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What’s the story behind Oasis’ morning glory days?

Digging through The Student’s archives, Editor in Chief Isabelle Boulert stumbled across an interview the paper did with Liam Gallagher from Oasis when they were in their prime.

from The Student archives: 1994 ⇒ 25-music-oasis-interview

While an Oasis reunion is definitely not happening any time in the near future, millennial fans of the Britpop legends can enjoy the new rock documentary, Supersonic, charting the group’s rise to fame from a Manchester council estate. Last week, The Student attended a screening of the documentary at The Cameo picture house. Here are some of the key aspects of the band’s early years.

Don’t Look Back in Anger by Ruth Murphy

Any account of Oasis’ history would not be complete without lengthy coverage of the friction between Noel and Liam – Oasis is, after all, a band which formed, thrived, and seemingly died as a result of relentless sibling rivalry – and Whitecross’ documentary is not short on footage of the two swearing at and about each other. However, an abundance of video clips of their formative years combined with separate voice interviews with the brothers still leaves us none the wiser about the possible causes of the most documented musical animosity of the 90s, which led to the brandishing of a cricket bat in a rural studio during the recording of (What’s the Story) Morning Glory. There is a mention of Noel’s envy of Liam’s better haircut and ability to “rock a parka”, but little effort is made to delve any deeper into the feud, which can still be followed today on Twitter.

The Importance of Being Idle by Mia Abeyawardene

While the media in recent years has focused on the rivalry between  the Gallagher brothers, the first split in the band began when the rest of Oasis decided that their original drummer, Tony McCarroll was not up to their standard. After the success of their first studio album Definitely Maybe, which became the UK’s fastest selling debut album of all time, Noel Gallagher wanted to make sure that the sound on their next album was perfect and had already made several rude remarks about McCarroll in interviews. Supersonic features an interview where Noel mocks drummers, implying that anyone can do it, whereas songwriting or composing music requires musical ability. In a particularly poignant moment of the documentary, McCarroll comments with regards to his firing from the band: ‘I still think about it everyday’.

You’re My Wonderwall by Amisha Abeyawardene

Despite representing widely disparate aspects of the rock ‘n’ roll music industry, the cultural phenomenon of Oasis’s thrilling launch to stardom can be compared to that of their idols, the Beatles. They both represented a voice for the young, disillusioned, and hard-working people and managed to become the most popular British bands of their respective eras. Their births hailed two significant milestones, both of which (inadvertently) encouraged the shift toward the commercially driven industry that exists today. Additionally, both bands share a similar memory of their rise to global fame, as winning over a skeptical US media and thereby conquering America put a lot of pressure on them. Footage of Oasis during their first tour in Japan captures the absurdity of chaotic fans reminiscent of Beatlemania in the Swinging Sixties.

Feeling Supersonic by Andrew Malcolm

For Oasis, in their usual apathetic, yet outrageously arrogant style, breaking America was never a concern. After a number of preliminary shows, what should have been a ground-breaking show at the Los Angeles Greek Theater was responsible for dredging up some of Oasis’s uglier sides. After confusing ketamine with cocaine, the group stepped on stage high out of their minds performing a sloppy set laced with mistakes, anger, and frustration. Accentuated by members of the band being given different set lists, the show cemented an ever-growing rift between the Gallagher’s, leading to Noel threatening to quit the band and running away. The band’s touring manager, Maggie Mouzakitis, traced him to San Francisco and, shortly after, reality dragged him back. Whilst, at the time, the band resolved to keep going, the drugs merely served to fan the flames of a fire already burning which ultimately led to irreconcilable differences.

Champagne Supernova by Marissa Field

The Gallagher brothers were lucky to be alive, let alone headlining massive sold out concerts in 1996. Particularly taking into account the wild fluctuations of their first years together, it is fairly shocking to find the band still together, hovering in a helicopter over the heads of thousands of wild spectators. The two consecutive days of Oasis concerts at Knebworth are now legendary, but it is only after watching Supersonic that they appear as amazing and thoroughly unexpected as they actually were.

Oasis sold out tickets for both days in minutes – although demand was high enough to sell out seven concerts straight, according to Noel – ultimately playing in front of a total of over a quarter of a million people, while mere months before the band was on the verge of breaking up. This landmark in their career came just before the beginning of the band’s final, permanent breakdown, at the peak of Oasis’ popularity and commercial success. As the Gallaghers themselves admit, the band’s breakup was also theirs – the two “no longer have a relationship” – yet, scandals and personal scars aside, they agree in interviews for the jointly produced documentary that, if possible, they would absolutely “go back and do it all over again”.

Though the drama between the two brothers has often overshadowed their music and coloured opinions about the value of their legacy, Supersonic’s focus on the relationships within the band casts some light on what really happened, why, and how it has influenced the band’s music. No matter how sick to death you might be of hearing ‘Wonderwall’ played  by melancholy white boys at parties, there is something genuinely interesting about this band and their rise to musical notoriety.

Drawing to a largely triumphant end  before the emergence of the bad blood that ultimately led to Oasis’ demise, the film chooses to avoid potentially subjective content. It is after all the story of the band’s beginnings, seeming to conclude that this is what is most important about Oasis’ story. In a media atmosphere which tends to capitalise on the negative, this is refreshing and potentially fascinating enough to prompt a second, perhaps fairer look at the musical legacy of one of Britain’s and the world’s most famous and most controversial bands.

 

PHOTO: THE CAMEO

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