Watch this! Channel 4 news clip of Stone Roses reforming
Watch this! Channel 4 news clip of Stone Roses reforming


Notes on the Stone Roses press conference and some extra stuff

It’s a big day. We are in Soho stuffing our faces with vegan food when we spot Ian Brown walking down the street. He pops into the cafe and we hug like husky voiced veterans of the north. Ian is bouncing, proper bouncing, this is actually all rather exciting.

Me and the Roses have lots of history, we used to rehearse together before they had played a gig, my band The Membranes were noisy fuck you bass driven lunatics and the Roses were in their early phase. I borrowed some guitar strings off them thinking they were mutters and found out they thought the same about us. At the time we were a big noise with top five indie singles and albums, and they were a struggling local band, odd to think now but I was the big shot with my mug in the music papers and they were the fresh faced hopefuls… we got on and they would give us a lifts back to where we lived, Reni once admired our Black Flag/Crass style graffiti campaign…

Their bass player was the legendary Pete Garner, the coolest man in Manchester, who I already knew from his Paperchase shop. He would buy copies of my Rox fanzine from me and loved the Stooges and the Dolls, Pete is still he ultimate dude in this story…

Anyhow over the years I saw the band grow, I was at all the moments, Mani’s first gigs, International gigs, I interviewed them in 1986/7 my first feature for Sounds, my mate from when he was five; Ian Tilton took the photos… the Roses were, in a weird way, like family. I would bump into Ian in West Didsbury carrying keyboards, talking about writing songs with John; Ian lived next door to my guitar player Mark Tilton (Ian’s brother)…

I saw them storm Blackpool, I saw the legendary Ally Pally soundcheck and watched Granada TV film it all, the whole day – where is that footage now? I was at Spike Island, and I saw Glasgow Green, the greatest ever Roses gig so far…

I saw them around in the wilderness years, even bought Reni a drink because he was skint! The ‘Second Coming’ came and went, underrated to this day and the last gigs, even Reading and beyond….

We go back a long way and I understand why this return really matters… because the Roses really matter, they matter a long way away from Soho and press conferences and anonymous media hipsters and Internet bitching. They matter like the great old punk band’s did, a great sound track and a sense of community and a fuck you empowerment, an empowerment that made people walk tall for for some of their lives, an empowerment that made a generation of kids like the Gallaghers or Verve or any british band in the nineties say fuck you, I’m not a nobody I’m going to make my own art and thats why we are all here at this press conference…

Press conferences are normally stale things.

Bands reading out answers like robots from some kind of auto cue…

The Stone Roses, though, do things differently.

It’s held in Soho House, which is a posh London drinking club full of suits and non famous celebrities, the northern contingent look out of place but in control. The conference room is packed and the band mooch in to a big cheer, this is not like the famous Spike Island press conference where there was a massive cynicism. If there is one thing we all love it’s an unlikely comeback…

The band sit back and I get to ask the first question.

This is very off the cuff, very northern, very straight answers, bits of piss taking… but what we did learn (by the way the whole thing is streamed on YouTube and filmed by film director Shane Meadows and is also being run by our friends at the NME) is listed below, most of this stuff is out on the Internet and we tweeted everything you need to know this afternoon, and the whole press conference is everywhere on the net but we got some extra info, because that’s the kind of people we are…

Ian and john, after meeting at Mani’s mother’s funeral, became friends and started writing songs, they remembered the magic – that chemistry that only a lucky few get – like The Doors ‘communal mind’ that unsaid knowing…. They took the songs round to Reni after getting back in touch, the best drummer from his generation and the rhythm section was back on board.

2. After the conference Ian looked genuinely thrilled by how good the band is sounding in rehearsals, saying that, as the singer, he watches and buzzes on them playing (he also extended an invitation to come down and check the Roses rehearse in the next few weeks).

3. There are new songs… ‘pure psychedelic pop’ according to Ian after the conference, Ian also said that Reni’s drumming was amazing ‘like the kid has got 8 arms!’.

4. Reni also told us that he had not been playing drums for six years but everyone else Tolstoy us that his drumming was that good that he must have been… he also had a ’90’ badge on referencing his cryptic ‘not until 9T’ quote… Reni was on great form and chatted at length after the press conference, it’s good to have him back. He mentioned that there was lots of musical ideas, John’s stuff sounded great and he had some things of his own… remember those never released jams of him and Mani from ‘Second Coming’ period…

5. Ian said the band wanted to announce the reformation the day after the riots…

6. Reni bigged up great Manchester young band Dirty North… check them out they a great…. I shouted out Fraser King at them during the conference…. the pair of bands would be the ideal support for the Roses…. check them out they are on this site.

