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By John Glynn

Along with Radiohead, seminal rock band The Stone Roses will headline this year’s Jisan Valley Rock Festival. Last year’s event saw the likes of Arctic Monkeys, The Chemical Brothers, Suede, CSS, Incubus & Jimmy Eat World showcase their talent. Already, with the announcement of both Radiohead and The Stone Roses, Jisan looks stronger than it did 12 months ago. In Korea, not many people are familiar with the UK outfit, The Stone Roses. My endeavor here is to provide some information on one of the most important groups’ ever to grace the British music scene. Here it goes. Apparently named after a novel by Sarah Gainham, the group epitomizes the true meaning of Brit rock; arrogance and style in abundance. The Roses fell apart in 1996 after legal disputes, internal bickering and a disastrous performance at The Reading Festival. Singer Ian Brown enjoyed some success as a solo star, but almost six months ago, the men from Manchester decided to reform. The band admitted they each had very personal reasons for reuniting, while Brown criticized the existing music scene, saying it was “boring, bland and corporate.” Brown finished his explanation by stating the need for “uplifting” music “in times like these.” The band rose to prominence when the UK was in the midst of a recession. And now, in their second coming, they reunite in the face of yet another recession. Their self-titled debut album, released in 1989, was critically acclaimed, deemed to be one of the greatest debuts of all time. Even to this very day, almost a quarter of a century on, their unique sound is still considered to be radical. The Roses gave a new lease of life to the UK music scene. In the late 80’s, techno & house had started to dominate the charts; the rock music scene was not looking healthy. The Stone Roses debut inspired other groups to form and start up: Blur and Oasis, to name just two. Liam Gallagher‘s swaggerish ways were heavily influenced by Ian Brown, the Roses front man. Ian is often imitated but never out classed. Initially, from 1984-88, The Stone Roses had struggled, performing at second-rate venues across the UK. They remained rather anonymous, releasing a couple of singles along the way. John Leckie (legendary producer) helped the band when it came to the recording of their groundbreaking debut album. Some of their harmonies are sheer musical gold, ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ with its slow, measured build up, a truly faultless album opener, and a statement of intent in every way imaginable. It is complimented by impeccable guitar skills from an extremely gifted musician. John Squire, take a bow, his artistic ability was the glue that held this band together for so long. For some, his decision making also tore the band apart. In 1995, Squire broke his collarbone, this was widely considered to be the beginning of the end for The Roses. The injury occurred just before The Roses were set to embark upon a pretty hectic touring schedule. The following year, Squire actually quit the band, supposedly clashing with Brown on a regular basis. He was replaced by Aziz Ibrahim. Shortly after this, the band played the infamous 1996 Reading Music Festival. But with the loss of Squire, the band received a rather lukewarm reception from the crowd. Shortly after this embarrassing ordeal, Ian announced the band had split. Almost sixteen years later, The Roses are back, once again showcasing their musical brilliance on an international level. Their music helped define a generation. ‘She Bangs The Drums’ was one of their real career defining tracks, it resonated hugely with a generation of frustrated people, especially in the UK, arriving at a time when people needed a distraction from redundancy and social depression. It is a true pop song, flaunting a wave of guitars not witnessed since The Byrds introduced us to folk rock. It’s quite difficult to imagine identifying a way to improve the sound generated by the Mancunians. The intoxicating mixture of melodic pop and dance rhythms marked The Roses out as the leaders of the Manchester music scene. They managed to deliver prime ‘sixties’ sounding harmonies, music that is so poignant you will find yourself repeating songs on a continuous basis. For the Korean music scene, this should be seen as a major coup, The Stone Roses are one of the most respected groups’ in Europe. I truly hope that they can showcase some of that true magic, that true greatness that once set them apart. This could very well be the best Jisan Music Festival yet.

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