I don’t have any older siblings. Growing up, I had to forge ahead on my own in terms of discovering music; I had no records passed down to me by a cool older brother. Babysitters were no help in exposing me to new music either. In 1989, instead of blaring the Pixies while my parents were out for the night, my babysitters preferred the likes of Richard Marx and New Kids On the Block. It was dire.
In 1991 things started to turn. That year Ten and Nevermind were released making Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain my first rock heroes. Sadly, I was also still into crappy mainstream pop and hip hop. It was not until 1995 that my musical identity, the one that more or less still exists in me today, was established. And what did it? A record by Oasis called (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? made it’s way into my hands and I never looked back. Especially not in anger.
At 15 years old I had finally found a band that meant the world to me. While Eddie and Kurt remained important figures to me (and in some ways they still do), Liam and Noel Gallagher almost instantly became my musical big brothers. My Oasis obsession from 1995-1997 was borderline embarassing – there may even have been an aborted scrapbook. I owned every single single (I even own ‘Wibbling Rivalry‘!), I could sing along to every b-side, I knew where Burnage was, I had t-shirts and posters and I even stuck by them even after they walked off stage in Vancouver after 6 songs.
Growing up in the mid-90s in Canada with only crappy mainstream radio to bring you new music, I also listened to a lot of boring MOR rock (Moist, I Mother Earth etc) in addition to Oasis. But the obsession led me to discover magazines like the NME, Select, Melody Maker, and Q. For a 16 year old in Canada these magazines were a revelation. Since I was buying any magazine that had even the tiniest article about Oasis I very quickly became introduced to tons of bands that were NEVER played on the radio in Vancouver. Bye bye Moist.
Any time Liam and Noel mentioned a band they loved (the Manics and The Verve for instance) I would try and find those records in the shops; I’d buy the records without having listened to a single note. I wasn’t always able to find what I was looking for, but pretty quickly I became ‘That Brit Pop Guy’ and my friends thought my musical tastes were obscenely obscure. Of course in Britain in 1996 owning Everything Must Go and A Northern Soul was not all that odd. In Vancouver it kind of was.
While I don’t listen to Oasis all that much anymore, they still hold a place in my heart. It was because of them that I began to actively search out music on my own rather than wait for it to be played on the radio and it was Morning Glory that made me want to pick up a guitar and write songs. So this week when I found out Noel Gallagher would be playing Sydney I was surprised by how much I wanted to go to see him. The 16 year old Sean might have sold his mother to see Noel play an acoustic-type show and it was the 16 year old Sean that was pretty damn stoked when I somehow got a ticket this morning (NOT EASY). The 26 year old Sean? Well he’s actually hella excited too.