Behind the scenes of band's early days and first ever London gig

14:58 31st May 2012

Next month, author Simon Spence releases his new Stone Roses biography, 'The Stone Roses: War & Peace' ahead of the band's huge summer gigs at Manchester's Heaton Park.

"Ahead of the book's release, and a summer packed with Roses-related excitement, we have a extract from the book, recalling the band's early days and their first ever show in London. Read the extract below.

The band was so determined to impress at their debut gig they even rehearsed stage moves. ‘We were all young, energetic lads so we’d enjoy ourselves,’ said Couzens. ‘Leading up to London we were all excited.’

The Roses were an instant hit in London. They soundchecked by playing ‘Open My Eyes’, and on the strength of that Caroline Reed offered to manage them. There was also a surprise guest that night: The Who’s Pete Townshend. He was equally impressed. ‘We didn’t know when we set out to do our first gig that we were going to be supporting Pete Townshend,’ said Garner. ‘That was pretty surreal. I believe the previous gig Townshend had done was some massive stadium on The Who’s farewell tour.’

‘We came off stage and Townshend was, like, You look really good up on stage and your drummer’s great,’ said Brown. ‘Then he said, as an end of the night thing, I want to play a couple of tunes, and he asked Reni, Do you want to do it? Reni’s like, Yeah! He ended up playing three or four The Who tunes with Townshend.’

‘One of them Reni didn’t know,’ said Garner. ‘I was on the side of the stage and Reni mouthed to me, How does it go? . . . What an experience. But I was thinking, Shit, man, our secret weapon is out of the bag. My worst fear had come true. Reni was going to get poached – oh fuck, he’s going to join The Who now. First gig and we’ve lost him.’

Squire shared the same fear. ‘We were told he’d said he really wanted to use Reni on his next LP. We were like, Shit, Reni’s going to leave. Townshend’s nicking Reni.’

‘At that time Reni was awe-inspiring,’ said Couzens. ‘To play with him made us sound phenomenal; he was just this force. Just to watch him play was inspirational. That’s what got Pete Townshend that night. He was inspired by what he’d seen.’

‘We were buzzing on the way back to Manchester,’ said Garner. ‘Can you imagine? We came back thinking, Fucking hell, we’ve made it.’"

Extract taken from The Stone Roses: War and Peace by Simon Spence, published by Viking on 7 th June, £20.

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