News Archive
2010





28.09.2010

freebass, it's a beautiful life, 2010FREEBASS REVIEW

At one point I never imagined that I'd be here: sat at my laptop with my headphones on, ready to immerge myself into my own world, putting together my review of the Freebass debut (and as all signs point out; only) album 'It's A Beautiful Life'.

It may have started as an over-ambitious project between three legendary bassists, who each had their hands more than full with other projects. A hunt for suitable vocalist/available guest vocals seemed a large part of delays as did finding the time for the collective to actually get together and record. Then in the last year Andy Rourke parted company and then the project fell apart after the much publicised public spat (which has now been resolved) between the two friends Peter Hook and Mani. That said, they got there, fully recorded and 'in the shops'. I waste no more time in clicking >PLAY and getting down to business.

The album opens with the funky and refreshing 'Not To Late', with Mani's bassline most distinct, a great opener. Another highlight is the almost tropical breeze of 'Kill Switch pt. 141' which hums along sweetly for 4 or so minutes; dipping its feet in the electro-ocean at times, Briggs providing almost James Dean Bradford-esque vocals at others.

This is followed by the dark dub/ska of 'Stalingrad'; sounding like 'Vanishing Point' meets The Specials and with a change on the vocals roster, this is probably the most unique sounding track from the rest. 'She Said' feels instantly familiar, to me, there's so many elements in here, there's ingredients of Primal Scream (latest stuff, unsurprisingly), Shaun Ryder/Black Grape, New Order, maybe even a bit of the swirly, spacey sounds of a melting pot of The Charlatans/Hurricane #1/Verve. It also reminds me heavily of little known outfit Electric Drugstore (formally The 88s, hunt them out!). I guess from the point of mixing elements from the main protagonists this is potentially the most successfully done.

The physical release adds three tracks and a bonus CD of instrumental versions of all other tracks. If I'm not very mistaken, 'Sister Surrender' borrows elements from early track 'The Tower': which only made the demo stage and a section of which, theme tune for one-time Channel4Radio show The Tube; here it is present with layers of guitars and noise. It is nice to hear here it in a finished form.

The tracks provide a varied backdrop of soundscapes, with the differing signature bass-lines from the legendary players appearing on different tracks, but what lets this collection down a little is the over-familiarity that the vocals provide that was not present in the earlier 'Two Worlds Collide' EP (that gave us our first proper taster of Freebass). The singer, Gary Briggs has a nice enough tone and way around the lyrics but I feel on occasions he misses the range over tracks to make each truely unique.

But while the EP that preceded this album seemed a more exciting and experimental taster to me, the range of guest vocals adding variety, this remains a coolly eclectic collection of tunes and forms an interesting album from an intriguing and mysterious project that was 6 years in the making. It is a grower, on the 4 or 5 listens I made whilst reviewing, it got me nodding along more each time. It's just a few short steps shy of historical but worth investing the time in retracing their journey.

If you purely want to listen to look at the album from the point of study then the bonus instrumental CD will give you the intimate breakdown of the various bass lines and guitar parts, that is if you want to play guess the bassist. These are very genuine, deliberate and well put together pieces.

The deluxe 2CD comes in a very tasty, highly glossy double-gate-folded sleeve with a CD at each end. I very much like the parrot artwork used throughout.

7/10

Standout tracks: 'She Said', 'Not Too Late' and 'Kill Switch pt. 141' (in that order)


'It's A Beautiful Life' is out now on 2CD featuring 3 bonus tracks and a bonus Instrumental CD and is available to order from amazon.co.uk - currently £8.93 delivered.



23.09.2010

freebass, it's a beautiful life, 2010WIN A SIGNED COPY!

Don't Stop has three copies of the very tasty deluxe double CD of Freebass' album, 'It's A Beautiful Life' - signed by the band. For your chance to win one of these deluxe gatefold glossy CDs, simply answer the following question.

What was the name of the legendary music programme that Freebass created the theme tune for?

The tune was Freebass' very first release showcasing the band's potential. The show appeared on Channel4 Radio and the answer is in an article in the News Archive... if you need a hint, check out 2006's page!.

