From – 1989: January – March
As soon as we got back from America, in December 1988, I started back at Our Price Records as Christmas cover. I had written to my old manager (and bass player in The Rain), Tony Duckworth from the States to get this organised. I was in Our Price Woking, and it felt very odd to be so out of touch. Six months previously I had been on top of everything, chart positions, new releases even catalogue numbers. When somebody asked me for the Gipsy Kings album, which was huge, (and I hadn’t heard of) I looked under Gy for ‘Gypsy’ and couldn’t find it.
Danny and I knew we were only back in Surrey temporarily though, while we got ourselves organised to make the move to London. I searched the jobs section in ‘Music Week’ every Monday.
I couldn’t wait to get The Buzz Club going again and had been given a selection of dates by Jem at the West End Centre in Aldershot. While I was still I was mulling over who to try and get for the first gig, I got a phone call from an agent called Pete Target. He said, ‘You might not have heard of them, but I’ve just taken on a brilliant band from Manchester called The Stone Roses. I’m looking to get them a few dates in March, what do you think?’
They were actually my favourite band. I’d seen them play a couple of times in London in 1987 and ’88 – (the second time they were supporting The La’s) and had ‘Sally Cinnamon‘ and ‘Elephant Stone‘ on 12″. I didn’t care if no one came to see them, I said ‘You bet!’
I was sent a press kit and photos to circulate to the local press – a few papers in those days including The Camberley News, The Aldershot News and The Farnham Herald.
The press kit has about 10 pages with various reviews from national and Manchester press. I like this one, The Happy Mondays at number 1 in The Guardian Hit List – The Roses at number 7! It’s starting to happen…..
I still have the original of this photo plus the press kit.
We got posters and fliers made – I don’t have the flier which is slightly annoying but very happy to have kept one of these A1 posters and scanned it a few years ago.
(Update 25.6.2020 – an original poster from this gig just sold on eBay for £247! Not by me, I promise!)
The tour was to promote their new single ‘Made of Stone’. What a cracking 12” – the two tracks on the b side were also wonderful ‘Going Down’ and ‘Guernica’ – a backwards version of the title track and a clue to what would come on the album. A few years later, I met Paul Schroeder who produced the b sides and who engineered the album with John Leckie producing. Paul was working with the band Dodgy who I knew very well. They were managed by Andrew Winters, my boss at Ultimate Records. I chatted to Paul a bit about how they recorded the first album, how they sang along to the backwards track that was ‘Don’t Stop’.
Anyway, back to 1989.
Tickets were doing ok, but not brilliantly. Then with perfect timing, the week they were due to play The Buzz Club, ‘Made of Stone’ was Single of the Week in ‘Melody Maker’ , they had an amazing half page live review in the ’N.M.E.’ and best of all, they were featured on SNUB TV.
The day of the gig arrived and we had sold about 178 tickets. Covered our costs, enough for a great atmosphere.
After they sound checked the band came into the bar for a minute. Ian Brown said to me ‘I like your hair, where d’ya get it cut?’
I was a little lost for words as the answer was actually a shop run by a couple of our friends, Kenny and Steve, in Aldershot called ‘Blow Jobs’!
Danny and I chatted to the band’s tour manager, Steve. He was kind of managing them too. He told us about how people would break open lamp posts to run the power for illegal raves in Manchester.
I had been telling everyone I knew to come to this gig. Including, our mate Billy Campbell who also worked in Our Price and later went on to run Names Records, releasing awesome music by King Creosote, Alela Diane and The Earlies.
‘My buddy Pascal and I were just driving around with not a lot to do and I remember driving past the West End Centre and saying ‘oh there’s meant to be a really good band playing tonight… we should check them out’
So we came in and saw you and Danny who we knew and hung out for a bit and checked out the support band who were ok .
Then the band came on and played this brilliant opening song which was ‘I wanna be adored’ and then it seemed every song after was a classic , I was really into The Byrds at the time and they seemed like a modern version of them with an incredible rhythm section and the guitarist was out of this world and looked sooo fucking cool and the singer who would be known for ‘holding a tune like an onion bag holds custard’ seemed really good.
The last song was incredible and went on for ever and ever and when it was over we walked back into the bar shell shocked , i asked Pascal what he thought as his musical tastes were really different to mine and he was absolutely blown away.
You just knew they were going to be massive.
We had some beers and John Squire came over and chatted ..
Probably the most influential gig of my life .’
My own memories of the gig were being right down the front. This time not just loving every minute of a Stone Roses gig but also thinking ’I did this!’. That was a pretty great feeling.
Russell Heath, another Our Price friend was there too, smoking while watching the band. Ian took the cigarette from him, held it for a while, had a couple of puffs and handed it back, mid song.
I’ve asked a few people who were there that night for any memories they might have. Dave Driscoll who is the man responsible for loads of Buzz Club live recordings (but sadly not that night!) said,
‘The two things I most remember about the gig… Firstly, Danny saying to Gary, sound check sounds really good “He’s playing through two amps…” To which Gary said.. “Well that’s just being plain greedy..” and being absolute mesmerised watching Reni when playing ’Shoot You Down” with a brush and a beater….’
Update – 30.7.2020 – I have just been pointed to the set list from the Buzz Club gig! It just sold, along with another Buzz Club poster for £320 on a different site (not eBay). Very happy to have this, if only digitally! What a night it was!! Thanks to Mark Lindsay for letting me know).
This was a landmark Buzz Club.
Read about more of my adventures with The Stone Roses here.