Noel Gallagher - Uncut - February 1998
It was the Lord Mayor's parade - we have mayors in Manchester, cos it's out in the sticks and that - and this fellow walked up to us in the street and gave us a big bunch of tickets. The Stone Roses were playing at International 1 and he said, "Have these and bring all your mates." So we were like, 'What the f***'s all that about?' It subsequently turns out that the fellow that handed us the tickets was Gareth Evans, who used to do this quite regularly in town - he used to go round all the people who looked like scallies and he'd give them all tickets.
So it was a Saturday night and we were round our way with nothing to do, so we all boiled down there. But it was full of students, so we all congregated at the bar. The Roses were in mid-Goth, early scally period then. Ian had a harlequin shirt on and a walking stick and slicked back hair, like Dracula.
As a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets, did you see the 'Madchester' bands hanging out together much?
I remember at a gig once at the university, where I think Clint Boon told us to take off my Stone Roses T-shirt when I was stood at the side of the stage, which I thought was very sad and I told him it was bad karma on his behalf. I think all the bands literally f*****g hated each other. I think the Mondays and The Roses used to get on vaguely - the Mondays were just out there, they were just like a big gang of desperadoes, really, I don't think anybody got to know them really well. I spoke to Shaun and Bez - but that was about as near as it got. You wouldn't go round to their house for fear that you'd never get out. But certainly all the other band didn't really get on.
They were all Reds, all of them. The Mondays, the Roses, and the Inspirals were all Man Utd fans, I think, so I suppose we're the first band full of City fans to come out of Manchester for along time.
What sort of stories did you hear about Gareth Evans?
Gareth was off his tits. I heard once that he was driving along in Cheshire somewhere, with Bernard out of New Order, and they were passing this house and Barney just said, 'Oh, that's a nice house,' so Gareth sort of spun the car into the driveway and got out and knocked on the door. The people that came to the door said, 'Er, who are you then?' and he says [in officious voice]; 'Ah, my name's Gareth Evans and this is Bernard Sumner of New Order,' and then proceeded to try and sell this house to Bernard. And these people didn't even want to sell it, so the story goes, and Gareth's like trying to be the middleman. And these people are going, 'Can you get out of the house, you know what I mean, like - who the f*** are yer?'
Can you remember the Roses show that really convinced you were something special?
The first time when it really struck me and I went f*****g 'Wow!' was at the anti-clause 28 gig with James at International Two. I think I've still actually got the cassette of the gig, cos Graham Lambert out of the Inspiral Carpets was bootlegging it, and that's where I met and subsequently got...but anyway the rest is history. Anyway, it was before the album came out and Ian Brown came on, and I think he was either ringing a great big bell or spinning a lumionus yo-yo that sparkled, and it was just, like, 'Phew, wow!' Then I heard all the songs, which sounded so simple and easy to play, and I thought, 'Well, if they can do it, I can definitely do it.' But you know I went to Spike Island and not Blackpool cos I was at rave actually, believe it or not. I was at rave down here, in a disused airfield going mental.
Bonehead used to be a plasterer, and he had a white transit van done up with splattered paint just like the Roses' Jackson Pollock stuff, and he went to Spike Island in that - about 10 of them all went at eight in the morning. They watched the gig from right at the back on the top of this transit van, and the van looked f*****g amazing. I always told him he should have kept that van. It would have been a fair sight seeing these 10 plasterers sat on top of this van at Spike Island.
I've seen the Roses, you know, do the most stunning gigs, and I've seen them do the most absolutely f*****g appalling pieces of professional musicianship on a stage you could ever witness in your life. I've got a tape of a live 'I Am The Resurrection', and I've played the tape to Mani since, and for must be about a two-minute section of the song, they're all playing a different part. Ian's singing a verse, Mani's playing the chorus, John's doing the end bit, and f*****g Reni's probably gone off and left about two hours ago. We sat and played it with Mani one night, and just laughed and laughed and laughed. They were the best band I've ever seen, and they were the most appalling live group I think I have ever come across. On a bad night, f*** me they were bad - but on a good night they were amazing.
What do you think made The Roses so unique?
