The band was formed in 1985 by guitarist John Squire and singer Ian Brown. By 1989, their sound (swirling guitars, backed by the driving rhythms of bassist Mani and drummer Reni), style (baggy) and swagger (Brown's lolloping walk) had attracted a huge local following. "We'd play to 1,500 people in Manchester; then five in Cardiff," recalls Mani.
When The Stone Roses was released, the press was ready. "Godlike," said Melody Maker; "a masterpiece," said Sounds. Squire was "the grandson of Hendrix on Mogadon" (Record Mirror); the Byrds and Simon and Garfunkel were cited. But NME felt it was "Quite good. Just." "What could have been great ... merely bulges with promise," said Q.
Mani thinks the band were largely overlooked for another six months, but "we knew it was a collection of great songs, and we knew where it was going to go. Our 100 per cent self-belief was always construed as total arrogance". Clint Boon, the Inspiral Carpets' keyboardist, calls the album "definitive": "It was the perfect soundtrack for the era." Now, it consistently features in "Best Ever" polls. Mani thinks that always happens: "It's only when things are dead and gone that people catch on." But Boon thinks that judging the album's merits objectively is difficult: "For anyone over 25, it's part of their education, it's embedded in their brains. It doesn't matter if you think now that it's great, or outdated, or crap. Everybody knows it."
In 1990, the Stone Roses played in front of 35,000 people at Spike Island near Widnes. Then things went wrong. They had a lengthy legal battle with their label; The Second Coming took five years; the wait, and album, disappointed press and fans. Brown and Squire's friendship disintegrated; Reni left, and then Squire. The "band" carried on and headlined the 1996 Reading Festival; Brown was unforgettably out of tune. The official end came that October.
Most Britpop bands would acknowledge a debt to the Stone Roses."It was our mandate to show people it wasn't a closed shop," says Mani, who is now with Primal Scream. "We wanted to give people the idea that they could do it for themselves. It was good then to see scoundrels in other cities starting up. Bands like Ocean Colour Scene, the Bluetones, Shed Seven have said if it hadn't been for us they might not have started. But they went away and did it on their own terms. It got the British guitar scene going again."
Boon thinks the band's influence lay in "the combination of the sound, the stance, the look, the walk. Kids copied Ian Brown's walk, my haircut and Shaun Ryder's vocabulary". One kid who definitely took the walk and the talk was Liam Gallagher, who went to a 1988 Stone Roses concert with his big brother; Ian Brown made young Liam wanna be adored, too.Reuse content