‘Definitely Maybe’ is 25.


In 1994 ‘Definitely Maybe‘ by Oasis was released. It was an immediate critical and commercial success and became the fastest-selling UK debut in history at the time. It included the tracks ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star‘, ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol‘, ‘Shakermaker‘, ‘Live Forever‘ and ‘Slide Away‘. We [Red Alert Promotions] were there from the start.

I worked with Noel Gallagher before he was in Oasis. We toured together with the Inspiral Carpets; I was merch, and Noel was a roadie. It was an amazing time looking back; it was the height of Madchester.

I’d got to know Noel – and later Liam – when I worked at the music venue The Boardwalk,Oasis shared a rehearsal room in the basement with Sister Lovers. Other bands that rehearsed there were Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, James, ACR, The Fall, Simply Red, and Nico! Generally, after these bands finished rehearsing they come upstairs for a drink and watch the bands that were playing at the venue. I witnessed early shows from Primal ScreamHoleSonic Youth, Manic Street PreachersVerveBob Mould, Rage Against The Machine, Big Black, The Charlatans, The Wedding Presentand many more.

Following the demise of ‘Madchester’, I started working with Alison and Sue at Red Alert Promotions, a record plugging company with a cool roster that included The Charlatans, KLF, Depeche Mode, Pulp, Suede, The Sugarcubes and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds... It was around this time our friend (and neighbour) Noel decided to join his brother’s band Rain which subsequently became Oasis.

Alison and I saw Oasis play many times in Manchester, including regular support slots at The Boardwalk and Tony Wilson‘s In The City music convention in September 1992 and 93. In ’92 they played The Venue to a handful of people including Gary Davies a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in ’93 they played Canal Bar (both venues are no longer there).

Earlier in May 1993, they played King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut thanks to Debbie from Sister Lovers. She knew Alan McGee and she invited them to play, the rest is history. Soon after Noel announced that Oasis were going to sign to Creation Records. Months later their record contract came through on the Red Alert fax machine. I remember the never-ending fax paper spewing out and folding it up. I put it into an A4 envelope for Noel to collect.

Naturally, Oasis were added to the Red Alert roster and we began promoting the now-classic singles from Definitely Maybe. As part of the campaign, we took Noel and Liam on a promo tour around UK radio stations for interviews. One of the early interviews was with Chris Moyles. He was working at a regional radio station, Signal Stoke. Chris recounts this and still has his CD with a Red Alert promo sticker. The band’s first radio session was for Craig Cash (The Royale Family); he presented a show on KFM in Stockport. Both went on to do very well.

Below is an early TV performance on Yorkshire TV. ‘Something For The Weekend’ was filmed at Leeds Warehouse. Oasis were introduced by Madame Jo Jo –  now Jo Jo on Capital Yorkshire. It looks great! Oasis played ‘Shakermaker’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and ‘Supersonic’ in front of an audience of around 200.

The next tv footage is from America in 2017. CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason visits Noel’s native Manchester. It’s the first time Noel has been back to the city-centre flat where it all started. In the early 90s India House was inhabited by people who predominately worked in music and the arts including record pluggers, roadies, techies, managers, journalists, photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, artists, writers and Hacienda staff. You’d sometimes bump into members of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, New Order and the Pet Shop Boys after the Hacienda going to parties.

India House – like Manchester – has so much to answer for. It’s where Noel wrote the first two albums. Lyrics such as “As I live my life in the city, there’s no easy way out.” (Rock n Roll Star), “Your music’s shite it keeps me up all night, up all night.” (Married with Children) and “The sink is full of fishes, she’s got dirty dishes on the brain.” (Some Might Say) were written in that building between 1989 and 1994.

Photo: Michael Spencer Jones 1994

James Holt – Come Out To Play

Artist: James Holt

Title: Come Out To Play

Label: 63 Steps Records

Impact date: 1 March 2019

It’s probably the catchiest chorus I’ve written to date, and it’s become a crowd favourite at gigs,” says singer/songwriter James Holt of his new single ‘Come Out to Play’.

‘Come Out to Play’ bridges the gap between his previous two singles, combining the pad soundscape of ‘Whispers’ with the angular unpredictability of ‘Alone Again’ but with a far more upbeat musical and lyrical theme.

The song draws inspiration from the classic songwriters of the 60/70s and also nods to Crowded House, Aztec Camera and The Smiths. One review commented that it sounded like Johnny Marr had joined the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the studio for a day.

James said, “Lyrically, the song is a journey through the life of a shy, introverted person, and their struggle to socialise – though at its core it’s an uplifting story about overcoming anxieties. There’s never an explicit reason why, but there are hints that they’re hoping for something more. (‘But I just keep holding on, for a day to reminisce on…’).

Each verse is a different stage of his life, represented with references to different seasons, but it’s in the last verse where our character sees himself in his son and tells him not to make the same mistakes he has made.

James provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums on ‘Come Out To Play’ and has – once again – brought in the production wizardry of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans). The release coincides with James’ headline show at Night People, Manchester on Saturday 1 March and then on Saturday 23 March at Academy 2, Manchester (supporting Prose and Manchester Camerata).

Quotes
“Feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno

“Love James’ voice on that new single. Sounding great”. John Kennedy Radio X

BBC Introducing Manchester have been huge supporters of James. Co-presenter/producer, and Michelle Hussey commented, “It’s beautiful with definite echoes of Cherry Ghost.

Another radio champion, Jim Salveson from XS Manchestersaid, “It sounds very Beatles-esque and – here’s a massive compliment – vocally it sounds very John Lennon.”


“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.”  Natalie BBC Introducing Manchester.

“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” Louise Dodgson, The Unsigned Guide.