It’s finally happening. A new Stone Roses song is coming this evening at 8pm (BST) (May 12). It’s been more than 20 years since the beloved Manchester group last put new material out, and even following their 2012 comeback, it’s never been a certainty that they’d ever release anything again. Here we chart the long and winding road to this point.
The Stone Roses release their divisive second album ‘The Second Coming’.
The group release single ‘Ten Storey Love Song’, which features two new tracks ‘Moses’ and ‘Ride On’ as the B-Sides. The songs are the last new material the group will release. In the same month, drummer Reni leaves the group and is replaced by Robbie Maddix.
Guitarist John Squire grants NME an interview following his departure from the band. During the interview he admits, “I wish we’d made more records”.
Following a maligned performance at Reading Festival the remaining band members hold a shambolic press conference. Singer Ian Brown claims that the new lineup – comprised of himself, Mani, Aziz Ibrahim (guitar) and Robbie Maddix (drums) – are recording new material and that ‘we all write’ the songs.
The Stone Roses are finished once and for all. The group’s two remaining original members, Ian Brown and bassist Mani, decide to dissolve the group.
Squire gives an interview with NME about his forthcoming record with new band, The Seahorses. He says that he doesn’t regret what happened with the Roses but admits ‘I wish it had been different”.
Ian Brown releases his debut solo album ‘Unfinished Monkey Business’. Both Mani and Reni appear on the track ‘Can’t See Me’ which Brown confirms is “a groove that Mani wrote for the Roses but John wouldn’t play it,” Aziz Ibrahim and Robbie Maddix – who both briefly played with the Roses – also appear on the record.
While promoting his debut solo album, ‘Time Changes Everything’, John Squire denies rumours of a potential reunion. “I couldn’t do it and not think about Spinal Tap,” he says to NME about reconciling with Brown. Squire also reveals that he hasn’t spoken to Brown in seven years and that the breakdown of their relationship hurts the most because “we wrote together, we knew each other for the longest”
A month later in an interview with The Guardian he denies the latest reunion rumours in gruesome style (“I’d rather remove my liver with a teaspoon”) but admits that a meeting with Brown is “long overdue”.
John Squire plays several Stone Roses tracks at a gig at Glasgow’s King Tuts Wah Wah Hut, the first time tracks such as ‘I Am The Resurrection’ and ‘She Bangs The Drums’ have been play live by a former member in five years.
Brown trumps Squire by playing 11 Roses tracks with the help of tribute act The Complete Stone Roses at a gig in Scotland. The entire first album (minus ‘Fools Gold’) is performed. Later, Brown claims the reason he did it was because he was told Squire was “butchering them” and that “I did it for the people”.
Six months after the release of his fourth solo album ‘Solarized’, Mani joins Ian Brown onstage for a performance of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’. It’s the first time any of the members have publicly performed together since their split nine years prior.
In an interview with Time Out magazine, John Squire is asked about his plans for a third solo album, to which he replies, “Well, we had twins at the start of the year, so I’ve had my hands full with them. But, yeah, the plan is to make a ferocious guitar album on my own. And then to put the Roses back together.”
Later that month while refuting the idea that the Roses would reform for that year’s Glastonbury Festival, Reni hints about writing new music with Mani; “I’m going to play with Mani, that’s guaranteed – I’m writing songs for me and him.” Nothing comes of the claims.
During an interview with The Mail On Sunday, Brown reveals that Squire has attempted to contact him for the first time since 1996 by sending him ‘a backing track’.
Brown and Mani team up again for a performance of ‘I Am The Resurrection’ at a Cancer benefit gig.
The flames for a reunion are fanned again when Brown discusses what it’d take to get back in the studio with the group. When asked by imwiththeband.com what he’d say if Squire called him and wanted to get the band together, Brown replies: “Well, he’d better have some pretty good tunes together. After this long, they’d want to be pretty great.”
With the 20-year anniversary of their debut album approaching, Mani makes a public plea to the remaining band members to reconcile for a celebratory tour. “Me, John and Reni are up for doing it and Ian just needs some working on” he says in interview with channelbee.com.
Two months before the 20th anniversary of their debut album, The Daily Record reports that The Stone Roses will reform for 21 UK tour dates. A source in the paper claims, “It’s taken a lot of time to get Ian to agree but he’s finally signed on the dotted line.”
Days later, Squire denies the story via a piece of art that reads: ‘I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses 18.3.09’. A reunion, it seems, is still some way off.
Alongside producer John Leckie, Ian Brown helps remaster ‘The Stone Roses’ for its 20th anniversary. No new tunes are present though.
