It probably seems unlikely I would write about something other than food, but another love of mine is music.
On weekends during my short time in college I was fortunate enough to have my best friend, Milwaukee native Kurt Meister, bring me in on his weekend radio show to co-host with him.
It was a great experience we had no format and it was a small technical school with few restrictions. We chose our own format and on Sunday afternoons we played "alternative" music long before the term was invented, a college music show affectionately named after an R.E.M. song – The Bandwagon. The best part about it was we discovered music before it hit the airwaves. The station was littered with promotional albums everywhere.
One band that Kurt and I discovered were from Manchester, England – The Stone Roses. They were unlike anything we were familiar with. They sang melodies and were incredibly talented musicians. They didn't pass off shoddy musicianship as "art."
Their sound was heavily influenced by Jimi Hendrix, with melodies and harmonies reminiscent of something from the '60s. Their music had soul and rhythm, things you weren't hearing on the radio. They were a rock band in the true sense with a charismatic lead singer channeling the German '70s band Can, they had drum solos, 10-minute jam sessions, maracas and bell bottoms (I know what you are thinking but, they made the pants work and no, I never owned a pair).
With a splash of arrogance they reaffirmed the belief that rock and roll was not dead. One of their most popular tracks – "Fool's Gold" – hints that they were on to something truly genius.
They had a style all their own. Lead guitarist John Squire was also an amateur painter and was pretty enamored with Jackson Pollock. Not only did Squire paint all their album and single covers, he splatter painted, Pollock-style, all their instruments.
However, The Stone Roses only released two albums before inner turmoil and long legal battles with their record company finally took a toll and they broke up 15 years ago. They announced their reunion this week.
They barely toured in the U.S. and the only occasion I had to see them I was working one night at Nava, a Southwestern fine dining restaurant in Atlanta with Chef Kevin Rathbun.
I have no regrets, although the thought had crossed my mind – skip work and see my favorite band or go in and commit to my craft? Well, I went to work and it seems to have paid off.
Who knows? Maybe I'll get to see them play live and as I mourn the end of R.E.M. – another favorite – I look forward to being comforted with The Stone Roses' bold return to "Take on the World," as they proclaimed at this week's press conference.
BTW, they were supposed to play at summerfest rock stage 1995 or 96 but the bassist broke his arm snowboarding on the east coast so they canceled the rest of the us tour. Bummer.
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