now, but you can find second-hand copies on Amazon.
Before The Stones Roses, John Squire landed a job at Manchester based animation company, Cosgrove Hall where he worked as a model maker. The company was responsible for children’s television programmes, such as Wind In The Willows, Danger Mouse, Noddy and later Count Duckula.
Noel Gallagher is another big fan of The Stone Roses. He said: “The whole album is so well executed. It’s the exact expression of what that group was about. It was so fucking on the money that it could have been recorded tomorrow morning.”
Mani’s an avid fisher, and appeared on a TV show called Trout ‘n About. He’s also a regular pundit on Soccer AM as a devoted football, and Man U, fan.
‘Bye Bye Badman’ was written about the French student riots of 1968.
Earlier this year John Squire said of band’s reuniting: “When it’s just a get-together for a big payday and everyone gets their old clothes out, that seems tragic to me.”
After leaving Guns N’ Roses in 1996, guitarist Slash offered to replace Squire in the Roses following his departure in that same year. The group rejected the offer.
Ever wondered why there are lemons on the cover of ‘The Stone Roses’? It’s a reference to the line “citrus-sucking sunshine” in ‘Bye Bye Badman’, which in turn was inspired by the time Brown met a Frenchman who’d been part of the 1968 Paris student uprisings. He told them that the protesters had bitten down on lemons to overcome the effects of teargas.
Before their debut album emerged, The Stone Roses picked up some woeful early reviews. In 1988, Melody Maker described one live show as sounding like “fingers scraping down a blackboard”.
The famous false coda in ‘I Am The Resurrection’ was not planned. Mani recalls: “We were in the studio and throwing it down. There was lots of eye contact, and then [we all thought] right, stop. And then… bam!”.
New Order bassist Peter Hook was offered the chance to produce The Stone Roses’ debut album, but turned it down as he was busy recording ‘Technique’. Earlier he had produced the ‘Elephant Stone’ single, a job that has earned him $50,000 in royalties to date.
John Squire’s Jackson Pollock style paintings adorned the cover of the their singles and albums.
Liam and Noel Gallagher both saw The Stone Roses supporting James at Manchester’s International 2 venue on May 30, 1988. At that gig, Noel was invited to audition to be The Inspiral Carpets’ singer. He didn’t make the grade, but later became their roadie instead.
John Squire said that ‘Elephant Stone’ was about “love and hate, war and peace, Morecambe and Wise.”
The Stone Roses were great friends with fellow Madchester band the Happy Mondays. They even had nicknames for each other. Ian Brown was known as Mean Boy because of his aggressive stare, while Happy Mondays’ bassist Paul Ryder was known as Big Arm.
The Stone Roses recorded their debut album at Battery Studios, northwest London. Former glamour model and singer Sam Fox, who was on the same label, would often turn up to hang out and make tea.
‘The Is The One’ was written after Martin Hannett locked them in a room and said they wouldn’t be let out until they wrote a song.
The American version of the video for ‘Love Spreads’ featured Beck making a cameo.
Ian Brown admitted that some of the lyrics to ‘Fools Gold’ were inspired by the Humphrey Bogart film The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre.
‘Waterfall’ is referenced in Ian Brown’s collaboration with Noel Gallagher ‘Keep What Ya Got’.
Simon Wolstonecroft was the original Stone Roses drummer, before being replaced by Reni. He went on to play with The Fall, but before that was a member of The Weeds – considered by many Manchester scenesters to be the city’s great ‘lost band’.
Manchester United FC use ‘This Is The One’ as their entrance music for home games. Ian Brown is a season-ticket holder in the Stretford End at Old Trafford, and is such a huge fan he insisted his 2006 NME Goldlike Genius Award was presented by Reds legend Teddy Sheringham
Early Stone Roses gigs frequently ended in violence. Mani recalls one gig at Clouds in Preston, March 29, 1985. “About three songs in, people started whacking each other with chairs, pool cues. It seemed like the entire town of Preston had turned up to have it with us.”
