Saturday, February 25, 2012

Resurrecting The Stone Roses

 Originally appears in Issue 9

The Stone Roses are back and they wanna be adored once more. Announced last October, the band’s reunion will see the original line-up play two dates at Heaton Park in their home city of Manchester next year before embarking on a world tour.

Tickets for the gigs at sold out in 14 minutes, with some later surfacing on eBay for as much as £1500 – nearly 30 times the retail price – suggesting that anticipation for The Stone Roses is high. Indeed, new songs are being written and, according to the lead singer Ian Brown, an album for 2012 is potentially on the cards.

The band’s eponymous debut, which burst onto the Manchester music scene in 1989, still remains a seminal classic. Songs such as ‘Waterfall’ and the transcendental ‘I Am the Resurrection’ have ingrained themselves into the consciousness of a generation and show no sign of loosening their hold on younger listeners. After 1994’s disappointing follow-up Second Coming, however, the band disintegrated into acrimony.

If there remains hard feelings among the four members, they certainly weren’t on show this October. Speaking at the band reunion’s press conference, Brown joked: “We’ll ride this until the wheels come off, like we did the last time.”

But while many fans are ecstatic at the opportunity to see The Stone Roses relive old glories, others are more sceptical.Was it not only two years ago that guitarist John Squire said that he had, “no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses,”? Of course, the usual crowd of jeerers accuse the band of shameless profiteering. Worse still, they say, they’re destroying the legacy of a wonderful group.

Perhaps a friend of mine, still disillusioned by the feeble reunion of The Pixies, summed it up best. “Seeing your favourite band reform is like bumping into an ex-girlfriend from years back. The only difference is she is now older, fatter and, yeah, probably even balder”. Wise words, particularly so when you’re talking about Frank Black. But will it be the same case for The Stone Roses?

It is hard to tell at this early stage. Pulp’s reunion last year showed that revival acts can not only be successful, but can also steal the show at several music festivals. But then again Pulp has Jarvis Cocker, a wit of the Morrissey and Mark E. Smith vintage, at the helm. All the Stone Roses have is Ian Brown. Not exactly the finest vocal talent in the world.

Regardless, The Stone Roses will no doubt headline several festivals this summer playing classic track after track. Perhaps it is 2012, and not 1994, that will be known for The Stone Roses true second coming? --SIMON MEE

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