Mani on Music, Dart, Life And More

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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In 1989, The Stone Roses were the biggest band in the UK, literally ‘splashed’ all over the musical press , as in the case of the NME cover of 18th November 1989, which saw  Ian Brown (vocalist) ,John Squire (guitarist) Reni (drummer) and Mani(Bass) all covered in paint, a tribute to Pop Art.

After several line up changes, it wasn’t until 1989, that the band found success with their debut album entitled The Stone Roses which gave them critical acclaim and success. Yet it was the song Fools Gold (which doesn’t feature on the album) that gave the band their biggest chart success.

Fools Good is a spell binding track, a mixture of sixties pop and dance music, strong guitar licks, funky drums, haunting and echo style vocals and an anthemic  beat style bass line. The bass line is powerful, punchy, infectious and instantly recognisable from the first notes.

Whether Mani’s likes it or not, it is a bass line that remains his signature tune, sinister, sexy and powerful. Yet Mani is far from a one trick pony. When The Stone Roses disbanded in 1996, Bobby Gillespie quickly requested his services for Primal Scream (Another band that predominated the late eighties and the early nineties, and like The Stone Roses defined the Acid House generation).

Moreover, Mani has been involved in many sideline projects such as DJ-ing and performing, writing and recording with Freebass, which constituted of fellow Manchester bass players Pete Hook (New Order) Andy Rourke ( The Smiths) , a true heavy weight of musicians.  However there has been a well documented rivalry between Peter Hook and Mani on twitter, but since then both parties seem to have patched things up.

This interview came by chance, whilst I was taking a leisurely stroll through Carnaby Street. When I suddenly saw the cheeky face and sharp dressed Mani strutting down the Street.  As any good writer, I never leave the house, without my note pad, phone, pen and digital recorder. I needed to get his attention, so the first thing that came into my head was to shout out “Do you need some fruit with that bowl”, Mani stopped in his  steps and looked back at me bewildered and amused. I quickly introduced myself and mentioned as many mutual friends as possible. Mani kindly agreed to do an interview in the Shakespeare’s Head, but it had to brief as he wanted to get back to his hotel for full time results and check his pools coupon.

ZANI - I take it the Freebass gig for the 16th September at the O2 British Music Experience exhibition didn’t take place?  

Mani – No it didn’t, but I gave them the famous Rickenbacker guitar from The Stone Roses days.  I found it in the cupboard underneath my stairs which I call The Black Hole of Calcutta because I have no idea what is in there, which I also found the suit I wore for the paint splashing photo shoot from the NME front cover. I have donated those items.

ZANI – All Icon items, I remember them well.

Mani – It was amazing, they had the clothes that Bowie, The Stones and Adam Ant used to wear. It was a celebration of great music culture.

ZANI - Always good to celebrate. I know Freebass may be on hold, but I don’t want to focus on the negative.  

Mani – I like you more and more.

ZANI – Thank you, But how did Freebass come about? I understand that the idea to form a band centralised around three bass players came out on a drunken night and was started by you and Peter Hook and as a reaction because our groups New Order and Primals had been stalled. What did you  mean by this?

Mani – Well Bernard Summers didn’t want to do anymore gigs with New Order, and Peter has left them now. And with the Scream, we were in-between albums. Basically it was something to do, so we could keep playing. We never set out with a mandate that we wanted to change the world, because we have all done that in our own sleepy ways in our previous bands. All it was, was a bunch of guys who wanted to play, and it was that low key and lay back.

ZANI – Which keeps the pressure of always trying top produce a successful album..

Mani– Also it’s all about keeping busy, in our game, we fucking hate sitting around doing nothing.

ZANI - The early shows for Freebass were well received, did that add to your confidence, or did you know it would be good?

Mani– I try to say look it’s not going to be earth shattering music, it was just a bunch of guys playing. It was great, because we went right back to basics. I was even driving the van, which reminded us of The Comic Strip ‘Bad News on Tour’ Film. After many years of people doing things for you, it was good to go back to basics, because it restores your faith in how you started out and why you started out.

ZANI – I like that attitude, that’s sweet.  And Freebass started off as working around three bass players, you, Peter Hook and Andy Rourke. Was that confusing at the start? I mean working with three bass players, although you all have your own unique styles. I mean this in a positive way, as I don’t see any of you as musicos, but as passionate players.

Mani– Yeah, the way I look at it, is that you play from the heart and you play instinctively. Well Andy Rourke is the knowledge, he knows it like no other bass player I know.  I took care of the bottom end, the growl. Andy Rourke took care of the melody and Peter Hook does his up and down the neck thing, and there was space for all three of us to perform.

ZANI – I know this is a cliché, but I would say that Freebass pays homage to the great bass players of Manchester from the last thirty years you’re your respective bands- The Smiths, Stone Roses and New Order?

