Belfast Telegraph

Friday 31 October 2014

The Stone Roses plan an assault on the book charts

Fans hope their memoir may yet lead to a reunion

Ian Brown, former lead singer of The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses are to tell the story of their generation-defining debut album, their disappointing and delayed follow-up and their acrimonious split for the first time, with an authorised biography due out next year.

Journalist Simon Spence, who ghostwrote the acclaimed memoirs by the Rolling Stones' manager Andrew Loog Oldham, Stoned, spent more than 400 hours interviewing the band – lead singer Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary "Mani" Mounfield and drummer Alan "Reni" Wren – for the book, Fool's Gold.



The book will chart the band's rise after the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut album in 1989. It has since sold more than two million copies.



The band were at the forefront of the "Madchester" music scene of the late 1980s and early 1990s – named after a group of Manchester bands including the Happy Mondays and the Inspiral Carpets, who fused elements of indie guitar music with pyschedelic rock and dance music. The Stone Roses' outdoor concert at Spike Island, in Widnes, represented a high point for the British indie music scene in 1990.



But the band's follow-up LP was delayed as they fought a lengthy legal case to extricate themselves from their label. Second Coming was finally released in 1994 to mixed reviews.



Wren left the band soon after but it was Squire's departure in 1995 that effectively marked the end. Squire described his decision at the time as "the inevitable conclusion to the gradual social and musical separation we have undergone in the past few years". Brown and Mounfield officially ended the band in late 1996, a few months after a disastrous headline set at the Reading Festival.



The book could raise speculation that the Roses are planning a lucrative reformation, but Brown and Squire have consistently denied rumours that they would do so.



Penguin beat off four other publishers in a heated auction to take on the book, eventually paying a six-figure sum for the rights, a sign of how in demand rock memoirs are in the book industry.



Autobiographies by Rolling Stones guitarists Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards have been strong sellers in recent years, while fellow "Madchester" star Shaun Ryder, of the Happy Mondays and Black Grape, has published his memoirs in time for this year's Christmas rush.



Fool's Gold is due to be published in October 2012 and will be Penguin's third high-profile rock book due out that autumn. The publisher is also set to release Neil Young's memoirs and David Bowie's Object, in which the musician looks at the different items that influenced various stages of his career.



Fool's Gold's publisher, Joel Rickett, said: "The Stone Roses were the band of my generation. They defined an era and made perhaps the best album ever – a flawless record that's as thrilling now as it was in 1989. They've refused to exploit or tarnish their legacy. So I'm thrilled that they've agreed to work with Simon Spence to tell their story. I can't think of a more exciting book to publish."

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