The comedian, Mark Lamar, is asked if it was "all over" for Oasis? Taking a step back to assess the dwindling phenomenon, he replies "I sort of hope it is, so that well be able to judge whether theyre any good or not.
A band whove made some properly good records, but it was rather odd that the music press chose them as the cool band. I didnt think they were worthy of it then and I still dont. Lamar reflects the opinion of the fair weathered, Oasis fans of yesterday. He clearly remembers the breath of fresh air, that was Oasiss opening salvo of missiles upon the world. Cigarettes and Alcohol, Supersonic and Live Forever rang like Sunday morning bells over a freshly, invigorated nation. Despite this phenomenon a stubborn few remained, deriding the Beatle comparisons and nasal whine, endemic of the group, and its with these doubters that Lamar aligns himself. Not for him the retro assimilating, (though paradoxically), iconoclastic Liam Gallagher. The comedian feigns complete ignorance of the persona that seduced a record buying public
This thug u like apparition, first surfaced in the pages of the N.M.E: Reminiscent of the early exposure of the fresh, young Manc upstart Ian Brown, and the spookily assured Stone Roses. This frighteningly photogenic face seduced music devotees who referred to the paper for weekly enlightenment.
So the music business perpetuating N.M.E, light the touch -paper of the next big thing, never for a moment anticipating a phenomenon of Oasis style proportions. The best to be hoped for was a nice little coup of the British charts a la The Smiths. Like the earnest reviews following The Stone Roses breakthrough in 88, Oasis found themselves being championed by all and sundry. Indicating Oasiss subsequent success, the writer John Robb refers to The Stone Roses failure: they could have had it, they could have been Oasis the biggest British pop phenomenon since The Beatles.
Perhaps it was Oasiss open courting of stadium level stardom, (echoing the Roses hard nosed intentions), which propelled a nation of fence sitters, to succumb to the rock resurgence, perpetrated by these baggy Johnny come latelys.
Noel himself admitted that nobody was more shocked by the bands meteoric rise, than himself.
Still the touring juggernaut rumbles on, haphazard and erratic, with the loosest of canons at the helm Liam marks every brother - less occasion with evangelical zeal. Still this token, (albeit a vital one), does little to instil any confidence in the prospect of further studio recordings. Though there is something death - defying about the bands ability to absorb such blows. A spokesperson for the band, issued a super confident "well hit the ground running with a great live show in Milan," confirmed by the bands incendiary live show at said venue.
Liam offers his hand to Noel but Noel refuses it. (3rd June. 2000.) N.M.E.
Though it was always Noel who salvaged concerts following Liams non appearance, his latest behaviour seems more egomaniacal and self-serving than the much-hounded singers. A chasm between Noels faltering, thirtysomething, psyche and the streets that sired him, has never been more clearly defined. He can no longer summon the reckless abandon of the bands initial set. Now, the songwriter expresses the preoccupations of Londons rich and famous. Still, it was evident from his earliest interviews, that his workman like, classic rock reaffirmation was the desperate last stab of a young man sliding into an unsuitable, middle age. His lyrics pined for more time and his music, for yesteryears nostalgia.
As the song finishes, Liam lays down on his back in front of Noel and pretends to masturbate. (3rd June. 2000.) N.M.E.
Oasiss much lauded demise, can only really be measured in terms of record sales, and surprisingly "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants", reached platinum sales after only a week of release. However, its achievement pales into insignificance compared to the nationwide devotion that catapulted 1997s "Be Here Now" into the stratospheres of sales success, (356,000 units upon its initial release.)
Still the single "Go Let It Out" was granted significant Radio 1 airplay, graciously helping its challenging, struggle to reach the top spot. And still, the N.M.E. devotes front covers to any Oasis incident deemed newsworthy
BAND PLAYS CONCERT, SHOCKER!
Though the papers cover is sold as advertising space, increased sales of the paper, evident during "The Morning Glory" hysteria, seem unlikely. Oasis have fallen to a position shared by numerous bands who depend on the N.M.E.s patronage. The bands high point, the 96 Knebworth triumph, seems, with the passing of time, to be something of a consolation for a band whose lofty ambition was to rival the Beatles success.
A band of Oasiss magnitude, whether that fire be snuffed out or not, must be seen to conquer America in some form and Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" uninspiring chart performance stateside, (entering, upon release, at number 24, then falling in the 2nd week to 84), does little to inspire hopes of a triumphant American conquest which could alleviate European pressures.
However, like Joe Strummer stated in the recent Clash opus From The Westway To The World, a band can be galvanised by the struggle, its success that shakes the foundations.
Oasis were never a reliable booking. There have always been wrangles and bad days and nothing in their current behaviour suggests that these are any worse than usual.
© Steven Hamilton 2000
Melody Maker. July 26 Aug 1. 2000.
Melody Maker. Aug 2nd Aug 8th. 2000.
N.M.E. Aug 12th
N.M.E. 3rd June. 2000.
N.M.E. 29th July. 2000.
Q May. 2000: 164.
Raven, Charlotte. "And the band plays on." Guardian 1 Aug. 2000.
Robb, John The Stone Roses and the Resurrection of British Pop. London: Ebury