Mani– That’s high praise indeed. Hooky has his own style and sound. I was a big fan of Joy Division and New Order. Andy Rourke, as I said has got the knowledge like you wouldn’t believe and an amazing guy. I don’t what the fuck it is that I do, but I just do it.

ZANI – Was it Bruce Foxton from The Jam that turned you onto Rickenbacker Bass?

Mani – Yeah I was a massive fan of The Jam, and The Byrds used Rickenbackers a lot.  Rickenbackers have got their own distinctive sound, and I have always used them since year dot.
ZANI – Other musical influences?

Mani – I suppose when I was fourteen I was guilty of falling into the trap of closing myself off. When I was listening to a lot of punk in ‘77 and ‘78, I would only listen to punk. Then after Punk I threw myself into the sixties culture, I discovered The Small Faces, Hendrix and The Byrds, The Doors, Early Pink Floyd and Garage Psychedelic Rock, West Coast.  
ZANI – Good taste. Quick change of subject, I understand you are avid darts players. What song would you like to have used as a signature tune to walk out to if you were a professional dart player?  

Mani– Ha, like it. On a comedy level, I would like ‘Somebody is Going To Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight’ by The Rezillos, but on a serious note, I would have ‘Never Had Nothing’ by The Angelic Upstarts.

ZANI – That’s a good one, well they are both good. Last year I saw The Stone Roses twenty year anniversary of The Stone Roses self titled album. You must be proud to be part of this album?

Mani– It did something magical, it doesn’t matter what city I am in, what street, I always got stopped by people who wanted to thank me. That is heart-warming to know, that a piece you worked on has moved people.

ZANI – I remember it well, it went hand and hand with the acid house scene at the time.

Mani – When we were recording the album, we were nipping off to Future, Spectrum. Look what came out that scene; The Stone Roses in a way, Primal Scream, Alan McGee, The Inspiral Carpets, and DJ’s like Andy Weatherall and Danny Rampling.

ZANI – Talking of DJ’s, are you still DJ-ing?

Mani – I do go out once a month, it’s not for the money it is for the love of music, playing Mod, Northern Soul, Garage Psychedelic.  

ZANI – I will try and get to that, on 27th November at London Olympia  Primal Scream will be playing the Screamadelica album in it’s entity, how are you feeling about that ?

Mani – It’s the first time the album has been played its entirety, and in rehearsals, it sounds awesome. If you look at Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, that is a document in time, The Queen is Dead by The Smiths, is a document in time, then Screamadelica is certainly a document in time of 1990 and 1991.

It’s going to make such a change to go and play strip back melodic dance oriented tunes, then all these high energy classic rock and roll tracks we have been doing for the last ten years.

mark sargeant mani gary mounfield matteo sedazzari zani 3.

ZANI – Just one quick question about The Stone Roses, were you lot all into the scooter scene in the early eighties ?

Mani – Yes and I have got two Lambrettas and a nice little Vespa 90 tucked away in my shed.

ZANI - Not in The Black Hole of Calcutta ?

Mani – No

ZANI - Ok you have worked with Hooky and Rourke, what other bass players would you like to have worked or work with, alive or dead?

Mani – How long have you got?

ZANI – Until closing time..

Mani – You are a right clown OK-James Jameson from Motown, stood in the background, never noticed him but pumped out the funkiest shit you ever heard.  Bootys Collins from Funkadelic and Parliament, what a fucking guy. Noel Redding from The Jimi Hendrix Experience,  Chris Hillman from The Byrds, John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin and The Clash’s Paul Simenon. They are great, fuck, John Entwistle from The Ox, how dare I miss him out.   

ZANI – What are you currently in to?

Mani – At the moment I have been listening to The Corals latest album The Butterfly House, it makes me want to take acid and go to the beach.

ZANI - That’s a great way to describe a piece of music, I ain’t dropped acid in years.

Mani – Looking at the way you dress, I thought you were on a non stop trip

ZANI – I have the odd flash backs, I don’t know if I could handle a trip.

Mani – Too heavy ?

ZANI – It’s the comedown

Mani – Yeah, I know what you mean

ZANI - Final question -what’s the coolest thing about Mani?

Mani – I am self deprecating and I don’t take myself too seriously.

Mani is a gentlemen; a free spirit, he speaks from the heart, enthusiastic and by all accounts a great darts player. Like his iconic bass line Mani has made an impact in the world of music, and will stay there for a long time to come, and at ZANI we say rightly so, because anyone with that much zest for life, certainly deserves it.

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© Words Matteo Sedazzari/ZANI Media

Read 6944 times Last modified on Wednesday, 07 April 2021 13:14
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