The Stone Roses: Press Conference

The complete transcription...
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In the end, it took a simple press conference to announce the return of The Stone Roses.

The mythical British group sat before the gathered hordes of the international press, employing their typically acerbic wit. Batting away intrusive questions and tackling Right wing journalism, at times it was as if they had never been away.

Clash Magazine sent along our man in the field Simon Harper to record the historic occasion. Jotting down the complete transcription, we can now present the complete document of the press conference...

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There’s been a lot of speculation over the last few days about live dates, etc. I was wondering if you could tell us what your plans are?

Ian: Our plan is to shake up the world. We’re going to go around the world next year; we’re going to start off in our hometown, Manchester, and then we’re going to play two big gigs at Heaton Park, on June 29th and 30th, and then after that we’re going to take it around the world.

Reni: If anyone buys a ticket of course.

John Robb: Have you got any new songs?

Ian: Yeah, we do. It’s not a trip down memory lane, not at all. Yeah, we are doing new songs.

Reni: You’re looking decidedly cyber-handsome, Johnny. Ian: We’re still handsome devils, ourselves, don’t you think?

John Robb: You’re looking good, but not as good as me.

Reni: No-one could look as good as you, Johnny. What have you missed about being in The Stone Roses? Ian: Just the belly laughing.

Mani: I’ve missed the humour of these guys, because it’s a rolling comedy act, I swear to God.

Reni: I’ve missed the never-ending smoking. You know, being a drummer you gotta breathe occasionally, so... I’ve missed these guys; they keep you out of the bus, in the bus, coughing all the way.

Mani: We’ve come together and rehearsed and went through a few songs and it’s just something magical when us four are in a room together, and you can’t put your finger on it and it’s just so beautiful to catch back hold of it again. Missed it, you know?

Ian: I’ve missed hearing them as players, you know, because I’m the one that can sit there and watch them play all day. It’s lucky for me. Reni: And he does too; he doesn’t do much.

(Colin Patterson, Radio 5 Live) John, two years ago you made that artwork saying ‘I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses’ - what’s changed?

John: Well, everything changed when me and Ian started seeing each other again. It was surreal. We went from crying and laughing about the old days to writing songs in a heartbeat. And I think it’s in some ways a friendship that defines us both and it needed fixing. And two phone calls later the band was no longer dead. There is no grave.

Ian: this is a live resurrection that we’re inviting you to, so you better be careful.

(John Earls, Daily Star) Reni, we know what the other three guys have been up to, but what have you been up to since you left?

Reni: I’ve just been keeping out of the way of you guys on the whole, and just trying to retire, desperately. I’m a father, so I’ve had a reasonable time just being a father. And now I’m going to try and juggle it with being a drummer again. I thought I was too old to drum, and I probably am too old to drum, but I’ve got eight months to prepare to drum. And these guys are all on smokers wagons, so it sounds interesting

John: He’s just being bashful; he’s still got it.

(Matt Everett, 6Music) You mentioned new material. An album’s worth of new material?

Ian: We hope so, but we said that before didn’t we? Is there going to be a press conference in about twelve years to announce the album coming out? Ian: We don’t know. Reni: We don’t know really. New music is...

Ian: We’ll just keep writing and if it’s our standard, we’ll go. We’re not here to destroy anything, you know; it’s as precious to us as what it is to someone who has followed us for years. I’ve heard a few people saying, ‘You shouldn’t do it, you’re going to destroy the legacy’, but that’s not our intention.

Reni: You gotta understand that we’ve not played much yet. We’ve been circling around each other for a while and it’s just like joining a new band...with ghostly kind of presences. It’s a strange phenomenon.

Ian: It’s like a language we all used to speak that we’ve not spoken for a while.

Reni: It’s a strange thing, yeah. It’s like some kind of recessive gene suddenly sticking out and taking away your day. What I used to know as a day-life has just disappeared. So the phones go, next thing you know your street goes, next thing you know the music that you were thinking of disappears because these guys get involved. Everything changes.

