Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I Was A Stone Roses Virgin

Last week, 94.7 Alternative Portland played a song I had never heard before and I thought, hmmm, what's this? Sounds old, yet timeless; jangly--reminds me of Ride. I wonder if this band was friends with Ride. What IS this band? Luckily DJ Gustav back-announced the song. Thank you radio gods! A commercial DJ who back-announces! It was The Stone Roses playing She Bangs The Drums.

Why haven't I ever heard them before this day? True, they only made two albums, but their debut, 1989's The Stone Roses, is considered one of the finest ever to come out of the UK. I've seen the Manchester musical/bio-pic/comedy, 24 Hour Party Peoplethree times (in fact, it's such an awesome a film, I'm going to BUY it right now [click]). I'm married to a pre-emo man who knows every lyric and melody of every Joy Division, New Order and Smiths song. We were both saddened when television personality, music maven, and Factory Records' founder Tony Wilson died last year. Keith even went to The Factory once, but due to a migraine, never made it to the interior. I think I know a little bit about the Manchester indie rock scene, which turned into a rave scene, which then lost my interest completely. So I'm not a total git or tosser. Yet this disparity.

The Stone Roses were not a Factory label band, but they hailed from Manchester and they had that uncanny musical intelligence that came out of that region in the late 80s/early 90s. They were a huge influence on that whole mid-90s Brit-pop (Charlatans, Blur, Oasis, Suede, etc.) situation. Those bands were good, but they weren't as mind-blowing as we were led to believe by the music media (personally, only Blur did it for me). I do think The Stone Roses had a bit more of a freaky force going for them. I'm sure the massive amounts of ecstasy their fans ingested didn't hurt everyone's happiness factor. At least until the drugs, egos and bickering took over. Being in a band is like being married to two or three other people. Imagine the logistics of trying to keep all that together.

Waterfall - live on Tony Wilson's show, "Other Side of Midnight" 1989. Remy's got an interesting cross-over drumming style.

She Bangs The Drums - I heard it in the car while pulling into the garage. Then I ran into the kitchen and turned on the radio to find out who it was. I, geek.

I Wanna Be Adored - live at the Hacienda, 1989.

Fools Gold - ravey, but wait, don't leave the room, it's good.

And be sure to give I Am The Resurrection a listen. It's a pretty decent indie-pop tune that then turns into something else entirely, three-and-a-half minutes in--a really clean, raving jam session. People continue to wig out over John Squire's guitar but the whole time I was listening, I was thinking: The drums! The killer drumming! (Head implodes.)

Tuckers took me to a few raves back in the day. I was always more impressed by the logistics and architecture of a rave than the culture or rapid-BPM music (that's Beats Per Minute--imagine dancing to the rhythm of a woodpecker on crystal meth). Let's dwell a moment on the concept of smart drinks. That's not a very rocking scene if it entails a smoothie bar. But I loved the light shows, the DJ pulpits (I wonder if anyone ever fell off of those platforms--they were so much higher than the dance floor). The chill rooms--they always reminded me of Greg Brady's bachelor pad when he took over Mr. Brady's den--the pillows, the mobiles, the lava lamps and blacklight posters. The tense, groovy vibe.

Raves reminded me of going to a 70s-era mall. With the Orange Julius stand in one corner, Spencer's Gifts down the hall, and lots of backpacks full of consumer goods: glow sticks, drugs, bottled water. It was overrun with glassy-eyed, smiley-faced white people, like a clearance sale at The Limited, only it's drugs On Special Now. I don't why I got off on this tangent. The Stone Roses are nothing like going to the mall. But if anyone wants to open a rave mall, I'll try it once. Actually, the Vancouver Mall has Glow Golf: blacklit, fluorescent, underwater-themed miniature golf. It rains here a lot and we have to keep busy.

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