Some old bands will never shake off talk of their supposed reunion. Oasis is one of them. Next year will mark the 20-year anniversary of the Britpop legends’ debut album, and rumours are swelling yet again of a comeback in celebration of Definitely Maybe.
“You sure it wasn’t Morning Glory?” laughs ex-Oasis and current Beady Eye guitarist Gem Archer. He’s witnessed the rumour mill churning so many times before that everything gets muddied in the mix. “That’s all I’ve heard. Look, man, if it happens, it’d be monumental. But if it didn’t happen, that’s cool too. At the minute – well, 2014, if that’s what you’re about – we’re pretty busy.”
Busy, for Beady Eye, means the release of their second record, BE – and a run of live dates that will carry them right into an Australian tour in the summer, Archer reveals. The group spawned from Oasis’s ashes – Noel Gallagher departed on acrimonious terms in 2009, leaving brother Liam to continue under the new name alongside Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock – and after the limited success of 2011’s Different Gear, Still Speeding, the band is taking itself in a new direction this time around. The opening bars of ‘Flick of the Finger’ are coloured with blasting horns – the familiar and much-loved wall of guitar sound nowhere to be seen.
“With the first record, we wanted to be able to play it live, that was the whole thing,” says Archer. “With this one, it was just about making the music we were coming up with at that time – and if it needed a horn section, that’s what we were going to do, man.”
Oasis included, BE is Archer’s fifth record alongside Liam Gallagher and former Ride guitarist Bell. He credits producer Dave Sitek (“He just lives between the speakers; he’s all about the job at hand – I don’t think he even sleeps”) with successfully directing the band’s energies on the new album. But in truth, the remaining members of Oasis were only ever going to do one thing after Noel walked out – the same thing they’d been doing for all those years beforehand.
“There was never any thought about splitting up, not at all,” says Archer. “It was sort of an unspoken thing… Music’s not done for any of us. Suddenly you’ve got to write a whole bunch of new tunes and come up with a new name, but it’s still music, it’s coming from inside you, played with your mates. Oasis was a big part of my life – like all of us – but things can’t go on forever… This is life, and you’ve just got to move, you’ve gotta keep going, man.”
For what it’s worth, Archer remains frustrated with the mainstream media accounts of Oasis’s split; all that coverage of the Gallagher brothers’ supposed bickering. “They’re going to be asked about stuff, and those guys never hold back – they’ve always told exactly what was on their mind that day,” says Archer. “Those guys are just telling it how it is, but it’s how it’s put, how it’s framed… I know what went on [between Liam and Noel].”
And despite all those outrageous quotes that get Liam the headlines – only last month, The Sun reported him mouthing off at Daft Punk – Archer wouldn’t have it any different. “Liam is Liam, and there should be more people like him. I think people can relate to [him], whether it’s some geezer who’s fucked off with his job and he wants to have a mega weekend, or it’s some kid who’s coming up learning the guitar who just thinks, ‘Well, that geezer is playing on his own terms.’ That’s what it should be, man.”
BY CHRIS MARTIN
BE is out now through Sony. Beady Eye play the Big Day Out at Sydney Showgrounds on Sunday January 26.