7. Liam Gallagher has been in touch with them saying he’s going to every date on the tour and Noel Gallagher told us he had been sworn to secrecy for months but … ‘holy shit balls!’

8. Tickets for the 2 Heaton Park gigs go on sale at 9.30am this Friday (October 21). For further information go to their newly launched The Stone Roses official website

The ten minutes before the Roses come on stage at their first comeback show at Heaton Park will have an atmosphere like you have never felt before (remember the atmosphere in the old days, fuck).

The new songs will be good… my guess? Somewhere between the amazing guitar melodies of the first album, maybe revisit some of the grooves of Fools Gold period, the should have been second album period and also some of the guitar prowess of the Second Coming (time to listen to it again, some great stuff on there). Ian’s voice is huskier and more lived in, good. We want singers that sound like people not pitched up robots, we what singers who sound real, that’s soul power northern style- gimme Mark Sm

Ian and John in London for Stone Roses conference
Husk voiced northerners in Soho takeover...
ith, Shaun Ryder, Ian Curtis, Nathan from Fraser King – Ian Brown; people who communicate with their own voices, in their own accents…

The musicianship will be stunning, loose grooves (no drum loops this time Reni assured us – perfect you can’t synthesise a drummer this good, John Squire’s melodic guitar will be to the fore – virtuoso yes but don’t forget John comes from the Clash generation – so no wasted notes, no bullshit and Mani will be nailing the bass, he didn’t get rusty in Primal Scream did he…) producers? Maybe give John Leckie a call or perhaps go out on a limb and get Steve Albini to record it at his amazing Chicago studio…

Oh and finally…

Reni playing drums again, live…

Previous articleKarima Francis – live review
Next articleIntroducing: Dirty North
Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. WHY DO PEOPLE CARE ABOUT THIS?! The Stone Roses were awful, a half-arsed pub band. If Snow Patrol decided they wanted to be a twatty Oasis type group, this is what they’d be.

    • they were obviously before your time mate, as today has proved with ticket sales, the roses still have a massive fanbase unlike oasis etc….
      get the debut album, put it on and listen to it properly with your eyes closed, then you just might get

    • If you can’t handle the FACT stone roses are bigger than Steps or S club 7, start praying Wham make a come back, it might put you out of your misery.

  2. Why do people care, simple because along with the Beatles and the Sex pistols the Roses are one of the most influential bands of all time FACT (Tony RIP you should have signed them)

    • They’re not really in the same league as The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Can, Joy Division, Radiohead etc. are they though? Couple of passable tunes but nothing that’s a patch on Ian Brown’s work with UNKLE.

      • Looks like you’re simply trying to get a reaction from people. I think the fact that you don’t get The Stone Roses says more about you than anything else…

      • I think the fact that the media,social networking sites and comment forums (for want of a better expression)are awash with stuff about this reformation or whatever yo want to call it, speaks volumes..people have a right to sell their “wares” for whatever reason..if they have something people want then who are we to cast judgement from the comfort of our armchairs? On another note, i have seen some very good pub bands,people who graft all day in dreary jobs so they can afford to buy instruments and drive about the country in shit old vans for tuppence ha’penny…and anyhow,dont all good musicians and bands start “in pubs”…The Beatles in the Cavern Club, Blues musicians on the “chicklin’tours,I would rather see a “pub band” than some plastic creation from X Factor….

  3. Dan, get a grip man ! The Roses made one of the great debut albums, caught the music business completely unawares, and then messed up big style…but the great bits of their second album are still streets ahead of anything you’ll hear today.

  4. Hi Dan am sure the band will take your comments on board ,I think there two shows at Heaton Park will be magical .I remember singing along to “I am the resurrection” at knebworth just before Oasis came on stage so much love in the air that’s what we need wright now ,in this crazy world we live in .Peace

  5. Wow, there’s some bad vibes on here tonight. Calm down guys, taste is subjective.

    Personally, I say good luck to the Roses, they’re not my favourite band of all time but I do find them very listenable, way better than most of the crap you hear these days at any rate.

    • I shall miss seeing Ian brown on tour every year. I love him and his solo albums and I am a huge fan of james lavell / unkle who I have also seen live. This is about more than tracks on an album, it is about the raw emotion that will completely overwhelm 75,000 people in a park in Manchester on the 29/06/12.

