The Stone Roses: War and Peace

By Simon Spence

Based on 400 hours of interviews with over seventy of The Stone Roses’ closest associates, including six former band members, War and Peace is the first major biography of the band that defined a generation. Originally planned in collaboration with Reni, the reclusive drummer, this book had been a year in the making when the Roses, against all odds, announced their re-formation.

It is a remarkable coda to an astonishing story of a band like no other. In 1989 their debut album and the single ‘Fools Gold’ made them the most exciting British export since the Sex Pistols. With their incendiary aura the Roses became figureheads of the ‘Madchester’ movement.

War and Peace traces the band’s genesis, studded with violent gigs and abandoned recordings, and shaped by their infamous manager, Gareth Evans. As their jeans grew wider and their songs more anthemic, the Roses’ legendary gigs culminated in the era-defining Spike Island show in 1990. From this pinnacle the unravelling was spectacular. With the band refusing to play in America, arrested for vandalizing a record company and dragged through the High Court, the epic recording of their dark second album is the stuff of legend. They disbanded in turmoil in 1996.

Since then the Roses myth has grown even bigger. ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, ‘She Bangs the Drums’, ‘Waterfall’, ‘This Is the One’ and ‘I Am the Resurrection’ have become national anthems, and their first album is widely recognized as one of the best ever made.

But the true story behind their rise and fall – and resurrection – has never been told. Until now. From the Manchester backwaters to the worldwide 2012 tour, War and Peace lays bare the irresistible tale of the last of the great bands.

A selection of images from the book available; permission required to reproduce