This was our first trip to America on tour with Oasis and, apart from Noel, none of us had been to New York before. We were there to play at the Wetlands Preserve, a festival in New York, and we were just starting to get known. We had an incredible time, playing gigs and filming videos. This particular morning I remember we were all very hung-over, which might explain the glasses. But you can see from the smiles on our faces [Arthurs, centre] that we all think it’s brilliant.
Growing up I’d been in bands on and off; it was something to do on a Friday night. Every kid in Manchester at that time wanted to be in a band. In 1991 I was in a band called Rain with Tony McCarrol (far left) and Paul McGuigan (second left). We were looking for a singer and someone happened to mention in passing that Liam Gallagher, this kid that everyone knew, wanted to be in a band. No one knew he was a singer, I don’t think he knew he wanted to be a singer, but we got him down to my house and auditioned him. We renamed ourselves Oasis and then Noel heard about us through Liam and wanted to join. He came along to meet us armed with songs – the whole of Definitely Maybe and more – and played them to us. We were witnessing our own private Oasis gig before anyone – it was amazing.
People make a huge thing that Oasis had all this tension between brothers. There were a few fisticuffs, but it wasn’t as bad as everyone made out. I always joked that I was the tour psychiatrist, the man in the white coat. Maybe because I was a bit older – I was 29 here, Liam was about 21 – I’d be the one to jump in and pull them apart if anything happened. I left the band in 1999. My daughter, Lucy, was little and that was part of the reason. But also we’d had such an amazing rise and achieved such a lot – like playing to quarter of a million people at Knebworth in 1996 – that when it came to making the fifth album, and I felt like the spark had gone, I just knew I had to get out. I didn’t want to be in the band and not give 100 per cent. It was strange afterwards – it took me about two years to readjust to normal life and be me again. You think you don’t change, but of course you do. We weren’t divas but I’d started to think that having my own minder and being driven around in separate Mercedes cars was normal life. Getting back to being able to walk down my own street on my own was cool by me.
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