Interviewed in the new issue of Clash magazine, King Monkey Ian Brown returns with album number six, 'My Way', in September.
Recorded at Battery Studios, (site of the sessions for The Stone Roses' debut album) with longtime collaborator Dave McCracken, the album is Brown's sixth as a solo artist and promises an autobiographical journey through Brown's incident filled life.
“On each album, I try and get a word in on a pop song that I’ve never sung before...that’s right back to ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Roses’. I’ve never heard the word brigantine in a song before and it’s like find the word and on this one it was ‘inclement’, like this inclement weather. I’d never heard before and then I came across 'stellify', the one before that was 'solarised'. Yeah, I just try and put one in each album, just one in each album.
'Stellify'’s probably about being a young guy...and probably the most important thing in the world right is women. It’s kind of a love song, and I don’t feel like I’ve ever written a proper love song before. I ‘ave done but, I sort of consciously sat down and decided to write a love song, it’s the feeling when you first meet someone.”
'Crowning of the Poor':
“Obviously, I mean I think the poor are blessed and going straight to heaven, I believe that. I just look at the lives that most of my family have had, while they lived like saints and, had no lives y’know what I mean? They’re gonna be made high. Like your richness and your wealth, it comes from spirit and who you are not what you’ve got and in this World, it’s all about what you’ve got, but you know the best human beings are usually the poorest human beings.”
So how does that work, I know your children are well looked after. How do you line up the two ideals?
“They’ve got family that of sort of lived that life, so it’s not like we all live behind electric gates and the rest of my family don’t. It’s hard for them to kind of come out of Manchester and feel that vibe, you know what I mean? I’m not worried about it."
Do they live up here or up there?
“I’ve got one that lives up here, and two that live down there. I take him every weekend to Moss Side to get his chicks and rice and peas.”
‘Just Like You’:
“Yeah ‘Just Like You’, I originally did for a Japanese compilation album, I did last year, that a friend of mine helped put together and it was all electronic and... it worked a bit but I wanted to do it with like live drums and live players. So I re-did it and it’s the basic sentiment that we’re all unique, I wanted to express that like, I don’t know just cause I’m some kind of popstar doesn’t mean I’m not the same as my mate whose a scaffolder, y’know what I mean?
We both have to take the rough with the smooth you know. Everything’s out of our power and out of our control, we have to keep a smile on our face, when it rains every day. No matter what position you are in life, we’re basically all the same, we all require the same things, we all dream the same dreams probably.”
'In The Year 2525':
“I just thought, them lyrics, I know he was projecting them for the year 4545. Lyrically it was brilliant, but I wanted to write a song about the environment and global warming and the G8 and all of that but, then half way through it clicked that, hang on that ‘2525’, does it better. Some people don’t know, and I’ve never done a cover so it had that novelty value.”
You never done a cover?
“Not on an album, I did ‘Fear And Ability’ but I’ve never done a cover on an album before. I thought it’s a great song, and once we started playing it, it just started fitting, lyrically, he wrote it 4 years ago but it applies to now, dunnit...”
Did you ever do anything with the Roses?
“Live? No, we used to do ‘I Want You Back’ during sound-checks and we used to do ‘Heaven Help Us All’ by Stevie Wonder. Yeah we only done ‘em in sound checks. When we first started out we used to do, a song called ‘Open Your Eyes’ by Nazz. Todd Rundgren’s band, we played that like the first ten shows.”
‘2525’ is all about cycles, does that tie in with the cycle of how you did it?
“Yeah, it’s psychedelic album, the definition of psychedelic is mind expanding; that’s what I’m trying to do.”
There’s a reference to the second coming, is that a cheeky reference to anything?
“No I didn’t even think of that (laughs), you’re taking it too far.”
Did you know that, that song was banned on Clear Channel after 9/11? It brought out a list of songs that couldn’t be played on their radio station. Bob Dylan, pretty much every Rage Against The Machine song, The Beatles...
“Mentalist, that’s ridiculous innit, that’s a joke innit...crazy. It’s the rappers fault, the rappers did it, didn’t they (laughs) blame the rappers. It’s all cause of the rappers man.”
