I awoke to news that Oasis are almost definitely maybe splitting up. Again. I haven’t bought an album of theirs in ages, but for a time they were my favourite band. Although, to hear they may be calling it a day… or not… doesn’t upset me at all – even though I was a mad fan back in the day.
I remember anticipating each release – sneaking out of the office for an extended lunch break to pick up a newly arrived copy of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory? (on the same day, if I’m to be honest, as Blur’s The Great Escape – which came with a t-shirt!)… buying a second copy of …Morning Glory? a year later because, for whatever reason, Sony’s latest supply were Japanese picture disc pressings… blowing entire pay packets on boxed sets of singles… securing copies of my favourite mags with additional glee when the sparring brothers Gallagher were appearing on the cover again.
Part of the attraction of Oasis was that they were clearly kids who liked the Beatles and who wanted to grow up to be rock stars, and then did. Beatles references abound in their music, and Noel Gallagher has said, “If you’re not in it to be bigger than the Beatles, it’s just a hobby”. Maybe I did only like them because they were the world’s most successful tribute band… the point at which their hobby intersects with my hobby.
I stopped listening pretty much after Be Here Now (which shares its title with a solo period George Harrison song, by the way – itself inspired, most likely, by a book about spirituality). I don’t know if I’ve even listened all the way through that album. I did like the collection of B-sides, The Masterplan. I persevered with the singles for a while longer – ‘Lyla’ was my last one – picking up the odd album secondhand or in those ten-dollar shops that sprang up, helped cripple retail stores, and then disappeared again when migration to downloading well and truly killed all but the strongest retailers.
So, yesterday (or a few hours ago? It’s Saturday morning in Australia as I write this, so it’s still Friday night in the UK…) their website carried an announcement from Noel Gallagher:
“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.
“Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan.”
This contradicts his wife, former All Saints singer Natalie Appleton’s statement from the day before, insisting “Oasis will die before they split up”. That was no doubt damage control following rumours of a split, after the band cancelled their headline gig at V Festival Chelmsford the previous week due to Liam’s ‘illness’. “The rumours are absolute rubbish,” Appleton insisted. “Even in his sick bed, Liam was vowing to get back on stage.”
Liam had himself gone into damage control a couple of days earlier on the official Oasis website:
“The voice may of disappeared but I'm still here.1st things first V I’m gutted your gutted, I’m sorry what can I say f*ck all at the moment.
“Secondly, respect to those bands who covered Oasis last night, even though I might of given some of you shit in the past...
“Finally reports in smartarses column about Oasis last british gig ever. The kids talking out his arse, I mean rkids, bware of darkness. LG”
There can be no Oasis without that two-headed beast, the brothers united. Surely any attempt to carry on will result in Faux-asis. Although – with Noel’s departure comes a vacancy for a vocalist and guitarist. While Zak ‘son of Ringo’ Starkey recently vacated a drum seat, perhaps ‘not-quite-Beatles’ cred may be regained by recruiting Dhani ‘son of George’ Harrison in Noel’s place. Considering all the comings and goings of band members over the years, this is the opportunity to take the hobby tribute band one step closer…
Yet, whatever happens, I realise I’m not really going to miss Oasis. What I mourn most, now, is the passing of my cashed-up 20s, when I not only wanted to own every release and see every gig by every band I loved, but could actually afford the financial outlay to do so.
(The fantastic caricature is the work of Nick O’Sullivan – who, incidentally, is also responsible for the ‘Stand & Deliver!’ logo.)
- My buddy Cristina tells me her favourite OASIS story – one I’d not heard – is the one about Liam Gallagher storming out of a Spinal Tap live performance after finding out they were actors. He’d seen This is Spinal Tap and thought they were a real band. The best bit was Harry Shearer’s response: “I was under the impression for some time that Oasis was a real band”.