Please email your answer to admin@john-squire.com.

Entries must be submitted by midnight 1st October and three names will be randomly picked soon after. Please include your answer, name and postal city & country in your email. If you win, I will contact you for your full address. Good luck!

'It's A Beautiful Life' is out now on 2CD featuring 3 bonus tracks and a bonus Instrumental CD and is available to order from amazon.co.uk - currently £8.93 delivered.



12.09.2010

freebass, it's a beautiful life, 2010FREEBASS SPLIT

It took five or six years to come together but only a matter of weeks to fall apart. In what turned out to be a sensational public spat from Mani (aimed at Freebass band-mate Peter Hook) across popular social site Twitter this week resulted in the collaboration's meltdown. The public attack spread over a number of comments included from Mani: "3 things visible from space, great wall of china, peter hooks wallet stuffed with ian Curtis blood money, man citys empty trophy cabinet!" (you can find plenty others on a quick search of the net).

Third bass player, Andy Rourke had already quit the band earlier this year and moved to New York, which was no doubt the first sign of trouble for the experimental collaboration.

The official statement from the band's management comes as no surprise: "Recent events have made Freebass entirely unviable as a band and with this in mind, it has been decided that the project should be shelved, rather than placed on hiatus while members pursue their other interests."

Mani has since acknowledged he experienced a 'Meltdown Time' and has withdrawn from the Twitter site with a olive branch to Hook, "deserve it, a probably soon to be ex best mate. im embarassed to fuck. that behaviour aint me. peter hook,i love you and im super sorry geeza"

That said the Freebass album release is unaffected and will be on general sale 20th September on download and special double CD format. The first CD includes three extra tracks 'Bury Me Standing', 'Sister Surrender' and 'I'm A Believer' and CD 2 contains bonus Instrumental Versions of all those that appear on the first CD.


01. It's Not Too Late
02. The Only Ones Alone
03. Lady Violence
04. World Won't Wait
05. Kill Switch pt 141
06. Stalingrad
07. Secrets and Lies
08. She said
09. The God Machine
10. Plan B




'It's A Beautiful Life' gets its physical 2 CD release on 20th Septmeber and is available to preorder from amazon.co.uk - currently £8.93 delivered.

Also, a snazzy eFlyer has been produced with full info and release links, check it out here.


12.09.2010

kevin cummings, manchester boxset, 2010KEVIN CUMMINGS ARCHIVE 2: MANCHESTER

Kevin Cummings' 2nd Archive Postcard Boxset is released from Polite; the same people who produced the John Squire Postcard set last year.

'Manchester' features a set of 16 A6 postcards featuring images of Manchester's Music scene and include a famous shot from the Stone Roses' pollocked-in-paint photo shoot that adorned the famous NME cover and another is a shot captured of the massive attandence of the legandary gig at Spike Island.

Other bands, artists, etc featured include: The Fall, Happy Mondays, Buzzcocks, Magazine, The Smiths, Morrissey, Tony Wilson, Peter Saville, Joy Division, Liam Gallagher, and more. Although the box production is not up there with the quality design of the John Squire boxset (the cover on this is designed to give it a 'book' appearance); this remains a nice collectable, well representing the decades of the Manchester music scene from one photographer's perspective.

Also available is Kevin Cummings' Archive 1: Liverpool boxset. Purchase both from Polite.



08.09.2010

raveonettes cover the stone roses, 2010THE RAVEONETTES COVER 'ADORED'

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Dr Martens commissioned a series of cover versions of '10 Cult Classic Songs by 10 Contemporary Musicians' which are being released between August-October and all available to download for free from the website.

One of these commissions comes from Danish alternative rock duo, The Raveonettes and it's a cover of our very own 'I Wanna Be Adored'. While the guitar/drums/bass fairly mirror the original, particularly on the intro, the track also features hard-edged guitars overlaid with liberal doses of noise, which is signature to the band and similar to influential band The Jesus & Mary Chain

The biggest change, however, comes in the form of the female vocals that The Raveonettes bring, which works fairly well for the track and sets it apart from the Ian Brown original instantly.

