The Stone Roses

In 1989 the Stone Roses released their barnstorming debut album which brought them to the forefront of the Madchester music scene. After a notorious appearance on The Late Show where, after a power cut Ian Brown howled “Amateurs, Amateurs!” the Roses’ single Fools Gold reached number eight on the UK singles chart.

A performance on Top of the Pops cemented the Roses in the minds of the national public, and, after vandalising the offices of Revolver Records the Roses were instant cult heroes.

Fools Gold & the Second Summer of Love

Fools Gold’s mixture of funky drums, hip percussion, grooving bassline and wah guitar became the anthem for a new genre of psychedelic, acid house flavoured guitar music – ‘Baggy’.

Fools Gold embodied the hypnotic and dilated groove of the 1989 Summer of Love, but, the Stone Roses were bigger than that – the album exploded with an ambition that synchronised the Zeitgeist and launched the 90’s acid wave.  The same wave that created Brit-Pop and flooded the musical landscape bringing the likes of Blur, Suede, Primal Scream and Oasis back in on the tide.

It would prove  impossible for the Roses to repeat this victory and they would kill themselves trying.

John Squire – Ian Brown

The songwriting partnership of John Squire and Ian Brown gave the Stone Roses sound a very distinctive core: Squire’s energetic guitar, tasteful, tinged with psychedelia and a huge melodic edge with Brown’s often whispered, washed out and broken, often atonal  vocals brought a rich mix of quasi-spiritual, ecstasy loaded lyrics together with groove infused guitar hooks – one step beyond riffs.

Squire never condescends to overplay his guitar – yet his capabilities extend to the Hendrixian flavours of Axis:Bold as Love, and Jimmy Page’s Led Zeppelin.


Waterfalls of Sound

Together with Johnny Marr, John Squire became the champion of a new breed of guitar heroics: melodious, rhythmic, song orientated and with a 1960’s sonic sensibility. Stone Roses songs such as “Waterfall”, “I Wanna be Adored” and “Made of Stone” united grooves, hooks and songs in an epic anthemic sound that fused The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel and the aura of Arthur Lee’s groundbreaking and underground band Love.

The eight minute opus “I am the Resurrection” sealed the Roses ambition and struck the final victory for their mercurial debut.


The War of the Roses

Unfortunately after the single “One Love” was released in 1990 The Stone Roses were to become victims of their own success and a protracted legal battle prevented them from releasing any further music for four years. Their next album – Second Coming would never fulfill the huge expectations of their fans; many of whom considered their debut album the greatest record ever recorded, and, John Squire the greatest guitarist of his generation.

Second Coming

The Roses had spent 437, ten hour days working on the Second Coming – yet the weight of expectation upon them would remain insurmountable. What marked Second Coming from the Roses’ debut was John Squire’s move into a deeper, darker rock and blues sound characterised by a new intensity – heavier riffs, more effects and more attitude – there are flavours of Led Zeppelin

The harder I try to paint a picture of the way it was back then. The more I miss the good times – let it roll again..

This time around the Roses’ sound distilled the ideal that in the five and half difficult years The Roses had become dislocated from the movement that they gave naissance to – it was heavy, moody, sometimes impenetrable; sometimes bitter – occasionally lit with gleams of their former torchbearing brilliance.

Thick with pulsating electro-grooves, menacing beats and layers of guitar The Roses still delivered great anthems  –  “Tears”, “Love Spreads” and “Ten Story Love song” proved they could still cut the mustard  – but, lightning never strikes twice in the same place and the glories of the 1989 Summer of Love were a memory.

The five year nightmare had taken it’s toll and the band were beginning to fall apart. Squire left in 1996, amid exaggerated, and as Squire says, completely untrue rumours of cocaine fuelled egomania. He went on to form Seahorses.


John Squires Sound

At the core of John Squire’s sound on the The Stone Roses debut album are four pedals. Squire’s principle guitar amplifiers combine the West Coast flavour of  a Mesa Boogie MK III and classic Fender Twin Reverb amplifier.

1. Jen wah wah

2. Ibanez Tube Screamer – this pedal is available here

3. Ibanez CS-9 chorus – this pedal is available here

4. Dallas Arbiter Fuzz face or clone – this pedal is available here



Other effects pedals John Squire is known to use are

5. Boss Digital Dimension DC-3 – this pedal is available- here

6. Boss Super Phaser PH-2

John Squire’s Guitars

Squire is reknowned for using a 1964/65 Gretsch Chet Atkins Country Gentleman with a Supertron pick up at the neck, a Hofner T4s and a custom Fender Jaguar with Gibson humbuckers replacing the stock pickups.

Throughout this week we’ll ge digging up all these vintage guitar effects pedals on Ebay… come back if you want to rock out with the Roses.