Although Oasis had been gigging solidly for a couple of years by this point, like many people, my first exposure to them was the famous live performance on The Word in March 1994, where they performed their debut single Supersonic. If memory serves, I had tuned in mainly to watch American proto-grungers turned MTV darlings Soul Asylum, and hopefully catch a few glimpses of the Friday night boobs that The Word and Eurotrash usually guaranteed. Of course, the performance everybody remembers from that episode is the Oasis one. This was the first time most people had been exposed to the Oasis live template; the four band members almost motionless, Liam leaning into the microphone and snarling out his vocals (though at this point he'd yet to perfect his hands-behind-the-back trademark stance, instead clinging onto the mic like a drunk hanging onto a bus stop). It was a brilliant performance, one that prompted me to buy a ticket for a lively gig at the Lomax in Liverpool a few weeks later. Apparently everyone from Peter Hook to Lee Mavers was at that gig, but I don't remember seeing them. But then, they've claimed not to have seen me there either.
Supersonic was released as a single a couple of days before the Lomax gig. It peaked in the charts at a modest 31, but soon after that, Oasis quickly became huge. A couple of hit singles followed, before the release of debut album Definitely Maybe ensured they were now easily the biggest band in the country, and one of the biggest in the world. Much more prestigious was their status as one of my favourite bands. Most of the stuff I was listening to around the time were either American underground and grunge bands, or British shoe-gazer indie, and the old-school, raucous rock'n'roll swagger of Oasis offered a nice contrast to that.
Things between me and the Gallagher brothers soured pretty quickly, though. It was one thing to witness a sudden explosion in parkas, modish haircuts and funny walks on the streets of Birkenhead and Liverpool, but it was another thing when they started turning up in my nightclubs. Stairways in Birkenhead, and The Krazy House in Liverpool were havens for skinny indie kids, goths, punks and rockers. They were some of the few places where we could dress how we wanted without the significant risk of getting a fucking shoeing off some local scallies. But now, those scallies had discovered guitar music through Oasis, and were strutting their lame approximations of Liam's gait in these places, when just months earlier, they'd be more likely to have been waiting outside to take the piss of the of the freaks coming out in the early hours of a Saturday or Sunday morning. They were on our turf now in significant numbers, and thanks to them the dance floors were filled with less Sonic Youth and Mudhoney, and more Northern fucking Uproar. I know I wasn't alone in resenting it, and holding Oasis directly responsible for it.
Second album (What's The Story) Morning Glory offered a little more interesting tonal texture, but I'd already long since lost interest in the band before they released third album Be Here Now in 1997. Thereafter, a few isolated decent tunes aside, their music became gradually more conservative and regressive, their songs good only as staples of gangs of drunken lads, who'd belt out their songs at the end of a night of drinking and fighting, or intimidate buskers into playing them on Liverpool's Church Street late at night; a phenomenon I witnessed a bizarrely high number of times. They'd been an 'indie' band only briefly, but in a remarkably short space of time, they'd become the band that your mate at work who essentially had no interest in music, would declare as his favourite band. Wonderwall, in particular, came to occupy a place in the musical landscape (somewhere between drunken karaoke favourite and half-arsed repentant serenade of a boyfriend dumped for shagging his girlfriend's sister) right next to Robbie Williams' Angels.
By this point I'd gone from loving them, to hating them, to being utterly indifferent to them, an indifference that continued as the band released increasingly poor albums before finally splitting in 2009.
The only interest I had in them since was occasionally reading Liam's tweets to see if he'd called Noel a potato lately. That was until recently when, somehow, my two sons discovered them. I'm pretty sure their sudden obsession can be traced back to Christmas Eve 2017 when we were listening to Matt Everitt's The First Time on 6Music. As per the format of the show, in between sections of interview, Everitt would play a classic Oasis track; Live Forever, Wonderwall, Supersonic etc. "What's this song called?" My boys (8 and 6) would ask each time.
Immediately, our nightly bedtime ritual of them asking to watch music videos on YouTube before bed - with requests usually ranging from Bob Mould to Morrissey to Aztec Camera to Men At Work- became an exclusively Oasis affair. Not content with watching one each of their videos every night, my wife and I also faced a constant barrage of questions about the band. Where were they from? Which football team do they support? Why does Liam call Noel a potato? Inevitably, they began asking me to do their hair "like Liam's" after they'd had a bath. At one point my 8 year old then went and grabbed my tambourine and started shaking it while doing the Liam walk up and down the landing. I had to repurchase the first two albums so they could listen to them at home and in the car, and learn the chords to a few songs so we could sing them together.
Though relentless, it was great to see them getting into a band that they'd mostly discovered themselves, and having to come up with different song suggestions each night so it wasn't constantly Live Forever or Acquiesce meant I had to delve back into a time when I was a genuine fan. Along with Mat Whitecross' brilliant documentary Oasis: Supersonic, which was shown on BBC2 around this time, it was a reminder that, although Be Here Now onward, they basically seemed anti-music to me, those first two albums really were a bit special, and I think will now always remain so to me.
My kids' new-found obsession coincided with the release of Liam's solo album, which put him heavily back in the limelight. What was surprising and refreshing to see was that, in direct contrast to his brother's trajectory into full-on, Farage-endorsed Tory gammon, Liam had somehow gone from being the belligerent loudmouth brother, to being almost a voice of reason. It's hard to imagine Noel allowing himself to be subjected to interrogation by a class full of six year olds.
Though this may have rekindled my love of the band to some extent, I'm sure it will grow tiresome pretty quickly, so I have to remind myself that for many, Oasis were a gateway drug to better, more interesting music. As they get older, if their love of Oasis grows, maybe they'll get into the Las', then maybe The Smiths. Who knows, in five years time, they might be listening to Leonard Cohen or Leadbelly.
Until then kids, as you were.