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Most of this blog is related in some way to the music, books and films produced by Gonzo Multimedia, but the editor has a grasshopper mind and so also writes about all sorts of cultural issues which interest him, and which he hopes will interest you as well.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

STONED ROSES

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Omnibus Press (16 July 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1780385455
ISBN-13: 978-1780385457

As regular readers of my inky fingered scribblings on the Gonzo Daily will know, most of what I write about here is either directly or indirectly linked to the output of Gonzo Multimedia. However, once in a while, I write about other things that interest me – usually book reviews (often courtesy of those jolly nice people at Omnibus Press) and it is those jolly nice people at Omnibus Press who sent me a biography of a band that, I have to admit, pretty well passed me by the frst time round.

At the end of the 1980s, and the very beginning of the 1990s, I was in a peculiar position, I was a music journalist that had cordially disliked most of the music that came out of the 1980s and was firmly entrenched into being a fan of stuff from the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Whereas I admit that these days I still very rarely listen to anything mainstream from the 1980s – the over-glossy productions, heavily processed linn drums that went doing, doing, doing, and the sparkly synthesisers which sounded so fresh and new 30 years ago just sound tired and vulgar to these jaded ears. I started listening to contemporary music again with the ears of a fan in 1987 when albums by Pop will Eat Itself, the Shamen and The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu reminded me the three chords, a bit of subversion and a good dollop of attitude was still an exciting recipe. I quite liked the Happy Mondays circa. Hills, Thrills and Bellyaches but their first couple of albums left me cold and for some reason, I never got into the Stone Roses at all.

I say for some reason, because – as a soundtrack to my reading this slightly dull but very worthy biography of the band, I was enthused enough to try listening to them, and – 20+ years after I should have done, I finally got them. I still don’t think that they are quite the saviours of popular music that they were touted as back in the day, but I do think their mixture of classic pop harmonies and baggy beats have a lot to recommend them. Bizarrely I started listening to their much vilified second album last Christmas, and got slightly sozzled with one of my adopted nephews and played it far too loud.

It would be very interesting to see what their much touted reunion brings forth. As with the biography of The Smiths which I read some weeks ago, I didn’t end up liking any of the main protagonists very much, although I did end up admiring them their musicianly and songwriting skills. The most sympathetic character is their manager who was generally buggered about and treated quite badly by the band, who basically came over as fairly unlikeable and impossible to manage.

All in all an interesting book and one which I think repays further investigation.

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