John Squire (Stone Roses)

imageJohn Squire, Guitarist with seminal British Alternative Rock bands The Sone Roses was born November 24th 1962. He lived round the corner from Ian Brown, and after attending Heyes Lane Junior School, he passed the eleven plus exam and went on to attend Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. He excelled at art as a child. He formed a close friendship with Ian Brown during their last two years atschool after Ian helped him out in a fight with a school bully. The two also then bonded over a shared love for punk rock, particularly The Clash. John Squire and Ian Brown moved on to South Trafford College after passing O-Levels. Ian did not last long before getting expelled and John dropped out shortly after in order to start a band.Although Squire had a couple of guitar lessons, he was largely self-taught.

In the early 1980s Squire and Brown founded The Patrol that eventually became The Stone Roses, with Squire as lead guitarist from 1984 to 1996.The partnership between Squire and Brown formed the heart of the band’s lyrical and musical output. Formed in Manchester in 1983 The Stone Roses were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band’s most successful lineup consists of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield, and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren. The band released their debut album, The Stone Roses, in 1989. The album quickly achieved the status of a classic in the UK, and topped NME’s list of the Greatest British Albums of All Time. Squire co-wrote all of the tracks with Brown. The cover art was painted by Squire, it is a Jackson Pollock influenced piece containing references to the May 1968 riots in Paris.By the mid-1990s the Roses were being hailed as pioneers of the Britpop movement.

After releasing a much hailed debut album the Stone Roses decided to capitalise on their success by signing to a major label, however their current record label Silvertone would not let them out of their contract,which led to an acrimonious and lengthy legal dispute. they eventually signed a multi-million pound deal with Geffen in 1991, and released their second album Second Coming in 1994 which was mainly written by Squire. The album’s featured a heavier blues-rock sound, similar to Led Zeppelin and The Allman Brothers Band. The album was met with mixed reaction from fans, and shortly after band infighting and rumoured cocaine abuse led to his departure from the band on 1 April 1996 and and after several lineup changes throughout the supporting tour, The group disbanded.


Picking three unknowns, Squire formed a new band, The Seahorses, in 1996. The band’s only album Do it Yourself was released in 1997. The Seahorses disbanded due to creative differences in 1999. Following the demise of The Seahorses, Squire continued work with drummer Mark Heaney and ex-Verve bassist Simon Jones along with new vocalist Duncan Baxter as John Squire’s Skunkworks, but left prior to the band releasing material as The Shining. Squire released his first solo album, Time Changes Everything in 2002. A concept album followed in 2004 entitled Marshall’s House. Squire has also said that he has recorded a third album, however he has decided not to release it as he felt that promoting and touring the album would take the fun out of the music, and turn it into a job rather than a hobby. This is the second time that Squire has recorded an album and opted to keep it unreleased, as he did the same in 1999 as a part of the Seahorses, when they recorded an album, set to be named “Minus Blue” or “Motorcade”, but decided to break up rather than release the album.

In 2012 the band’s four original members – John Squire, Ian Brown, bassist Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield and drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren, Reunited for a world tour, including three homecoming shows at Heaton Park in Manchester, which became the fastest selling rock concerts in UK history. After 150,000 tickets for the first two dates sold out just 14 minutes and further date sold out soon afterwards. Chris Coghill, also wrote a film which is set during the Stone Roses 1990 Spike Island show.

Besides music, Squire is also a well-known, published artist. His artwork has adorned the singles, album covers and promotional posters for his and the Stone Roses’ music. In the 1980s, Squire’s artistic style was heavily influenced by the action paintingtechnique of Jackson Pollock. In recent years, Squire has shown a broader use of media and has incorporated newer influences to his work. One such item — a surfboard covered with Beach Boys song titles, which was for the War Child charity to auction — featured on the cover for Travis’s 1997 single release “U16 Girls” and their debut album Good Feeling. In 2004, Squire held two well-received art exhibitions in London and Manchester.Over the past few years Squire has worked full time on his artwork which he has exhibited at The Smithfield Gallery (July 2007) and The Dazed Gallery, London (September – October 2007).At the Smithfield Gallery opening, Squire told a reporter from the Manchester Evening News that he was giving up music for good. He explained that “I’m enjoying this far too much to go back to music.” When asked about a Stone Roses reunion, he said it was “highly unlikely”.In January 2009, Squire launched a new exhibition of his art entitled Heavy Metal Semantics, in London, and announced further exhibitions in Oldham, Austria, and Tokyo later in the year. Further announced exhibitions include Edinburgh in August 2010 and Brussels in early 2011.

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