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Oasis

Oasis


Nobody really expects brothers to get along. From the time the younger is born, to the time one kicks the bucket, there's competition and usually some bickering. But the Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam, have set a new standard. Their fights and feuds have fueled more press than the music - and that's never a good thing.

Liam was lead singer for a band that included Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (rhythm guitar), Paul McGuigan (bass), and Tony McCaroll (drums). Meanwhile, older brother Noel was seeing the world as the guitar technician for the Inspiral Carpets.

Figuring there was a limited and frustrating future in that position Noel offered his services as guitarist, arranger and songwriter to his brother's band. Oh, there was one other thing - a small matter really. He wanted total artistic control. The band said "yes" and Oasis were on their way. They got a record deal and started with some promising material but nothing that was going to get them where they wanted to go. Along the way, Alan White replaced McCaroll. They were relatively popular in the UK but their second CD released in '95 took them to the major leagues. "(What's The Story) Morning Glory" contained the title track, the ballad "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova." They were melodic and often hypnotic guitar driven Rock songs.

Their next effort came in '97, "Be Here Now." "D' You Know What I Mean" and "All Around The World" were the strongest tracks. As they started work on their next CD McGuigan and Arthurs left and were replaced by Gem Archer and Andy Bell on guitar and bass, respectively. Also, Noel and Liam gave up the booze. And just by coincidence, their relationships, between not only each other, but also with their spouses, improved. Funny how that works. Still, it was not an easy road and much of the struggle appeared in Noel's lyrics. But "Standing on the Shoulder of Giants," despite the raw and edgy "I Can See a Liar," was far from being a standout Oasis album. "02's "Heathen Chemistry" marked something of a comeback for the group. Two years later, White left the group.

With drummer Zak Starkey (yes, Ringo's son) in tow, Oasis traveled to L.A. (Capital Studios) to record their sixth studio album, '05 release, "Don't Believe The Truth."





The extensive tour in support of "Don't Believe The Truth" rolled through twenty-six countries with more than 100 shows. The documentary Lord Don't Let Me Slow Down resulted.

"Stop The Clocks" a 'greatest hits' compilation landed in '06. It wasn't that Oasis had reached any milestone, rather their contract with Sony Music had expired and the label was cashing in its chips. Oasis was not excited about the project but feeling that it was inevitable, they participated to provide quality control or as Noel put it in an interview "otherwise it would be shit."

Resigned by Sony, Oasis released the Dave Sardy produced "Dig Out Your Soul," the group's seventh album, in '08 with Noel's "The Shock Of The Lightning" as the lead single.

It turned out that Starkey's tenure with the band was short-lived. He departed after "Dig Out Your Soul" was recorded. Chris Sharrock stepped in for the subsequent tour.

The relatively quiet and stable period came to an end when Noel announced that he'd left the group. "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight," said Noel in an '09 statement. "I simply could not go on working with Liam." Earlier in the day, Oasis canceled a sold-out appearance in Paris because of "an altercation within the band."

Most expected the whole nasty business to blow over. Remember '96 when Noel said pretty much the same thing? But this time was different. A few months later, Liam announced that Oasis would continue on with "everyone except Noel." Liam added that the group, dubbed Oasis 2.0 with bassist Bell switching to lead guitar, was in the studio recording. "It ain't a new direction," said Liam. "We're not making Reggae music or Rap music. It might have a bit more energy and be fresher. It's not going to be that different."

"A lot of these songs I wrote before the band [Oasis] split up," said the singer in a radio interview. "I mean, there's a few new ones on there that are coming out now."

"We're going to do three songs and if he {the producer} doesn't balls it up and we don't balls it up then we'll go in and do the whole album with him," Gallagher continued.

While that was going on, "(What's the Story) Morning Glory?," was voted the Best British Album of the Last 30 Years at the '10 BRIT Awards. But it appeared Liam was hardly in a gracious mood. He swore through his acceptance speech before throwing the microphone into the audience. As a result, show host Peter Kay called Gallagher a 'knobhead" which got a big laugh.

A proper close to the Oasis story came in '10 with the release of the singles compilation "Time Flies . . . 1994 - 2009." "The fact that we kept it together for so long is testament to our love of the music," said Noel.

Oasis Discography

Oasis' adoration of The Beatles is well known. And many bands have done well with lesser role models. But having gone down that road, repeatedly, throughout their lengthy career, Oasis, is now lifting from the solo Beatles on "Dig Out Your Soul." "Waiting For The Rapture" could have been a Paul McCartney track from the '70s - around the time of Wings when it was clear he still had the Rock chops (when he wanted to summon them). "I'm Outta Time" has all the dreamy John Lennon touches while "To Be Where There's Life," complete with sitar, is right down George Harrison's alley. Perhaps, with Starkey on drums, they decided to pass on a Ringo inspired track.

The Beatles referenced material aside, Oasis kicks with "The Shock Of The Lightning" and provide tightly wound tension on the album opener "Bag It Up."

After the dreadful "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants" it looked like the end was at hand. A bad way to go out but not much different than countless other groups. Promo materials talked about how well Noel and Liam were getting along. But all this contentment made for some pretty bland Rock. But good/great bands have the ability to bounce back and that's what Oasis did with "Heathen Chemistry" and "Don't Believe The Truth."

"Heathen Chemistry" captured the spirit of the group's best work, especially "The Hindu Times."

With the exception of the dense, riff driven opening track, "Turn Up The Sun," Oasis, seems to be trying to create livelier versions of "Wonderwall" on "Don't Believe The Truth." That's not a bad thing. The acoustic oriented album has the U.K. hit "Lyla" and "Love Like A Bomb." In addition, "The Importance Of Being Idle" has a "Parklife" quality (ironic don't you think considering how the two groups feuded back in the day) as it bashes along. "Guess God Thinks I'm Abel" is entertaining and clever but the set's best is the sharp sounding "The Meaning Of Soul."

Back when the Gallaghers were drinking and fighting they produced the classic ("What's The Story) Morning Glory," the group's masterpiece. "Definitely Maybe" (great title) and "Be Here Now" (with the title track and "Don't Go Away") are good albums with "Definitely Maybe," the group's debut, being the better choice.

"Masterplan" culls B-sides and other material. Most of it is very good. There's also a live, Rocked up version of John Lennon's "I Am The Walrus."

 

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