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With the long-awaited “One Love” reaching new heights for THE STONE ROSES, lan Brown talks exclusively to Number One’s Sara Lawrence about forgiving but not forgetting, going back to the womb, the joys of sex and why he might die when he’s 35 ….
What’s your idea of perfection? The Stone Roses!
Anything else? The promised land. There is a promised land. The Stone Roses will be there, and sun, sea, sand, fish, monkeys, sex, drugs and Ludo!
So are you going to achieve all that, getting to the promised land? Yup. None of us are already there. We’re waiting for it.
Has anything that’s happened surprised or shocked you or has it all gone according to plan? Well we didn’t have any plans but we’ve never been surprised or shocked ‘cos when we made a record, we thought it was good and we were really into it, and so we thought a lot of people would pick up on it! But we never had a plan ‘cos we do things day to day if we can do. We’ve never been in a state of surprise . . . or shocked (he giggles nervously).
Do you believe in one love for all people what ever they might have done? Yeah, I do, yeah! Why? ‘Cos it’s right. It’s one love for all. You can’t have one love but only have these people in and not those. It’s one love for all people!
Do you think there is enough love in the world? Not at all, no. I just think that love conquers hate. We’re doing our bit, we’re trying, we’re trying to spread love. By making music and playing shows!
Why do you choose to play one-off large events instead of going around the country? It makes it more exciting for people, it makes it more of a night out! You don’t just want to play venues that other people play in the traditional sort or rock and roll way, it’s just boring. We want people to have a night out and we want to try and play at different places! And we have been.
Do you forgive easily? I forgive but don’t forget! I forgive people for doing things that are wrong because it’s mainly done out of their own ignorance but I don’t forget that they’ve done it! I don’t harbour grudges, I don’t waste time on grudges, but it’s important to always remember what you’ve seen and what you were and what you know!
Do you think that’s how you expand your consciousness? Yeah, I do. ‘Cos then you take in more knowledge and that’s the way that you become a better person. I’m not knowledgeable enough yet, though.
Are you trying to become more knowledgeable? Always, yeah. That’s why you live your life! I read, I speak to people, I do all the things that everyone else does, and I know that that expands my mind. Travel broadens your mind but so does speaking to people!
Do you pray at all? No (Ian laughs hesitantly).
Do you believe in God then? Yeah. I’ve always believed in something, I just call it God because it’s a term everyone understands. I believe in the forces of good and evil, I believe that they’re present in everybody! I think I’m on the side of good and /evil and I think everybody is!
Which side is winning in your case? It’s a constant battle (he giggles again). I don’t know what part of my character’s on the side of evil, I don’t look at myself that deeply. I don’t analyse my actions at all, I just go with everything! I’m not interested in how my mind works at all. Two thirds of the brain, you don’t know what it’s there for, so why waste the other third wondering what the rest of your brain is doing? It’s better to just go with things!
Don’t you ever wonder why you’ve just done something though? No. I’ll do that when I’m about 60 or 70. I’ll sit back and wonder why did I do all this? (A wry giggle passes his lips as he continues.) Every moment’s a live moment isn’t it, so it s best to make the most of each one!
Do you think about anything a lot? I think about everything that everyone thinks about [he giggles again) life, relationships, places in the world, things that you want to see, things that you’ve seen. I want to see Moscow, and Africa. Somewhere where you can still see all the animals! t don’t like dogs but I am an animal lover.
How far do you take your love of animals? Do you eat meat? Yeah, I eat meat, lots of meat (he chuckles to himself) but there’s something about all animals isn’t there. I mean monkeys are monkeys aren’t they and a cow’s a cow and cows are for eating and monkeys are for playing with.
Do you daydream at all? Yeah, quite a lot. I’m always putting myself on a beach with some tequila with the sun beating down on me, with a lady! But other times I want to be out with the eskimos in an igloo. I love the snow. When I was at school they could never get us back to lessons if it’d been snowing!
Would you soy you were possessive or selfish at all? I’m not possessive but I would say that I’ve got a selfish streak, yeah! I’m selfish about my time. You’re only here once and you should only ever do what you want to do. You shouldn’t let people put you in a position that you don’t want to be in. That’s always happening, with certain shows people want you to play or certain groups people want you to support, all things like that. But we don’t wont to do that, we just want to do things that we want to do, ‘cos it’s our time and our time is the most important thing in our lives.
Is your time to yourself really precious to you? Yeah, but I prefer to be with other people. I don’t like to be alone.
