One minute he's explaining how "Love Spreads" was inspired by Rosalind Miles' The Women's History of the Worldan elegy for the lost utopia that existed before patriarchy; the next he'll talk about watching Apocalypse Now for the 15th time", then realising "that's like looking at hardcore porn and masturbating".
When I ask Squire which trait he most admires and envies in women, the answer is revealing: their superior ability "to release tension" and the fact that they enjoy, through their periods, "a monthly venting of spleen". Incredibly soft-spoken, impassive, restrained in his movements, Squire is your classic chronic introvert.
His intensity seems to be vented entirely through the phallic panache of his playing, through his "violent dreams" and his painting. Originally influenced by Jackson Pollock "a real rock'n'roll painter"now into collage, Squire's canvases decorate all of the Roses record sleeves. Squire's erstwhile creative partner Brown is a bit of a dreamer; his idea of utopia is "living outside with Nature, getting down to the Great Spirit, full community, like the Red Indians".
It's Squire's cynical streak "I get the feeling that wherever we're going it, it's gonna be an empty surprise", he says at one point that gives the Roses their edge. I didn't have to try for this one. That predicament isn't likely to improve: the Roses' recent choice of Doug Goldstein who handles Guns N' Roses as their new manager, plus talk of the band doing Lollapalooza, reveal a serious intention to finally crack America this time.
Wryly noting the "schoolmasterly" tone of the reviews--"you've been very very naughty, you've been away too long and this isn't good enough to buy back our affections"--Squire puts his finger on it when he complains: Coast To Coast - Luna-C - SupaSet 7 (CD) like we'd signed some kind of unoffical agreement!
By some mysterious process, a contract between band and audience is sealed, often without the band's consent. Sometimes it's hard to say precisely what's at stake. But with the Stone Roses, everything about them--the songs, the look, the 'tude--seem to have crystallized a sense of possibility.
The Roses represented the brief return--just after the Smiths' miserabilism, just before grunge's gloom--of a long-lost and near-unthinkable '60s notion: that being young could be fun, a real cool time. Maybe that's all we were, a reflection of that.
In Britain, the 'dole culture' that originally allowed childhood chums Ian and John to avoid deciding what to do with their lives for several years, has been extinguished. The idea that a way of life beyond 9-to-5 drudgery is possible is fading fast. Now the only flight-paths are individualistic, the traditional escape routes soccer, pop stardom for glory-hungry working class jack-the-lads.
Take Oasis, the band who ripped off the Roses' nothing-can-stop-us arrogance and ambition shtick wholesale. Coast To Coast - Luna-C - SupaSet 7 (CD) difference between Oasis and the Roses is that the latter always represented a shared sense of 'going somewhere', a collective hope.
There was something generous and noble about their narcissism. Now hope like everything else in Britain has been privatized. And the Stone Roses are "just another band". Neither diehard devotees nor the band themselves seem able to articulate exactly why the Roses mattered so much, Coast To Coast - Luna-C - SupaSet 7 (CD). Because of this, the fervour that greeted The Stone Roses in and the bitterly disappointed response to Second Coming in '94, both seem--from a detached, non-partisan standpoint--equally out of proportion.
Perhaps, first time around, it was just a question of right place, right time. There's a theory that people fall in love when they're ripe, and project their latent amorousness onto the least unsuitable candidate to come along. In Manchester, E seems to have facilitated the bonding process, as freefloating fervour and will-to-belief found a focus in the band; this spread to the rest of the country by plugging into Brit-rock's latent hunger for a Big Band, a four-man trad-guitar combo the Smiths, the Jam; Suede, Oasis.
If there was a kernel of magic to the Roses discounting their obvious assets i. Really, it was just a self-confidence that fit the turn-of-decade positivity like a glove, and briefly resurrected a heretical notion: that being young could be fun. The Roses' melodies had a soaring unfettered spirit that echoed the optimism that coursed through everything the Beatles did, even their sad songs.
That idea--adolescence as endless possibility as opposed to endless torment--seems illusory and irrecoverable, post Kurt and Richie, despite the insouciant Coast To Coast - Luna-C - SupaSet 7 (CD) of jack-the-lad combos like Oasis, Supergrass etc.
The difference between the Roses in '89 and Oasis in '95 is that the latter are all ME ME ME, a purely individualistic escape route from dead-end drudgery into self-willed rockstardom. With the Roses, it was more a case of WE, "we can all it make it out of this place": their narcissism was somehow on behalf of a community.
Anyway, right now the Roses are in the unenviable position although the money probably eases the pain of being just another band now that everyone's copped their attitude and Sixties recycling is this nation's seventh most profitable industry.
They have to get by on good singin', good playin', on the trad virtues of their deeply traditionalist thang. And that's how they project themselves tonight. They start, like they useta, with "I Wanna Be Adored", only now it's much heavier than before, a monolithic shock-wave of sound that almost obliterates Ian Brown's wind-tunnel vocals.
Apparently this is how the band wanted the debut LP to sound, until John Leckie got his emasculating hands on it. What's weird about Second Comingand about the Stone Roses tonight, is the way the band replay the entire era at once--from mid-Sixties beat through psychedelia to heavy rock-- but jumbled and anachronistic.
It sounds great, actually: along with J. Mascis, Squire's one of the very few contemporary guitarists who can sustain a solo. If nothing else, this kind of phallocratic pyrotechnicism will get the band on the cover of all the muso guitar mags. As you might have twigged, the guitarist dominates proceedings so extensively that it can only be a matter of time before the band is renamed the John Squire Blues Explosion.
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