The moment Slash almost joined The Stone Roses

The notion of Guns N’ Roses‘ iconic guitarist, Slash, stepping into the esteemed shoes of Manchester’s own The Stone Roses’ John Squire might initially sound like a musical mismatch of epic proportions, poised for inevitable disaster. Yet, there was a fleeting moment when Slash’s name hovered on the periphery of serious consideration for the role.

In the pivotal year of 1994, The Stone Roses emerged from a prolonged hiatus with their much-anticipated sophomore album, “The Second Coming.” The landscape had shifted significantly during their absence, but despite the inclusion of tracks like ‘Love Spreads’ and ‘Ten Storey Love Song,’ their return failed to fully meet the towering expectations set by their groundbreaking debut.

The chance to headline Glastonbury in 1995 held the promise of redemption and reaffirmation of their stature in Britain’s musical pantheon. It was to be their triumphant return, a declaration to naysayers that they were back and stronger than ever. However, fate had other plans.

Months before the iconic festival, drummer Reni’s departure following a clash with lead singer Ian Brown dealt a blow to the band’s cohesion. Additionally, a series of intimate UK tour dates were scrapped due to premature leakage, leaving The Stone Roses with little rehearsal time.

Then came the unforeseen blow: Squire’s collarbone shattered in a California mountain biking mishap, rendering him unfit to perform at Glastonbury. With their headline slot in jeopardy, the notion of Slash stepping in as a substitute for Squire briefly surfaced.

In a revealing interview with Clash in 2009, Brown reflected on the missed opportunity: “That ’95 slot in Glastonbury was our chance to show that we were back… But as fate had it, it wasn’t to be. John broke his collarbone… We didn’t want to bring another guitarist in at the time. I later learned that we could have got Slash. Slash was up for doing it, which might have been good, but it wouldn’t have been the same.”

However, fate took another twist as Squire’s departure from the band in 2006 reopened the door for Slash to potentially join the fold. The idea resurfaced, driven partly by a desire to provoke their former bandmate.

Aziz Ibrahim, who eventually filled the vacancy, disclosed to the Stagelift Podcast: “I know there had been auditions – Slash had offered to play… Maybe they wanted to piss him off, so they thought, ‘Let’s get the greatest rock icon of all time.’… Then [they] said something to the effect of, ‘We’re not going to work with a guy with leather pants, are we?’”

In the end, Slash and The Stone Roses remained separate entities, each carving their indelible mark on the music landscape. While the idea of Slash replacing Squire might have titillated some, it was ultimately a notion best consigned to the realm of what-ifs, sparing both legacies from potential sacrilege.

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