All tracks are available to download for FREE. Listen to The Raveonette's version of 'Adored'.




01.09.2010

john squite gallery by paul stevensJOHN SQUIRE GALLERY

I am extremely pleased to present you with the latest and massive update of my John Squire art gallery website; John Squire Gallery which I have been working hard on behind the scenes for the last two months. I've added individual piece studies for all John's new artworks 2007-2010 to further support John's move to a full-time, highly acclaimed artist.

I started this update in July after seeing John's latest pieces (from the Nefertiti series) which recaptured my interests in the artist. I really love a number of the pieces and congratulate John on his ever-evolving style.

There are now full piece-by-piece studies for over 340 original John Squire artworks with just about as much info, commentary, study and images as I've been able to shove in. I've also updated my 'The Artist' John Squire biography which now clocks in at over 6,300 words, which I hope is
genuinely an interesting and informative read.

The gallery is officially launched today; conveniently coinciding with the 8th Anniversary of the Main site's opening. As part of this update, the main site (Don't Stop) can also now be found at www.stoneroses.eu, the Gallery at www.johnsquiregallery.co.uk and now share you views with The Stone Roses Community at www.dontstopforum.co.uk.


30.08.2010

the stone roses collection, 2010THE STONE ROSES COLLECTION

The latest Roses re-issued 'new' compilation comes in the form of 'The Stone Roses Collection' which sneaked onto the shelves today at a modestly priced £4 in most locations. This collection is a mixed bundle of album and b-side tracks with the addition of one demo version and one remix and is heavily designed around the instantly recognisable 'Waterfall' artwork.


01. Fools Gold
02. Waterfall
03. This Is The One
04. Elephant Stone
05. Guernica
06. (Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister
07. Shoot You Down
08. What The World Is Waiting For
09. One Love
10. Somethings Burning
11. Don't Stop
11. Mersey Paradise (Demo)
11. Going Down
11. Standing Here
11. Simone
12. Fools Gold (Top Won Mix)



'The Stone Roses Collection' is released today (30th August) and is available to order from amazon.co.uk.


30.08.2010

freebass, peter hook, 2010FREEBASS 'IT'S A BEAUTIFUL LIFE'

Freebass release their debut album 'It's A Beautiful Life' on 20th September on download and special double CD format. The first CD includes three extra tracks 'Bury Me Standing', 'Sister Surrender' and 'I'm A Believer' and CD 2 contains bonus Instrumental Versions of all those that appear on the first CD.


01. It's Not Too Late
02. The Only Ones Alone
03. Lady Violence
04. World Won't Wait
05. Kill Switch pt 141
06. Stalingrad
07. Secrets and Lies
08. She said
09. The God Machine
10. Plan B
11. Bury Me Standing
12. Sister Surrender
13. I'm A Believer



The band are also due to play the British Music Experience, London on 16th September 2010. For more info, check out the band's official facebook group. Expect a review of this bass-hero album soon.

'It's A Beautiful Life' gets its physical 2 CD release on 20th Septmeber and is available to preorder from amazon.co.uk - currently £8.93 delivered.


07.07.2010

stone roses for piano, 2010STONE ROSES FOR PIANO


Browsing the downloads section of amazon, I came across the curious image of a little 'Pollocked' piano and the title 'Stone Roses For Piano'. Listening to the samples, I remember seeing a video of 'Made Of Stone' set to video footage of a visit to modern day Spike Island (see below for the video) that appeared on youtube a while back.

The compilation features 7 beautiful renditions of classic Stone Roses tracks, improvised on piano by Richard Thomas. The songs are: 'I Wanna Be Adored', 'Waterfall', 'Made Of Stone', 'Sally Cinnamon', 'Where Angels Play', '(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister' and 'I Am The Resurrection'.


Richard took some time out for a quick Q+A session:


Firstly I guess; are you a classically trained pianist? How long have you been playing? etc

Well I have played piano ever since I was at school, but I play more from ear than anything. I work as a sound engineer and music producer and when I get the time I play the piano for pleasure. I use a lot of synths and computer plug ins with my work, so I love to sometimes sit back and tinkle away on the piano for pleasure and relaxation.

