Before I start this piece I will state that I never saw The Stone Roses live. Loved the debut album but my life was different when it was released so never got the chance. Missed Spike Island and all that shit that goes with the monkey walking flare wearing Manc crowd. I did however get back on the scene during the release of My Star which was Ian Browns debut single. The album that followed Unfinished Monkey Business was fuckin brilliant. It was recorded so lo-fi and sounded ace when I first heard it.
It was a big fuck off to John Squire and established Ian as an artist in his own right. He recruited Aziz Ibrahim and Robbie Maddox and proved he was able to go the distance in the Manc music scene. As most Ian fans know he ended up in Strangeways for a bit for a daft offence on a plane which I and many have totally disputed. He wrote a fuckin crackin song whilst in there for his album Golden Greats which totally upped his game.
After this I got a bit of shock on all scales! My mums sister Shirley died of cancer and I ended up at the funeral as you do with loved ones. I got talking to my cousin Rob (Maxi) asking how he was doing. He told me he was playing drums for people and me being curious asked who for. When he told me he was drumming for Ian Brown my reaction was "Fuck off Rob" but it was true. What really fucked me off was that he was the drummer for Audioweb before this and I had seen them about three times not realising my cousin was the drummer!! He told me if I ever wanted a guest list for future gigs I was there.
Before I knew Maxi was his drummer I watched Ian at HMV on Market Street in town after my mate queued up for tickets at 5 in the morning. Next stop was Delamere Forest. Me and my mate camped out at a farmhouse 3 miles away and had to walk through the forest which was a great laugh! we got to the gig and met up with my uncle and another cousin Dave. We had backstage passes and sat with Ian's mum before the gig having a few beers. Ian came over and was ace. Considering how big he was he never shown it like some musicians do when they get a bit of credit. The most down to earth person I have ever met backstage. A credit to punters who want to meet their idols and end up meeting a jumped up dickhead!!
I got a copy of this album way before it was out and played it to death. Ian went hip hop on this one but also kept to his indie roots. During this time I was backstage at The Academy, Derby, Blackpool Empress Ballroom, you name it. My son and my partners son have met him and had their pictures taken with him without any fuss. He even started saying "Alright Wayne" after a bit! I've always liked his solo stuff and hope he does something else but The Roses will always be important to the people who were affected and I'm glad he has made it up with John Squire and the rest of the band. A genuinely great bloke who has kept a level head not letting fame affect him!! We salute you Ian!!
A big thank you to Maxi and my uncle Fred for the privilege of meeting this great bloke and music legend!!