  6. John, Pulizer prize reporting pal! Great stuff nice one :) I’m positively sure that ITN broadcast Ally Pally footage (performance and backstage) last nite on their bulletins, so that’s some floating about hopefully! Also any inside info on why Shane Meadows was there filming y’day? Cheers geez

    • Yeah like I said, the kind of music The Stone Roses made just doesn’t appeal to me. Give me innovation and exploration into minority genres with the risk of borderline shoegazing over anthemic singalong stuff that bores me every time.

      It’s just personal opinion, but in 1989 you had The Cure’s ‘Disintegration’, ‘The Sensual World’ by Kate Bush, and Nirvana’s debut; it’s perhaps naive of me to have considered The Stone Roses a forgettable footnote to the era, but then I suspect that they appeal to the same sort of music fan who enjoys Oasis, and I always thought Oasis were a joke band created specifically to annoy me.

  7. Love you for shouting out Frazer King. Best band in the world for me…Nathan is lyrically the best writer i know of, and I’ve never come across a more musically ambitious band in all my years of gig going. Love them to pieces x

  8. The stone roses were very important, a great debut album and 12″ in fools gold, the intro to ‘i wanna be adored’ gave me the same rush when 1st heard as the first time I head the ‘Disorder’intro by joy division, but superba nd seminal albums. Also quotes about ravens leaving the tower of London only added to the mystique.

    But more importantly they straddled the youth culture schism that acid house had introduced in the late 80s. The clothes changed to baggy and graphics also changed as did the music. A confusing time, I remember buying the compilation NORTH and thinking this is great music but made by a bunch of scallys.

    anyway good luck to them, they deseve their pay day, I hope they aren’t setting themselves up for a fall and hope they get in a good few secret practice gigs. The end of ‘I am the ressurection’is as good or even better than another great piece of english psychedelia…..the stranglers ‘down in the sewer’ where dave greenfield runs amok on a doors type keyboard rampage…….end.

  9. I write on here because LTW is a fantastic site with a real passion for indie music, and is moreover eclectic.

    I just don’t like this kind of MOR, plodding, post-Madchester shit.

  10. “We go back a long way and I understand why this return really matters… because the Roses really matter, they matter a long way away from Soho and press conferences and anonymous media hipsters and Internet bitching. They matter like the great old punk band\’s did, a great sound track and a sense of community and a fuck you empowerment, an empowerment that made people walk tall for for some of their lives, an empowerment that made a generation of kids like the Gallaghers or Verve or any british band in the nineties say fuck you, I\’m not a nobody I\’m going to make my own art and thats why we are all here at this press conference…”

    Beautifully profound and extremely succinct, John. Nice one.

    Those who really understand what The Stone Roses are about and what their music defines will be there to enjoy every single second, through the new material, secret shows and majesty of huge open air “events”. While Dan, and the rest of his sniping cynical troll legion sit at their laptops in ironic regulation thick rimmed glasses and rest of the elitist garb, filling internet space with meaningless diatribe. I blame the parents.

    A great day for all positive thinkers. One love.

    • My parents like Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis and Paul Weller. They’re probably a lot more excited about this than I am.

      And the thick-rimmed glasses are because I am completely blind otherwise!

      Now I’m off to enjoy the Tom Waits album some more.

  11. Here in America, the Stone Roses offered something other than hair metal, pop garbage and whatever else was popular at the time. There were always interesting fringe movements but back then finding them was much harder without the aid of the internet. But for the most white American kids, the Stone Roses offered the link between the Beatles and what was current. The Stone Roses sounded new yet old at the same time. I could hear the house music beats but I could also hear a Beatlesque/psychedelic sound. Also, over the years the Stone Roses material has aged very well, most likely due to the lack of synthesizers that plagues music from that era.

    For the American Stone Roses fans, we never got a chance to see the original lineup and that’s why the news of a reunion with a world tour is so exciting. It’s long, long overdue.

  12. I’ve very excited for this… I just hope they take care of themselves and take every show seriously as many fans are holding up high hopes. I don’t expect perfection but I do expect commitment to trying to sound as good as they can. Lazy/sloppy singing/playing won’t be tolerated for long.

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  16. Same same, why is it people like John Robb try and hog the limelight?

    No-one cares about how much you know them or suck up to them, hardly anyone i know in Manchester has time for him.
    Great band they are, fair ticket price? unsure.
    Only 1 band got a mention (not 5 ) It really annoys me that Mr Robb thinks he has a say in Manchester music, you sold out years ago Johnny boy. Admit it , when you started writing crap pieces like this one, full of mistakes and just like a few other outsiders that have cashed in and claim to be manc. YOU AINT!!!!!

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