Earlier this afternoon, The Stone Roses confirmed that they’re reforming. The fact that they were having a press conference in the first place indicated it was going that way, given that they haven’t had anything to do with each other publicly since the 90s. (If memory serves, Remi played on Ian Brown’s first solo album, but that’s been about it.) And of course, the world is on the verge of wetting its collective pants with excitement.
There are several things wrong with this. The Stone Roses split was so very acrimonious, their disbanding statement saying that it was a pleasure to announce the band’s demise. Squire hated Brown, Brown hated Squire, The Second Coming was, for the most part, an absolute mess: it was a moment of kindness, really, of putting the band out of its misery, to sleep forever as a band that got it very right once. The band’s getting back together doesn’t seem like a renewed friendship or a genuine desire to do it again: it’s about money, pure and simple. The Fool’s Gold royalties evidently aren’t cutting it any more.
Do we want to see them play live together again? Having had the misfortune to see an Ian Brown solo set, I wouldn’t recommend it. Angelic on record, moose-like in the flesh: his voice simply can’t do it. And Squire is an amazing guitarist, but we’ve all heard guitar solos before, and no doubt the crowd will be singing most of the riffs Chelsea Dagger-style anyway. And Mani will be doing exactly what he does in Primal Scream. Even in their hey day, they weren’t great live; not one person seems to have a good word to say about Spike Island. And what would they be playing? Songs that, mostly, haven’t had the chance to dip out of the public consciousness. There will be no surprises, unless they dust off Tightrope, which seems an unlikely and unpopular choice. And, Jesus, there’s actually going to be new material. Can you imagine what fresh hell this is going to be? Brown peaked with F.E.A.R., Squire floundered with The Seahorses (the lovely Blinded By The Sun aside, which is one that he didn’t write) and embarrassed himself with his solo album.
This is not to say The Stone Roses were rubbish. Of course they weren’t. Their debut album remains near-perfect, and its significance is frequently and deservedly recognised, but why oh why are they deciding to piss on their own legend now? Because they were legends. They practically invented indie, then combusted, and maintained a dignified silence when it came to talking about the past. Coming back will, most likely, serve only to ruin this, and we’ll get an album about as good as Oasis’ Don’t Believe the Truth or The Verve’s Fourth just to stick the boot in before they inevitably crumble again. It’s a colossal mistake, and a heartbreaking waste.