10 Things You Never Knew About… The Stone Roses

Kung Fu, speedballs and power cuts

The recently re-united Manc quartet are revisiting their legend. Here are a handful of oddities that sealed their reputation in the first place.

1. Before dabbling in music, Ian Brown’s favourite pastime was tussling at his local karate club, though this evidently didn’t stick, according to original bassist Pete Garner: “I think he was black belt, but it wasn’t something he did often. I suspect as soon as music came in, it went out the window.”

2. John Squire first picked up a guitar after hearing The Sex Pistols’ bold and bodacious ‘Anarchy In The UK’. “I was fourteen when I heard that and realised how electric guitars could be made to sound. I got a paper round, and finally got the cash together by the following Christmas.”

3. The Roses’ first works, entitled 'Garage Flower’, was recorded in just six nights. Of this allegedly hellish period, former band-member Andy Couzens remembered: “Martin (Hannet, producer) was giving us what we thought was speed, but they were ‘speedballs’, which is a very different thing – coke and smack. And we were snorting it.”

4. ‘I Am The Resurrection’ supposedly began as a piss-take of Paul McCartney’s bass on The Beatles’ ‘Taxman’, according to Reni. “Mani would play the riff
backwards during sound-checks and we played along over the top for a laugh. Finally we said, “Let’s do this joke-song properly and see what happens.” And
thank God they did.

5. The Roses’ unsurpassable arrogance allegedly once led to them turning down a support slot with Pixies and even a lucrative guest spot with New Order in the States. A PR spokesman said: “The Stone Roses have never supported anyone in their life and see no reason why they should now.”

6. During a 1989 interview with Melody Maker, Ian reportedly said: “I’d like to shoot Prince Charles.” Several weeks later, Brown added that there would never be a revolution unless someone put a bag over the Queen Mother’s head. We doubt he’s ever been to Her Majesty’s for tea and crumpets.

7. ‘Fools Gold’ was originally intended as a B-side, as Zomba hadn’t considered it to be suited to Radio 1’s tastes. Eventually, after the production of the records, PR man Gareth Davies managed to persuade Silvertone producer Andrew Lauder to re-sticker the records with ‘Fools Gold’ as the A-side. Wise decision.

8. After a power-cut during the band’s first ever live TV performance on the BBC, Brown could be seen in the background bellowing “The BBC are amateurs!”, as the buckling presenter tried in vain to continue her humbled apology. More recently, Brown clashed with C4 presenter Steve Jones, who accidentally provoked him into threatening to kick his head in – again, live on air.

9. In 2002, John Squire stated in an interview with The Guardian that he’d rather remove his own liver with a teaspoon, when asked about the possibility of a revival tour. And in 2011, Brown told Clash that he’d “need to be down to his last chicken dinner”. Well, it happened, and we’re guessing that Squire’s liver remains securely intact.

10. The band’s famously dire contract with Zomba was initially just a draft,expected by the label’s bosses to be considerably negotiated before a deal was struck. One clause stipulated that the band wouldn’t be paid a penny on the first thirty thousand records sold. However, money-grabbing band manager Gareth Evans was so eager to nail the deal, that the contract went through as it was without the band’s say-so. Nothing was changed.


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