Tonight, I’m A Rock And Roll Star (The Rise And Fall Of An Unsigned Band Pt – 3)

I bought Definitely Maybe in Tower Records, Glasgow. I also bought an Oasis t-shirt the same day. (I had only heard Live Forever and Supersonic by this time, a t-shirt purchase was a major commitment.) Sadly, Tower Records is no longer there. I remember going to see Big Country play out of the big bay windows when they released ‘Why The Long Face’. Standing just outside the Heilan’mans Umbrella, gazing skyward to catch a glimpse of Stuart Adamson, doing long-term damage to my neck. After that gig, Big Country did an in-store record signing. I queued for hours after their set, ready to meet my idols. As I got to Mark Brzezicki I said “I try to play along to your records, but it’s too hard, I can’t.” Stuart Adamson, who was sitting to his left, piped up on hearing this devastating news, and in his chirpy Fife accent exclaimed “Don’t worry, son. Either can he.” I almost shat.

Anyway, Oasis…

Definitely Maybe was as complete an album as I had ever heard. The Stone Roses had seemed to have somehow passed me by, I could compare Oasis to no other band. Of course, in hindsight this is ridiculous, Oasis were a parody of many other bands, but it wasn’t just music…

I instantly bought into the whole Oasis package. Hair. Shirts. Retro Adidas tracksuit. Sunglasses. Cigarettes. Alcohol. Liam Gallagher became my idol. A deity. A living legend. I’d never seen anybody walk and talk with such an attitude. I’d never heard a voice that pronounced ‘sunshine’, ‘soonsheeine’. I’d never seen cooler hair. I’d never witnessed anyone spit with such grace. I had a crush on Liam Gallagher.

This was to instantly change the band. No longer did we try to play ‘The Fly’, badly. Now it was ‘Live Forever’, ‘Supersonic’, Cigarettes and Alcohol’, ‘Slide Away’, ‘Rock and Roll Star’ and ‘Columbia’. More poignantly, though, it made us write our own songs. Oasis made it seem easy. EVERYBODY could be a rock and roll star. That’s what they said.

Dream Out Loud was ditched as a pretentious, camp band name and ‘Nevertheless’ was born. Nevertheless would prove to the world that a second Oasis were required. Sorrowfully, hundreds of other fledgling bands had the same, uncreative idea and Glasgow was soon awash with bands singing about sunshine, immortality, drink and destruction.

Nevertheless (another awful name for a band) would rehearse in the Howwoood Church hall initially, and then above the Railway Inn public house in the same village. Songs were born, then killed. Lyrics were written, then scribbled out. Riffs were created, then erased from memory. Nevertheless always had something different, though. Nevertheless had a tightness that I  have yet to see replicated in any other unsigned band. Yes, the songs were weak in hindsight, but at the time we knew that we had a sporting chance of being the next big thing.

Our first Glasgow gig was to be in The Vale Bar, Dundas St. A pokey wee place, but with a great atmosphere and ambience. This was a big deal for Nevertheless. Glasgow. The big smoke. We felt that we would be indoctrinated into the Glasgow music scene immediately. Unfortunately, the Glasgow music ‘family’ was not a friendly place (for the most part). Glasgow was, and possibly still is, very cliquey. Twee was the order of the day, and Nevertheless were too commercially viable (or predictable, offensively so, at times) for most tastes. Still, Nevertheless had a succesful first gig at The Vale, and more were to follow after taking a reasonably sized (underage) crowd.

The Mecca of all Glasgow gigs was King Tuts Wah Wah Hut. The very place that Alan McGhee first clapped eyes on Oasis. King Tuts was a difficult venue to get a gig. A good track record in Glasgow was required to prove you were worthy enough of playing at their prestigious venue. King Tuts’ ego was overly inflated by the Oasis phenomenon, but nonetheless it was (and still is) a great place to play a gig. We did eventually manage to play it, and more or less sold it out. This is favourable for any gig venue/promoter.

While I’m on it…

‘PROMOTERS’

A term used in the loosest sense of the word, for the majority. Getting a band to guarantee attendance, sell their own tickets, hand over 90 – 100% of the money taken and advertise the gig themselves, is not promotion. It is being a middle man between the venue and the entertainment. The vast majority of promoters in Glasgow and Manchester are talentless chancers.

Once King Tuts was achieved, we simply had to commit this wonderful music to tape…

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