(Ken Sweeney, Irish Independent) Any plans for a date in Ireland?

Ian: Always got plans for dates in Ireland, yeah. And then we’ll do some shows as well.

Reni: I like to get over to Dublin and do some shows at McGonagals.

Mani: See that Faile (festival) of ’95 was probably the second greatest show the Roses ever played, second behind Glasgow Green in my humble estimations. Magical. There were plans to put out a live album or there was some debate about that?

Mani: Well, we put some live tracks out as a free giveaway with something.

Reni: I don’t feel very good on that...

Ian: After Manchester Ireland is next on our list, always. Just one last quote; apparently you said at one point you wanted to save the world from U2, do you still feel like that?

Reni: Nonesense. U2 are wonderful.

Ian: We’ll have another go, yeah.

Reni: There’s nothing wrong with U2.

Mani: I like Bono - he’s my mate, man.

Reni: As far as I’m concerned I’ve stolen from Larry Mullen’s career for years - without Larry I wouldn’t be able to stomp and sing; it would be difficult. I owe debt to The Bhundu Boys, Larry Mullen, Stewart Copeland... They’re good players and they’re good song writers. Ian: I think they’re bobbins. You can put that on record: actually bobbins.

(Sarah Walters, Manchester Evening News) You said that it all changed when you came back together, but what was the event that brought you back together, and generally how does it affect all the other projects that you’ve all been doing and will you carry on with those?

John: It was the loss of Mani’s mum that started the chain of events that brought us all to this room today.

Mani: It’s weird how it can be just one mad thing that can fix a lot of wrongs, you know what I mean?

Ian: We think a beautiful thing has can come out of a really sad situations.

Mani: So that’s nice, you know? That good things can come out of fucking grey clouds.

Reni: We’ll see how beautiful it is when it’s on record and on stage.

Mani: Yeah. It might go tits up, seriously, but that’s a tightrope we walk.

Reni: We have a long way to go. And what about all the other projects that you’re involved in?

Mani: Where I’m concerned with Primal Scream, I’m going to have to back off. It’s been heartbreaking cos they’ve been me family for the last fifteen years, you know, and they really saved my arse.

Reni: They might be saving your arse again in a couple of weeks!

Mani: But we’ve talked, and they know where I am with this. I’ve always had it on my mind and I’ve never written it off. I’ve been allowed to go follow me dream, so I eternally will be grateful for that.

Ian: For me I’ve parked my solo thing in a lay-by and jumped into another vehicle and I’m in that now.

(Hamish Macbain, NME) Is this going to go on forever or is it just for the summer?

Reni: Nothing goes on forever.

Ian: Who would ask a question like that? Life’s a day at a time, innit? Reni: I mean I’d be happy if it goes on for twelve months. We’re not teenagers - I mean, I’m going to be at least thirty-six when this thing starts...

Mani: Basically it’s a suck-it-and-see game; if we’re enjoying it and the music’s coming and it’s credible then why stop doing it?

Ian: We’ll ride it till the wheels fall off, like we did last time… and they did fall off, didn’t they?

Reni: See that’s a phrase we can take from U2: ‘Rattle And Hum’. It rattles and hums, and then it’ll fall to bits. You’ve got to test it to the limit and then just break it.

(Jane Witherspoon, Sky News) Have you guys still got it in you, and what makes you think it’ll be different this time around?

Ian: If we didn’t think we had it in us, we wouldn’t be sat here wasting our own time nevermind anybody else’s time. We’ve got kids; there’s no way we’re coming out to show ourselves up. I’m going to say that there is no one in the world that can play like these three together. It’s an old thing that bands don’t do anymore, when they play together, that unseen member comes in and there’s something happening musically, like an under carriage that’s just there, it’s magical. So we’re going to bring that out and we’re gonna ride that as long as we can.

Reni: I always said I would never do it before I reached ninety. Well, I’m there. (Points to chips with ‘9’ and ‘T’ candles.)

Mani: Surreal that, innit. I’m scared: what the fuck have I done?

