- Influential British rock band The Stone Roses to reform after 15-year hiatus
- Music writer says group will want gigs to improve The Stone Roses' legacy
- Paul Stokes says older groups allow fans to experience better quality music
- But he says reformed acts are in danger of soaking up much of the live market
Influential British rock band The Stone Roses announced on Tuesday they will reform for several concerts next year after a 15-year hiatus.
The big question is: Will they be any good? I've certainly got high hopes for the reunion shows.
One thing the Manchester band -- noted for their mix of psychedelic rock and dance rhythms -- always prided themselves on was their ability as musicians and John, Reni and Mani were a very tight unit live.
Those three in particular will want to make sure the gigs are as tight and musically stunning as possible, not only for their own reputations, but to improve The Stone Roses' legacy. Those of us who saw them at Reading 1996 (without Squire and Reni, who had left by then) were horrified by the extremely poor show the band called The Stone Roses put on. I couldn't stand it and had to leave early.
These shows will have to be good to erase that stain. There's always a bit of a question about Ian Brown's tuning, but that's almost part of his charm as a frontman. He's good on vibes.
The issue of whether it's right for old bands to attempt to recreate their glory days depends on the context. Bands who have reached their peak fade away and then comeback tend to do themselves no favors. But when there is unfinished business -- for example when Blur fell out with Graham Coxon in 2000 it didn't feel like a fitting end for such a seminal band -- reunions give the fans what they want: a chance to see a band one more time and a better end to their relationship with that group.
When the fans aren't interested, or bothered, then you know it's just for the money and it's just sad. I think The Stone Roses had a lot of unfinished business.
In an era where music is consumed so quickly, the return of older bands does give fans a chance to experience something a bit more substantial and emotionally satisfying than contemporary acts; it's harder to have that kind of relationship with a band who are old hat after just one single.
However it does make it harder for bands to progress their careers, if reformed acts are soaking up a lot of the live market for example. For example very few new bands who emerged in the last 10 years have been trusted to headline a major summer festival, organizers will not take a gamble on new talent, if there's a sure-thing reunion lurking around.
It's a tough balance, but it's reflective of most people's record collections -- a mix of old and new music.
So we'll have to see if there is an artistic justification for a resurrected Stone Roses. Blur in 2009 in particular felt justified, not only because we got to see how a artistically mature Damon Albarn and Coxon would perform together live -- rather than going mental as they did a bit in the early days -- but they also recorded the single "Fools Day" which was a welcome addition to the Blur catalog, and their Glastonbury performance was one of their greatest in that festival's already esteemed history.