Do you get depressed at all? I don’t let myself get depressed. I know that I can either think positive or negative so why think negative, you’re just going to bring yourself down, it’s a downward spiral. I have felt depressed in the past but I’ve learnt how to overcome it. John likes being on his own but he’s not a depressive sort of person, he just gets a buzz from being on his own, ‘cos he likes his own company. I like my own company, but I prefer the company of others!
Do you have any recurring dreams? I used to have a lot of dreams when I was younger about being underwater.
Isn’t that meant to mean being back in the womb? Is it? (He giggles) Well that’s me when I was a kid then. Back in the womb where it’s nice and safe and warm.
Do you have any fears of drowning or anything like that? I did a ouija board once which said I was going to drown when I was 35.
Do you think about that at all? Oh yeah, but if you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go, haven’t you? But 1 wouldn’t t like to drown.
How would you like to die? Oh, I don’t know. In a blaze, just in a blaze!
What’s been the most ecstatic moment in your life so far? (there’s a long pause as Ian thinks long and hard). At five in the morning when you’ve been having sex with someone all night! But I’m not going to name the person. The most ecstatic moment recently was when I bought the tracksuit I’m wearing at the moment. It’s African and it’s got Arab writing on the back!
What mode you happy when you were a kid? I was always pretty happy. I don’t know why. I guess I was just naturally happy! I Know I was quite lucky in that respect.
Do you think most people are happy? I don’t know. I don’t know what most people are like!
But don’t you think that most people are unhappy? It’s not surprising, with the country that we live in. There’re restrictions or all kinds of things, the government, school, all the way through school, it’s just the way society is. It’s unfriendly and people Just end up closing doors, keeping themselves to themselves.
Do you think things will change at all? Yeah, I always believe things can change, I think it’s possible.
THE STONE ROSES – A HISTORY
Ian Brown and John squire grew up two doors away from each other in Manchester. They are reported to have originally met in a sandpit aged about four. In their mid-teens, like so many other school friends, they decided to form a group. They called themselves The Patrol and featured John on guitar, Ian on bass and two other friends, Andy Cousens on vocals/guitar and Simon Wolstencroft on drums.
In 1981, both Ian and John moved to another suburb of Manchester, Hulme, and here they met and befriended Johnny Marr (ex-Smiths guitarist) and Cressa who would later become their official dancer and effects man. Another character that appeared around this time and would briefly become part of the group was Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield. By now. The Patrol were calling themselves English Rose, after a track on The Jam’s ‘All Mod Cons’ album.
In 1982, English Rose were put on ice. John Squire took a job making models for TV animation programmes and Ian Brown was travelling as far away from Manchester as possible on his scooter.
In 1984, he was hitching around Europe when he met a promoter who offered him gigs in Sweden. Seeing the opportunity as a chance for a free holiday, he returned to Britain to get the band back together again.
The Stone Roses were born, with Ian on vocals, John on guitar, Andy Cousens now relegated to rhythm guitar, a friend called Pete Garner as bassist and, via an ad, Alan Wren (Reni) was recruited to play drums.They chose the name, The Stone Roses, as an amalgamation of the previous band incarnation English Rose and those doyens of rock ‘n’ roll The Rolling Stones. They started putting on the, now legendary, warehouse parties in Manchester where people could carry on dancing after the Hacienda had closed at 3.00 am, and in 1985 their first sinqle, ‘So Young’/’Tell Me’ was released.
In 1987 ‘Sally Cinnamon’ was released through FM/Revolver and Pete Garner left to be replaced by their old friend Mani on bass.
In 1988, the Peter Hook-produced ‘Elephant Stone’ was released and for the first time, John Squire’s distinctive artwork could be seen on the single sleeve. At the beginning of the following year, they went on tour, playing to 12 people in Cardiff and a mere 10 in Hull. In March their next single, ‘Made Of Stone’, reached the Top 100 and sat at Number Four in the independent charts and in May, their eponymously titled LP was released to huge critical acclaim.They had arrived.
The first single ‘She Bangs The Drums’ went straight into the charts at Number 36 and they played the Blackpool Empress ballroom in August, their biggest gig at that time.
After a brief silence, ‘Fool’s Gold’/’What The World Is Waiting For’ went to Number Five in the charts. They appeared on TOTP in the same edition as Happy Mondays and their gig at London’s Alexandra Palace was sold out weeks in advance. They made their first live TV appearance on The Late Show and blew all the BBC fuses after 45 seconds of ‘Made Of Stone’ due to them playing too loud!
In January of this year, FM/Revolver re-released ‘Sally Cinnamon’. The Stone Roses then allegedly wrecked their offices with cans of blue and white paint after the label made a video to accompany the single without the group’s permission.
In May they played to 28,000 people at Spike Island and now, of course, the long-awaited single ‘One Love’ is huge!