At the funeral of Mani’s mother, Ian Brown, John Squire and Mani are pictured arm-in-arm, sparking rumours of reconciliation between Brown and Squire. A grief-stricken Mani angrily refutes the chatter though, “Two old friends meeting up after 15 years to pay their respects to my mother does not constitute the reformation of The Stone Roses. Please fuck off and leave it alone. It isn’t true and isn’t happening.”
Following months of press speculation, all four members of The Stone Roses announce their resurrection at The Soho Hotel in London on October 18, where they also declare their intention to make new music. At the press conference, Squire said that Brown and himself went from “crying and laughing about the old days to writing songs in a heartbeat” following their reconciliation months earlier at Mani’s mother’s funeral.
Brown also comments on new music, claiming that they haven’t got a full album’s worth yet, but if it’s up to their standard they’ll release it. He later tells journalist and band biographer John Robb that “It’s way too early to describe the sound properly, but be sure that we’re aiming for classics.”
The band announce via Facebook that they have signed two huge new label deals with Universal Records in the UK and Columbia worldwide, seemingly solidifying their intent to release new music.
Chris Coghill, director of Spike Island, reveals that the band “have at least three or four [new] songs recorded”.
John Squire tells a fan that the band has finished recording music and that all they need to do is design the sleeve – although others suggest he was merely joking.
The band play their three huge live shows at Heaton Park, Manchester. No new songs are played.
Friend and biographer John Robb speaks to BBC 6 Music about the band and claims that the band have signed a two album deal with the labels. He says: “I have bumped into Ian Brown a couple of times and he said they have new songs. And they’ve signed a two album record deal so you’d kind of figure that they do have new stuff. Ian Brown described them to me as psychedelic pop songs. And people I’ve spoken to who have been in the rehearsal room say that the new stuff does sound really good.”
At the premiere of Made Of Stone, a documentary focusing on the reunion, John Squire discusses new music. “We’re working on it. It’ll be ready in about five years. We’ve got a few new songs. I can’t really tell you much about it. We won’t be playing the songs live until we’ve recorded them. We’re working on it this year.”
Mani tells Gigslutz that the new music will land in 2015, but when NME ask for a comment on his remarks, their spokesperson declines to comment.
The band continues to tour throughout the summer but no new music surfaces. Director of Made Of Stone Shane Meadows says, “I know that there were definitely tunes getting laid down” but hasn’t got the “faintest idea” when we’ll hear them.
According to a user on fan forum I Am Without Shoes Too, the band are preparing to split and will dissolve their recording contracts. The post by user ‘HerringBone’ says: “Just had word from a friend who works at Universal Records and announcement will be made next week regarding the bands future. Says the band’s representatives and Universal’s are working on ending the contract and the guys going their separate ways. According to a band source after all the gigs were finished trying to recreate magic between four very different entities as compared to their earlier incarnation just didn’t work. The usual obligatory band statement will conclude with them all remaining good friends and ending for good The Stone Roses.”
The band once again decline to comment on the rumours.
Appearing on TV show Soccer AM, Noel Gallagher fuels speculation that new Stone Roses music is imminent. When asked if he has “any idea what’s going on with the Roses”, he replies, “Yes. I know exactly what’s going on… They’re blooming”.
Posters bearing the band’s lemon logo appear throughout Manchester, with fans speculating that new tour dates or music could be on the way. Days later, they confirm a slate of gigs at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium for the following June.
On November 3, the day after the band announce the shows, a report in The Sun quotes a ‘music insider’ who says, “New music was always the hope for Stone Roses fans and now it appears they’re getting their wish.” They went on to add, “When the band reunited in 2012 there was never any concrete plans. But now they feel everything is in place to record a new album”. The band offers NME ‘no further comment’ in regards to the latest rumours.
More tabloid reports suggest that an album is close. According to The Mirror, a source said: “Ian Brown and the lads have been busy getting their next album ready. It will be album number three. It’s a long time coming but they feel the time is right now. They’ve been back in the studio. Everyone is very excited about it.”
Fans spot the band’s gear outside The Church Studios in north London with one claiming that they were told new music would be out “before June”. As speculation reaches fever pitch, NME speak to Ian Brown outside the studio, during which he reveals that new music will arrive “soon” and that it sounds “glorious”. There’s no word on whether the new music is just a single, an EP or a full album.
More posters are plastered around the country bearing the lemon logo, this time all over the country. This follows tweets by a fan that claims Mani told him music would be arriving in the following week.