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Roses Redux

September 08, 1996|Dave Jennings, from London

What was meant as a coming-out party for the Stone Roses' new guitarist, Aziz Ibrahim, turned into a contentious battle between the band and media representatives attending a press conference held by the group before its headlining performance on the final day of the Reading Festival.

The surprise session--the band had done only one U.K. interview since the release of its long-awaited "Second Coming" album last year--quickly degenerated as journalists on hand used the opportunity not to find out about the new member, but to probe about the man he replaced, band co-founder and primary songwriter John Squire.

The band members testily responded to pointed queries intimating that the Roses were doomed without Squire's talents, with bassist Mani snapping, "Use your basic maths! One person away from five is four, and now we've got the fifth again."

Singer Ian Brown also took a few potshots at the departed member, chiding him for his guest appearance with Oasis at Knebworth. "Has he joined the Phil Collins, Paul McCartney pop star club now?" Brown asked sarcastically.

But judging from fan reactions and critics' reviews of the Roses' performance, the band has more serious things to worry about--especially Brown's vocals, which were wildly off-key even by his own wayward standards.

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