Lex Neon on Liam Gallagher (Oasis)

Liam Gallagher is probably the last great rock star of the 20th century.

There was something annoying but righteous about hearing reports of Liam’s early scrapes with the law when Oasis was “fresh out of the box.”  Seemed like every time I tuned to MTV (when they still played music), this guy was being thrown out, locked up, or punched out for being a loud, obnoxious bastard.  Hooray!  There was finally someone with balls that rebelled against nothing and everything.  Here was someone not afraid to say exactly what was on his whacked-out, drugged up mind.

Sorry, folks.  That what a rock star does!

Liam was fun to watch, and to read about.

Everyone knows that Oasis is (and has been) one of my favorite rock bands.  Back in ’94 when “Supersonic” was all over MTV, I bought their debut album Definitely Maybe.  It was the first album in a long time that made me think that pure rock music wasn’t dead.  Liam’s voice was all over that album, and his melodic shout made me a believer in rock again.

It was a strange time in music.  Kurt Cobain killed himself, thus effectively killing off one of the more interesting rock bands.  Soundgarden, a truly great rock band, hit the big time and their music suddenly got weaker.  Stone Temple Pilots still had a lot to prove; their debut was good, but not great.  Their great album would be the second, Purple.  Alice In Chains was starting to crack under the weight of Layne Stahley’s heroin addiction, but still managed to put out a fine hard rock classic with Dirt.

My biggest problem with all of the aforementioned bands was that there was nothing in their music that made me feel, “Yeah, I’ve been there.  They understand me.”  Oasis, a Brit band, pulled me out of my doldrums and made me shout. “I wanna be a rock and roll star!” “You and I are gonna live forever!” “All I need are cigarettes and alcohol!”  It was melodic, rockin’ and placed me under a heavy feeling that things were going to get better in my life.

Liam’s voice was the carrier of all that I felt I was hiding inside; I didn’t want to be in school anymore, and I wanted to get out of the relationship I was in and take off for the sky.  His voice made me realize that my life was crap, and had been for a long time.  I wanted to break free, see the world, and take my closest friends along.  That brilliant voice and those songs were my salvo, and salvation.

Up close, in interviews, this guy had nothing on his mind except rock and roll, and John Lennon.  You couldn’t understand his Mancunian accent to save your ass.  On stage he just stands there with his hands behind his back, all of his energy coming from his voice.  You couldn’t help but look at him and think, “cool.”

There would be other albums, like What’s The Story (Morning Glory), that helped to further define this fine British band.  Liam’s vocals and attitude gave them the right spark to ignite, explode, and burn brightly.  Not to take anything from Noel Gallagher (Liam’s older brother – a master songwriter and my fave member of Oasis), but those first 2 albums belong to Liam’s voice, and his moxy.

Later Oasis albums would be pretty spotty in places, and Liam’s voice would no longer carry the load by itself.  If you are an Oasis fan, you know that Liam’s vocals are a shadow of what they used to be – maybe too many cigarettes, too many drugs, and too much shouting has tamed it since ’97’s Be Here Now.  I still buy Oasis albums (mostly for Noel’s songwriting contributions), and I still enjoy their music.  It’s different now.  Liam’s no longer ferocious, but there is still attitude, swagger, and balls.

Happy birthday, Liam. I’m glad your early years didn’t kill you, and I’m glad to say that I am still a fan.  Come back to Las Vegas and let’s get together for some sessions, some laughs and a cold lager, ya bastard.

(Lex Neon is the musical mastermind behind the music of indie sunshine pop / rock band Poppermost.  For more info, go to http://www.poppermost.com/)

Currently listening :
Definitely Maybe
By Oasis
Release date: 1994-08-30
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~ by Poppermost on September 13, 2008.

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