On a personal note…with Layne Montgomery
You know how in every high school movie there’s a kid with long hair that exclusively wears classic rock band tees and is probably hilariously stoned? That was me, but it was middle school and I was aggressively straight edge. I don’t even think I knew what pot was. Every day, I proudly wore Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd shirts I’d (asked my mom to buy) at Hot Topic. I don’t listen to either of those bands now.
When I was a child, I only really liked two bands: the Beatles and, for some reason, Everclear. Soon I expanded my horizons to any band on the Las Vegas classic rock radio station (this is when I got those Zep and Floyd shirts), and still, Everclear. I remember once berating my cool math teacher who tried playing the new Weezer album in class, because it had come out past nineteen seventy-nine. (Anyone who knows me knows my slavish devotion to Weezer and how painful this particular memory is; however, the album in question is Make Believe, universally agreed upon as the worst Weezer album. Except for “Perfect Situation.” That song is amazing.)
Anyway, I got an iPod for Christmas or my birthday or whatever (Mom/Dad – care to clarify?) and I became obsessed with getting EVERY SONG I’VE EVER LIKED, EVER onto it. I went through my dad’s massive CD archive, scouring for everything I could find. I even put some of the CDs our hip, slightly older neighbor had made Dad buy to keep him relevant, like Kings of Leon’s first record, some Weezer, and, perhaps most crucially to my future development as a human, the first Strokes record. Any of my friends with older siblings always talk about the moment the cool, older one got them into the right bands, but as an only child I never had that. I included this anecdote to salute my cool neighbor, John, who was basically an older brother. Hey, John.
Now, you’ve read the title of this article, you’re thinking, “Where’s Oasis? Boy, this kid can ramble.” Okay. Here’s Oasis. Somewhere in the valleys of my dad’s insane CD collection (it was really an admirable stock he’d acquired), was some cheapo “Rock” collection. I’m pretty sure it was literally just called “Rock.” I remember I chose to import all the tracks (a crucial decision) because it had Meat Loaf’s “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” among other tracks I remembered from the radio. But mostly, I was in it for the Loaf. Towards the end of that chronologically tracked set was a little song called “Wonderwall.” Being a Beatles nerd, I was instantly intrigued by the title, which Oasis songwriter and all-around great human, Noel Gallagher, stole from a soundtrack George Harrison did in the late sixties. Now, you’ve read that article title again, and you’re thinking – “Hey, ‘Wonderwall’ isn’t ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger,’ where’s he going with this?” Shut up, Dad.
Now, Dad and I generally have the same taste in music (you know this, because you’re my Dad and you’re reading this.) However, for some ungodly reason, he doesn’t like Oasis. Like ELO, Dad doesn’t like Oasis because they sound too much like the Beatles. I’d like to clarify that they also sound like the Kinks sometimes and maybe the Who occasionally. It shocked me that a band putting out new music could both sound like bands from the sixties I liked and also not suck. I had yet to find any bands that were capable of that feat (except Everclear.) Of course, Oasis had to be the band that bridged my musical knowledge from the sixties and seventies into the nineties and now (the eighties came later.) Also, since Dad hated them, it was the tiniest, least offensive rebellion a shy kid who really loved his parents could do.
John – remember John the neighbor from earlier? – happened to have “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory” on CD and let us borrow it. I don’t think I ever gave it back. Sorry, John.
I truly believe “Don’t Look Back in Anger” is one of the best songs of all time. A few weeks ago I made a Facebook status while drunk declaring that sentiment. Sure, it doesn’t exist without “Imagine,” another best song of all time, but it stands up on it’s own just okay.
The verses and pre-choruses would be choruses for a lesser band. Then you get to the actual chorus and it’s like “FUCK I WANT TO LIVE INSIDE THIS SONG.” Most songs would be brought down by a kind of hysterical and totally perfect moment like: “please don’t put your life in the hands (guitar squeals) of a rock and roll band (more guitar squeals)” but that chorus is so unbelievable and huge that it can’t derail the song. Noel apparently told his brother Liam he could sing either “Wonderwall” or “Don’t Look Back In Anger,” and Liam sensed the hit so he went with the latter. But there’s no way Liam could’ve sang this with the same feeling Noel does. His normally sort of bland voice suits the song so well; his vocal take is an elegant, weary sigh. From my discovering Oasis, I found Blur, Pulp, Radiohead, and Supergrass (so underrated!), and oddly even the Kinks since a classic rock radio station in Nevada does not play much beyond Van Halen’s “You Really Got Me.” (What a shock it was to learn David Lee Roth didn’t write that.) Anytime I hear “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” I’m back to being a fourteen year old with a new favorite band who’s finally open to a whole world of new music. And it’s a great karaoke song.
Funnily enough, I don’t think I’ve ever written a song that sounds remotely like Oasis.