We seem to have been lacking some actual content on here in recent weeks, so let’s get back to the books themselves. Our four spring titles are now on sale at Amazon, and should be in the usual stores in the US and Canada any day now. (Those of you across the Atlantic will have to wait another month or so.)
So here’s the first of four extracts over the coming days, from Alex Green’s book on the Stone Roses’ debut album.
After all these years, The Stone Roses remains for fans and critics alike both a high point and a sore spot. A high point in that, as John Robb writes, “They changed the whole soundscape of British pop,” and a sore spot for no other reason than that, as Q put it in a recent article, “they threw it all away.” Whatever camp you’re in, the music of The Stone Roses is still spoken of in sweeping, grandiloquent terms crafted with fondness and affection. But where it gets unfair is when I read critics sticking it to them for not having been the leaders of Britpop, for abandoning the post that was so clearly theirs and, almost by default, meekly passing the torch to Oasis.
“They would have destroyed Britpop and you would have loved them for it,” says Alan McGee, before going on to say, with his usual charm: “Britpop was shite, Britpop was fucking awful apart from Oasis, Blur and Pulp. Britpop was terrible. Britpop was Menswear and the Boo Radleys who had the misfortune of being number one with the worst song ever released called ‘Wake Up Boo.’ [The song did make the top 10 in Britain, but it never reached number one.] Unfortunately it will probably feed Martin Carr for the rest of his life, but it’s crimes against music – the man should die ashamed for his crimes. That song is truly the worst song I’ve ever had anything to do with my entire life. Wake up fucking boo – wake up Martin Carr you made the worst fucking song on my record label, you cunt.”*
People should leave the Stone Roses alone. They shouldn’t be blamed for not being the saviors of British music for the same reason Warrant shouldn’t be blamed for being the sole murderers of hard rock. I suppose in retrospect the Roses’ greatest strength was knowing what they wanted, and their greatest weakness was not realizing what they had. In the four years it took to put out Second Coming the Stone Roses, legal troubles aside, had simply mastered the art of fucking around.
*I do love Alan McGee. My favourite memory of him was at Morrissey’s first ever solo show, at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall, the day after the Lockerbie/Pan Am disaster. Most of us had dutifully (and, looking back, insanely) been queueing outside in the December chill for almost 24 hours. Half an hour before they finally let everybody in, McGee shows up and casually jumps over the barrier, about 100 people back from the front of the line. Charming.