It has been eight years now this October since the music world lost one of its most influential and talented bands, the Stone Roses. The Stone Roses' career lasted a whole nine years from beginning until end and during that period they made a big mark on the music world. They also influenced many other bands that were just developing, such as, for example, Oasis. Fans have had to accept, since their break-up in 1996, that there won’t be any more of the Stone Roses' music, and that they are unlikely to get back together. There is one solution though if you want to remind yourself or to discover what it used to be like to see the band live. The solution is a cover band called the Complete Stone Roses.

I know what you are going to say, that it’s not like seeing the original band and you are right. I’m personally against anything that is only a recreation and not truly original. In the case of the Complete Stone Roses I, however, have to make an exception. I never got the chance to see the original band live, but have listened to their music for a long time. I always wanted to find out what it used to be like and when I went to see the Complete Stone Roses at a recent gig at the London Mean Fiddler venue I was amazed.

Just seeing them walking up on the stage makes you feel like as if you have been taken back in the time. Lead by Brian McGhee as Ian Brown, Mark Gillespie on bass as Gary “Mani” Mounfield, Craig France as John Squire on a guitar (the resemblance is almost perfect here) and Brian Payne as Alan “Reni” Wren on drums, they come across on stage as having great confidence. Most importantly they can play their instruments so well that the resemblance to the real Stone Roses in terms of their sound is uncanny. At the Mean Fiddler gig they had the audience almost instantly up and dancing and jumping around with absolute delight.

The idea of forming the band first came from their manager in 1998, two years after the Stone Roses split up. By that time it was obvious there were a lot of fans who missed the original band.

“It was our manager’s idea to start the band.” confirms Craig as we sit in the backstage of the venue just after their sound check. “The line-up has actually changed since 1998. I joined three years ago and Brian only recently.”

“Yeah, this is actually my first tour with the band.” says Brian. I have to say he does look a bit like Ian Brown especially on the stage. Beside the music, body movements and gestures are a very important for any cover band. The Complete Stone Roses are definitely not lacking in that.

“We have watched a lot of Stone Roses videos to be able to recreate gigs better.” Brian explains while practising with a yo-yo similar to the one Ian would sometimes play around with on the stage while performing. “Also there has been a DVD released recently which was very useful and helpful as well. I still have to practise more with the yo-yo. It’s quite hard to spin it around especially while you sing ” he laughs.

The band were also recently asked by BBC to help out on making a documentary about the Stone Roses. “They wanted us to play some songs for them and to act as the original band so they could make the documentary.”

The Complete Stone Roses are not the only Stone Roses cover band but have proved to be the most successful one. Mani even sometimes DJs for the band. “He also came up on the stage with us once and played a song ” says Craig. “That was in Dublin and everyone went mad when he came on the stage. It was great!” To get the chance to play in such successful cover band is one thing but being able to perform in front of large audience is another. Or is it? “We love it!” Craig says excitably. “It’s a great feeling being on the stage and playing all these great songs. Also it’s great to see the reaction of the fans who obviously love the Stone Roses music. Every venue is different. This year we played T In the Park in the King Tut’s Tent and it was completely packed. Once that adrenalin kicks in it feels great and we love it.”

The Complete Stone Roses won’t be ever able to replace the original Stone Roses but seeing them live will definitely remind you or help to see what great music they used to make.Now that I have seen them once for myself, I will definitely be making sure that it won’t be the last time.

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