(DigitalSpy) Mani, a couple of years ago you said that when these guys were saying it wouldn’t happen, that if enough money was waved there, it would happen...

Mani: That’s probably me being flippant and petulant. It’s never been about the money. I’ve been out constantly on tour for the last fifteen years since the Roses finished and I get stopped in every city of every country in the world every day and asked by people when it will happen. People have probably got dreams that they want to see it happen - it’d be nice to satisfy their dreams and get it done, because I’m getting fucking sick of being asked that question and answering it!

Ian: The money’s always been on the table. We could have took that money any time we wanted - two or three times a year we’ve had offers, all the way down the line.

There’s lots of rumours of you playing at some of the big summer festivals next year...

Reni: At the moment, we haven’t managed to sort that out.

Ian: They’re just rumors them, aren’t they.

Reni: And as far as why, we’re all chasing fifty, and as far as drummers are concerned, you should really quit at thirty-five.

Ian: Or quit cage fighting, definitely.

(Neil McCormick, Daily Telegraph) Why did all deny it so vociferously for so long? If anyone suggested it you all came down with those that were speaking very heavily against it - except actually Mani. So why was it such a no-go area for so long?

Ian: Cos we’ve not seen each other, so how can you bring [back] a band with a spirit to warm people up and lift people up if you’ve not even spoken to each other, you know?

Reni: I didn’t think I could do it. Simple as that. I’ve never seen anyone our age do what we’re attempting to do - it’s like Everest.

Mani: Great. Bring it on. Superb. Show me the mountain and I will fucking climb it. What about you, John, why were you so against it?

John: I just couldn’t see it happening, and I resented the fact that people were trying to force it on me. But when me and Ian met by chance it changed everything. Completely changed my outlook and made me think it was possible - it might even be enjoyable - and that’s turned out to be the case. We’ve rehearsed, we’ve written songs, and in some ways it seems like fifteen years ago was yesterday. It’s quite strange.

Mani: It just felt so natural when we got back into that room, it was uncanny. Unreal, man. You couldn’t put a Rizla paper between the fifteen years gap, it was that close.

Ian: I had a go though. Mani: I seen you, mate!

(Rob Hastings, The Independent) You said how you’ve had two or three opportunities a year to do this and you’re saying there’s no reason obviously for now, but I just wondered what you had to say about Shaun Ryder’s comment that it’s amazing what a divorce...

Ian: Any comment Shaun Ryder makes is alright with me.

Is there any truth in what...

Ian: There’s always truth in Shaun Ryder’s comments.

(Julian Marszalek) How easy or difficult is it to resolve your differences, especially after some of the hurtful things that were thrown at each other?

Ian: We’ve got no hate for each other, we never had. If you check the records, we never said anything actually hateful. It was all a media story. We never had an argument, so there was never any hate there to remove. There was hurt, though?

Ian: Of course there was hurt.

Reni: Life’s full of hurt. You’re never going to get away from the hurt, but what happens is you grow away.

How do you resolve it?

Reni: You don’t resolve it.

Ian: Love’s deeper than the hurt. Love is a beautiful thing, innit.

Reni: You never forget, you never forgive, because you don’t need, you just create.

Ian: Love conquers all.

Reni: New stuff really does conquer all. So if you love it, you’ll do new stuff no matter what age you are, I suppose.

How much new stuff are we going to be expecting?

Reni: Seventeen new stuffs.

(BBC News) Ian, to you in particualr: bands reform for all sorts of reasons and you said it’s not about the money, you’ve always had the opportunity - sum up for us why you’ve decided to take this step now?

Ian: Because I think we’re great and I think we’ve still got it and I think we’ve still got something to give to people, and I think that at times like this we can uplift people. We’re doing it for ourselves, I’m not going to lie, but we wish... We wanted to announce our reunion the day after the riots, but it was important to me, in particular, that we play together before we announce to everyone just in case someone said ‘when you play together, how do you know it’s not going to be shit?’ Well, I know it’s not going to be shit because we played together and it sounds magic. We didn’t want to announce it after the riots.

