Sheffield woman stumbles upon The Stone Roses recording first new music in more than 20 years

A Sheffield woman has described how she was gobsmacked to discover legendary Manchester band The Stone Roses holed up in a recording studio just yards from her London flat.

Thursday, 24th March 2016, 11:08 am
Updated Thursday, 24th March 2016, 11:43 am
Sheffield woman Stevie Birchall with The Stone Roses' lead singer Ian Brown outside The Church Studios in North London

Stevie Birchall, 23, caused a stir on social media at the weekend when she posted a photo of the band's equipment being loaded into The Church Studios in Crouch End.

The photo was the first solid evidence to show that the notoriously secretive and reclusive band are recording their first new music since 1994.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

And yesterday Stevie went one better - meeting the band at the studio and getting the inside track on their plans for new music.

She told The Star: "I was laid on my bed writing and I heard some noise coming from outside. Then I saw the lead singer Ian Brown signing stuff for some boys and I grabbed my phone and my keys and ran like mad - I didn’t even put my shoes on!

"Ian and bassist Mani were amazing, so down to earth and lovely. Real musicians who are there for their fans.

"I was shaking so badly I couldn’t believe this was happening, and then I got annoyed because I had nothing for him to sign but he waited for me to nip back to the flat and get my vinyl which he signed then took in side for the rest to sign."

Stevie pictured with Stone Roses bassist Mani

Frontman Brown told blogger Stevie - who was brought up in Firth Park and Gleadless and attended Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School - that the band hoped to release new music in the coming weeks.

She added: "Ian told me that we would hopefully be hearing new material before June.

"I’ve got to say this was a real big moment for me, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

"They mean so much to me. Since a young age I have grown up listening to them, with both my parents being huge music enthusiasts I was brought up to listen to great music."

The Stone Roses (L-R) Reni, Mani, Ian Brown, John Squire

The Stone Roses formed in Manchester in 1984 and released their self-titled debut album in 1989.

The album is widely regarded as one of the best British records of all time and went on to inspire a generation of British bands, including another Manchester group who went on to have massive success - Oasis.

In the early 1990s The Stone Roses were beset with legal problems and their follow-up album - Second Coming - was released in December 1994 to mixed reviews.

Months later things got worse when drummer Reni quit the band and although they found a replacement and undertook a world tour, in March 1996 guitarist John Squire also quit.

Stevie pictured with Stone Roses bassist Mani

The remnants of the band limped on, culminating in an ill-fated headline performance at that year's Reading Festival. The performance was panned by fans and critics alike in two months later Brown and Mani announced that the band were no more.

Squire went on to form The Seahorses who had one hit album and then split, Mani joined Primal Scream, and Ian Brown went on to have a very successful solo career.

Mercurial drummer Reni mostly kept a low profile, briefly fronting his own band The Rub.

After 15 years apart the band stunned the music world in 2011 when they announced at a press conference. they were getting back together to play some gigs.

In the summer of 2012 they played three massive shows at Heaton Park in their hometown of Manchester, and the following year they played some more big gigs across the world.

Nothing was then heard from the band for more than two years until they announced late last year they would be touring again in summer 2016, including four nights at the Etihad Stadium, and a headline slot at the T in the Park Festival in Scotland.

The Stone Roses (L-R) Reni, Mani, Ian Brown, John Squire

But the prospect of a new Stone Roses single or album is the news many of their huge legion of fans have been waiting for, and now it seems that is all set to happen.

The Church Studios belong to leading UK music producer Paul Epworth, and the likes of Adele and U2 have recorded there.