- Ian Brown
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Ian Brown - Biography
|last update : 14-06-2009 13:54|
Brown was born on Forster Street, Warrington in 1963. His father, George, was a joiner and his mother Jean worked in a paper factory. Brown's family moved when he was young and he grew up in Timperley, Greater Manchester, along with his brother and sister, as a karate-obsessed admirer of Muhammad Ali, George Best, Bruce Lee and Basil Brush. He was educated at Heyes Lane Infant and Junior School and then Altrincham Grammar School For Boys.
His active interest in music was inspired by the originators of punk, specifically the Sex Pistols, but also the likes of Angelic Upstarts, local band Slaughter and the Dogs and The Clash (he and original Stone Roses bassist Pete Garner attended the recording of the single "Bankrobber" in Manchester). The first gig Brown attended was however a Joy Division gig at Bowdon Vale Social Club in 1978.
He shared his musical interests with friend John Squire, who lived on the same street; the pair attended northern soul "all-nighters" across the north of England in the late 70s and early 80s as the scene faded. Brown joined Squire's band The Patrol on bass before it evolved into Garage Flower, whilst Jason Livesey was playing lead guitar at the time; they became The Stone Roses in 1984. Around this time, Brown met one of his idols, soul legend Geno Washington, who told him, "You're a star. You're an actor. Be a singer." Brown was the only member of The Stone Roses to be in the band from beginning to end.
Allegedly nicknamed "King Monkey" by Dodgy's drummer Mathew Priest, Brown is noted for his wispy, raspy, and throaty singing style. Particularly live, he is not the most technically sound singer; some critics have compared his delivery to "a man shouting into a bucket", with NME representative Michael Stapleton comparing his vocals to a "frisky kitten being strangled with a coathanger". It is his delivery of lyrics, enormous charisma and stage presence that make him stand out.
In his solo career, Brown has worked with many notable musicians including UNKLE (adding vocals to the instrumental album track "Unreal", for its release as the single "Be There" and sings the vocals on the "Reign" single, released in 2004) and Oasis' Noel Gallagher. Previously, he acted as a mentor to the up-and-coming British band, South.
Brown appeared in a cameo role in the movie adaptation of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The singer became good friends with the movie's Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, who has personally promised to direct one of Brown's future music videos. Brown took only the standard extras fee of £200 for appearing in the film.
In 2002, Q magazine named Ian Brown in their list of the "50 Bands To See Before You Die", although this was part of a sub-list of "5 Bands That Could Go Either Way".
Ian Brown at the Witnness festival in Ireland in 2002Brown has had several run-ins with the law. In 1998, he was sentenced to 4 months in jail for air rage, after a threatening of a stewardess with plastic cutlery, offering to cut her hands off on a flight. This demonstration that the title of 'punk' was well-earned, resulted in a spate of "Free Ian Brown" graffiti in and around Manchester. Most of his sentence was served at Strangeways jail. In an interview with Dave Haslam he claimed "I saw more drugs in a couple of months in Strangeways than in the whole of the rest of my lifetime."
In 2005, he was arrested for assault during a San Francisco gig, but no charges were brought.
He undertook a sell out UK tour in 2005, including selling out the 16,000 capacity Manchester Evening News Arena on 3 December 2005 and visited Australia (Falls Festival, Southbound Festival, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne) in 2006.
Since the demise of the Roses, Brown has stayed in touch with some of the former members. He has performed with bassist Mani and remains friends with drummer Reni. Both Reni and Mani contributed to the track "Can't See Me" on Brown's debut album "Unfinished Monkey Business", although Reni maintains that this was in fact a drum machine and not him.
Brown has also worked with Aziz Ibrahim (who regularly acts as the support act at Brown's gigs), Nigel Ippinson and Robbie Maddix, who all performed with the Roses on their ill-fated 1996 summer tour which included the Festival Internacional de Benicàssim in Spain and the now infamous Reading Festival performance.
At the 2006 NME awards, Brown was presented with the "Godlike Genius" award. He said that, as well as his work with the Stone Roses, he considered the track "F.E.A.R." (co written with Dave Colquhoun/Dave McCracken) to be one of his moments of genius.
In October 2006, Brown made a surprising move to headline the Rockit Hong Kong Music Festival held outdoors in Victoria Park HK. During the two-day event and prior to his appearance on stage he strolled around anonymously and mingled with members of the crowd. His eventual stage performance was hailed by the South China Morning Post and other local newspapers as a great success.
In September 2007, Brown released his fifth studio album, The World Is Yours. The album represented a more political approach in his music, particularly the anti-war single, Illegal Attacks.
On 13 June 2008, Ian was dragged from the stage by a member of the crowd whilst performing at Sheffield's Carling Academy, hitting his head on the concrete floor. He was rushed to hospital where he received 10 stitches to a head wound, but was well enough to perform at the Isle of Wight Festival the following night.
Brown announced via Myspace in December 2008 that he is writing songs with Dave McCracken (co-writer of F.E.A.R. and Dolphins Were Monkeys) and that he plans to record his new album in Japan in March 2009, with an expected release date of mid-August 2009. On the 30th March, it was announced he would be playing at Reading festival on Saturday 29 August and Leeds festival on Friday 28 August, 2009.