Dan Nolan, bass player of Liverpool band, The Idles, recounts how Oasis shaped his life.
Since they’re debut single over 14 years ago Oasis have been the most important band in British music. Definitely Maybe has long been a marker for new bands looking to make an impact with their debut album and most struggle to reach the energy that is available in abundance at every Oasis gig.
Whether you like their music or see Oasis as mouthy Mancs who need to quit their Beatles obsession, everyone has an opinion. This makes writing about them all the more difficult as it’s all been said before so rather than writing clichÃÂ©s about how ‘mad for it’ they are, this piece is about how Oasis changed my life, how they got me into music, clothes, and made me want to form a band and take over the world.
In ’94 I was 12 listening to Guns N Roses and tapes of The Who that my Dad had made for me. I’d always loved music growing up listening to The Beatles, Billy Joel and Chris Rea. My Auntie worked for the company that changes records on jukeboxes, so when the singles came off the jukebox, she’d bring a big box round to the house for me. I still have most of them but apart from a few New Order singles, it’s mainly Jive Bunny! So the first time Rock n Roll Star passed in close proximity with my ears it was a musical epiphany.
The first time I heard Oasis was on a school trip to France, when a mate gave me a tape to listen to on my cereal-box sized walkman. I was blown away; the walkman and tape didn’t leave my side for the rest of the trip as I constantly had to fast forward the last 20 minutes of blank tape on side two to get the album back to the start.
As soon as I got home I bought the album and first two singles, Supersonic and Shakermaker. Up until that point I thought B-sides were another version of the song remixed by an unknown DJ, but Oasis were better than that. Take Me Away and D’you wanna be a Spaceman are still two of my all-time favourite tracks.
When I looked at the cover of Definitely Maybe I knew I need to do some shopping: Clark’s Wallabees, some Ben Sherman shirts, a Harrington, a Parker and of course the obligatory bucket hat and round glasses so out came the Littlewoods’s catalogue and a few purchases were made.
Oasis have too often been criticised for ripping off bands but it is these homages that introduced me to Slade, The Jam, The La’s, The Smiths, The Kinks, Joy Division, The Rolling Stones, The Stone Roses, The Velvet Underground and many more. Through listening to interviews with the band, (mainly Noel’s as Liam’s take on music is more negative than his brother’s), I heard about more bands, buying records such as Rated R after reading Q where Noel stated that it was the best album he’d heard that year.
Oasis made me love music and made me want to spend hours in record shops looking through Led Zeppelin albums or searching for a Neil Young album with live versions of Hey Hey, My My. Music became an adventure, finding the right song for the right mood or finding something that I’d not heard before on a bootleg picture disk.
Listening to other people’s music wasn’t enough though I wanted to make my own, form my own band and take over the world my way and as I couldn’t play an instrument and am not the world’s best singer I decided to start writing lyrics and trying to learn the guitar.
I am and always have been a very impatient person and as I wasn’t immediately good at playing it I soon gave it up but kept writing lyrics. It wasn’t until I came to Liverpool that I started to take starting a band seriously and decided to learn the bass. I moved in with a mate who had an acoustic and we started jamming playing mainly Oasis songs.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Hey Hey, My My (1979)
This went on for about a year or so until I could persuade Matt he needed an electric guitar and that we should do our own stuff – my words with his music. After a couple of incarnations and a lot of practise we formed The Idles in 2005 and started gigging and still are hoping for our chance to write a part in musical history.
Oasis made me feel there was something better, that there was escapism in music, that anyone who wanted it enough could be a rock n roll star and that if cigarettes and alcohol were the only things worth working for then I’d make the most of having a good time and enjoy the music that fuelled those good times.
To me Oasis have never made a bad song, just some that are better than others the same with the albums. As band members have changed so has the music but the underlying Oasis sound and feel has always been there.
This week heralded the release of Dig Out Your Soul and I’m as excited now as I was when I first went to buy my own copy of Definitely Maybe or buying a magazine with a Gallagher brother interview. Oasis best band in the world no doubt about it.