Oasis come from my home town of Manchester, which means that I can’t help but feel a certain affinity with those Gallagher brothers – that and the fact that we all support Man City. It could also have something to do with the fact that they grew up in Burnage, the Mancunian suburb where my school Manchester Grammar just so happened to be situated. I was, I suppose, one of the so-called ‘posh kids’ being bussed in to the grammar school – all slicked-down hair, bright and shiny skin and highly-recognisable school blazer. What with Noel being only a couple of years younger than me I suspect he could easily have been one of the Burnage crew who’d hang around the area where the school buses left at the end of the day. The idea for the locals was to try to lob various items of hard core at people like me as we ran the gauntlet to try to make the bus. Little did either of us know that we both had – or would develop – a liking for loud guitars. I suspect he would have called me a ‘fookin’ grebo’ for having the audacity to wear an AC/DC badge in the heavily New Wave-oriented Manchester of the late Seventies and early Eighties, though. Never mind, eh? Noel got there in the end!
Oasis have always frustrated the hell out of me. Their first album, ‘Definitely Maybe’, was a classic of wild guitar and snotty, attitudinal posturing, brilliant in both its simplicity and its absolute arrogance. It changed the world for millions of English kids, but truth to tell I was just the wrong side of rebellion for it to be truly earth-shattering in the same way that AC/DC’s ‘Highway To Hell’ had been for me 15 years earlier. No matter. It was and still is a more than worthy addition to any rock fan’s musical armoury.
But since that glorious beginning Oasis’s career has been a patchwork of hit and miss albums. When the songs have been brilliant, then man they’ve been truly brilliant. But Gallagher’s self-proclaimed genius hasn’t always been borne out in the grooves. And while millions of would-be Manc pimp rollers (I’ve lost count of the number of well-spoken middle class music lovers from Wilmslow who suddenly started talking like they’d lived all their life in Moss Side) turn out in their mega thousands to bond whenever there’s an Oasis live show, I can’t help but wish they’d do a bit more for their money. Y’know, put on a show. Jump about a bit. Stop thinking they’re too cool for school.
Oasis are, however, undeniably cool, and any band that has songs like ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’, ‘Live Forever’, ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Stop Crying Your Heart’ out knows the meaning of rocking with soul. Liam says a whole lot of daft things, but that’s what rock frontmen are supposed to do. And the brothers took drugs like they were going out of fashion, which is also what bona fide rock stars are supposed to do. At least until they clean up, go all macrobiotic and head into their rural phase, anyway! Which reminds me of a good wee tale to end on…
The missus and I were hanging around in the backstage area when Oasis were playing Earls Court in their absolute pomp of lunacy, fame and drug-addled bad behaviour many years ago. Clearly there was an absolute blizzard of cocaine doing the rounds. Suddenly some wired weirdo came stumbling out of one of the backstage Portaloos with a look of absolute indignation, nay outrage, on his face. Clearly the shovelling of nose candy up his hooter hadn’t gone particularly well.
“Urghhh,” he spluttered. “It’s disgusting in there. Someone’s done a shit in there!” Clearly it hadn’t occurred to our man with the wrap that, well, you know, Portaloos are kind of there for that purpose. They’re not, in fact, designed solely for the taking of Class A drugs in semi-private! Drugs? They do alter your state of perception, don’t they?!
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HoJo rocked as a top journalist on legendary UK metal magazine
Kerrang! and now runs a way-cool rock T-shirt site at www.saltyrockz.com.