Here’s a thing: What do the founding members of The Stone Roses have to do to shoot down speculation of a reunion?
I was struck by John Squire’s medium-hopping attempt to quell the latest rash of stories. The man who has for years tried to distance himself from his musical past and reinvent himself as an artist-not-musician finally faced the question head-on by taking a piece of his art, and scrawling on it a statement apparently about the future (or the lack of it) of the Roses.
I was impressed by the imaginative way that this targeted the central problem. The public (prompted by the press), or the press (patronised by the public) already has its story: the resurrection of The Stone Roses. It’s a done deal. It just hasn’t happened yet. And anything John Squire says is viewed through the prism of “the reunion”. It’s “John Squire’s latest word on the reunion”.
What Squire has achieved is to take this foregone conclusion, over which he has no control, and turn it into a conclusion over which he has some control: a good, steady focus on his art. Simple and effective.
The rub: he hasn’t done himself any favours with the wording of his response. “I have no desire whatsoever,” he wrote, “to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group The Stone Roses.”
Now, I genuinely hope and believe that he means: “I am never, ever going to take part in a reunion of The Stone Roses”.
But let me interpret what Squire has said: “I would willingly reform The Stone Roses, and bring them back better than ever, and enhance their legacy further”. Or: “don’t worry, I won’t desecrate the grave”. Or: “I don’t want to do this, but that doesn’t mean I won’t”.
Whether it’s a pernickety point or not, it just doesn’t dampen any suspicions that he might be leaving the way open for some future lucrative rift-healing. The speculation won’t stop coming round.
And it leads me to wonder what — if he really wanted to cease the whispers forever ‘n’ ever — John Squire would have to do. Words won’t do the trick. Too many artists — musicians in particular — have gone back on their ‘never again’ for it ever to be an effective response. The Specials, Pixies, Cream, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, just in the last couple of years.
So what else would Squire have to do? Burn his guitars? He could always get more guitars, at the expense of some starry-eyed record company.
No no. The only way I can think of him doing it is to take a meat cleaver to his right hand: “say goodbye to the opposable thumb that clutches the plectrum that plays the opening notes of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’” [/slice/].
It’d be very Van Gogh.
I am not, I feel it polite to clarify, suggesting that John Squire should actually do this. But it is the only gesture I can think of that would convince me that he is fully in control of the non-resurrection of The Stone Roses. It would be a commitment to say, what’s done is done, and I will never have a change of heart. Or if I have a change of heart, I’m prepared to not be able to act on it.
Only now of course do I remember the one-armed drummer from Def Leppard, and realise that even a thumbectomy wouldn’t guarantee a result.
Ah well, back to the drawing board. Maybe they should reform. Maybe that’s the only thing that would quell the desire for a reformation.