IN THE mid-1990s rock was in a perilous state as manufactured groups Take That, The Spice Girls, and Boyzone dominated the charts but a group of Mancunians called Oasis were about to bring guitar-based music back.
Swaggering lead singer Liam Gallagher was like a cross between Johnny Rotten and John Lennon and his brother Noel was an expert songwriter. With Paul ‘Bonehead’ Arthurs on guitar, Paul McGuigan on bass and Tony McCarroll on drums, their album Definitely Maybe in September 1994 became the fasting selling British debut of all time.
Bonehead is now a solo singer-songwriter and plays an acoustic show at The Crane Bar on Wednesday November 5.
Bonehead, Noel, and Liam Gallagher grew up in the predominantly Irish area of Burnage and attended local Catholic schools. Their formal education was short as from an early age they took jobs in the construction industry.
Both families had Mayo connections. Bonehead’s father Ben is from Foxford and the Gallagher’s mother Peggy is from Charlestown.
Bonehead worked as a plasterer alongside his father but by the mid 1980s he had formed his first band Pleasure And Pain. By the late 1980s he got together with Chris Hutton, Guigsy, and Tony McCarroll to form The Rain - the precursor to Oasis.
Bonehead said of the group in the 1996 Paul Mathur’s book Take Me There: Oasis The Story: “Rain were really, really sad - absolutely terrible. I had this weird long hair - bald on top - and Guigs was really fat. We did cover versions of songs like ‘Wild Thing’ and we were playing these s**t gigs round Manchester, going nowhere.
“Eventually we sacked the singer - which wasn’t exactly a smart move because none of the rest of us could sing. So we were looking for a replacement and someone said, ‘Have you heard Noel’s brother Liam? He sings a bit.’ So we got him along to an audition and he was really good. We thought ‘Right, let’s have him in the band. Maybe we can really do something.’”
Liam renamed the band Oasis and when his brother Noel was home from an American tour with Inspiral Carpets he invited him along to see the group. Noel described Oasis as “utter sh**e”! Unperturbed Liam invited Noel to come on board as main songwriter and leader of Oasis.
“He had loads of stuff written” Bonehead recalled to John Harris in 2004. “When he walked in, we were a band making a racket with four tunes. All of a sudden, there were loads of ideas.”
Under Noel Gallagher’s leadership Oasis quit their day jobs to concentrate on the group full time. At a club in Glasgow in 1993 they were ‘discovered’ by Creation Records owner Alan McGee and he was so impressed that he signed them to the label four days later. The rise of Oasis over the next 18 months was meteoric.
However, the band’s drink and drugs intake had spiralled out of control and in early 1999 the relationship between Bonehead and Noel Gallagher had broken down. That year Arthurs quit Oasis to “concentrate on other things”.
Since then he has formed a short-lived band with The Smiths’ Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke and has also toured with Thai superstar Sek Loso. He has also become a noted DJ and co-presents a show on BBC Radio Manchester with Terry Christian.
On the night Bonehead will be joined by Pete McLeod. Support is from Whipping Boy’s Ferghal McKee.
For tickets contact The Crane on 091 - 587419 or go to www.thecranebar.com