Ian Brown holding court at Coachella | image courtesy Stereogum
This past weekend, at the Coachella festival in California, the legendary Stone Roses performed on U.S. soil for the first time in roughly 18 years. Though I wasn’t able to fly out to the desert for the fest, I did watch a few Youtube vides of their performance, including the slow-burning “I Wanna Be Adored.” Ian Brown and the boys have still “got it.” Hopefully the clueless naysayers finally understand.
The Stone Roses are the premiere Britpop band, innovative and massively influential in their heyday, 1989-1994. The 1989 debut album, The Stone Roses is a confident masterpiece of chiming neo-psychedelia; simply and unarguably one of the greatest guitar pop albums of all time. A couple of brilliant and promising singles followed (“Fool’s Gold” and “One Love”), but the band struggled to record a timely follow-up, eventually releasing the solid but ultimately underwhelming Second Coming in 1994, and famously stumbled towards break-up in 1996.
The Stone Roses are one of the two Britpop bands I thought would never get back together (the other being The Smiths). Lead singer Ian Brown has had a successful solo career since their break-up, bassist Mani famously joined Primal Scream, and guitarist John Squire continued on with more modest success with The Seahorses and as a solo artist. Despite clamorous calls for a reunion—and a thinly-veiled recorded plea from John Squire himself on his 2002 solo album—Ian Brown had historically shot down any chance of reforming the original line-up. I’d always assumed the chances of a reunion were slim to none. Boy was I wrong! Someone get Morrissey, Marr, Joyce and Rourke on the line with an offer of $75,000,000.