The Stone Roses’ appearance on ‘Top Of The Pops’ alongside the Happy Mondays in November 1989 has gone down in legend. What the cameras didn’t show was the druggy carnage backstage. Mani recalls: “We all got pilled up and started necking everything we could find. We were beating on the Fine Young Cannibals’ door and trying to get them E’d up, shoving coke at anyone we met.”
Although most of ‘The Stone Roses’ was penned at speed in the weeks after the band signed a record deal with Silvertone, ‘I Am The Resurrection’ was one of the first songs they ever wrote, back in 1985. Only, as Ian Brown explains, “It used to be at breakneck speed and we slowed it down.”
The Stone Roses bonded with John Leckie, who went on to produce their debut album, at a Stockport pizza restaurant in 1988. Leckie recalls: “Reni said, ‘What’s your favourite record ever?’ I came out with Love’s ‘Forever Changes’ and they all fell about and said, ‘That’s our favourite record as well!'”
On August 12, 1989 The Stone Roses played their biggest gig to date at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom, in front of 8,000 people. However, their sense of triumph was shattered when they came off stage to learn that one of Mani’s best friends had killed himself after being arrested for drug possession. The bassist reflects: “Everything we did was tinged with sadness.”
Bananarama sampled ‘Fool’s Gold’s’ bassline on their single ‘Only Your Love’.
While recording their debut album the band were stoned for much of the time. “No wonder that LP sounds so mellow,” remarks Mani. “We were constantly stoned to fuck.”
Elbow guitarist Mark Potter once delivered a pizza to The Stone Roses while they were recording 1994’s ‘Second Coming’ in Bury’s Square One Studios.
The Stones Roses made their first appearance on British TV when they performed on The Late Show. Famously there was a power cut and Ian Brown wandered off shouting “amateurs!”
The B-side of ‘Made Of Stone’, ‘Going Down’ makes a reference to Jackson Pollock with the line “Yeah, she looked like a painting, Jackson Pollock’s Number 5.”
Writer Richard Milward named his second novel after their single ‘Ten Storey Love Song’.
‘Fool’s Gold’ was originally the B-side to ‘What The World Is Waiting For’.
‘Fool’s Gold’ was built around a loop from James Brown’s ‘Funky Drummer’.
John Squire said of ‘Fool’s Gold’: “The main riff was partly inspired by Johnny Cash’s rockabilly plucking sound, that muted guitar sound you get when you just play on the bass string.”
John Squire mysterious said of ‘I Am The Resurrection’; “(It’s) a murderous attack on one individual. I don’t want to tell you who it is.”
The cherubs featured on the ‘Love Spreads’ sleeve were later stolen from the Newport Bridge.
Ian Brown originally played bass in the band, but for his obvious charisma was promoted to singer.
Bobby Gillespie said of ‘Love Spreads’ that it was “the greatest comeback single ever.”
John Squire said that their last single ‘Begging You’ was based on Public Enemy’s ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’ track.
John Squire designed the cover of the single of ‘Begging You’ using floppy discs.
Aziz Ibrahim replaced John Squire for their infamous 1996 Reading festival gig. He continued co-writing with Ian Brown after the band’s collapse.
In 2009 John Squire said “music was a young man’s game,” and he would be dedicating himself to art.
A partial reunion took place in 2007 when Ian Brown was joined onstage by Mani at Andy Rourke’s Manchester Versus Cancer gig.
In April of this year Brown and Squire had an emotional reunion at the funeral of Mani’s mother.
Happy Monday frontman Shaun Ryder said back in April: “I think [a reunion will] happen, I really do. There is more of a chance now than ever of them getting back together. Ian’s just split with his missus and I bet she’s hit him for a few quid. The only reason they will get back together is if Ian needs the cash. He never has before, he’s a millionaire.”