My Philosophy: Ian Brown

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IAN.BROWN

He’s been beaten senseless, sent to jail for air rage, charged journalists ₤15 per question—and used the cash to fund eye operations for the less fortunate—and released three successful solo albums after fronting one of the most important British bands of all time: the Stone Roses. Oh, and he smokes more spliff than anyone you or I know put together. He also a non-drinker that reads to his kids every night and writes some of the finest proletarian love songs you’ll ever hear. Welcome to the coarsened, wonderful life of Ian Brown.

They always had the Roses down as arrogant, but we just believed in ourselves. We always had confidence as people. They called Muhammad Ali arrogant, didn’t they? But he wasn’t really. He was just masking his shyness.

If you’ve got money you stay out of jail, don’t ya? Look what the guy from R.E.M. [guitarist Peter Buck] did on a plane. He was raging drunk and attacking people, but you’ve got Bono and a load of millionaires in a courtroom. There’s a footballer over here called Vinnie Jones who threatened to kill all the stewardesses. If I’d have gotten expensive lawyers, I would have walked out of the courtroom, simple as that.

For those that were born there and have lived there, you just dream of getting out, but everyone who comes there thinks it’s some kind of Mecca. There’s a saying from Victorian times: What Manchester does today, London will do tomorrow. But anyone who lives in Manchester really dreams of getting out.

Chuck Berry will only go on stage if you give him a bag of cash, and he plays with the bag right on stage. It’s because he knows that if he doesn’t get the cash that day, he’s never going to see it. I do hate the music business, but it’s the nature of the game, innit?

This is our Earth. Who are these folks thinking they can chop it all up and divide it? What shocks me is that it’s the same as the 1930’s. Blatant, in your face, propaganda bullshit. Ain’t no different, no matter how the world has come on technologically.

Pineapple soda made in Jamaica. That’s my favorite drink.

I’ve witnessed so much violence, but I’ve never been on the end of it until the age of 32. I just put each beating down to jealousy. It’s not fun getting kicked in the head 30 times by three or four big guys in a nightclub with the whole rest of the people watching you. I could hear girls making heaving noises about to vomit, the sickening beating I was getting. Not a good place to be.

My wife? I’ve found someone who smokes nearly as much marijuana as me when it goes dark. She is a really good cook, but you know them blue moons that come? There’s only one of them.

It’s harder to be a star now than it ever was.

We’ve got 60 years of recorded music, yeah? Everyone’s still absorbing Jimi. Who’s ever gotten a grip on Jimi? We’ve got four fingers and six strings, but some guys…30 years later and they’re bigger than ever.

The father is like a spare part for the first few months. We just naturally become useless. There is no function for us for eight to ten weeks at least. Men like to think that they’re playing a role, but there really isn’t that much.

You can put a Public Enemy LP on and the programmed beats are better than 99 out of 100 that are coming along now.

I could spend a week in a ₤1,000-a-day studio or sit at the end of me bed with a four-track and put an idea over a piano key. The satisfaction is the same. But you can mask things in a studio because you’ve got the big speakers all day, you know? Eventually Elton John is going to sound great on big speakers.

A mean combination of being with a huge record company in Hollywood without a manager, all different members of the band on different drugs, and a guitarist that didn’t appreciate the skills of the rest of the group. All this combined and the Roses just fizzled out like a firework that didn’t quite light.

I still believe that there are some 16-year-old kids in a garage somewhere that are going to set the world on fire.

I’ve got an ambition to write songs for other people; put words on someone else’s mouth. Could be a dangerous thing. I’d like to do that.

I do believe in one mandate and one belief structure. I believe there’s one God and that one God is in all religions. But religion is being used to suppress people, and most religions are based on money and power. I don’t even think most of the priests know the God that they tell all the folks about. But I believe in the human spirit, and I’ve got a love for the Sikh religion. Sikh and ye shall find.

Rappers are amazing. How the fuck do they hold it down? How come everyone isn’t wild? You’ve got people with 20 cars and mansions that come out of one bedroom apartments. You’ve got 50 Cent in Mike Tyson’s old house. Luckiest rapper in the world, you know? He’s got Mike Tyson’s house and he used to live in a one-bedroom apartment. He’s got 60 bathrooms now. I think that’s a beautiful thing, but I’d never put down a rapper like that. The power of the rapper. The American music industry didn’t want to sign it up and it’s the biggest form of music ever.

What do I like best about LA? The Cali weed, man. But me and my girl don’t enjoy it because the only Mexicans you see in LA are wiping hubcaps or parking cars. It bugs me.

I don’t sing on a stage with money in me pocket. It’s me only superstition.

We’ve got about 30 Dr. Seuss books [at home], from Green Eggs and Ham right on through. My oldest is 12 and he’s still never heard the end of The Sleep Book. It’s magical.

Love, sex and death. All three subjects are going to come into play somewhere.

When I was a kid, I used to dream that everyone was massive; that we were all big, inflatable balloon-sized people. Then I was on a fast, underground river on this little boat, flying along at super speed with stone above me. But I haven’t become massive yet. I’m getting there. I’m still only ideal fighting weight.