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John Squire

John Squire
Onstage Manchester, England 2011
Onstage Manchester, England 2011
Background information
Birth nameJonathan Thomas Squire
Born (1962-11-24) 24 November 1962 (age 58)
Broadheath, Altrincham, Cheshire, England
GenresAlternative rock, Madchester, psychedelic rock, blues rock
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1980–2007, 2011–2017
LabelsSilvertone, Geffen
Associated actsThe Stone Roses
The Seahorses

Jonathan Thomas Squire (born 24 November 1962)[1] known professionally as John Squire, is an English musician, songwriter and artist. He was the guitarist for The Stone Roses, a rock band in which he formed a songwriting partnership with lead singer Ian Brown. After leaving the Stone Roses he went on to found The Seahorses and has since released two solo albums. In 2007, Squire gave up music to fully commit to painting.[2] However, he later returned to music when the Stone Roses reformed in 2011.

Squire has been described as one of the most accomplished and influential British rock guitarists of the late 1980s and early 1990s,[3] known for his chiming melodies, spiraling riffs and live solos. He was voted the 13th greatest guitarist of the last 30 years in a national poll by BBC 6 Music in 2010.[4]

Early life

Squire was born in Broadheath, Altrincham, Cheshire.[1] Squire grew up on Sylvan Avenue in Timperley, around the corner from Ian Brown, and after attending Heyes Lane Junior School, he passed the eleven plus exam and went on to attend Altrincham Grammar School for Boys. As a child he excelled at art.[5] He formed a close friendship with Ian Brown during their last two years at school together after Ian aided him in a fight with a school bully. The two further bonded over a shared love for punk rock, particularly the Clash.[5]

Squire and Brown moved on to South Trafford College after passing O-Levels. Brown got expelled and Squire dropped out shortly after in order to start a band.[6] Although Squire had a couple of guitar lessons, he was largely self-taught.[7]

The Stone Roses

In the early 1980s Squire and Brown founded a band, Patrol, that eventually became the Stone Roses. Squire was lead guitarist, and the partnership between Squire and Brown formed the heart of the band's lyrical and musical output.

The Stone Roses became one of the most influential acts of its era. Their 1989 eponymous debut album quickly achieved the status of a classic in the UK, and topped NME's list of the Greatest British Albums of All Time. Squire (now calling himself John, instead of his birth name of Jonathan) co-wrote all of the tracks with Brown and painted the cover art, a Jackson Pollock-influenced piece containing references to the May 1968 riots in Paris.

The band's second album, Second Coming was released in 1994. It featured a heavier blues-rock sound, similar to Led Zeppelin and the Allman Brothers Band,[8] and featured Squire's vocals for the first time on 'Tightrope' and 'How Do You Sleep'. Squire also wrote the majority of its songs alone. The album was met with mixed reaction from fans, and shortly after band infighting and rumoured cocaine abuse led to his departure from the band on 1 April 1996. The band dissolved six months later.

The Seahorses and solo career

With three previously unknown musicians, Squire formed a new band, The Seahorses, in 1996. The band's only album Do it Yourself was released in 1997. The Seahorses disbanded due to creative differences in 1999.

Following the demise of the Seahorses, Squire continued work with drummer Mark Heaney and ex-Verve bassist Simon Jones along with new vocalist Duncan Baxter as John Squire's Skunkworks, but left prior to the band releasing material as the Shining.[9]

Squire released his first solo album, Time Changes Everything in 2002. A concept album followed in 2004 entitled Marshall's House. Squire has also said that he has recorded a third album, however he has decided not to release it as he felt that promoting and touring the album would take the fun out of the music, and turn it into a job rather than a hobby. This is the second time that Squire has recorded an album and opted to keep it unreleased, as he did the same in 1999 as a part of the Seahorses, when they recorded an album, set to be named "Minus Blue" or "Motorcade", but decided to break up rather than release the album.


Besides music, Squire is also a published artist. His artwork has adorned the singles, album covers and promotional posters for his and the Stone Roses' music. In the 1980s, Squire's artistic style was heavily influenced by the action painting technique of Jackson Pollock. In recent years, Squire has shown a broader use of media and has incorporated newer influences to his work. One such item – a surfboard covered with Beach Boys song lyrics, which was for the War Child charity to auction – featured on the cover for Travis's 1997 single release "U16 Girls" and their debut album Good Feeling. In 2004, Squire held two well-received art exhibitions in London and Manchester.

