Tag Archives: Stone Roses

Election 2020: Where Angels Play

From the National Affairs Desk:

It’s day-whatever in the never ending 2020 election and despite the long, drawn out process, there aren’t really any surprises. Sure, expectations weren’t met as far as a blue wave sweeping across the Senate and state houses, but those expectations were more wishes and dreams than realistic results. We are, after all, in a country where a lunatic has maintained a 40+ percent approval rating. In the end, the characters are playing their parts as we would expect, as in a trite sitcom, which is maybe all we are anyways.

Sitcoms have a formula and one of the truest components of that formula is the Golden Moment (known in the biz as the “moment of shit,”) where all the loose ends are bound up and the lessons of the day are learned. Here we are as a nation at our moment of shit and I have to wonder what lessons have we learned?

First: A Beginning

There’s been a bit of chatter out there about Abraham Lincoln and his first inaugural address. The south had seceded and Lincoln wanted to cool shit down and speak directly to those people who’d left the Union. Lincoln knew that the cost of a civil war would be terrible (though ultimately a cost we’d have to carry) and tried to plead with the south to reconsider:

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.

Lincoln was an optimist. He believed in the human spirit and that deep, deep down we are good people, bonded more by what we have in common than divided by our differences.

Couple that with Donald Trump’s first (and only) inaugural address where he painted a bloody picture of American carnage and unending grievances. Almost from the beginning, Trump drew battle lines and called on his followers to remember whose side they’re on:

The establishment protected itself but not the citizens of our country. Their victories have not been your victories. Their triumphs have not been your triumphs. And while they celebrated in our nation’s capital,  there was little to celebrate for struggling families all across our land. That all changes starting right here and right now. Because this moment is your moment. It belongs to you. 

It’s true that America’s working families were not in on many of the triumphs; they had been left to flounder as billionaire’s raked in more. But that was directly due to Republican tax policy and corporate pandering. Four years later, billionaires have billions more and you got a $1200 check. Did that feel like your moment?

Now: An Ending

It’s the Friday after the election and we’re still waiting for the race to officially be called even though we all know Biden has won. And I do mean we all know. Donald Trump doesn’t want to face it, but he knows it’s over. He knows Biden got more votes and his only play now is to simply deny. Donald Trump has lived a lifetime of denial; of his responsibilities to his wives and children, to his creditors and business partners, to his patriotic duty to pay his fair share toward what Makes America Great, and to the reality that every fraud eventually gets caught. 

SAD Donald Trump has spent the last several days trying to undermine faith in our most sacred system by undermining the integrity of our votes. We are nothing if we lose faith that we, the people are in charge. Rather than admit that Joe Biden had the better campaign and vision to garner more votes (by 4 million and counting), Donald Trump is trying to tear down the whole system around him. By doing so, he’s further boxing himself in. How can he admit defeat and follow the tradition at the heart of our nearly 245 years of self-rule and peaceful transition of power by conceding?

Four years ago, Hillary Clinton did it. Her first words were for her country:

Last night, I congratulated Donald Trump and offered to work with him on behalf of our country. I hope that he will be a successful president for all Americans.

Sure, she was disappointed and probably shocked and had a couple not-so-subtle jabs in the full text of the speech, but she’s a patriot and wished for the best for America. Right up to the end, she saw the promise and the possibility for America:

Finally, I am so grateful for our country and for all it has given to me. I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together and work together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us. 

Can you imagine any of that coming from Donald Trump? If this week is any indication, we’re in for two and half months of his undermining bullshit. I doubt he’ll concede at all or even show up to participate in the peaceful transfer of power at Biden’s inauguration. We’re likely to have two and a half more months of the oil barrel of lies we got last night. The vote is not rigged, you fucking lost. As we were told in the aftermath of 2016: Get over it.

The Stone Roses - Where Angels Play (audio only)

New Ian Brown song: First World Problems

Video: Ian Brown – “First World Problems”

Ian Brown - First World Problems

From Ripples, due March 1 on Virgin EMI. Single out now on Black Koi.

In June, 2017 Ian Brown teased an audience at what is to date, the Stone Roses’ last show. As things at Hampden Park in Glasgow came to a close, Brown reportedly said, “Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened.”

Nobody from the band has commented on if the band has broken up again, let alone why, but by looking at the first video from Brown’s new album we can venture a guess: “I don’t need ’em.”

Cruising around on a low-rider bike to a clavichord-driven jam, Ian Brown stops by the riverside to occasionally noodle out the various bits of the song. First a three-note guitar solo, then the heavily Mani-like bass line, and finally a quick shot of Ian behind the kit. It all ends in dramatic fashion as Brown tosses a guitar into the river, perhaps a not-too-subtle message for John Squire?

All things considered, it’s a cool song. But I can’t help wondering how it would sound with the backing of his bandmates. It seems tailor made for Squire’s wah funk guitar work, and maybe somewhere in the vaults is a version of just that? Given the unpredictability of the Roses, we may never know. Or we might? Who knows?

