Interview – Ian Brown

Ian Brown has gone full circle with the release of his sixth studio album, having recorded it at Battery Studios where he and former band The Stone Roses made their seminal debut two decades ago.

But with his latest solo offering again attracting a fresh wave of critical acclaim, the iconic frontman has cemented his reputation as a vital musician in his own right.

As he prepared to hit the road on a full UK tour next month, Brown spoke about his most personal record to date.

I feel it’s my best work, yeah, I certainly put the hours in,” he said.

I started writing it about this time last year, not constantly, but on and off. We worked right through the winter, started recording it in early spring and finished it on July 7, so we’ve gone through all seasons.”

From the social commentary of previous LP The World Is Yours, Brown has taken a more introspective approach to My Way and Brown admitted it was a conscious effort to take a more “autobiographical” outlook on his writing, even addressing his Stone Roses days within the songs.

We thought, right it’s gonna be a “My Way” album-I’m gonna write about my life in music. I’m gonna write about coming off the dole, going into music, what happened along the way-that was my brief.

It’s not nostalgia to me, it’s my life and all things come around. There’s a point to everything and everything comes around in a circle eventually.

By nostalgia I mean repackaging, remastering, reselling, squeezing a lemon. That made me think about the Roses, as I’ve never addressed them in songs before.

It was easy-I feel great about the Roses, I don’t feel bad about it.”

As he prepares for another round of UK dates, despite a career of stellar tours, it is a festival appearance which stands out as a career high.

Glastonbury 05 was probably my favourite show because it was the biggest crowd I’ve ever played to. It was pretty emotional and everyone was singing along. There were thousands of people bobbing up and down and we played really well that night.

Usually I do a show, I feel great about it and the next day I’ve forgotten it. But one day, if I make it, when I’m 90 and I’m sat out in the back chair with my Filipino nurse putting a blanket over me, maybe I’ll think about when I played Nottingham Rock City on my birthday, or my first Brixton Academy, but Glastonbury’s the show that I think about every few weeks and think “Wow, that was ace”.

Ian Brown plays at the O2 Academy Birmingham on December 18.

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