9 September 2009

Writer Vents His Feelings Towards Oasis

"You don't know what you've got till it's gone," Janet Jackson once famously sampled, and how true it is. Only now that Noel Gallagher has left in a firestorm of brotherly acrimony can I truly take stock of my feelings toward OASIS.

I spent my youth hating them for their worst ballads, "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova" — songs of the round-specs days, the Prince Valiant–cut days. As I grew older and angrier, I resented them for the shabbiness of their pastiches of superior groups, from the Kinks all the way to the Stone Roses. They even grabbed Andy Bell, superior guitarist of Ride, and made him their goddamn bassist. Finally, in recent years, I became engulfed in the total Oasis indifference that's shrouded our continent for a decade. To most Americans, the big shocker this week wasn't that Oasis broke up. It was that Oasis had still been together.

(One could be forgiven for having the vague recollection that they split up back in 2000 or so. This is actually the second time Noel has left the group after a squabble with his brother. I'm writing under the assumption that now it'll stick.)

I never managed to like Oasis. I tried going back and giving them a second and a third chance, but the genuine, empirical crapness of their songs always thwarted me. Even so, the break-up is bittersweet. I'm going to miss the pure comedy of their existence. So, rather than crowing over their demise, I'd like to take a moment to remember all the good stuff:

• With so few enduringly BIG bands left, there was a certain comfort in knowing how huge they were across the pond. To this day, the UK rock press reveres them as gods — probably because their faces still sell magazines after all these years, and interviewers can always count on Noel for a rugged Mancunian witticism and Liam for a dumbshit quotable. The mere existence of such an institution — a rock band who could make headlines just by calling another band shit in a drunken backstage interview — toasted up my cockles a little.

• A credible rock band getting sued for ripping off a commercial jingle seems like an obvious killer blow, but Oasis managed to get through the ordeal only lightly scathed. Their early single "Shakermaker" grabbed the tune from the classic Coca-Cola jingle "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing," and Oasis paid a hefty fine. You've gotta love them for perfecting the art of the brazen, reckless homage: witness the similarity between "Cigarettes and Alcohol" and T-Rex's "Bang a Gong," or "Mucky Fingers" and the Velvet Underground's "Waiting for the Man," or "Part of the Queue" and the Stranglers' "Golden Brown."

• There was a certain magic in their unwavering view that they were the greatest thing in history. From their frequent proclamations that they'd be bigger than the Beatles to their condemnation of Keith Richards as "senile" and George Harrison as a "nipple," their resolute commitment to delusion and obnoxiousness was as inspiring as it was irritating.

• Those YouTube videos of Noel Gallagher getting toppled like a bowling pin by some nutcase at a Toronto-festival appearance! I must have watched it happen a hundred times, from multiple angles, and seeing Noel getting hurt was the greatest sort of wish fulfillment.

• Ah, those faces! Music be damned — every photograph of the Brothers Gallagher and their ridiculous mugs brought me joy. Liam, always sullen and glassy-eyed, frequently V-signing the camera, monobrowed, uncomprehending. Forever a model for the latest cutting-edge British haircut — many of which have not stood the test of time and have become retrospectively hilarious. And Noel, with that wondrous sphere of a head, those squinting, wide-set eyes, the fixed, toadlike grump of his countenance. Such a gruesome pair of walking carnival caricatures we may never see again.

"Live Forever" indeed, Noel and Liam. Thanks for the laughs — you can keep the songs.

Source DAVID THORPE dthorpe@phx.com The Boston Phoenix


dennisbelgium said...


Anonymous said...

Hhe's gonna get a rather attacking email from me now

Howdo said...

Handsome chap! Probably still bitter steps have split up.

dennisbelgium said...

just wanted to let you all know, I couldn't help but write mr david an letter. here it is:

hello david,

just wanted to say thanks for writing such a ridiculous article about oasis splitting up. full of fun and wit, i'd say

slagging off the gallaghers in an article is pretty cheap, even more so, since 'slagging people off' is obviously something you've considered one of the reasons you don't like oasis. only difference: you disguise it with a little sarcasm, aka the comedy of the educated man, haha, laughter.

"Those YouTube videos of Noel Gallagher getting toppled like a bowling pin by some nutcase at a Toronto-festival appearance! I must have watched it happen a hundred times, from multiple angles, and seeing Noel getting hurt was the greatest sort of wish fulfillment."