In the meantime, go for a ride with the Monkey King and let’s hope the rest of the album is this cool.

Ian Brown: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

The Stone Roses: What The World Was Waiting For?

Well, the NME has done it again. Whether through constant haranguing via the publication of rumors, amazing sources with inside information, or dumb luck and wishful thinking, the voice of British music news has seemingly brought about another reunion. And this is no ordinary reunion, but one of the least likely and most wanted among anglophiles: The Stone Roses.

After 17 years, the band that launched Madchester will play two confirmed dates in June, 2012 and then a reported “world tour” to follow. Additional dates have not been announced and this is where I get worried: June is a long ways away and the Roses have never been the most reliable band. Not to be a buzz kill on your ecstasy-fueled rave, but a lot can happen in eight months…or worse, nothing at all.

The Stone Roses Reunite
The Stone Roses, October 2011

The Stone Roses’ fame begins in earnest in the summer of 1989 when their debut album spread its druggy-pop sensibilities around the world, from one hip record store to another until little baggy jean communities popped up like pimples on a fresh face. Despite their legend, the Roses were never a HUGE band on the scale of U2 or Depeche Mode, but their influence was felt and it was deep. The release of their nearly ten minute dance-rock classic “Fool’s Gold” (originally the b-side to “What the World Was Waiting For”) established the band among the hip as THE BAND of the moment, especially in the UK where they were a big commercial success.

Whether tempted by dollar signs or friendlier confines, the Stone Roses decided it was time to leave their label Silvertone and fulfill their promise to rule the world. Little did they, or anyone else, know that they’d be tied down in court for four years unable to release new material until they’d extracted themselves from a five-year contract.

Never one humbled by their fame, The Stone Roses finally returned with their second album, The Second Coming. While aging better than initial reviews would have you believe, it was less than rapturous and the band finally broke down in 1996 when guitarist John Squire left the band barely a year after drummer Reni had already called it quits. It was a whimpering end to a spectacular band.

For nearly two decades the band’s image grew beyond its actual history and a band with two albums and a handful of singles was now revered as “the last great British band.” Nobody—not Oasis, not The Libertines, not The Arctic Monkeys—could touch their legacy. It was such that John Squire scrawled the following words on a piece of his art in 2009:

“I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses.”

Which leads us to this week. Rumors of their reunion have come and gone for years. It seemed ridiculous to even consider given the public acrimony between Squire and singer Ian Brown. But time heals and here we are. And make no mistake, I am excited. Enough that I have already declared that I will break my top price ceiling of $50 to see any artist live. I will do what I must to see any US dates. But I am worried. The Stone Roses were never a great live band. Ian Brown’s not a strong vocalist and Squire’s guitar playing hasn’t been heard in years. Reni himself said that drummers should hang up their sticks when they hit 35—this was AT the press conference announcing their reunion!

But let’s not dwell on all that. One of the pillars of musical upbringing has reunited to shower us in their house music-inspired pop. Let’s rave on and hope that the wheels don’t come off until we’ve had a chance to dirty up our baggies and sway in our bucket hats one more time.

VIDEO:

Stone Roses Announce Reunion: Part 1

The Stone Roses Press Conference - Part 1

Stone Roses Announce Reunion: Part 2

The Stone Roses Press Conference - Part 2

Previously:
Documentary: Madchester – The Sound of the North

Something’s Burning

Something's Burning - GLONO FictionThat summer was my own personal season in Hell. I’d just finished my freshman year of college and found myself back in my hometown not for another summer hurrah, but working third-shift at a soap factory while my friends were playing lifeguard at the local pools or hustling ice cream to suburban moms. To top it off my girlfriend had just dumped me…again.

The first time could be forgiven since we’d never broached the subject of exclusivity. I guess that was because I assumed she was as enamored with me as I was with her and simply couldn’t contemplate another person in the mix. I was wrong.

I first found out about it at a bonfire party out by the gravel pits on the outskirts of town. Someone had a boombox that was blaring “Life is a Highway” while the Coors Light and wine coolers took hold. Some people tried to feign horror that such a song would even get air-time but the truth was that song and so many others like it were the life blood of the radio dials. It was awful, yes, but it also held a supreme position on the soundtrack of that summer despite not even being a new song. It was inescapable.

Continue reading Something’s Burning

Documentary: Madchester – The Sound of the North

To understand why Jake and I went to Manchester, take a peek at this documentary from Granada Television that focuses on the Madchester sound.

Madchester – The Sound of the North (part 1 of 8)

Madchester – The Sound of the North (part 2 of 8)

Madchester – The Sound of the North (part 3 of 8)

Parts 4 through 8 after the jump…

Continue reading Documentary: Madchester – The Sound of the North

Come As You Are…To the Hacienda

The Hacienda, ManchesterIt seems silly now, ludicrous even, but at the time I swear it was not only plausible…it almost worked.