You mention on your Youtube page that the tracks are "played by ear, improvised after having listened to the first album for the last 20 years!"

In between recording bands and producing music I have always played the piano - I started playing "made of stone" and "waterfall" and people used to stop and say that they knew the song and that they liked the version I was playing. I think the first roses album is one of the best albums ever made so I kept going back to it and working out the chords and melodies so that I could play them on my piano.

Can I assume that you are indeed a life-long fan? Did you buy the album on release day?

I did indeed buy the album on release day; the strange thing was that my brother and I were in a band in 1988-89 in Kensal Green in North London. We used to see these guys in flares at our local shop buying cigarettes and fruit and we used to nod to them, kind of a "hello". Then we saw two of them in the (very small) crowd at a gig we played at in Harlesden. It was only when the album came out and we saw pictures of the Roses that we realised that these guys were the same chain smoking ones we kept bumping into in Kensal Green - they had recorded the first part of the album near where we lived apparently!!

How/when did you decide to tackle The Stone Roses songs? What was your inspiration behind the project?

Well the first thing I did was an Oasis album "melancholy rock n roll volume 1" which was my piano versions of 6 Oasis tracks. Then I had the idea of revisiting Spike Island (I went to the original concert in 1990) and doing some filming to go along with a piano version of "made of stone" that I had recorded. In the first few weeks I had thousands of hits on youtube and people asking for mp3's so I decided to have a go at recording some more Roses classics. I spent Christmas of last year recording 7 tracks.

How did you start to produce your renditions? Did you start by playing along with the songs for example or did you sit down and work them out from memory.

I know every chord on that album so it wasn't hard for me to work out the songs on piano; the only one I found hard was "resurrection" - I had to listen to the outro (the amazing funky section at the end of the song) and try and work out what the hell john squire and mani were playing; that was the hardest song to transfer to piano that I have ever done!

Are you tempted to tackle any of the Second Coming songs? 'Tears' would be a personal recommendation! I can imagine 'Your Star Will Shine' turning out nice too.

I can honestly say that I love the second album and I am already recording some of the tracks; the only problem is that Geffen is a different ball game from Silvertone and there will be issues with getting permission to put the songs out; the first album was easy as I just contacted the PRS (performing rights society) and I pay a percent of royalties to them. Geffen are an American company and I don't know if I will get the permission to release anything from the second album yet.

Which other bands/artists have you covered in this style?

I have done the Oasis For Piano album and am planning to do some songs by The Jam next.

Do you have a favourite song that you've covered, either to play or that you're particularly pleased with how it had turned out?

Yes my favourite is "made of stone" - its just such an amazing song to play, the chords in it are just so far ahead of the time it was recorded. Every time I hear the roses version I just stop in awe of what they achieved in that 3 ½ minutes.

And finally, who made the little 'Pollocked' piano for the cover photo? Was more than one made? It's pretty funky!

I found a website which features sculptures done by someone called Donna Bath; she does all sorts of weird piano sculptures and I asked her if she could do a "pollocked" one, in the style of John Squire. The result is what you see on the album cover, and the original is still on sale on her website (im saving up to buy it !!)

www.pianosculptures.com.




To see more videos and examples of his work, check out Richard's youtube page. Stone Roses for Piano is available to download from amazon and itunes.


12.06.2010

ian brown, adidas originals, star wars ad, 2010IAN BROWN IN STAR-STUDDED STAR WARS AD

Ian can be seen with ex-Oasis Noel Gallagher cheekily flipping bear mats at aliens in a star-studded re-make of the classic bar scene of Star Wars in a fantastic new ad for Adidas Originals.

Also appearing in the two-minute advert are Snoop Dogg working some lightsaber skills, David Beckham and Franz Beckenbauer spliced into the original footage, chatting to the likes of Han Solo and C3PO.

Adidas, who have launched a Star Wars range of trainers, said the video gives "fans of the films, sneaker heads or those that love fun and fresh designs, the chance to find the force or join the dark side".

