Today there was a big choice to be made. T in The Park to see the 4 guys that were the best band in the world in my youth or Meursault at the Queen’s Hall.
So why were the Stone Roses good? The unit. The story. The spray painting campaign. The Nitromors on car campaign and paint fuelled Silvertone studio vandalism. The Pollock inspired artwork. The “amateurs” rant. Songs the sweetest with lyrics mean with spurned lover misogyny. They met at an anti-fascist rally. They were young and full of beans. Fine T-shirts and boot-cut jeans. The clothes were designer baggy. They wanted to be adored. Not since Hendrix had a band been so experimental. They were covering new ground by covering the old 1960s ground. The best bits were picked and moulded into their own blend of creative tour de force. No-one else was doing this stuff. From the backward guitar and drums to a heavy lean on the wah-wah pedal, remixed songs, 2 new songs on the B side. They had so many songs and ideas and that extended into the artwork. The sheer ego eclipsed Manchester. Osteomalacia rates went up in the early 1990s as Mancunians could get no sunshine vitamin D while the Roses were in toon. Lennon caused a storm when he suggested that the Beatles were Bigger than Jesus. The Stone Roses started by saying we are Jesus resurrected. Unbelievable!
The artwork was painted by John Squire, the guitarist. There’s the added symbolism. See the red white and blue paint brush strokes on the 1st album? That’s the French flag. The lemon slices? During the French student riots of 1968, protesters would use lemon juice as an antidote to tear gas. There’s real zeal in the lemon peel. A band with art. Backhanded compliments, “You look like a painting: Jackson Pollock’s Number. 5.”
Not only a fantastic debut album. Listen to it again. This is the DEBUT album. How can a band be so tight with a debut? The 8 mins of Fools Gold, the guitar was one take. The 12” single was utilised to its greatest extent. A short remix for the album. The splurge version, the real version, on the 12 incher.
The lyrics are mean and nasty. Wait for when the song gets quiet and gentle. Ian Broon will sing with the voice of an angel ‘I could park a juggernaught in your mouth’ Elsewhere we’re flying on magic carpets. Grils are waterfalls and smell of ambre solaire. What is ‘her number 9’? Is it rude? Should I look it up? Sally Cinnamon, a song about a lesbian’s love letter found on a train. The ‘Mersey Paradise’ suicide poem. This is wonderful imagery.
The instrumentation is sublime throughout. John Squire is not a chord strummer. Everything is an echoey jangly arpeggio carrying on through the entire song. The same phrase is hardly ever played twice. He was the best guitarist alive for a time.
The Bass does its own thing. It’s free. Not just helping the guitar along aping the same notes bum bum b-bum. The bass plays the best riffs in the Roses. It was no accident that Mani inspired Primal Scream then joined and resurrected them.
The drums. Reni. He bangs the drums. Not like a fitting loon. The drum intro to Elephant Stone is amazingly excessive. But that’s the beauty. No one else did this. The young confidence. The sheer self-belief with the talent to back it up.
Ian Brown. The monkey. That knuckle dragging wide boy swagger. No man in Manchester has walked properly since the Stone Roses. His voice has always been poor live. Back then, on the records, he had the voice of an angel.
Each instrument. Guitar bass drum and voice do their own thing. They come together so well and creates a heavenly experience.
The Second Coming is one of the top 10 best electric guitar albums ever made. It’s an extravagant beast in coked up hard-on glory. There’s a whole lotta groove in that one. Plus a rubbish secret track.
The Stone Roses settled arguments back then. Who’s better, MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice? Answer: The Stone Roses. Michael Jackson or Bros? A: The Stone Roses. Public Enemy or Run DMC? A: The Stone Roses. Jesus or Ghandi.. and on it went. There was one unspoken agreement in my flat; never turn off the Stone Roses in the middle of a song.
So, an easy decision. Go see the Roses.
Only I was disappointed that they reformed. They said they wouldn’t. That is why.
The B-side to this is that Meursault are playing Saturday too. If you don’t know these guys already, Murswhat? Meowsalt? It is pronounced Merso. They’ve been around a short while and have been touted as the best band to come out of, yet still be in Edinburgh for all that time. There’s a new album coming out and this is the album launch.
Neil Pennicook (from Penicuik) is the singer and main songwriter for MiRsow. He was kind enough to play an in-store for us on our 1st Record Store Day this year. He played a brilliant and passionate solo set in the Antiquary down the road. Rumour has it that a side project of Melanie covers will be released on cassette tape later this year. That’s sound great or awful depending on your opinion of Melanie!
They left a pile of tickets in the shop. They cost a tenner. No booking fee. All proceeds to the band.
So you can get tickets from us. As well as much of local label, Song, by Toad’s back catalogue.
If you like your music and don’t want to go to T in the Park, take a punt on Meursault on 7th July. It’s dry in the Queen’s Hall, it’s grass roots music by a band that has a real chance of getting somewhere. Sheer will, talent and determination often works like that.