- nice one david! what a nice human being you must be

anyway, i thought i'd give you the thumbs up (sarcasm)

don't bother with correcting my english grammar/vocabulary, i'm belgian (yippie!) and english isn't my mothertongue (not even second: french, not even third: german)


au revoir

auf wiedersehen

dennis janssens

if he writes back, i'll let you know!

Anonymous said...

Well if we're sharing responses, here's mine:

Dear Mr. Thorpe,

Just got done reading your piece on the break up of Oasis, and let me be what surely must be the 738th person or so to call you a complete moron and nothing more than a festering zit on the face of this great nation.

I feel ashamed as an American that someone as ridiculous as you is allowed to publish your opinions. I suppose that is one of our most important rights, but like senile old people being allowed to operate motor vehicles, it doesn't always produce the best of outcomes. I can respect that you don't care for the music of Oasis as personal taste is what it is, but apparently you must like kicking homeless people who ask for change as well, because some of your comments were simply out of line.

Most obvious of all of course is admitting that you took pleasure in watching Noel get attacked from behind by some coward who is clearly as idiotic as you. You remember what it is you said there when the first Oasis-loving, English-transplant soccer hooligan walks up to you on the street and punches your lights out whilst his mate films it on his iPhone and puts it on YouTube faster than you can say "Supersonic". Nice work putting your face on the article there, should make it easy for said hooligan to pick you out of a crowd.

Secondly, you make it sound like they held Andy Bell at gun point and told his if he didn't play bass in Oasis that they would harm his family. Seems to me Andy is a proper Oasis fan like millions of others around the world and was more than happy to trade his role as front man/guitarist for a role as on-stage bassist and part time song writer. I recently had a bit of a war of words with another fellow who asserted that his beloved Andy Bell was only in Oasis for the money. That of course makes no sense unless you think Andy has no pride or principals and is nothing more than a money-grubbing whore. You don't think that, do you?

Thirdly, thanks for pointing out that in America most really don't care about Oasis at all. That's actually quite true. But getting back to soccer for a second, I'd say the same thing about that sport in this country, a sport that just happens to be the most popular sport in the world. You correctly point out that overseas they are still treated as rock royalty, so the article wasn't all bad. But for your own sake I'd say that you need to get over yourself and recognize that here in America we don't actually reside in the center of the universe. I hate that train of thought as it makes the rest of us look as bad as the rest of the Los Angeles Police Department after the Rodney King beating.

You also brought up the fact that many Oasis tunes harken back to the music and bands that influenced Noel and the rest. Just making that argument makes you about as unoriginal as the you claim their songs to be. Not once have I heard Noel or anyone in the band hide from those accusations and in fact most of the time they have confirmed the inspiration for whatever song is getting bashed at the moment. If you were as much of a music historian and aficionado as you clearly think you are, you'd realize that nobody's music is all that original. Not Oasis, not Ride, not the Stone Roses, no one. So give this tired argument a rest, it makes you look worse than you already do.

Lastly, anyone who looks like you has no place talking shit about what other people look like. I'm guessing you've never been within a foot of naked female genitalia in your life with a look like yours, because I think we all know your stunning wit surely isn't enough to lure even the drunkest of the opposite sex into your bed.

In the end, I couldn't care less what you think of Oasis as a band, but I think I speak for more people than you care to admit exist when I say, keep it to yourself you ugly twat.

All the best

Lemon said...

Only someone who is desperately seeking attention would bother to write a piece about a band (or any topic, for that matter) he claims to despise. Why waste your time on something you dislike? The reason to do so is to get your words noticed by someone. Hmm, I guess in a way it worked. But clearly, a loser.

Yessica said...

love the responses ... this are the twats that make americans look bad .. although someone should have mention yeah we as americans wondered if they were still together ... hmm how could you if you have been listening to crap music as the jonas brothers rap and all that bollocks ...

anyways if he bothers although i dont think he will let me know ...

Gaz said...

The picture of him says it all....!

LightLavdim said...

This guy has obviously had some bad experiences with Oasis, Liam probably knocked his teeth out while he was trying to get his autograph. It seems to me he knows way too much about Oasis to not have been previously obsessed with them. My best guess is Noel either hurt his feelings (with his "oh so clever" way with words), or Liam tossed him around for getting too close. Or, he's simply nothing more than a (for lack of a better term) douchebag.

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