Check out the Adidas Originals YouTube page for some Ian Brown interviews talking about the ads and one of Ian in
Coronation Street's Rovers Return.



28.05.2010

andy watts, gogophones, 2010ANDY WATTS 'GOGOPHONES'

Andy Watts releases a brand new track along with classy home-made video for your aural and visual pleasure.

'Gogophones' is a funky, jaunt of a song with a gloriously upbeat tempo and warming vocal melodies throughout not to mention the plentiful sounds and piano tinklings in the background to keep your mind deliciously entertained!

If this isn't humming round your brain after just a couple of listens then plainly there's something wrong with you. This track gives us some 3 1/2 mins of Andy's best work and simply made me feel a good 50% cheerier on this rainy day. Deliver us some more, Mr Watts!

The video is grand too, fantastically well put together; shows even more of Andy's versatility and in my opinion shows a man who truly enjoys making music.




01.04.2010

freebass, peter hook, 2009FREEBASS 'TWO WORLDS COLLIDE' EP

Coming some five years after the band's conception, Freebass have finally released their debut EP entitled 'Two Worlds Collide'. The main players of Freebass are: Peter Hook, Gary Mountfield, Andy Rourke, Phil Murphy and Paul Kehoe with plenty of guest vocal appearances throughout the EP and forthcoming album.

01. You Don't Know (This About Me) - Vocals Tim Burgess
02. The Milky Way Is Our Playground - Vocals Pete Wylie
03. Dark Starr - Vocals Howard Marks
04. Live Tomorrow You Go Down - Vocals Peter Hook


The tracks are all available seperately or as one continous piece of music (together with extra intro/outros) as project-lead Peter Hook prefers you would listen to it.


Mani on the EP (and playing it down)

"I'd say to them don't build it up too much. It is what it is, it's not going to revolutionise the world, it's just a bunch of guys trying to get together and create something. I'd urge people to take it on its merits. If people build it up too much then inevitably some people will be disappointed cos you cant live up to everyone’s expectations."

"People should realise we're not trying to emulate New Order, The Roses, Primal Scream, or The Smiths, we’re just into it for what we do and to have a good time with it."


The 'Two Worlds Collide' EP is available for download for £3.98 from the official FAC51 shop. Individual tracks are priced at 99p.


01.02.2010

appeal to ian brown new john squire song, 2010AN OPEN APPEAL TO IAN BROWN


To: Ian Brown, UK solo artist

This is not a petition but an open appeal to Ian Brown to take a bold step towards mending the hurt between himself and John Squire. We love you both.

Ian, we heard you say that John sent you an instrumental/backing track a couple of years ago and you even considered working it up for possible inclusion on your latest album ‘My Way’.

As a fan of great music and of both yourself and John Squire and the two of you collectively in the days of The Stone Roses; we would love to hear a new collaboration and while we accept that a Stone Roses reformation is at best a long way off and even more realistically, highly unlikely, we
would love to hear you work with John again by any means possible and would adore to be able to hear a first new song produced by you both since the Roses.

You also said that you might reform the Roses for charity (but that you’d doubt that the others would do so on the same terms) but how about producing this one-time song and donating the proceeds to a charitable cause like the Haiti Disaster or Warchild or any charity that is close to your heart. I’m sure if the 1000s of fans out there bought a copy then it would make it an incredibly worthwhile effort.

So how about it Ian? No Roses reunion, we’ve gotten the message that that’s not on your list of stuff to do before you hit 50; but how about a little time to produce an in-direct collaboration with a former band mate, former close friend and fellow legendary music maker to make 1000s of your fans beam the widest smiles and be able donate the proceeds to a worthwhile cause that will really make a big difference.

We patiently and respectfully await your response with fingers crossed.

Love and peace,


Paul Stevens and The Undersigned.



SIGN THE APPEAL!



27.01.2010

mani john squite, primal scream new album, freebass debut albumPRIMAL SCREAM & FREEBASS LPs

Mani (pictured right recently with fellow ex-Stone Rose, John Squire) speaks out to the NME about his latest projects, calling 2010 "a writing year".