Reni: He really does think we’re a pretty competent band, cos he does spend a lot of time watching us. He does.

Ian: This is a great day for all positive thinkers.

(Paul, CoolMedia) Firstly, being from Newport, I’d like to know, Ian, if you’ve gotten rid of the Cardiff shirt you put on fifteen years ago?

Ian: I only did it to get your team up a bit. A bit tribal isn’t it? I’m anti-tribalism.

Yeah, it’s where you’re at not where you’re from isn’t it? Are any of your kids showing any sort of musical aspirations? Is there going to be a Stone Rosebuds?

Reni: I don’t talk about my kids to the assembled world press. It’s a habit that I’ve sunken into over the last sixteen years.

(John Bennett) Ian, what was the first thing they played and what was it like?

Ian: ‘Shoot You Down’. It sounded great, funky.

What was it like for you?

Ian: Beautiful. Like a treat. Like a private treat - like a private lap dance without paying. Reni: He’s not joking.

Did it sound like the old days?

Ian: It sounded it better than the old days.

Reni: It didn’t sound like the old days.

Ian: Mani’s had another fifteen years playing, so he’s a better player than he was fifteen years ago.

Mani: What, are you saying I was shit?

Reni: No, these two are pretty good; John and I are pretty rusty.

Ian: It didn’t sound rusty to me.

Mani: Didn’t sound no way rusty to me either.

Reni: Well, since Ian quit smoking he’s got more air in those lungs, haven’t you? Johnny Mathis now, this kid.

(XFM) What do you think of the current music scene you’re about to come back into?

Ian: Boring. Mani: Very, very bland, isn’t it?

Ian: Very corporate. No-one’s saying nothing.

Reni: No, I’ve seen something good: Dirty North from Wythenshawe. They were great.

(BBC Radio Manchester) How important was it for you to make your comeback in Manchester?

Mani: I wouldn’t put any special significance on us having to do it in our home town; we’d do it anywhere.

Reni: I wanted to do it Manchester. I wanted to do this press conference in front of an ‘I love Manchester’ poster, with a little City post on the corner, but I’m sat with three reds.

Ian: It was important to me because I believe it was the people of Manchester that got us out of Manchester, which was our dream in the day - you know, five years unemployed - and those sort of gigs before we went national, you could feel the people willing you to go on and do great things. When the Roses finished I put a statement out thanking everyone, but especially the people of Manchester who sent us on our way. So, it’s important.

Reni: I’d just like to apologise to the Mancunians that we didn’t have time to get a tent together, or we couldn’t find a tent that we thought would be big enough, because we know it’s going to be wet. And windy. And we know we’re be competing with the weather. Anybody got a giant tent?

Mani: Bring a coat, then!

(Daily Mail) A quick one: when you were writing..

Ian: A quick one for you: what does it feel like to represent the newspaper that used to support Adolf Hitler? That supports the Bank of Kabbalah and started ruining the world?

I’m not going to go into that at the moment.

Ian: I am.

We’ll have chat about it another time.

Ian: Did you vote Tory?

No.

Ian: No-one ever votes Tory, do they?

When you were writing the songs and first performing them in the late-Eighties, did you think twenty years later they’d still be so regarded by the world’s music press, by people everywhere; did you think they’d stand the test of time as much as they have?

Reni: We didn’t think we’d be alive twenty years later.

Ian: No, we just made them for that time. We didn’t know that, of course not.

The second album seems to be getting more positive press in the last few years. Do you think that’s about bloody time?

Ian: We don’t care what people think about us or our music. We never have, and hopefully we never will.

(Gordon Smart, The Sun) Mani, it’s obviously been a really emotional year for you. Can you just explain what it was like for you when you saw those two lads patching it back up again?

Mani: It was amazing. It was somewhat bizarre. I’ve always wanted them to do it - even if the band never reformed, I always wanted them to remake the friendship, you know? Rock and roll is more than just music, isn’t it? So yeah, it’s good, on many different levels, thank you.


Photo Credit: Ken McKay

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