Today's Top Stories
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Following the Bad Boy Brothers
The absurd Gallagher brothers make for good TV, writes Natalie Craig.
'It's hard to be modest at times like these so I won't even try . . . You are all shite."
Such is the wisdom of Oasis: the greatest band in the world. Ever. For Liam and Noel Gallagher, there is no disputing this. Last month's Brit award for their outstanding contribution to music just reinforced what the brothers from Manchester already know. They rock.
Oasis: There We Were, Now Here We Are documents the birth of Oasis in the early 1990s, their plague of popularity and the troubled production of their first album, Definitely Maybe. But, director Dick Carruthers avers, this is not just another making-of film.
"It was a straightforward idea: put together a 10th-anniversary DVD of the making of the album," he explains. "But it turned out to be absolutely hilarious. You can hear me laughing in the background all the way through."
The Gallagher brothers intended the DVD as a piece of memorabilia, but their banter made it worthy of prime-time television. "We're not rock stars, we're lads," Noel says, "and we're going to be famous forever."
Carruthers had been working with Oasis for 10 years when he made the 2004 documentary, and considers himself a friend. The former Rolling Stones crew member says his interview style is to "let boys be boys".
"You don't need to turn your phones off and you don't need to say 'silence', then ask a formal question. It never works. I'd say if you want to smoke, smoke; if you want to have a drink, fine."
Carruthers' interview style allows for some incredibly candid comments. Noel is even forthright about his rather derivative guitar style: "I always ended up playing the same guitar solo over different songs, hoping no one will notice."
Then again, he once famously claimed: "I'm not like John Lennon, who thought he was the great Almighty. I just think I'm John Lennon."
But interviews with original band members Mani, Tony and Mark, as well as tour managers and record company executives, confirm a prodigious talent and capacity for hard work.
"The real story that is there is that they were this amazing band straight off the starting blocks and everybody knew it."
Carruthers regards Oasis as the antithesis of every other band around at the time - the "shoe-gazing" set. They were well-rehearsed, productive and very, very loud. Most importantly, they managed to capture the feeling of a generation of young Britons.
"Definitely Maybe made a very defined statement," Carruthers says, "which was 'Look, this place is a shithole, but I'm very grateful and happy to be alive and I feel great about it.' You had Nirvana and grunge saying, 'I hate myself and I want to die,' and Liam singing, 'I want to live forever'."
Carruthers says it was important to him to focus on the music and not the sensational stories that have followed the band since its inception. "Oasis are about their music first and foremost . . . There's been dust-ups, legendarily so in some cases, but nobody would be interested in a couple of lads from Burnage having a dust-up if they weren't these amazing musicians."
Noel and Liam are interviewed separately in the film and are typically abusive. But Carruthers says their antipathy is another misconception.
"They do love each other . . . There's a deep relationships going on there. There may be an element of the classic band thing - the singer would love to be a brilliant guitarist but isn't, and vice versa."
Carruthers has been Oasis' official videographer since 1995 and has seen the way their concerts affect people. "I know I'm biased but I have shot so many Oasis gigs and I've seen the way that the crowd goes nuts. They have got to be one of the greatest bands of all time."
Whether you agree with Carruthers or not, There We Were, Now Here We Are is hilarious rock'n'roll. They may be musical geniuses, they may be circus monkeys, but if there's one thing this documentary confirms, it's that Liam and Noel are ridiculous in the sublime.
"Sure I love Liam," Noel once asserted, "but not as much as I love Pot Noodles."
Oasis: There We Were, Now Here We Are screens Saturday at 10.20pm on SBS (Australia).
For Breaking News visit our flagship site Live4ever Media
Make sure to join the world's largest Oasis Community
Pretty Green - mens clothing from Liam Gallagher
Visit our extensive news archives on the left sidebar for more!