News The Stone Roses – The Third Coming?

Will they or won’t they? It’s a tantalising prospect for olds fans and new converts when groups get back together. For those of a certain age, and discounting impossibility due to death, there are only two major bands still to be tempted to re-tread the boards – The Smiths and The Stone Roses – and according to the rumour mill, the latter are about to crack. Question is, is it a case of ‘I Am The Resurrection’, or more ‘Fools Gold’?

Such rumours and gossip have been swirling around the Madchester pioneers for some time now – occasionally stoked by the members themselves. Although John Squire has remained resolutely, and unequivocally, against the idea, Mani has hinted that should there be enough zeros on the cheque, he’d try to persuade the others, and his mother’s funeral brought a first meeting and – it is said – some form of reconciliation between Squire and Ian Brown. Shaun Ryder let it slip in May that it was “definitely on the cards”, and the scheduling by Murray Chalmers PR, a heavyweight firm, of a “very important announcement” for this Tuesday (18th October), more or less the 15th anniversary of the band officially splitting, has sent fans and journos into a frenzied state of excitement. Even Remi has got in on the act, with his cryptic comment “Not before 9T will I wear the hat 4 the Roses again”, but unless someone blabs, we’ll just have to wait to be sure.

Far more interesting is to question whether they should. Word is that, if it were to happen, it would be for two “homecoming” shows. Perhaps even Spike Island II. I can’t really see the point in that, unless I’m missing some special date or significance. Surely the demand would be such that a tour, at the least in Europe, if not worldwide, would be required, and if cash isthe motivation, you’d expect them to milk it for all it’s worth. Perhaps they feel guilty about the way it all ended, with their shambolic effort at Glastonbury ’96, and wish to do their memory justice. A quick vox pop amongst friends suggested they owe this to their fans, and the blogosphere seems genuinely enthused about the prospect. ‘The Stone Roses’ is, after all, considered one of the great debut albums, and their influence on Britpop and beyond cannot be ignored.

And yet, there’s something grubby about all this. Not a summer goes by now without some form of reformation tour, or bands playing “classic” albums in their entirety. We’ve had The Pixies, Pavement, Blur, The Vaselines, My Bloody Valentine and, most recently, Pulp, all playing to adoring crowds and critical acclaim. I don’t doubt money played a factor – Frank Black even joked about it being the Pension Tour – but crucially, they all rocked.

Contemporary accounts suggest the Roses were never that great live to begin with, and that Brown couldn’t sing for toffee, something confirmed by a fair few dodgy “performances” of his solo work. Add in the fact that all four of them could start a fight in an empty room, and you have all the makings of a disaster waiting to happen. Yes, bands splitting up, or going on permanent “hiatus”, is never pretty, but few have done it with as much ill-feeling and resentment as The Roses, and I’m not convinced that time heals all (for proof, see any and every John Squire quote when asked about reunions).

Maybe, starved of critical and commercial success, they feel it’s time to fall back on their legacy. Maybe they’ve seen everyone else at it and want to get their snout in the trough while the going’s still good. If it happens, fans will swoon, tickets will be snapped up, and next summer will have its newest victims of Retromania™, but if I was betting man, I’d say this is a false dawn. I can’t see anyone willing to pay the amount needed to overcome the vast lake of bad blood they’ve generated and personally, I’m saving my excitement for the day those other Manchester legends let bygones be bygones and show a generation what they’ve missed. There is a light in my hope that never goes out – please, please let me get what I want.

Tags: Features

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Stay Updated!

Get the best of DIY to your inbox each week.

Latest Issue

November 2023

Featuring King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, IDLES, Tkay Maidza, Sleater-Kinney and more.

Read Now Buy Now Subscribe to DIY