- Liam Gallagher - vocals
- Noel Gallagher - vocals, guitar
- Gem Archer - guitar
- Andy Bell - bass
- Alan White - drums (left 2004)
- Paul McGuigan - bass (left 1999)
- Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs - guitar (left 1999)
- Tony McCarroll - drums (left 1995)
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away (Sheffield or somewhere, wasn't it?) an evil empire ruled the land. Its name was American Pop, and it was a cruel master, bending all to its will, flooding the charts with substandard drive time drivel and torturing small kittens just because it felt like it. The people of this green and once pleasant land wandered about as if in a daze, despising the leaden shackles which tied them to their radios, but afraid to raise their voices in protest, lest they be smoten in a withering blaze of Jon Bon Jovi.
Then, when all seemed lost, two saviours stepped forward from the crowd, clutching guitars and said verily, I'm not fookin' 'aving this. With naught but an overwrought love of the Beatles and the Stone Roses, these two brothers gathered a ramshackle yet determined gang of like-minded individuals, and took the empire on, their fearless rebellion winning a string of melodic victories in 1994, most notably Columbia, Cigarettes & Alcohol, and the Whatever EP. The empire buckled as Definitely Maybe swept to number one-hood, and then crumbled as kids from all corners of the land, inspired by the two brothers' heroic tale, armed themselves with guitars and stormed the ramparts of the music industry. Grunge was dead. Long live Britpop.
And so it came to pass that the brothers were instated as the new kings of the land. The imperial remnant was ordered to leave and never return to these shores, and to take their silly accents with them. When (What's the Story) Morning Glory was released in 1995, everything seemed at last right with the world. And so what if they were telling erstwhile comrades-in-arms to go die of AIDS? So what if they had nicked a lot of their riffs? So what if the new army of talent which surrounded them were mostly untalented and very boring? So what if they spent a lot of time acting like, y'know, coked up louts? This was a bold new age we were moving into, as any pissed up reveller at Knebworth in August 1996 would have told you. This bold new republic now led the world in music, and it was going to live forever. Forever forever.
The first rumblings of unease came in 1997, when the hugely anticipated Be Here Now was released. Essentially a very long guitar solo, it sounded like a group straining for immortality and just coming off as, whisper it between yourselves, a bit tired. People began to wonder about the brothers, who had begun to act oddly in public, when they did indeed appear beyond their moats of alcohol and castles of cocaine. They seemed lost, for all their braggidoccio; muttering into their scarves, calling off American tours. No matter, said the fans; are they not our saviours? Did they not cast down our false gods, and lead us into this bright dawn? Is not Wonderwall still a cracking tune?
This half-hearted support faltered and then sputtered out as, on a fateful day in late 1997, a nation watched dumbstruck, unbelieving, as one of the brothers shuffled up a set of stairs, knelt in front of a throne, and kissed the ring of the One True Enemy. The One True Enemy gave him a hearty smile, a clap on the shoulder and is rumoured to have said the following: "Now, my young apprentice, now you have tasted my poisonous chalice, you are within my thrall, and you will do my dark bidding. You shall release a half-baked album of Lennon covers, and say it is your experimental album. You will sack a bunch of the founding members and replace them with a bloke who looks exactly like your brother and that prat from Ride. You will form your own label and spawn clone bands through which you will spread your dread influence. Only then, my child, will you grasp the immortality which is at my beck and call."
And so it came to pass; the band which had inspired kids everywhere to pick up guitars and get their 90s teenage kicks became part of the establishment to grind them down, to issue them with ASBOs and to freeze-pack them into identikit, parentally acceptable bands. And the brothers achieved their immortality, although they discovered that the powers that the One True Enemy gifted them with were the same that kept the beast itself alive, and thus a terrible curse; fated, they were, to shovel out Radio 1 dull-fare, to be loved by dads and blind fools, to be despised by those who once loved them, to croak moronic statements about everybody else's musical talents and to assure people that this time, this time, they have got it right, that this album is as good as Definitely Maybe, that this time they have seen the light and have returned to guide their followers once more, just so long as they buy this album, just so long as they keep getting number ones, the glory days will return.
And thus it was that the evil empire returned to these shores; more insidious this time yet ten times more hateful, led by earnest young men with pianos, bleaching the land with their grey, acceptable Q-approved MOR. The brothers muttered their protests, but so lost were they in their vast, rose-tinted cage, they could do nothing to stop the nightmare unfurling.
Yet word has spread of another band that has stepped forward; another young, northern, mouthy group of teenagers which have taken on the mantle of the brothers, and speak of banishing the empire once again. One can only hope this time lessons have been learnt; that the sad tale of the band who were and now aren't has been told to these rosy cheeked, acne ridden youngsters, and that the dread cycle will not be once again set in motion. One can only hope.