In December 1991 I flew to the UK to meet up with Jake, who was on foreign study in Aberdeen, Scotland. It was my first solo foray out of the country and the realization of a lifelong Anglophile dream. The foundation of my friendship with Jake was based on our mutual love for The Beatles, and by extension, British musical culture. Our obsession for the Fabs morphed into an obsession with The Smiths and eventually Madchester bands like The Stone Roses and The Happy Mondays. High on our list of tour stops was Manchester, the home to so many of our heroes.

“Oh, Manchester, so much to answer for…”

Continue reading Come As You Are…To the Hacienda

Ian Brown: Not a Crackhead

While promoting the release of his new solo album, former Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown wanted to clarify a few misperceptions:

Because of my cheekbones, people think I’m a crackhead. When the Roses first came out, the early reviews used to call me simian. I had to look that up at the time. Then they used to call me androgenous. Then somewhere down the line, through all the Madchester thing, it became, “He’s a crackhead.” I’ve never even tried crack, I’ve never taken heroin. I didn’t start smoking weed until I was 22.

So there you have it, straight from the monkey’s mouth. Ian Brown is a square…with crackhead cheekbones.

MP3: Ian Brown – Guardian interview

Ian Brown: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Stone Roses: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Ian Brown Rejects John Squire Song

In an interview with the BBC Ian Brown claims that his former Stone Roses bandmate John Squire sent him a new song to consider recording for his new solo album:

Brown admitted he actually liked the track, but his son advised him not to use it: “Kid said, ‘Look dad, was he looking out for you back then? Are you sure you wanna do that?'”Brown might not be the biggest fan of Squire, after their rift, but he admitted the guitarist and songwriter still has talent.”I could have fitted on the first three minutes of the tune, it was pretty good,” he said. “He definitely did it with me in mind because it had electronic, hip-hop drums on it and I thought, ‘Whoever’s done that must have heard me solo stuff’. He’s still got it, it’s good.”

This sounds fishy to me. Squire has made it abundantly clear lately that he’s focused on his art now, and has “no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group the Stone Roses.” But who knows? All we know for sure is that there’s no way in hell that Ian Brown’s latest solo album is going to come anywhere close to being in the same league as the work he and Squire made together. Oh, and Ian Brown’s kid needs to learn to shut the fuck up.

Stone Roses: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

Continue reading Ian Brown Rejects John Squire Song

The Stone Roses 20 Years Later: What the World Was Waiting For

The Stone Roses We were parked at the Meijer gas station on Plainfield Avenue outside of Grand Rapids. Jake was gassing up the black 1976 Datsun 280Z his mother had finally let us take out and I was in the passenger seat listening to classic rock radio station WLAV’s resident hipster Steve Aldridge do the lead-in to his weekly “alternative” music slot, Clam Bake. We’d read all about them in British weekly music rags and had seen a handful of pictures, which was almost enough to sell me on the spot. They were snotty faces and shaggy hair and flared jeans and bucket hats. Aldridge paid them the proper amount of respect as the “next big thing” out of Britain and then cued up the first Stone Roses song I ever heard, “Made of Stone.”

The Stone Roses were an odd band from the beginning. Ian Brown doesn’t exactly have range, or even pitch, and his live recordings are proof of that. But on record—and without the aid of digital pitch correcting tools, thank you very much!—he exudes a sort of foreboding and danger within that somewhat fey whisper of his. When he sings “I don’t have to sell my soul, he’s already in me,” you believe it. There is something menacing about this skinny Mancunian with a slightly simian look and a Christ complex. He’s the street hustler who is underfed and over drugged with a knife in his backpack. It doesn’t take much to imagine him as the scooter boy he claimed to be in interviews and if you’ve been to the rougher parts on Manchester, England you know how raw the inhabitants can be. Their sissies will kick your ass.

We knew from reading the articles that they were obsessed with the Beatles and that guitarist John Squire was a disciple of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, which made for two references you simply could not beat with us then. You can hear the strains of the Fabs in the backing vocals and Marr’s hand in the 12-string guitars throughout but the Roses were more than the mere sum of their collective influences. The inspirations weave and blend like the paint on their album covers, which could just as easily be dismissed as Jackson Pollack knock-offs just as some would dismiss any band who hews a little too close to their musical heroes. But the Roses took those clear references and created a new sound, and that was extremely exciting for two Anglophile Midwestern boys whose favorite bands were in the past. The Stone Roses were different…and they were ours.

Continue reading The Stone Roses 20 Years Later: What the World Was Waiting For

Stone Roses Singles Reissued This Summer

In a run up to the August re-release of their debut album, the Stone Roses will release five singles once a week starting July 6 in Britain. According to the NME, the re-issues will kick off with “Elephant Stone” and be followed by “Made Of Stone” out on July 13, “She Bangs The Drums” (20), “Fools Gold” (27) and “One Love” (August 3).

Each release will come backed with untitled, previously-unreleased recordings by the Manchester legends.

That sounds to me like each will have the standard backwards track that was often included on Roses singles, but here’s hoping for a little more than that.

Two special editions of The Stone Roses’ 1989 debut album, a “collector’s” and “legacy” edition, are set for release on August 10.

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