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DOING IT HIS WAY; Former Stone Roses frontman is happy to be calling the shots.

Byline: Rick Fulton

FORMER Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown reckons Oasis should rest in peace, as he knows all too well what happens when some members of a band leave and others carry on.

Despite Noel Gallagher quitting Oasis in August, brother Liam reportedly wants to carry the band on.

But Ian knows that can tarnish the image of group.

In the Nineties his former band imploded when drummer Alan 'Reni' Wren and guitarist John Squire quit. However, Ian and bass player Gary 'Mani' Mounfield struggled on until a disastrous performance at the Reading Festival in 1996, where fans booed and threw stuff on stage.

Regarding the Oasis split, Ian said: "I'd heard a few rumours and I think it's run its course.

"In their first NME feature they were scrapping and their last one they were scrapping."

Noel and Liam could easily go it alone and they only have to look at Ian to see it's possible to enjoy solo success.

While there have been reports the Stone Roses were to reunite, Ian knocks back any such suggestion.

He said: "I've maintained from day one that I'm not interested.

'I "I'm solo and I love being solo. I believe I went through the Roses so I could become a solo music-maker."

Ian released My Way, his sixth solo album this week and the singer claims it is his best ever album. Later this year he goes on tour with two gigs at the Edinburgh Picture House and Glasgow O2 Academy in December.

As the title MyWay suggests, this is Ian's stamp on his career - a nod to the Frank Sinatra classic and the 46-year-old's own musical autobiography, which sees him sing about his life and career.

"Everything I've done over the years I've done my way," he said.

"It's all been on my terms. "I'm one of the only people around that has a contract which says I have 100 per cent control over everything."

But Ian bristles at the mention of nostalgia - of an album that is looking back, not looking forward.

After all, he was the man who said "It's not where you're from, it's where you're at" during Manchester's Madchester peak in the late Eighties.

He said: "It's not nostalgia to me. It's my life and all things come around. By nostalgia I mean repackaging, remastering and reselling. That made me think about the Roses, as I've never addressed them in songs before."

With the remastered Stone Roses debut Ian feel like it was the right time to look back at his former band?

"It was easy," he said. "I feel great about the Roses, I don't feel bad about it."

He does however continue his tit-for-tat battle with former Roses co-writer John Squire on Always Remember Me on the new album, which includes the lyrics: "You walked yourself into the wilderness. Those were the days when we had it all, and these are the times I've got so much more".

Did the mentions of the band just happen or did Ian decide to put them in with the debut album re-issue.

He smiled and said: "Everything's deliberate."

Ian has said he was aiming to make an album of singles. His current single Stellify follows a strong line of solo tunes like My Star, Can't See Me and F.E.A.R., and he is proud of Stellify.

He said: "As we played it I thought 'Wow this is the first tune I've got since F.E.A.R that's up there with it.'

"Stellify was always the benchmark, but it was also the trickiest to mix and we had to do it seven times to get it right.

"I'd been laughing at stories about Kanye West mixing his last tune 30 times. But I'm starting to understand how you can, so you can get it exactly how you want it.

"That was the benchmark so it was always really going to be the first single."

Stellify was originally written for R&B star Rihanna, through his songwriting partner Dave McCracken, who is signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation.

Ian said: "After finishing the track, even though she could probably sing it better, I thought I would keep it.

"That set us off and I thought I would write an album about my life in music.

"I thought, 'I'm gonna write about coming off the dole, going into music and what happened along the way.' That was my brief."

Ian also revealed that the trackVanity Kills was written for Kanye West.

"Dave was asked to write a song for KanyeWest," explained Ian. "Amanda Ghost wrote the melody, Dave wrote the music and they wanted me to write some lyrics. It had to be a sort of autobiographical song for Kanye.

"So we had a few pow wows and Amanda told me about Kanye because she knew.

She texted him and told him I would do the lyrics and he was delighted.

Unfortunately, they were too late for Kanye's last album so they decided to keep it for themselves.

Ian has also included a cover of Zager and Evans' In The Year 2525.

He said: "I wanted to write a song about global warming beacuse I've not heard anyone sing a proper song about global warming or the effect it's going to have.

"So I then had to come up with a song that was better than In The Year 2525.

"Those lyrics were written 40 years ago, but they still resonate as powerfully today as they did back then.

"I couldn't manage it and didn't come up with a tune that was better, so I thought, 'I've got a Mariachi sound sometimes anyway, so if I got a trumpet on it I could make it sound like one of my own songs anyway.'

"I was lucky because Dave worked on the last Mr Hudson single, so I got Mr Hudson playing guitar on it as well.

"He came down and put flamenco guitar on it. So it's my tune now."

Although he released his first album with The Stone Roses two decades ago - like all the greats - Ian's musical heritage has continued to grow.

This year he played the Reading and Leeds festivals and was amazed to see kids, not world weary former baggy boys in the audience.

He laughed: "At Leeds I looked out at the crowd and there was hardly anyone of my generation there.

"It was all 16-year-olds and up to people who were 25. I thought, 'I'm old enough to be their dad and I'm on the main stage - it's great.'"

Ian will be back on the road before Christmas and like so many artists, he can't get of a Glasgow crowd.

Of course, going home to Manchester is massive for Ian but he admitted he also loves Glasgow.

"Glasgow is probably one of the best places to play in the world," he said.

"Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Dublin are the best places to play.

"There's something very similar about all those places."

My Way is out now. Ian Brown plays Edinburgh Picture House on Tuesday, December 15 and Glasgow O2 Academy on Wednesday, December 16. For tickets, call: 0844 4999 990.


WRITE ON: Ian wrote songs for Rihanna and Kanye West, but ended up using them on his new album MAD FOR IT: Ian with the Stone Roses
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Oct 2, 2009
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