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(Credit: Mitch Ikeda)

Music

Noel Gallagher's problem with Arctic Monkeys

@josephtaysom

Noel Gallagher doesn’t have a filter. The former Oasis man will blurt out whatever is on his mind, acting as a contemporary culture provocateur at the forefront of British music. Everyone from Taylor Swift to Jay-Z has felt Gallagher’s wrath, but, somewhat surprisingly, so too have the Arctic Monkeys.

This century, no other British band has imparted an impression on modern music comparable with Arctic Monkeys. Oasis were the last band to enjoy a similar seismic rise, and the sustained longevity of the Sheffield four-piece eclipses that of the Gallagher’s. However, Noel is not particularly keen on the group that picked up the baton from his own outfit.

At the start of their career, Arctic Monkeys were initially tipped as the heirs to Oasis’ throne, but the versatile touch they’ve shown since – and the continuous innovation of their sound – has put an end to any resemblance between the two acts. For Noel, it’s not the music that he detests, but seemingly, it’s their attitude.

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“Nobody has anything to say – have you noticed that?” Gallagher once said. “What we’re left with now is the Arctic Monkeys, tax-dodgers,” he added, during an interview with the Irish Times in 2015. “It freaks me out. The charts used to be a great battleground, and when I first started in Oasis, I couldn’t fucking wait to get in amongst it.”

Gallagher added: “Now, I don’t even know where my first single got to in the charts because I’m not interested anymore. Bollocks is what it is. Britpop will never happen again – too many drug addicts, maniacs and people in jeans with long hair, not washing and shit like that”.

On a different occasion, Gallagher claimed that his cat has more rock ‘n’ roll credentials than Alex Turner, the frontman of Arctic Monkeys. “This new generation of rock stars, they look great: Alex Turner, Miles Kane, the guys from Royal Blood. They’ve got the fucking skinny jeans and the boots, and all that eyeliner,” he said. “I’ve got a cat that’s more rock’n’roll than all of them put together. Pigeons? Rips their fucking heads off. I go back to this: fame is fucking wasted on these people”.

Meanwhile, speaking in 2018, Gallagher criticised their sixth album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino. He told Radio X: “Do you know what? I’ve just been listening to it in the car today on the way here… And I don’t know what to make of it. No, you’d expect a few choruses. [It] hasn’t got any of them”.

Understandably, Turner has always risen above the public insults, whether those public tirades attempt to goad him about the way he elects to dress or his decision not to write anthemic choruses. If it came to a verbal sparring match between the two, only one is coming out on top, and the hesitation in responding to Gallagher’s comments is likely a wise decision.

Conversely, Turner has heaped praise on Oasis and revealed that the first incarnation of Arctic Monkeys was a childhood tribute to the Gallagher brothers, stating: “When we left primary school, all the kids would form groups and do a performance, like the girls would do a dance to the Spice Girls, or whatever,” Turner explained. “So me and Matt (Helders) and some of our friends put on ‘Morning Glory’ – we ‘played’ some tennis racquets and pretended to be Oasis. Matt was Liam Gallagher, he had the bucket hat on. I was the bass player.

“We were just standing there, doing what Oasis did onstage,” he added. “Which was not a great deal. I don’t think we got as good a reaction as the Spice Girls.”

Elaborating on his love of Oasis, Turner said: “With Oasis, it’s just that attitude, like it’s resistant against everything else that’s going on in music. I don’t know if you can fully understand that – it’s like an impulse, innit? Especially at that age, you don’t rationalise, you’re just like, ‘That looks cool.'”