In The Year 2525是一张迷幻专辑，迷幻的定义就是思想上的升华，也是我试图想做到的。
你知道吗，这首歌在911后在Clear Channel被禁播了，这个电台列了个禁播名单，包括Bob Dylan、Rage Against The Machine所有的歌、The Beatles…
‘Always Remember Me’:
I suppose it is a serious one. Yeah it is about the Roses and I co-wrote that with a Japanese kid he’s called Naoto Hiroyama, he’s in a band called Orange Range. He gave me the music for ‘Always Remember Me’, he gave me that. We did our own drums but he gave me the keys and the guitars.”
It’s obviously very melancholic/nostalgic. Is it about you and John?
“Yeah. He pretty much walked himself into the wilderness and I thought did he know then what was going to happen, or he must have thought he was the man and now he’s painting himself into a corner...literally (laughs). It’s a relief when you’ve done an interview and you’ve not done a Roses question.”
Do you wish Squire would make a statement back? Are you trying to open dialogue?
“I’m honest in that I’ve asked, I just think I’ve done like twelve years solo, I’ve had 6 albums, I’ve played in 35 countries, different countries and like nearly all of them have like gone in the top five. I could never dream that, I’ve had a mega time being solo and I still am.
I honestly don’t care...I don’t put anyone down cause they love the roses or even if they want us to get back together, I totally understand it and I’ve never poo-pooed my own role in it cause I’m only here cause I came up here, started that. I don’t know if I would have had a solo career if I wasn’t in The Stone Roses, you know? It doesn’t really bother me.”
...you know he’s going to hear that though.
“I’m not arsed, the song sounds good, the words are good (laughs). It’s a good song.”
I think it would be a disaster if you ever did reform?
“Yeah I don’t think they should either. No way. All the magic there, it’s just not going to be the same. No, it’s not going to be the same at all. I get loads of people, coming up to me, saying look, "All those memories, those times are my favourite, please don’t ruin it". Do you know what I mean? The whole thing then was about the spirit of it, so if the spirit of it is not here forget it.”
Would you like him to phone you?
“I’m not arsed honestly. It’s like a girl who dropped me when I was sixteen I was like, "Fuck ya, I’ll go get another one". Do you know what I mean? No, I’m not bothered, I mean we were pals in the day, I don’t know what happened or why but I’m not arsed. It’s like 11 years later, I’ve got a thirteen year old son, he’s never met, you know what I mean? I’ve got a teenager...it’s like something I used to do at school dinner times, it’s something I remember it but it happened and that was it.”
这首歌相对严肃。是关于玫瑰的，是我和一个日本孩子一起写的，他叫Naoto Hiroyama，他在一个叫Orange Range的乐队，他给了我Always Remember Me的音乐。我们加的鼓，但是他写的吉他部分，他才是关键。
‘For The Glory’:
“I wanted to sing that, I did it for the people I didn’t do it for my own glory, like I know I did the song ‘I Wanna Be Adored’, I didn’t actually want people to adore me. I was trying to say then, if you want to be adored, it’s like a sin, like lust or gluttony or something like that. I did it for the peeps like the last Roses tour in ’95, felt like I was with the crowd not the band. Like it wasn’t like it was us all, I was with the peeps. It’s kind of addressing that I’m still here like 20 years later and I’m still going and I’ve still got a long way to go. I’ve come a long way already, but I’ve still got a long distance to go. I’m the still the musical marathon man, because I’m still running. And there’s not many who come out in ’88, ’89 who still are.”
这首歌我唱给所有人，不只是我自己。就象I Wanna Be Adored一样，我不是希望人们崇拜我。我想要说，如果你希望被崇拜，那就是罪恶，象贪婪和贪食一样的罪恶。我把它献给95年玫瑰最后的演出，感觉自己是与观众同在而不是乐队。仿佛回到20年前，我依然在前进，那是一段漫长的道路，我依然是音乐路上的马拉松选手。没有多少经历过88、89年的同代人和我一样仍站在这里，坚持到现在。
Seems to be about heroes. Your heroes were written somewhere as being Muhammad Ali and Basil Brush?
“I don’t know who put that on the Wikipedia. It makes me laugh that... they put Muhammad Ali, Bruce Lee and Basil Brush, piss-take. I saw it on the Wikipedia and I don’t know how you get it off (laughs). It’s rubbish, brilliant (laughs) a top piss-take.
