One of the most hysterical/frightening/worrisome/enraging things hardcore music fans saw this week was a series of tweets following the announcement that the Stone Roses will appear at Coachella. An example:
In an effort to help un-confuse the young whippernappers out there, here are ten things about the Stone Roses that you should know.
1. The Stone Roses are English
Manchester, actually. They came out of a scene born in the late 80s that the press dubbed “Madchester.” Their contemporaries included the Happy Mondays and the Inspiral Carpets–but I don’t expect you’ve heard of them, either.
2. Their Self-titled Debut Record was a Big Deal
In fact, The Stone Roses ranks as one of the greatest debut records of all time. From the moment it was released in May 1989, he was heralded as a classic. I suggest acquainting yourselves with “She Bangs the Drums,” “I Wanna Be Adored,” “Waterfall,” and my personal favourite, “I Am the Resurrection.” Pay close attention to the glorious jam that comprises the second half of the song.
3. The Stone Roses Help Set the Stage for Britpop
The Roses inspired the formation of many dozens of bands, some of which went on to become big deals themselves. You may have heard of a couple of brothers, Noel and Liam Gallagher, who did just that. (See “Why I Love the Stone Roses” by Noel Gallagher)
4. The Stone Roses Were Instrumental in the Development of Indie Culture
For that first album, the Roses were 100% indie and managed to achieve an amazing amount of critical acclaim and popularity. See “Spike Island” for more.
5. The Band Ran into Issues Recording Their Second Album
While they signed to Geffen to record a second album, they were caught in a legal limbo with one of their previous indie labels. It took years to sort this out. From Select magazine:
On the morning of May 20, 1991, The Stone Roses were released from their recording contract with Silvertone Records and their publishing agreement with Zomba Music.
None of the group were present to hear High Court Judge Humphries reach his decision, which concluded that both contracts were legally unenforceable.
The court heard that the injunction Silvertone had placed on the Roses (to stop them recording for any other record label) was to be lifted because the original contract, signed in April 1988, was “oppressive”, “unfair” and “entirely one-sided”, and therefore the injunction acted as a restraint of trade.
During the two-hour hearing, Roses’ manager Gareth Evans grinned uncontrollably.
Aspects of the contract found to be unfair included the territorial agreements (i.e. where Silvertone could release Stone Roses records, listed in the contract as “the world and its solar system”!) and a clause which tied the band to the label for nine months after the American release of their last recorded work.
Since Silvertone were not obliged to release material in the States, the latter clause could have tied the band to the label forever. A statement from Silvertone claimed that instead of “United States” this should have read “United Kingdom”, and was “a drafting error of the word-processor age”.
6. The Second Album Flopped. Sort Of.
The second Stone Roses album–cheekily entitled Second Coming–was good but not great. Still, it’s worth owning and certainly wasn’t deserving of some of the bad reviews it received initially.
7. When the Band Split, Everyone Did Their Own Things
Singer Ian Brown released six solo records and performed many gigs as a DJ. Guitarist John Squire was briefly in a band called Seahorses. Reni, the drummer stayed mostly silent, although he was briefly in a band called The Rub. And Mani, the bass player, ended up with Primal Scream. Ask your older brothers and sisters about them. They were a big deal, too.
8. At Least Two of the Members Spent Time in Jail
Ian Brown ended up in Strangeways prison as the result of an air rage charge. He was convicted of sassing a flight attendant and threatening to “cut her hands off.” He says he didn’t mean it.
Reni spent three days in jail on a mysterious contempt of court conviction in 1997 as the result of an outburst against a judge about…something.
9. The Stone Roses Reunited in 2009
After years of saying that there wasn’t a price high enough, someone found a magic number.
10. The Coachella Show Will be Their First North American Appearance Since 1995
You should go. Seriously.