Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Playing for £: The Stone Roses to reform?

Today's news wires were punctured by strong rumours of a reforming Stone Roses. Arguably boasting a bigger following than during their 1986-96 existence, the founding members Ian Brown (vocals), Mani (bass), John Squire (guitar) and Reni (drums) are held in devotion by many fans, including groups they influenced, most notably Oasis.

This year is the 20th anniversary of the release of their eponymous debut album. Rumours are that a tour would coincide with a planned reissue of the album, remastered by original producer John Leckie. But are modern day reunion tours any more than money driven mortgage payoffs for artists?

There's no doubt that a reformed Stone Roses would have no trouble shifting large units of tickets (Ian Brown, the most successful post-Roses member, performed SR songs at the vast Manchester Central venue in 2007) but then again, so can Michael Jackson, an artist whose 'career' was finished until those nice people at the o2 Arena gave him a ring.

Blur were the latest big name Brit pop band to reconvene for live shows, while The Verve went the whole hog and recorded new material, which unfortunately hasn't stopped Richard Ashcroft starting work on a new solo album. Plenty of legendary groups haven't succumbed to the tempting waft of cash that reunion brings (hello The Smiths, Talking Heads and The Jam - despite the rhythm section forming From The Jam, minus Paul Weller in 2007) and there has been artistic success in Portishead and My Bloody Valentine's 2008 comebacks.

Paul Weller was quoted in 2006 on the subject of reunions: "Me and my children would have to be destitute and starving in the gutter before I'd even consider that, and I don't think that'll happen anyway ... (the Jam's music) still means something to people and a lot of that's because we stopped at the right time, it didn't go on and become embarrassing." Even Ian Brown said in 2007 he'd "rather sign on" than reform his former group.

Us? We're torn between school boy memories of learning how to play guitar to The Stone Roses and wishing that Ian Brown could actually sing. We suggest trying Spiritualized's planned live show in London this October (they will play 1997's magnificent Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space album) for artistically valuable nostalgia.

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