Bonehead was in Glasgow for former Oasis singer Liam Gallagher's first show with new band Beady Eye. The pair hadn't seen each other for five years. Bonehead formed the nucleus of the band which added Liam and brother Noel and became Oasis. But the guitarist quit the band in 1999, during the recording of Oasis' fourth album, Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants. Back then, he claimed he wanted to spend time with his family. But he's since admitted he thought Oasis had lost their spark and should have quit after their massive Knebworth shows in 1996. He laughs at critics who have said Beady Eye sound like Oasis, pointing out it that's because the line-up includes Liam, Bonehead's guitar replacement Gem and Andy Bell. He said: "I saw them in Glasgow and Manchester and I think it's the best I've heard Liam singing, ever. He's totally on form. Beady Eye are just going to get bigger and better."
While he still thinks he got out of Oasis "at the right time", Bonehead is sad that the band he formed in Manchester ended in a big brawl. But, he added: "I was glad because Liam would go to the right, Noel would go to the left and the music industry needs both doing their own things. It's going to be good for music."
Would he play with either of the brothers again? "I'd play with them for a charity gig, of course," he added. "We never fell out. People thought we had a dramatic fall-out and a fight but we never."
Although Noel is godfather to his daughter, the guitarist was bitchy when Bonehead quit Oasis, saying: "It's hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles."
Bonehead laughed: "He was a bit bitter but that's just Noel being Noel. I got away lightly."
Although he's played in a couple of bands since leaving Oasis, Bonehead sees his guitar and production work with John Mackie as his first proper musical venture since leaving Britain's biggest band. Singer John was in a band with Bonehead called The Vortex When it fizzled out, the pair started demoing John's songs and decided to build a band. They play Blackstairs Lounge, Wick, on March 25, 20 Rocks, Falkirk, on March 26, Drummonds, Aberdeen, on March 27 and King Tut's on March 28. For most people, the draw will be Bonehead rather than John. But the guitarist reckons this will change by the end of the year. He said: "People will come to see Bonehead in a new band but, by the end of the year, everyone is going to know John for who he is."
While The Vortex played Primal Scream-style pschyedelia, John's solo music is more emotional. The setlist is mainly John's songs but there is one number by Bonehead. He said: "It hasn't got a name yet so it's called Bonehead's Tune."
What exactly is his role then? He said: "I play guitar and I produce. We formed the songs at my studio at home."
Maybe Bonehead is content. Certainly the royalties from playing on albums Definitely Maybe, (What's The Story) Morning Glory and Be Here Now, mean he doesn't have to go back to his old day job as a plasterer. He's kept some of the fixtures from his front room that was used as the cover of Definitely Maybe. The house has been sold but Bonehead has the fireplace and used the stained glass to make a door. He may be moving on but he'll always be Bonehead from Oasis. Does he mind?
Paul enthuses: “It’s going to be good because I haven’t done anything for a while. John’s been around on the Manchester scene for a few years as a solo artist and he’s pretty well known. We lost the singer in our old band (The Vortex), and we got John in. Then when that split and fizzled out, we just got stuck into doing some recording, me and John. We just seemed to gel together workwise and in the studio, so we just thought we’d make a go of it so we recruited a bass player and drummer just before Christmas. I have a very good feeling about it and can’t wait to get out on the road, actually."
So, is Paul’s new material in the indie vein?
“Indie yeah, but big powerful songs written by John,” Paul replies. “Big life stories, pretty emotional songs, quite personal to John, but what everyone can share and make something of – really powerful words.”
The new group hope to record with the legendary Owen Morris, who produced the first three Oasis albums in addition to The Verve’s Northern Soul and The View’s debut release.
And now for the inevitable Oasis questions. Credit to him, Paul deals with them in extremely good grace, clearly in complete understanding of the awe in which the band were, and still are, held.
Obviously, he left in 1999 before the lesser material of the later years and the friction between the Gallagher brothers eventually caused the bitter end of Oasis. Dare I ask if he was glad to have been proved wise in hindsight by leaving before it all went wrong and the quality of their output sharply declined? Impressively, he refuses to say a bad word about anyone connected with the group.
When Paul decided to make a break from the band, he cited the need to spend more time with his family, especially his two children who were just toddlers at the time. What’s it like now that they’re old enough to attend his gigs and critique the old man? Do they understand the legacy he has been a part of?
Bonehead's Bank holiday