Following the Stone Roses triumphant Heaton Park gigs Ged Hawes ruminates on the Roses future & in particular that third album.
I'm still trying to figure out who was the more humiliated on Sunday evening ”â the Italians or the Music Snobs of Mancunia (and further afield). In Kiev those boring Spaniards made the ageing Italy side look decidedly average, whilst in Heaton Park those ageing Stone Roses made everybody's weekend. The fastest selling gigs in UK music history were lambasted from day one by many of the hipster aficionados. “They were shit first time round”Â, “it'll only ruin it”Â and of course “I don't need to go, I was at Spike Island”Â.
To put a measure on the gig they prefer to hold dear to their heart and not want ruined ”â Spike Island was thrown together by the Used-Car-Salesman-esque then-manager Evans. The high tides that nearly washed away the crowds, only bettered by the winds that took the sound sideways from the stage tickling the ear drums of a lucky few in the crowd before disappearing away to some Mersey Paradise.
Now, no-one would want that memory tarnished.
“I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester band the Stone Roses”Â John Squire said via a piece art in 2010. I think I said in 2010 I absolutely do not fancy Frankie from the Saturdays. Things change. Times change and people with them.
Ok. Now to the pressing matter. The Northern Quarter is seething with bitter, Red Stripe soaked rage. It was not meant to go so well. Some of the more wiser forty something kids out there made comments that carried a caveat that ”Ëeven if they are any good, the third album won't be.”Â And that is where we're now at. P'raps this is the trickiest part of the comeback. The easiest way would be to have just played the gigs, took the money and run to those dew-fresh dappled glades of sunny South Manchester and Cheshire. But the Roses don't really do easy. Never have.
What direction will this album take? Stick with what they know and give elongated intros and 10 minute wah-wahs with the dichotomy of flowery dreamy lyrics alongside drop dead emotionless end of love cut-offs? Or try to bridge the 20 year gap by changing and being more relevant? Be accused of lacking originality or be accused of leaving your roots? Or will it simply be an organic process that Brown referenced in the press conference to announce the reunion? That magical 5th member, the supernatural force that has never been present when they're tried to make music alone or with others.
The travesty will of course be if they produce a third album that stands proudly alongside the previous two. The Second Coming has been given new life from a band playing the songs live with love instead of through gritted teeth as they seethe about contract constraints and bad blood. By the time their third offering is released the Heaton Park gigs will be history and those naysayers will be waiting with their crocheted “I told you so”Â memes that were sadly missing last weekend.
I for one applaud the audacity of trying to write another album. Music history is littered with the ”Ëget-me-out-of-this-working-class-hell-hole-”Ë fuelled breakthrough debut albums. It also has it's fair share of ”ËI'm-a-fucking-someone-now-and-I-told-my-teachers-and-friends-I-would-be-and-heres-more-proof-of-it' injected follow up albums. At this point we tend to get the ”ËI-love-my-new-big-house-and-I've-seen-more-countries-than-vaginas-in-the-past-two-years-to-really-give-a-fuck-about-what-you-want-me-to-do-for-contractual-reasons' tainted 3rd album. In short; given the chance, usually the arse falls out of it, the artists lose interest and we get let down. With a 20 year gap, private school kids and divorce all thrown in the mixer what reference will they draw on for new material. We have no body of work to bridge that gap and give us clues on direction. Brown's solo work, Squire's instrumental album and Seahorses stuff and Mani's Primal Scream don't really give us any insights. So I applaud them and am willing them to make the album that stands alongside if not above the previous two. And only then once they've toured that album should they call it a day for good. After all, come February Mr Brown will be a very respectable 50 not out.