In the summer of 1990, Tony McCarrol joined his three pals, Guigsy, Paul “Bonehead “ Arthurs and Chris “Huts” Hutton in a band called The Rain. Within a year, the band ditched Huts and brought in Liam Gallagher as frontman. Liam made no bones about declaring he didn’t like the name The Rain, telling the band:
“It’s a s*** name. Any ideas? No? Right, we’ll call ourselves Oasis.”
Liam went on to bring in his brother Noel Gallagher and Oasis went from obscurity to become a global phenomenon in the space of a year, achieving world-wide recognition and selling over 70 million records. Following the release of Definitely Maybe – the fastest-selling debut of all time – things came to a head and Tony left the band.
Since leaving the band Tony has since became a successful event speaker, worked in TV and Radio and written a book back in 2011 ‘Oasis the Truth: My Life as Oasis’s Drummer‘ which is a very well written, heartfelt and honest account of his time in the band.
He sits down with us at Northern Exposure to discuss his career, past & present.
Definitely Maybe celebrated its 25th anniversary this week. During the recording of the album, did you all feel as something special was in the making?
“I think when the band first started gelling in the early days was when we all knew we were part of something special. The sound we created together was unbeatable. I’m not sure I realised at the time of recording that Definitely Maybe that it was going to be so huge due to it being our debut album and trying to break into the market. Quite a nerve wracking period. One thing we did know was that if we were given our chance then it would only be a matter of time the people would appreciate the vibes we were feeling and just how good the band and songs were.”
Were you prepared for just how much it took off?
“Again, I cant say that I was. But us being us and where we came from we weren’t afraid of anything that was put in front of us. We lapped it up because we didn’t know how long the whole thing was going to last. An attitude of ‘Bring it on’! The more the better!!’ We were initially looking for a way out of our mundane lives as opportunities for us non academics were limited and we were going to play the game as best we could, even though it might have been short lived. Our attitude to the whole thing ended up serving us well.”
Was there a certain point where the success of the band really hit home?
“A few milestones for me. The first being our appearance in the national tabloids and News at Ten with the ferry incident to Amsterdam (All of Oasis got taken into custody for being drunken disorderly back in 1994). We hadn’t even released a single and already the nation was intrigued!.”
You’re currently in the middle of a tour of Q&A events around the UK – what can fans expect from these gigs?
“I’ll try and be as honest and open as I can about my time in the band and all its ups and downs. Rock stardom isn’t as always glamorous as it seems.”
The relationship between Liam & Noel is obviously still a very well documented part of Oasis. Were the tipping points evident even in those early days?
“Having 2 brothers in a band was always going to be quite a volatile situation to be in. They led the band and I’m almost certain that without that energy we wouldn’t have been as successful. They took everyday stress out on each other at the same time as creating a massive energy that could have imploded at any given second.”
Would you go back and do it all over again?
“Absolutely. If ever they did reform I’d hope I’d be invited along to be part of it. If I could go back and re-live it all again I certainly would. Though it lasted only a few years I would love to do it again. Some of the best memories in my life!!! If ever there was a reunion and I wasn’t part of it I’m sure I’d be there re-living happy days gone by.”
What was your favourite song to play live?
“It’s got to be Bring It On Down or Headshrinker. I used to love thrashing the kit up punk styley to big tunes like them.”
I’m sure that there were a few, but what is the fondest memory of your time in the band?
“It’s got to be our first appearance at Glastonbury. Walking out on that stage mid afternoon and somewhat an early slot to a sea of 40k or so people that had turned up to see us. The band and career were in very early stages and to realise that people had bought into and appreciated us and everything we were about is most definitely a very proud moment.”