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Stone Roses Press Conference: Full Report
Julian Marszalek , October 18th, 2011 13:27

"17 new stuffs," promises Reni; Mani quits Primal Scream

"We're here to deny that The Stone Roses are reforming – see ya!" And so, with those words bassist Mani opens up The Stone Roses' reunion press conference and at a stroke dashes the hopes and dreams of – ooh – 30 or so Northside fans somewhere in Manchester. Seeing the four sitting in the same room after a break of some 15 years is a strange experience and one that throws the assembled members of the Fourth Estate into an uncharacteristically reverential mood.

To the left sits Mani, he of the chewiest Manc accent and loudest shirt. To his left is drummer Reni, greyer than the last time we saw him and, on today's evidence, the band's greatest diplomat. Sat next to each other are singer Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire, their recent enmity locked away. Squire looks amazingly well preserved, as if the hand of time from last decade and half had chosen to ignore him.

And now, after a weekend of fevered speculation, the band dubbed the "greatest of its generation" by various media observers, are hear to announce their re-birth. So what are their immediate plans?

"To shake up the world," says Ian Brown. "We're gonna go around the world next year. We're gonna start in our home town with two big gigs at Heaton Park and then after that we're gonna take it around the world."

"If anyone buys any tickets!" adds Reni to laughter from the assembled journalists. As evidenced by any number of reunions, the experience of a band getting together rarely goes beyond anything resembling a nostalgia fest but Ian Brown is at pains to point out that this will be anything but. "It's not a trip down memory lane," he says emphatically. "We have got new songs."

He then adds: "This is a love resurrection that we're inviting you to." But surely this was never supposed to happen. When asked about his artwork that stated his desire not to "desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses", guitarist John Squire replies: "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. In some ways it's a friendship that defines us both and it needed fixing and two phone calls later and the band was no longer dead."

And what of The Stone Roses' mission of saving the world from U2? Was that still the case? "As far as I'm concerned, I've stolen from Larry Mullen's career for years," states a tactful Reni. "Without Larry I wouldn't be able to stomp and sing. I owe a debt to the Bhundu Boys, Larry Mullen, Stewart Copeland. They're good friends and they're good songwriters."

Yet despite the band's obvious joy at being together, the reunion brings about some sadness in other quarters. Having contributed to some of Primal Scream's finest work, bassist Mani confirms that he's reached the end of the road with the band.

"With Primal Scream I'm gonna have to back off," he states sadly. "It's been heartbreaking because they've been my family for the last 15 years. They saved my arse."

"They might save your arse again!" quips Reni to another gale of laughter. The question still remains as to why The Stone Roses have decided to reform after such a long time and numerous declarations that a reunion would never happen. Mani denies that the motivation behind the rebirth was the reportedly huge amounts of cash that have been offered over the years.

"It's never been about the money," he states. "I've been touring for the last 15 years since the Roses finished and I get stopped in every city in every country in the world every day… and get asked [about a Stone Roses reuniuon]. People have dreams about seeing us and we want to satisfy their dreams ‘cause I'm getting fucking sick of being asked the question and answering it!"

"I couldn't see it happening and I resented people trying to force it on me," says Squire. "But when me and Ian met it changed everything. It made think it was possible and 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 15 years ago. It's quite strange."

The Quietus asks the band how difficult or easy it was to get back together after so many nasty things were said by its members at each other in the press. "We've got no hate for each; we never have," says Brown. "We never said anything that was hateful. There was never any hate to remove."

But surely there was hurt?

"Of course there was hurt; you're never going to get away from the hurt," admits Reni. "Love's bigger than the earth. You never forget, you never forgive but you just create."

"Love conquers all," adds Brown.

"The new stuff conquers all so if you love it, you'll do it no matter what age you are," continues Reni.

Ah, yes… the new stuff. So how much new stuff is there?

"17 new stuffs!" replies Reni and the room is bathed in laughter once again.

So why now?

"Because I think we're great and I think we've still got and I think we've still got something to give to people," states Brown. "We're also doing for ourselves – I'm not gonna lie. I know it's not going to be shit because we've [recently] played together and it sounds magic."

For Mani, there are deeper reasons at play here. More than the music, more than the upcoming gigs and potential new albums, it's about four friends from Manchester rekindling something that was lost on a personal level.

"Even if the band never reformed, I always wanted to remake the friendship," he says smiling. Round 1, then, to The Stone Roses. With the press conference over, the band saunters away to prepare for eight months of rehearsal, song writing and possible recording. There's enough goodwill in the room for the band to succeed in what's to come next but from here on in, things are entirely in their hands. Which is how it's always been.