Primal Scream

Bassist Mani has revealed that the band have begun work on their next album. He explained that the group will be spending the rest of the year working on the follow-up to 2008's 'Beautiful Future'.

"This year is a writing year and it's going well," Mani told NME.com: "We're trundling along. We've got some half ideas left over from the last album, so we'll bring them up and give them a kick around, we're into it."

Freebass

And since I sit here and realise that it is 4-5 years since I first covered a story on the illusive Freebass; you may be surprised to hear that work on their debut album has all but been completed. Mani also told the NME how they were putting the finishing touches to the album and that they were "99-per cent done".

"We've got like one more week left and then we're going to draw a line under it," he explained. "You're never gonna be 100 per cent happy with anything you do, I never am and I never will be, so it'll be nice to finish things off and then get out and start playing the tunes."

The as-yet-untitled album will be preceded by an EP 'When Two Worlds Collide', which will be released shortly.

Visit NME.com for more details.


20.01.2010

john squite, art new series, 2010SQUIRE UNVEILS NEW ART

John Squire unveils a new series of work for 2010 on his website. There is a pattern-repetition print/burn process against a plain bold background theme to most of the collection. A lot of them are produced by scorching the canvas.

To view all the new pieces and purchase art, visit www.johnsquire.com.


06.01.2010

reluctance - john squite, mark heaney, si jones, duncan baxter jamsPRE-SHINING SQUIRE JAMS

Long have they been rumoured to exist and I for one have been trying to sneak even a clip of anything since reading of John's (then) new band after the demise of The Seahorses in 1999.

The press coverage started in early 1999 with John appearing in an interview with Select Magazine, talking about The Seahorses (ultimately unreleased) 2nd album 'Minus Blue' (which I am guessing that most have heard now since the unmastered tracks were leaked long ago). Shortly after though in last February 1999, the NME publish the split of The Seahorses citing musical differences. But in April 1999 John published a 'Singer required for John Squire's Skunk Works Project' advert in Melody Maker's classified section.

It was later revealed that the collective were: John Squire, Mark Heaney (latter day Seahorses drummer), Si Jones (Bass, Verve) and Duncan Baxter (Vocals). It was also rumoured that the band was to be called 'Reluctance' but this was not confirmed by the band but it was the only suggested band name (other than Skunk Works) that I can recall. It was also rumoured that a lot of the 2nd Seahorses album tracks penned by Squire (which all the ones that surfaced were) were to feature on their debut album (though this was not confirmed either).

Unfortunately the collective did not work out and John went on to write his debut solo album 'Time Changes Everything' while the others went on to form The Shining and coincidentally released their solo album 'True Skies' on the same release date as John's - 16th September 2002.

Well rumours that any recordings existed have spurred me on and I've tried many times over the last 7 years or so to probe deeper whenever possible.

Well thankfully (if you've been on the forum) you would've been treated to a few tracks already; 'Money In The Meter' appeared online last year and even a track with vocals 'Carpet'.

It is my pleasure now to share a full 6 tracks with you (these include 'Money In The Meter' and 'Carpet' - but sourced direct from CD). Three tracks are initial Jams made by Squire/Heaney/Jones which are entitled 'Funky Jam', 'Long Jam' and 'Money In The Meter' the other three are more completed songs from the Backridge Farm Sessions featuring Duncan Baxter on vocals; 'Carpet', 'What You Are Waiting For' and 'I Want You'.

The most exciting discovery for me is 'I Want You' which is a mixture of the Squire solo track 'Strange Feeling' (that appeared on TCE) and the 2nd Seahorses album track 'I Want You' with vocals provided by Duncan... It has the music of 'Strange Feeling' (the intro's pretty much there note for note) and words and melody to 'I Want You'. It is the earliest recording of a John Squire solo track I've heard and also confirms the rumours that some of the 2nd Seahorses album tracks were destined for release under this new band.


To access these tracks all you have to do is register for the forum and then post in the "Say Hello..." thread and a new board will be available to you. This will not be instant as I validate new sign-ups myself (to reduce spam) but usually within 12 hours.





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