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The Big Hurt: Liam alone

Can an Oasis spinoff help but suck?
By DAVID THORPE  |  November 4, 2009


Everyone figured that Noel Gallagher would go solo — it’s been hinted at for years — but the break-up of Oasis has made it a grim inevitability. Liam, however, is in a tougher spot. Whereas guitarist Noel is a self-contained unit, singer Liam has usually needed a little help from his friends. It’s no wonder that he recently announced in an interview with the Scotsman that he won’t go it alone: “Don’t wanna do anything solo, it’s not my thing. I want to be in a band.”

On the surface, that sounds very egalitarian. While Noel is off pursuing his self-indulgent artistic whims, Liam will become a cog in a new machine. Looks good on paper, but rebound bands are a strange and terrible thing. Failures of chemistry, train wrecks of hype, and, most often, disasters of band dynamics. Hire a push-around band and you’ve got a famous guy plus three strangers who know people are just paying to see the famous guy. Find three famous friends and you’ve got, God forbid, a supergroup. Even the biggest rebound groups (Wings, for example) are scorned for not being the real thing, and the worst of them . . . well, they’re all the worst of them.

Liam should know that, since his UK rock contemporaries have a pathetic track record. Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker had the tedious Relaxed Muscle before wising up and going solo. The Longpigs’ Crispin Hunt formed Gramercy, who split up before they released anything. Blur’s Damon Albarn had his the Good, the Bad & the Queen project, which rose to the lofty heights of “decent, I guess.” The Libertines split into Babyshambles and Dirty Pretty Things, each twice as mediocre as the other. Bernard Sumner of New Order released his Bad Lieutenant album three weeks ago, and this is the last time you’ll read about it. Suede’s Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler reteamed with the Tears; the result was less like a reunion and more like two terrible solo albums teleported into each other à la Brundlefly.

The rebound band didn’t even work for Oasis’s formative idols. Johnny Marr & the Healers were a pile of shit, but I’d guess even Liam’s not dumb enough to use the “& the” scheme. La’s bassist John Powers formed Cast, one of the dullest bands of their era. (Liam did once say that Cast were one of the few Britpop bands he liked — of course, if he had good taste, he wouldn’t have been in Oasis.) Liam should definitely remember the Seahorses — the godawful band formed by John Squire of the Stone Roses — since he co-wrote one of the gruesome minor hits that earned them the revulsion of critics and the apathy of listeners.

Liam will also recall Hurricane #1, who were formed after the break-up of Ride by guitarist Andy Bell (who later joined Oasis on bass). That outfit was fronted by one Alex Lowe, who did his best to look and sound as much like Liam Gallagher as possible and then took offense at the comparison. Liam took some digs in an NME interview: “He [Lowe] copies my haircut and then slags me off! What’s that about? Who’ll I batter?” The two did indeed get into a fistfight later, but even that wasn’t enough to keep anyone interested. Hurricane #1 split after a couple of poorly reviewed albums, and Liam checkmated Andy Bell with the ultimate musical humiliation: hiring a great guitarist to play the fucking bass.

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Re: The Big Hurt: Liam alone
HI david its peter hook here! i must say your an acid tongued xxxxxxx xxxxxx! i must get someone to remind me when i'm next in Boston to give you a visit and put you straight on a few things! The people your slagging off there, have been and still are very high achievers in the world of music , this little town of ours has more to CROW about than you EVER WILL! your critique is so ridiculous it's the best laugh i've had all week, keep being jealous buddy it's all you'll ever be good at! The last laugh lies with us, liam and bernard included you jerk!
By peterhook on 11/06/2009 at 7:53:44
Re: The Big Hurt: Liam alone
   Well i certainly believe that's peter hook
By rigmarock on 11/06/2009 at 2:05:05

[ 11/08 ]   Squirrel Nut Zippers  @ Tupelo Music Hall
[ 11/08 ]   Ali Zafar  @ Berklee Performance Center
[ 11/08 ]   Notis Sfakianakis  @ MGM Grand @ Foxwoods
[ 11/08 ]   Dan Deacon + Big Digits + Nuclear Power Pants + Craters  @ Pozen Center, North Hall, MassArt
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  •   THE BIG HURT: LIAM ALONE  |  November 04, 2009
    Everyone figured that Noel Gallagher would go solo — it’s been hinted at for years — but the break-up of Oasis has made it a grim inevitability.
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    A member of the recently reunited BACKSTREET BOYS — the really Christian one who looks like the Beast from that 1980s Beauty and the Beast TV show — has swine flu. That doesn't even come close to being sufficient punishment for his many aesthetic atrocities (which include his face), but it'll do for the moment.
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    Although we like to think of ourselves as having an ironclad hegemony over the pop of the Western world, those plucky Brits like to rise from their misty bog and tweak our nipples with a pond-crossing chart smash once in a while.

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