The start of term is always an exciting time, and this year’s induction day at BIMM Manchester did not disappoint, with an extra special appearance from one of the city’s best-loved musicians… Mani of The Stone Roses.
Sitting down with Jeff Thompson at The Ritz, the legendary bassist spoke extensively about growing up right here in Manchester, its reputation for producing exciting bands, and being inspired by Buzzcocks, The Clash and the Sex Pistols, whose iconic gig at the nearby Lesser Free Trade Hall provided the zeitgeist to the city’s thriving scene.
Our audience of new starters listened with intent as Mani shared stories of his decade-spanning musical career, from his early years playing in front of the mirror and later pubs around Oldham and North Manchester with Clint Boon [Inspiral Carpets], to then hooking up with Ian Brown, John Squire and Reni to make history.
“They were friends of mine from pre-music anyway and the scootering scene. I used to go watching The Stone Roses everywhere, and I always knew that one day I would end up in there,” he quipped. “It was just really good fun. We used to rehearse every day for hours; just kicking songs around, everything that would eventually become the first Roses LP.”
We heard how the now immortal band worked tirelessly before finally signing with Silvertone and heading into the studio with producer John Leckie [Radiohead, XTC, The Coral, MUSE]. Although Mani also admitted that most people – bar one or two NME journalists – didn’t quite know how to take the band at first. It wasn’t until they started hanging around at acid house clubs in Manchester and London, and incorporating dance into their sound that people began to take notice.
Nevertheless, Mani spoke of having the confidence, drive and self-belief; they knew they had something special, he revealed. “We knew the power of the songs that we had, and we knew the power of us as players that we were actually going to get somewhere, it was just waiting for the moment,” he told the audience.
The Fool’s Gold bassist, who later joined Primal Scream – a true “rock n roll” band, later turned his attention to the state of modern music and the challenges that face new musicians in a world where music is more digital, immediate and X Factor is the mainstream. “It’s too immediate, people should work at their art and earn it,” he added.
However, Mani was optimistic for the next generation and sided that the UK will always produce great musicians. Self-belief, hard work and dedication were the main topics of this masterclass and Mani’s words certainly resonated.
“If you believe in yourself and just keep following and following your path, you can make things happen,” he enthused. “If I can do it, you can do it, you guys have got every chance. It ain’t that difficult, just get your head down and get on with it and get working,” he sided.
Mani closed with a few words of encouragement about studying in a city that continues to produce such a high calibre of talent. He said: “Manchester will always produce great musicians… I think London sometimes would love to put Manchester in a big hole and bury it but they never will because we’ve got something different up here.”
His final word of advice? “Follow your heart. The biggest thing you can do is follow your instincts; people will tell you a lot of things, and they’re not necessarily gonna be right. Follow your heart.”
A Manchester legend in every sense of the word, it was a privilege to have Mani inspire our latest BIMM inductees. With that, we look forward to sharing news of another year at BIMM Manchester, with even more great masterclasses and Q&As. Stay tuned!
If you would like to learn from the best in the music industry and kickstart your music career find out all about BIMM’s courses here.