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Saturday, August 29, 2009
Could Noel Gallagher be serious about leaving Oasis? If so, this is the end of Britain's greatest ever rock'n'roll band.
Late last night, Noel Gallagher dropped a bombshell. After one scrap too many with brother Liam he announced that he'd had enough of life in Oasis. "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight," he posted on Oasisinet.com. "People will write and say what they like but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer."
Critics will indeed write what they want, but there's no escaping the fact this probably signals the end of arguably Britain's greatest ever rock'n'roll band. It's telling that Noel ended his note not with a further dig at his brother, but with an apology to the fans for the two forthcoming gigs that will be cancelled. At the end of the day, Oasis were always a band for the fans rather than the many critics who've sniped at them since they formed at the start of the 1990s.
To a seasoned music critic, it was pretty easy to point out the uninspired chord patterns, the lumpen trad rock arrangements, the daft lyrics. To a 14 year old yet to be introduced to the way rock music could make you feel 600 foot tall, none of this mattered. Oasis – their music and their antics - changed the lives of an entire generation of young music fans like myself. Too young for the despair and nihilism of grunge, they arrived to show us how music could lift you up, inflate your ego, temporarily remove you from the grimness of your mundane surroundings. Rock'n'Roll Star, the opening track of their debut album Definitely Maybe, distilled this manifesto to perfection: "I live my life for the stars that shine/People say it's just a waste of time … Tonight, I'm a rock n roll star"
This was music that understood the importance of escape. And it's also telling that none of the songs Noel wrote after he'd escaped himself, from a life stuck in working class Burnage, came close to matching those early euphoric highs. Noel's lyrics on Definitely Maybe matched the mood of the country perfectly in the mid 90's. With the Tory stranglehold on politics loosening, we wanted to feel good about ourselves. We wanted to Live Forever, to get wasted on Cigarettes and Alcohol. Noel knew what it felt like to be trapped in a dead-end job but to still hold dreams that you could wriggle free to somewhere bigger and better.
I don't think I've genuinely liked an Oasis song since that early batch of songs. Their third album Be Here Now was a coke-bloated definition of the word overblown, and the band's subsequent clinging to the same trad-rock template ever since has been depressing. Oasis became a byword for predictability, for lack of invention. Yet they've still retained the same magic as a live band, and their interviews were frequently hilarious. I still laugh recalling how Liam told me that Bloc Party looked more like a panel on University Challenge than a band. Or how Noel quipped that the problem with Keane was that "the three biggest twats in any band are the singer, the keyboardist and the drummer".
Of course, not everyone's convinced Oasis are all over. I'm currently at Reading festival (this has been the year of big music stories breaking at festivals – have they no consideration for our reduced broadband capabilities?) and when the news spread some fans were convinced that this was nothing more than a brother's tiff. No doubt, they say, it was a rash decision, posted whilst Noel still gripped with rage. Yet nothing – not even the time Liam walked out on the eve of a critical US tour – has ever seemed as official as this. Back then, the band and the media revelled in the carnage. Now, Noel just seems fed up. And one thing is for sure, Oasis can't continue with just one Gallagher. We may just have lost one of the best rock'n'roll bands the world will ever see.
Via L4E source: guardian.co.uk
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