He has exhibited his artwork at the Smithfield Gallery (July 2007) and the Dazed Gallery, London (September – October 2007). At the Smithfield Gallery opening, Squire told a reporter from the Manchester Evening News that he was giving up music for good. He explained that "I'm enjoying this far too much to go back to music."[2] When asked about a Stone Roses reunion, he said it was "highly unlikely".[2]

In January 2009, Squire launched a new exhibition of his art entitled Heavy Metal Semantics, in London, and further exhibitions in Oldham, Austria and Tokyo later in the year.[10] Further exhibitions include Edinburgh in August 2010 and Brussels in early 2011.

Intentions for a Stone Roses reunion

After leaving the Stone Roses, Squire had a lasting feud with ex-bandmate Ian Brown, with the pair not having spoken in over a decade since Squire's departure from the band. In a 2005 Q magazine article, Squire blasted Brown, claiming "When he (Brown) was stoned, he was at best a tuneless knob and at worst a paranoid mess" (this was in response to queries about what had gone wrong with the Second Coming recording sessions, and the state of Brown's vocal due to his cannabis intake). Although both Brown and Squire performed Stone Roses songs in their solo gigs, a band reunion seemed unlikely. Squire was interviewed in June 2007 by Dave Haslam on XFM Manchester radio and discussed his current work as an artist, and claimed that even if Brown phoned him and suggested a Stone Roses reunion, he would turn the offer down.[11] But in an interview on The Culture Show in 2008, Squire stated: "I went to that Led Zeppelin reunion show, and on the way back in the car I was thinking it would be good to do something like that one day."

In March 2009, Squire appeared to put an end to speculation surrounding the Stone Roses' reunion by defacing one of his artworks with the text "I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester pop group the Stone Roses."[12] Also on 19 March 2009, Squire appeared on the BBC's Newsnight, and when asked if a reunion would ever occur, he stated that it would "absolutely most definitely not". He said he came on air to address the fans once and for all and also, "to stop the phones ringing." He also stated his belief that music is a young person's game.[13]

In March 2011, Brown and Squire met at the funeral of Mani's mother, which led to speculation that the band were reforming although this was refuted at the time by Mani. However, on 18 October 2011, at London's Soho Hotel, the Stone Roses announced that they would reunite for the first time in fifteen years, playing three shows at Heaton Park, Manchester, on 29 and 30 June and 1 July 2012 as part of an extensive Reunion Tour, and on 2 December 2011 Brown and Squire performed together live for the first time since 1995. They joined Mick Jones from the Clash, the Farm and Pete Wylie at the Manchester Ritz in aid of the Justice for Hillsborough campaign. They performed "Elizabeth My Dear" as a duo before being joined by Mick Jones and the Farm for renditions of the Clash's "Bankrobber" and "Armagideon Time" with Ian Brown taking on lead vocals for the three songs. The Stone Roses played a European tour in the summer of 2012. The band played around the world, playing their last concert in 2017. Squire then returned to painting.




  • "Joe Louis" (2002) No.43 UK[14]
  • "Room In Brooklyn" (2004) No.44 UK[14]

Live albums and EPS

  • Time Changes Everything Live EP (Japan only) (2003)

See also


  1. ^ a b Larkin, Colin (ed.) (1998) The Virgin Encyclopedia of Indie & New Wave, Virgin Books, ISBN 0-7535-0231-3
  2. ^ a b c "Roses legend gives up music". Manchester Evening News. 5 July 2007. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. ^ Warshaw, Aaron. "John Squire biography". AllMusic. Rovi Corp. Retrieved 18 January 2017.
  4. ^ "6Music - The Axe Factor". BBC. 1 January 1970. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b Robb 2001, p. 24
  6. ^ Robb 2001, p. 28
  7. ^ Robb 2001, p. 26
  8. ^ Stephen Thomas Erlewine. "Second Coming - The Stone Roses | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  9. ^ "The Shining - Biography". 11 May 2014. Retrieved 21 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Latest The Stone Roses News". NME. Archived from the original on 10 October 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  11. ^ [1] Archived 20 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Youngs, Ian (19 March 2009). "Stone Roses star says no reunion". BBC News. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  13. ^ "John Squire: 'I will never play with the Stone Roses again' | News". NME. 20 March 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  14. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). Knutsford: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 523. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.


  • Robb, John (2001). The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop. Random House. ISBN 0-09-187887-X.

External links

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