Oasis’ frontman on film portrayal of band’s turbulent history

via The Chronicle Herald

Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher says a new documentary about his 90s rock band is “raw.”

The five-person band, hailing from Manchester, England, changed the face of rock music with hits like Wonderwall and Champagne Supernova.

They peaked around 1997 with their third album, Be Here Now, but their popularity waned after band members dropped out and sibling rivalries took precedence over their music.

Supersonic, screening in Canada for one night only, charts the rise of a bar band to international stardom. The two-hour documentary was put together by the team behind the award-winning documentaries Amy, and Senna.

“It’s raw and it’s really funny,” Liam said over the phone from London on Tuesday. “Obviously all the bits I’m in are spectacular.”

And for the most part he’s right. It’s comical because the film gives a no-filter, inside look at the true workings of a rock ‘n’ roll band trying to make it big.

It chronicles the band’s drug-infused jaunts in Los Angeles, where they dabble in crystal meth and end up playing different songs at the same time onstage.

But it also shows the darker side of Noel and Liam’s upbringing, including an abusive father.

For Liam, watching clips with his father and his brother were the hardest.

The ongoing feud between Liam and Noel is at the forefront of the film and is often depicted through their different personalities.

Liam was the confident, outspoken lead singer while Noel was the quiet songwriter. Their fights started small, like when Noel started singing and got in the way of Liam’s limelight. And then became big, like when Noel hit Liam in the head with a bat.

“He’s a bit of a dickhead sometimes, and I’m not,” Liam said, adding that his brother is a great singer and songwriter.

One glaring omission in the film is that it doesn’t cover much of the band’s fall. It shows struggles, as band members dropped out and lawsuits were filed, but it mostly focuses on the good old days.

“There was no way we were going to be able to tell the whole story,” said director Mat Whitecross, adding that no one has time to watch a 10-hour documentary.

The film ends with Oasis’ two legendary shows at Knebworth in 1996, performed before an audience of a quarter of a million people.

He says chronicling their journey from the bottom to the top was more interesting and unique.

The idea came to light back in 2015, when Whitecross was approached by Simon Halfon, longtime friend of the brothers and a record sleeve designer for the band.

“It was a bit of leap of faith for everyone, I think,” said Whitecross Tuesday. “It was a big deal for them to trust us to make a film about their lives.”

The production team knew there was a great story to be told, but they weren’t too sure if it would make a great film.

For one, the interviews with Liam and Noel had to be done separately. And there weren’t smartphones around so there wasn’t much behind-the-scenes footage.

“Nobody thought much was going to happen,” explained Whitecross of the band’s success. “So no one bothered to film.”

But once he got talking to the band members, footage and photos began to surface from their big tours in Japan and Los Angeles.

Liam pipes in to say that he was too busy taking gigs to worry about pictures. “A lot of these bands today are like f***ing tourists, aren’t they?”

He’s sure there is good music out there, but it’s just not his taste. “I only buy stuff and listen to stuff that suits my palate.”

And at the moment, he said, nobody is making music he likes.

Liam has been quoted on several occasions proclaiming that Oasis is the best band in the world.

But on Tuesday, he clarified that they were never better than the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.

“But for our generation, no one f***ing touched us,” he said. “Even when we were shit, we were still untouchable.”

But don’t hold you’re breath for a reunion, because Liam said the band isn’t getting back together anytime soon.

“Me and our kid f***ing despise each other,” he said, referring to Noel as “our kid.”

“We also love each other, but we are too pigheaded to f***ing admit it.”

He was open to it, back when he had nothing on his plate, but now he’s busy working on a solo album that’s due out next year. He says it may sound similar to Oasis, but it won’t have the same stadium rock vibes that fans are used to.

Liam has had a rough ride since Oasis disbanded in 2009.

He started Beady Eye, but the band folded in 2013, while the High Flying Birds, Noel’s new band, is still going strong.

If this documentary does anything, Whitecross wants it to readdress the balance between the two brothers.

He says a caricature has been created over the years of two drunken, strung-out fighters, a band and their music.

“I think people need to be reminded about how great this band is, and could be again.”

He said people talk about it as being a love letter to the band, but it’s really for the fans.

“The chemistry between Liam and Noel made that band,” said Whitecross. “But I think the third ingredient was the fans.”

But Liam doesn’t want anyone to feel like they have to watch it.

“Like anything, there isn’t really a reason to go and see it other than entertainment, you know what I mean”?

The documentary is set to be released across Canada for one day only on Oct. 27. But Haligonians will also be able to watch it the first week of November at Park Lane.

Original publish date: Oct. 11, 2016

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