Who are your heroes?
“I don’t know, like anyone who puts themselves out for humanity over and above themselves like Ali, like they way that he done it on behalf of his people hasn’t he. You can see when he comes out the ring and he’s like preaching and all that and Bruce Lee, Bruce Lee in the Chinatown...he’s deep, it’s mystical he takes all the things...and Marley too, to the people he brought it all. The system that took god off everybody and he gave it back. He was like a prophet.
Martin Luther King, you know he knew he was going to die, he knew they were going to shoot him and he knew where to stand up and do the right thing and say the right thing. He had premonitions of his own death, he knew he was going to die, he had his own kids, but he still stood up and did the right thing. Malcolm X too, you know, the way that black folks were living in America in the ‘60’s, Malcolm X stood up and said, this is wrong. We’ve got to empower ourselves.
Martin Luther King，
So anyone who stands up against the system and the people who put others before themselves, like that famous Marley quote where he says, "My life’s for the people", and it’s massive.”
（最近反复听Bob Marley的Redemption Song，“how long should they kill our prophet,while we just stand aside and look”）
“Yeah that’s the anagram of my own name. It could of been 'Brain No', or it could have been 'Born Awi'...I like me anagrams (laughs). I was working with a kid called Peter Mescall who was DJ Mek and his real name is Peter Mescall and he said do you realise you name is ‘Own Brain’ and mine’s 'Sampler Elect'...so I was like let’s do a tune called ‘Own Brain’, I wanted to do an album called ‘Own Brain’. And then I thought ‘My Way’ was a bit cheeky.”
我名字里字母重新组合后就是Own Brain。还能组成Brain No，或者Born Awi，我喜欢这些组合（笑）。一个和我一起工作的DJ叫DJ Mek ，真名Peter Mescall，他跟我说我其实可以叫Own Brain，而他叫Sampler Elect…于是我想到了写这样一首歌，本来专辑想叫Own Brain，但My Way更随性。
“Again ‘Laugh Now’ is just like "Laugh at me now". You know what I mean? I’ve been around, this is my 6th album, I’ve sold out my tour in 2 days now. Folks Worldwide, people laugh now...by all means. It’s probably the only dark lyric on it, all the other lyrics are sort of uplifting and sunshine and this one’s a bit kind of bittersweet. Bit of roses, bittersweet, like I’ll give you a kiss and stab you in the back at the same times. Bit dark, bit of a dark lyric, yeah.
Again a shout out to anyone who wronged me, I forgive you but go to hell, you know.”
Laugh Now就是Laugh at me now。我出了6张专辑，我的演出票2天就卖完了。可能是最悲观的歌词，其他的歌词或多或少比较积极、阳光。
“'So High', it’s about where I come from, where I’ve got to. Yeah it’s my favourite subject, myself (laughs). I did the last one, as a sort of social commentary on the state of the world, so I did the opposite; the last album was sort of a social commentary about the churches, poverty and I thought I’d rather do it in an album than talk about it in interviews, instead of going on about them in interviews, I’ll put them in a song and so I did it that way. I had to bring it back round the opposite way and this is all about the person not the whole world.”
没有说到Vanity kills和By All Means Necessary。记得Vanity kills是写给Kanye West，因为耽误了所以留着自用。Stellify开始也是要给一个叫Rihanna的人的，后来觉得太好听了，给别人太可惜，所以...
我自己是很满意这张专辑，除了他自己说最喜欢的So High，呵呵。Ian Brown的声音呢，唱Always Remember Me或者Vanity kills这样的歌再合适不过了，没有太多器乐干扰，他又低又轻的声音是很好的催眠剂，所以我理解有人说他像传教士一样在给你布道，先催眠后给你灌输思想，这是他的能力不是可以学的来的。玫瑰20周年，你说他是搭便车，但搭这种便车也是要有资本的，除了翻了一首2525年——我喜欢这首歌，又有哪首是在炒剩饭？不知道是不是怀旧给了他灵感和能力，我觉得他在进步，哦，对了，他需要有人帮他设计个更好的封面，现在这个太傻了。