Be Here Now was the 1997 follow-up to Oasis’ massive hit, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? To say the former met with mixed reviews given the bar set by the latter is an understatement. In hindsight, everyone seemed to just be confused. Lots of people initially praised it as “bold” and “ambitious,” only to turn around and poo-poo it as “self-indulgent” and “bloated.” Noel Gallagher himself adding to the chorus. As The Chief said in Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop:
“It’s the sound of … a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck. There’s no bass to it at all; I don’t know what happened to that…And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there’s a fuckin’ guitar riff in there in a Wayne’s World style”.
Of course, they say hindsight is 20/20 and with 20 years of reflection, maybe we can give Be Here Now another look…another listen.
Posting on Facebook, Gallagher said, “As the years went by I’d started to accept that the songs on Be Here Now were in fact insanely long… too long! Someone (I can’t remember who) had the idea that we re-visit, re-edit the entire album for posterity’s sake.”
A total album remix? Now that’s interesting. And this might not set off the shit storm George Lucas faced when he revisited the original Star Wars trilogy. No, this was not tampering with a beloved title, but the opportunity to right some wrongs. Han will always shoot first.
Alas, “We got as far as the first track before we couldn’t be arsed anymore and gave up….it does sound fucking mega though!”
Oh well. Here then is the remix of the lead-off track, “D’you Know What I Mean,” which hilariously is only one second shorter than the original. Also, where’d those big ass NWA drums go?
Noel Gallagher’s first solo effort debuted at #1 in Great Britain, moving 122,000 units in its first week. While a nice feather in Noel’s cap and a stick in the beady ey of his brother (who debuted at #3), it’s unlikely to rival the sales of Oasis’ catalog but this is a different time, isn’t it?
Speaking of…brother Liam Gallagher has said he’d be open to a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s chart topper What’s the Story Morning Glory.
Liam told Rolling Stone, “In 2015, if we can put our shit aside, we can tour and play the album in its entirety for the 20th anniversary,” he says. “I’d be up for that, if it’s on our terms. There’s got to be two-way respect.”
It appears Noel still knows the songs since he played nine Oasis tunes in his live debut. Maybe the hoopla around the Stone Roses has got the old boy thinking…
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds North America Tour Dates:
November 7 & 8 @ Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
November 11 @ Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of Music
November 12 @ Boston, MA @ Wang Theatre
November 14 & 15 @ New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
November 17 & 18 @ Los Angeles, CA @ Royce Hall
November 19 @ San Francisco, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
It’s well known that I am the resident Oasis apologist in these parts. I am comfortable with that. It’s one of the things that made me and Loftus friends in the beginning. And I had genuine excitement listening to the last two Oasis albums because I felt like they’d moved beyond pub rock and rip-offs to a point where they could wear their influences with flair, rather than defensive posturing. They embraced their love of the 60s British Invasion and let the tones ring through instead of burying them under layers of overdriven guitars. Noel even let some of the other guys contribute more than token songs!
And then Oasis broke up.
Well, Liam has moved on and taken a few of the old boys with him to form Beady Eye. They released a digital single a couple weeks ago and much to my delight it’s continuing down the line the Gallaghers started with 2005’s Don’t Believe the Truth. It’s a lot of jangly piano and space-echo vocals and killer back-up singers. Give it a go. It’s a free download, why not? (Free download no longer available. Boo!–ed.)
I know lots of people dismiss Liam Gallagher as a loud-mouthed knobhead, but seriously, how can you not like this guy? After being awarded yet another ridiculously over-the-top accolade from the British music press (this time it’s Brit Album Of 30 Years award for the 1995 Oasis album (What’s The Story) Morning Glory.), Liam gives a mostly incoherent interview backstage and wraps by asking the reporters if we can “now get loads of Class A drugs?” Brilliant.
Totale’s Lost Classic review of Badfinger’s Straight Up has had me on an early 70s power pop rave up. In order to fulfill my need for lush melodies, sly guitar solos, and backbeat drums, I’ve compiled a playlist of the bands surrounding Badfinger’s legacy: Peter Ham’s Dream (re-read the heartbreaking story of the Badfinger front man on Wikipedia).
There’s naturally a gang of Badfinger on this mix. If you’re going to wear your influences on your sleeves then do it with vigor! Be proud and be true to their vision…and yours. While too many will dismiss Badfinger as a poor man’s Fab Four, I revel in their absolute and unflinching embrace of the Beatles‘ later-day sound. They were, after all, disciples of the Fabs so why not be true to that musical message? It’s that musical legacy, as translated by followers for decades to come, that this mix is celebrating.
