Skip to main content

Stone Roses wanna be adored again

By Paul Stokes, for CNN
updated 10:50 AM EDT, Wed October 19, 2011
All smiles: John Squire, Mani, Ian Brown and Reni of The Stone Roses pose together to announce their comeback dates.
All smiles: John Squire, Mani, Ian Brown and Reni of The Stone Roses pose together to announce their comeback dates.
  • 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

Editor's note: Paul Stokes is in charge of "Q" magazine's digital output, including editing and is a sometime presenter on Q Radio. He was previously Associate Editor at NME and is the author of the Wit & Wisdom Of The Brothers Gallagher.

(CNN) -- 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.

Watch The Stone Roses' press conference

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.

Paul Stokes
Paul Stokes

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.

Watch the band in their heyday

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.

Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:26 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
updated 7:09 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
updated 1:01 PM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
updated 10:48 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
updated 12:07 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
updated 7:15 AM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
updated 7:06 PM EST, Tue February 5, 2013
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
updated 7:37 AM EST, Wed February 6, 2013
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
updated 7:27 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.