Game Changers: Stone Roses

So its September 1989. I ‘m a white kid from Salford, who thinks he’s a black kid from New York. On my walkman is “Three Feet High and Rising” by De La Soul. On my feet are Cobra Troop. Around my neck are African Nation and CND leather badges on shoe laces. I look like a white Mooky from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing”. I have never understood modern guitar music. I like The Who and early Rolling Stones because my Dad was into ’em. He had played trumpet in a soul band from Salford called “Michael’s Angel’s” in the mid ’60’s, so he always listened to a lot of Motown era music, and hip hop had seemed to make sense to this white boy. I went round to my mate Andy Stanley’s house one night after school. He had an older brother who he shared a room with. We would read his “magazines” and we would listen to his┬árecords when he was out. So this one night, Andy goes “Hey listen to this, our kid has been playing it non stop and its fucking mint”. I’m thinking “Sweet! New TRIBE Called Quest maybe??”

Out of the speakers comes some weird swooshing and clicking sounds, and then a heavy bass guitar. Not a bass beat. A fucking guitar! I’m thinking “WHAAAAAT THE FUUUUUUCK IS THIS SHIT?”, but its funky, its got a groove to it, so I’m rolling with it. A swirling guitar comes in, and now I’m flipping out. This has got a mesmerizing feel that’s getting into my head, and swishing round my brain, this ….. this is interesting. A voice comes out of the fog. It’s got an accent. It’s got a swagger, and it sounds like he doesn’t give a fuck. He sounds like lads at school. He is saying to me “I don’t wanna sell my soul……..he’s already in me……I wanna be adddooooreeeed….you adore me”. This isn’t rap music. This isn’t the same type of modern protest music I am used to, but it’s making sense.

This lad isn’t happy, and he wants the world to know, because what he thinks, is more important than what anyone else thinks. I reach over to the bed and pick up the sleeve. It’s got paint splashed all over it and lemons on it. I don’t get it. I see the words “The Stone Roses” in gold on the front. I flip it over, and there are 4 guys dressed like scallies on the back, who look like they are straight of Salford Preccie, and they’ve got the best haircuts I’ve seen since The Who on “My Generation”. The insert has another paint splashed painting of the stars and stripes, and a cool set of photos of these dudes looking fucking mint again.

Another song is on. Another sweet funky bass intro, but the bass has got that Entwistle snarl. The singer has just told me that “Kiss me where the sun don’t shine….the past was yours, but the future’s mine……you’re all outta tiiiiime”. What a cocky prick! I think I like him! Thatcher bred a monster in the Northern Towns of England, and by fucking God┬áthese kids will have their say! By the time we get to “I am the Resurrection” I’m exhausted. This stuff is pulling me in, yet it’s been made with guitars, drums and no DJ. What is happening to me?

Salford Lads Club – Me, Knightys and Burke chilling in school, post-Scallie lifestyle change, some time in 1989

The song finishes. I let out a breath. It feels like the first one one in hours, but then it comes back in again, and it hits me straight between the eyes! That’s it, I’m sold. I can feel my Kid N’ Play flat top starting to grow out. I can feel the trackie pants going more solid and flare-like. My Troop trainers are morphing into Adidas Gazelles. I’m turning into one of these scallies on the inside of the record.

I’ve listened to lots of different styles of music over the years, but “The Stone Roses” by The Stone Roses has been my rock, my anchor.

2 thoughts on “Game Changers: Stone Roses

  1. Heh. Had something similar the first time I listened to Tool.
    Won’t embarass myself by admitting what Teenage Me was like before that, though. Sorry, boys, that one’s staying in the vault.

  2. Growing up in Manchester in the 90s it was impossible to avoid the influence of the Stone Roses. And too fucking right. An incredible sound that still sends chills through me today.

    Skipped out on the reunions at Heaton Park though, just not the same is it?

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