In mixes like this I prefer to use a band as a point of reference; the point from which the musical personality is derived. Instead of the Beatles as the point in this case, I like the focus being once removed from the source. Bands like Sloan and Spoon are as much influenced by Badfinger (the second layer in the scheme) as they are the Beatles (the primary source). That’s the point. To me it’s just as valid to create new music that shares more of a sonic palette with your influences than not. How that influence is translated and communicated down through the various layers is what allows for the continuity of sound as well as originality in execution. Can you dig it?
The recently departed Jay Reatard summed it up so perfectly in this New York Times article from August, 2009 interview:
The whole concept for me behind pop music is to take your influences and filter them through yourself, and then they become something new. I’m not trying to move forward and create territory that hasn’t been mined before, I’m just trying to do my version of something that I like.
God bless The NME. We had this idea a while back but never got around to researching it, so here are Noel Gallagher’s 50 Funniest Quotes. Not only funny but the dude was prescient on the course of indie rock. Choice cuts from the ex-Oasis man:
On ambition: “You want to sell 5,000 limited-edition red vinyl seven-inches, that’s fine. Make music for a closet full of people in Bradford somewhere … but it doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Phil Collins has got to be chased out of the charts, and Wet Wet Wet. It’s the only way to do it, man, to fucking get in there among them and stamp the fuckers out.” (The Guardian, Sept 1994)
On the death of guitar music: “They’ve been saying it for 30 years, ever since The Beatles split up, you know, that rock’n’roll’s dead. When ever there’s a boom there’s always a bit of a lull afterwards. I suppose that avant garde punk rock will come back for a while, and it will all be shit again, and then guitar music will come back.” (Total Guitar, December 1998)
On Kaiser Chiefs ‘being wankers’: “Well, they are, though. The worst thing about them is that they’re not very good. They play dress-up and sit on top of an apex of meaninglessness. They don’t mean anything to anybody apart from their fucking ugly girlfriends.” (Time Out: Chicago, December 2008)
We were parked at the Meijer gas station on Plainfield Avenue outside of Grand Rapids. Jake was gassing up the black 1976 Datsun 280Z his mother had finally let us take out and I was in the passenger seat listening to classic rock radio station WLAV’s resident hipster Steve Aldridge do the lead-in to his weekly “alternative” music slot, Clam Bake. We’d read all about them in British weekly music rags and had seen a handful of pictures, which was almost enough to sell me on the spot. They were snotty faces and shaggy hair and flared jeans and bucket hats. Aldridge paid them the proper amount of respect as the “next big thing” out of Britain and then cued up the first Stone Roses song I ever heard, “Made of Stone.”
The Stone Roses were an odd band from the beginning. Ian Brown doesn’t exactly have range, or even pitch, and his live recordings are proof of that. But on record—and without the aid of digital pitch correcting tools, thank you very much!—he exudes a sort of foreboding and danger within that somewhat fey whisper of his. When he sings “I don’t have to sell my soul, he’s already in me,” you believe it. There is something menacing about this skinny Mancunian with a slightly simian look and a Christ complex. He’s the street hustler who is underfed and over drugged with a knife in his backpack. It doesn’t take much to imagine him as the scooter boy he claimed to be in interviews and if you’ve been to the rougher parts on Manchester, England you know how raw the inhabitants can be. Their sissies will kick your ass.
We knew from reading the articles that they were obsessed with the Beatles and that guitarist John Squire was a disciple of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, which made for two references you simply could not beat with us then. You can hear the strains of the Fabs in the backing vocals and Marr’s hand in the 12-string guitars throughout but the Roses were more than the mere sum of their collective influences. The inspirations weave and blend like the paint on their album covers, which could just as easily be dismissed as Jackson Pollack knock-offs just as some would dismiss any band who hews a little too close to their musical heroes. But the Roses took those clear references and created a new sound, and that was extremely exciting for two Anglophile Midwestern boys whose favorite bands were in the past. The Stone Roses were different…and they were ours.
Another classic interview with Noel Gallagher. This time, the chief Oasis songwriter talks to Filter Magazine about still charging for his music:
“I have to pay for the studio, I have to pay for the videos and I have to pay to go on tour, so I guess that’s only fair. And if people don’t want to buy it, if they find it on the Internet for free, good for them. I’m not like some Lars Ulrich fucking character who would have all these kids locked up. I really don’t give a shit. As long as I can keep my swimming pool and my Rolls-Royce, that’s all I’m worried about.”
And when Oasis’ newest album, Dig Out Your Soul, leaks to the Internet, which Noel coolly predicts will happen within the next six weeks—an estimated calculation that still gives some time before the commercial release date—his response? “Fucking hell, email our website and tell me how great it is.”