Oasis still bigger than the rest?
By Stephen Taylor / Daily Yomiuri Staff Writer
Oasis have never been strangers to controversy, and Noel
Gallagher has been back in the news with some strong comments about the current
crop of British bands. In an interview with Australia's Triple J radio station,
the band's leader was asked about groups such as Franz Ferdinand, the Kaiser
Chiefs and Bloc Party.
"Let's call it what it is--it's indie s---, is what it
is," he said. "None of them are trying to make it big. They're all
trying to make it small or medium--that's it."
Not trying to make it big is an accusation that could never
be aimed at the Gallagher brothers. The very first track on their debut album
declared: "I'm a rock 'n' roll star."
Eleven years on, there's no doubting their star status.
This week, Japanese audiences will get a second chance to
see the band this year when they visit Osaka and Tokyo as part of their 2005
And they'll be keen to show just how big they still are. In
the Australian radio interview, 38-year-old Noel was not completely dismissive
of the new wave of British music, saying he kind of liked Franz Ferdinand and
Kaiser Chiefs--although he described Bloc Party as "just
appalling"--but he lambasted all of them for a lack of ambition to become
the best or biggest band in the world.
Whether or not Oasis can currently claim the mantle of
Biggest Band in the World is open to debate, but they're definitely in the top
10, much like the Gallaghers' favorite soccer team, Manchester City, which is
currently lying in a very respectable seventh in the English premier league.
The Manchester City link is not entirely spurious because it
was a gig in the summer at Manchester City's home ground, the City of
Manchester Stadium, that prompted New Musical Express to say Oasis were "a
band ready to join the likes of U2 as rock 'n' roll's living custodians, but
more importantly, a band with a creative future."
The current tour is one of most extensive Oasis have ever
made, and Japanese fans have already had a chance this year to see why tickets
for the European and North American concerts were so difficult to find when the
group played in Japan at Summer Sonic in August.
The three summer gigs, in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, relied on
material from this year's Don't Believe the Truth album, a release that Noel
believes is the band's best work since (What's the Story) Morning Glory--though
he also said that about Heathen Chemistry three years ago.
This time, though, his opinion was backed up by critical
acclaim when it was recently voted Album of the Year by readers of Britain's Q
At the summer dates, the band also offered up all the usual
crowd-pleasers such as "Wonderwall" and, always a favorite in Japan,
"Don't Look Back in Anger." In the past, Oasis have covered the
Beatles' "I am the Walrus" and a sprawling version can be found on
The Masterplan compilation album.
Recently, though, the band have been finishing with the
Who's "My Generation," one song that new drummer Zak Starkey, son of
Ringo Starr, should be very familiar with after touring with Pete Townshend and
This tour offers a chance to see Oasis on their own at
slightly smaller venues at a time when they're back on a creative high, rather
than the chemical highs that have reportedly marred previous gigs--though
they're probably a long way from taking any vows of abstinence.
And if reports of their last trip are to believed, don't be
surprised if you bump into Liam as you're enjoying a Friday night beer in
Tokyo's Roppongi or Osaka's Shinsaibashi.
Oasis will play Nov. 17, 7 p.m. at Osakajo Hall in Osaka,
(06) 6535-5569; Nov. 20, 6 p.m. and Nov. 21, 7 p.m. at Yoyogi National Stadium
in Harajuku, Tokyo, (03) 3444-6751.