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(Credit: Alamy)


Listen to Reni’s isolated drums on The Stone Roses’ ‘Love Spreads’


The tale of The Stone Roses is infamous within the annals of indie rock history. Here was a band so groundbreaking, so singular, and so popular that they almost single-handedly helped shape the future of British guitar music for the next decade. Their 1989 self-titled debut was the blueprint from which Madchester, baggy, and Britpop all took their cues. But what were The Stones Roses doing while their disciples like Oasis and Happy Mondays were climbing the charts? Nothing.

Well, not nothing. Even though Mani claims that the band “just ended up sitting about on our rears,” it wasn’t because they didn’t want to play or record. Instead, The Stones Roses initiated a legal battle to get out of their contract with Silvertone records. The protracted dispute basically made the band a non-entity for nearly half a decade. It couldn’t have come at a worse time either: while bands like Blur and Primal Scream openly citing their influence, The Stones Roses were nowhere to be found. They were like ghosts, with one album and a whole lot of wasted momentum.

When Second Coming eventually did come out towards the end of 1994, most were surprised at the drastic sound change the band had adopted. Gone were the extended dance-heavy jams and psychedelic pop of their debut. Instead, the band sounded like Led Zeppelin, with some loose-limbed funk workouts to boot. It was a fascinating and brave way to return, but the reception was mixed. What had been positioned as a return of Britain’s most important band wound up being a disappointment to most.

Second Coming actually sounds pretty great today. The Zeppelin rip-offs are still somewhat puzzling, but the album is an eclectic mix of style, very few of which harks back to The Stone Roses’ old sound. ‘Love Spreads’, for all its ‘Whole Lotta Love’ similarities, remains a great jam, propelled by the slinky slide guitar work and rock steady rhythms from Reni.

Reni was always a bit of an underrated drummer. His role in The Stone Roses was essential: he was actually a better singer than Ian Brown most of the time, and his harmony vocals elevated the band to a new level of catchiness. All the while, his drumming remained complex and exciting: ‘She Bangs the Drums’, ‘I Am the Resurrection’, and ‘Waterfall’ all are top tier rhythm workouts, and anyone who has tried to replicate those patterns quickly finds out just how difficult they actually are.

Unfortunately, it didn’t seem as though the rest of the band properly appreciated Reni’s contributions. Two weeks before the supporting tour of Second Coming, Reni departed the group after a disagreement with Brown. A new drummer, Robbie Maddix, was brought in to replace Reni, but it was the first in a series of blows that spelt the end for The Stone Roses. The band fell apart less than two years after Reni’s departure, and they wisely went back to his singular skills when the group reunited in 2011.

Check out the isolated drums for ‘Love Spreads’ down below.