6 September 2009

Loud And Proud Gallaghers Were Rock 'N' Roll Stars

Oasis were much more than an overrated Beatle tribute band, writes long-time fan Andrea Byrne

It's hard to know whether Noel Gallagher's estrangement from his brother and dramatic departure from their band Oasis is permanent. We have, after all, been here before (four times in total) which is why the latest acrimony doesn't really surprise many. However, what is odd is the countless music critics who have greeted the news with a certain amount of sadistic glee.

One reviewer last week wrote how "Oasis, the most, overrated band in the history of music, have finally done the decent thing and split".

I'm not a music critic, nor would I claim to be any sort of rock buff, but what I am in tune with is popular culture, and for a very long time Oasis was the face of a musical generation. And for that, the band should be duly acknowledged.

If you look at the rock bands currently in vogue, you'll find many, if not most of them, seem to boast an Oasis-like sound. Take for example fellow Mancunians Kasabian -- one of the most popular bands around, a band that, whether the band members like it or not, find themselves constantly the subject of Oasis comparisons.

Oasis themselves should be all too familiar with comparisons. At the height of their success, many critics, in an attempt to deride, accused them of sounding too like the Beatles. I never understood this, given that the Beatles was a brilliant band, and to this day is still one of the most successful. Why is sounding like them a negative thing?

The aforementioned review also commented how Oasis encouraged a yobbish culture. Well yes, many of their fans wore Man City jerseys, drank lager, swore a lot and boasted garish forearm tattoos, but you could say the same about the Manic Street Preachers or The Prodigy or Blur.

Sure, you'd even be liable to find a rough element at a Take That concert.

Undeniably, the Oasis boys were loud and vulgar, and were unapologetic for it, but at least they had personality, unlike the manufactured, saccharine-coated, borderline robotic musical acts that currently saturate the charts. When the Gallagher brothers fought, they hid nothing from anyone, refusing to allow a damage-control PR machine splutter into action. The Oasis boys were pure rock 'n' roll and it wasn't contrived.

On their most recent tour, Liam and Noel travelled separately and didn't communicate unless it involved barbed comments made in interviews.

It all came to a head when the brothers met backstage at the third last concert of the tour. Allegedly, Liam was drunk. A fist-fight ensued between the pair, with Liam also reportedly smashing one of Noel's guitars.

"It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight," Noel said in a statement. "People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." The drama between the two makes an episode of Eastenders appear tame in comparison.

Anyone who has ever had the privilege of interviewing Oasis, will probably tell you what a wonder of unpredictability it is to be in their company. The two brothers are polar opposites. Liam, the younger of two, is positively nuts. Noel is a deeper thinker and more articulate, but he has a temper too. Married to a former member of a girlband, Liam befriends celebrities, Noel prefers musicians.

While, they may not complement each other on a family level, musically they gel. Whatever you may say about Liam's gravely voice, at least it's original. While, Noel has proved over the years that he's an excellent songwriter.

I have been lucky enough to see them in concert twice. The most recent of which was earlier this summer at Slane Castle. Despite the alleged tensions in the band, they sounded brilliant, offering a great mix of old and new.

However, many fans commented on the fact that Oasis could have been playing in Uzbekistan, so lacking was the interaction with the audience. But the Gallagher brothers have never pandered to an audience, they don't feel the need to wave a tri-colour or get the audience to sing 'The Fields of Athenry' in order to satisfy. For that I admire them. Also, they have never pretended to have gone into this career for anything other than the money. Which again is refreshing.

Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory are two of my favourite albums. I, along with many of my friends, listen to them with the same appreciation and enjoyment we did a decade ago. OK, so admittedly the lyrics aren't worthy of awards and don't exactly captivate on any great intellectual level, but they are memorable nonetheless, the kind of songs you'd belt out at a party in the small hours of the morning, because you know there would be plenty of people who would join in the chorus. In 10 years' time, most people will remember the words, or at the very least the chorus, to 'Wonderwall'. I doubt the same can be said for the current rash of rock stars out there.

Source: www.independent.ie


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