I think it was just the presence of Ian Brown, really. People used to slag him off for not being able to sing, but it was never about that with them anyway. I mean, when they walked onstage and they all looked the same - Ian, John, Mani, Reni and Cressa - and Cressa would do his funky little dance, and out of the speakers would come 'I Wanna Be Adored'. They used to open up with that every night, and I'm sorry but if you walk onstage to a packed house with that song, it's game over, man. You know what I mean, it's like - pack it in, the gig's done. Once you hear that bassline, it's like, 'All right, fair enough, you are the best.'
Did you feel especially close to them because they were from Manchester?
They were our band, I suppose, because we got into it before anyone else in England, and then they made us feel special. Of course, at that time there was all the Manchester/London thing, y'know...'If thou art from Manchester, thou shalt inherit the earth', as Tony Wilson used to say, the knobhead.
At that time, everybody hated cockneys, and everybody hated Mancunians, and the Roses sang in Manchester accents, they wore the same clothes, they went to the same clubs, you could see them down the same Army & Navy stores where you were buying your desert boots and your flared jeans. But, all that aside, in the cold light of day it means nothing now, all that stuff about presence and gigs. What you're left with is the music, and what it boils down to is that they wrote the greatest songs of the late-Eighties.
How important were The Roses to Oasis?
I've said this to John Squire - without that band there would not have= been an Oasis, because I don't think Liam would have bothered joining Bonehead's group, and subsequently I wouldn't have bothered Liam's group. In the early days of Oasis, we definitely sounded a lot more like The Stone Roses than we do now, but John Squire's always been a guitarist I've admired - I think he's a brilliant guitarist. I used to try and rip off a lot of things he was doing. The Stone Roses kicked the door open for guitar music in the late-Eighties. We're credited with the renaissance of British guitar music in the Nineties, and I'm having that because we have done a lot for that form of music, but without the Roses...they opened the door a little bit for us, then we just came and nailed it to the wall.
What did you learn from their career?
If you have 6 months off, it's really hard to get back into the swing of things. Once you've switched off from songwriting and being in a band, you don't just pick up a piece of paper and say, 'Today, after six months, I'll write a song.' It just doesn't work like that. That's why, when bands have the dreaded year off, it goes for them. It's the biggest mistake you'll ever make in a band. Kids, don't have no time off, just keep going.
I certainly took an interest with what was going on in the Silvertone case. I thought, 'Well, I'm damned if my manager goes into any deals without me now.' Not that I don't trust him, it's just that's the way we do things, you know? It's sad for a band to get shafted like that, and, in the end, it just meant they lost momentum over the second record, and then when they came back with Second Coming, there were a lot of 14-year old kids going, 'Well, who the f*** are these jokers anyway?' Because, at Spike Island, they were nine, and nine you were in bed at eight o'clock.
Do you think Oasis would have been so big if The Roses hadn't lost that momentum?
I was certainly hoping that The Stone Roses would not be the be-all and end-all, that the music could still go somewhere after that. I remember Squire saying, 'Noel, I think you could be as big as The Stone Roses,' - at which point we just fell about laughing, just calling him a student indie kid. We said, 'What do you mean, we're gonna be bigger than The Stone Roses, we're gonna be bigger than The Beatles, mate!'
Do you think people still miss The Roses?
I miss them being in the press and I miss Ian Brown's interviews and I miss seeing them on Top Of The Pops, cos I always thought they looked like the best band in the world. I think them and the Small Faces actually looked the best two groups I've ever come across.
You see, The Stone Roses never had any knobheads in the band, I mean, we've got a bald geezer, know what I mean? And the Sex Pistols had Sid Vicious, who was a knobhead...I mean Bonehead's not a knobhead, but he's bald, you know what I'm saying? And the Mondays actually had a keyboard player who was called Knobhead, so they had likea knobhead in the band...so the Roses were the best looking.
Any band can only hope to be of their time - and between 1987 and 1989 they were untouchable - they were The Beatles of the late-Eighties.
I think I'd put every f*****g penny I've ever earned out of Oasis on The Stone Roses not reforming ever - but imagine seeing them all doing a Madchester Revisited tour in about 2010 or something, like Gerry And The Pacemakers and Freddie And The Dreamers did...[laughs]. Then again, saying that, I'd be f****g down the front if they did.