Legendary Stone Roses to reunite as Ian Brown faces costly divorce bill
SEMINAL indie rockers the Stone Roses have announced a potentially lucrative reunion as the band’s lead singer Ian Brown reportedly faces a costly divorce.
The seminal rock act also said they were working on new songs despite long dismissing talk of ever getting back together after splitting in 1996.
But they have buried their differences and announced hometown shows at Manchester's Heaton Park next summer, plus further dates around the world.
Guitarist John Squire said he and singer Ian Brown had met at the funeral of bass player Gary 'Mani' Mounfield's mother.
"When me and Ian met by chance it changed everything. In some ways it felt like 15 years ago was yesterday," he said.
Brown said: "Our plan is to take on the world."
Brown continued: "We're going to start off in our home town, Manchester, with two gigs in Heaton Park on June 29 and 30 and after that we're going to take it round the world."
Drummer Reni, who dropped out of the music world after leaving the band in 1995, joked: "If anyone buys a ticket."
The band have already begun rehearsals and working on new material. "It's not a trip down memory lane. We are doing new songs," Brown said.
Mani said: "There's something magical happens when us four are in a room together. You can't put your finger on it. It's just so beautiful to get hold of it again. Missed it, you know."
The band was fondly remembered for a self-titled first album, released in 1989, which is widely seen as one of the greatest debuts of all time. But it took five years to provide a follow-up and tensions led first to Reni, then Squire, quitting in 1995.
The band limped on with replacements but split after a disastrous performance at Reading Festival in 1996.
There has been next to no contact between Squire and childhood pal Brown since then and they have repeatedly denied they would ever reform.
Squire, who has since developed a career as an artist, said today: "I just couldn't see it happening and I resented the fact that people were trying to force it on me.
"Everything changed when me and Ian started seeing each other again. It was surreal. We went from crying, 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."
However, eyebrows have been raised over the reasoning behind their resurrection, especially given that the band’s key players have so vociferously denied the chance of reunion in the past.
Fellow Madchester scene star Shaun Ryder hinted over the weekend that Brown had been motivated by the recent split from his Mexican model wife Fabiola Quiroz.
“It has been coming for a while. It's amazing what a divorce will make you do,” Ryder said.
The singer’s marriage had appeared in trouble two years ago after he was arrested and later released without charge following allegations that he had assaulted his wife, with whom he has a young son.
Should the comeback be financially inspired, the baggy four-piece would be in good company. The Happy Mondays admitted that their 1999 reunion had been mounted to cover the bills, while the Sex Pistols even named their 1996 foray the Filthy Lucre tour.
The Stone Roses fell apart in 1996 after legal wrangles and internal rows but their self-titled first album, released in 1989, is widely seen as one of the greatest debuts of all time.
Guitarist John Squire quit in 1995 and although the band limped on with a replacement, the group split after a disastrous performance at Reading Festival in 1996.
Brown enjoyed some success as a solo star, bass player Mani joined Primal Scream and Squire charted with his band The Seahorses before pursuing an art career.
The band's drummer Reni has slipped out of the limelight since the band ended.
Squire, whose distinctive artwork graced many of their record covers, has regularly refuted suggestions they might reform.
He once created a metallic artwork decorated with the phrase "I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses" and displayed it on his website.
"I'd rather live my life than attempt to rehash it," he said later. "Even if Ian and I were still double dating as we did in our teens then the prospect of a reunion wouldn't interest me at all.
The feud between childhood friends Brown and Squire has long been seen as a potential stumbling block to any lucrative reunion.
Two years ago, Brown said Squire tried to end the feud by writing him a song – but he refused to record it.
The singer said he was advised by his children to reject the track – even though he loved it – because Squire quit the Roses.
In an interview with The Word magazine, Brown said: "He actually sent me a tune 18 months ago – pretty good, sounded nice, I liked it – but my sons turned round and said, 'dad you can't work on that – he sold you out didn't he? He left you for dead'."
The band's debut with its mixture of melodic pop and dance rhythms marked them out as the leaders of the Madchester scene.
In 1990, nearly 30,000 people flocked to see them at an outdoor gig in Spike Island near Widnes.
The concert – affectionately known as the "baggy Woodstock" – came as the Madchester scene was at its height and the band were flying high on the back of top ten hit Fool's Gold.
It is about to be immortalised in a new movie made by the director of Channel 4 hit Misfits, Tom Green.