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Brian: Coldplay are shite, fuck off :)

CARDIFF - So he thinks the same as me, Alan McGee and Liam Gallagher :). Not Noel, eh eh. Some of the things in this interview here were already said, but it's always nice to read them.
With Brian I used to speak in Spanish language :), he was learning quite well. 

With a back catalogue that stands up to anyone’s in the history of cover art and a roll call of bands including Oasis, the Super Furry Animals, The Verve, Suede and the Ruthless Rap Assassins, Brian Cannon the founder of legendary design label, Microdot Creative, is one of the finest creative minds of the past 20 years. He’s also a fucking riot.
Interviews can be a pain in the arse, but when I got the choice to either go to Noel Gallagher’s press conference last Wednesday and listen to entertainment journalists and tabloid hacks ask the same old questions, or interview Brian on the blower from Wigan, there was only one choice.
As a 16-year old kid in a shitty Shropshire town, Definitely Maybe kicked the stuffing out of me musically, it ended the dirge of grunge, sent lads everywhere to hairdressers and sports shops and spawned a thousand piss-poor bands under the Britpop moniker, so the chance to interview the bloke who conceptualised the iconic cover was not one to be missed.
Microdot, named after the lighter-flint looking version of LSD that some idiots used to put under their eyelids, is 21 this year and I talked to Brian fresh off a trip to Cardiff to work with various members of the Super Furry Animals who are doing solo projects. We spoke about his new career as a university lecturer, how he’d love to work with the Arctic Monkeys, how any kid with a Mac can now knock out a logo for £75 and why Beyonce was fucking amazing at Glastonbury. That, of course, and the Oasis juggernaut, Coldplay being shite, Noel’s solo projects and how he’s moving with the times…

Meeting Noel Gallagher…

It’s true, I met him because of a pair of trainers. When I graduated in 1988 I moved to London immediately, then I got into house music and was travelling back every Friday afternoon to Manchester to go to the Hacienda. So I thought ‘fuck it,’ if I was there all the time I may as well move there, so I moved back. The scene was just remarkable. So I got an office in an old cotton mill that had been broken up into little business units. Mine was £20 a week and had no windows in it, which is a bit of a drawback if you’re doing visual stuff, but it was cheap as chips. I didn’t have a computer, I had a photocopier and a drawing board and that was it. And I was doing the early Verve stuff, I’d seen this guy knocking around. You take it for granted now that everyone wears adidas and what have you but back then it was a rarity and mainly ex-football hooligans, or current football hooligans for that matter, I’d been into the football for a while and it was exclusive for that group of people.
I was in Rome on holiday with me Mum in 1991 or 92 and I bought these Adidas indoor supers. I’d seen this bloke knocking around the building, but you’d walk around and I’d clock him and he’d clock me, both too cool for school to say hello. Anyway one day I was in the lift and he gets in and I had the trainers on, which you couldn’t get in England. First thing he said to me was ‘where the fuck did you get those trainers from?’ And that’s how we got chatting. He asked me what I did, I told him, he said ‘who’ve you done?’ so I told him I’d done a couple of Verve singles by that point and he said ‘no way, I think they’re really good.’ Then as he got out of the lift he says ‘I’m in a band and when, not if, when we get signed I want you to do the artwork,’ and that were it and he was good to his word.

Seeing Oasis live for the first time…

The first time I saw Oasis, and I think I’ve seen them play something like 70 times, was at the Hop and Grape bar at Manchester Uni, probably holds about 300 people. Noel had been fucking mithering me to come and watch them but you know what it’s like, we’d become friends by this point and if a mate of yours plays in a band your like ‘they’re bound to be shit aren’t they?’ He was cool but I thought they’d be shit, all bands are shit except for a handful over the past 20 years or whatever, and I was worried about what I’d say if they were shit. But I went along and they were amazing. I was with Marcus Russell (manager) and Johnny Marr who Marcus had persuaded to come. It was super early on this and there was no looking back after that, I became the biggest walking advert for Oasis that you had ever seen, people thought I had gone mad. I was just ranting ‘this band are fucking brilliant they’ll be bigger than Led Zeppelin,’ and people were like ‘what the fuck are you going on about?’
The live show was like a fucking juggernaut coming into the room it were just ace. Before they showed their arses in public they were rehearsing 7 nights a week they really put a shift in. All of them are really nice blokes, Tony gets a hard time but I got on really well with him, all of the time we used to have a laugh, just constantly laughing. A lot of bands these days, and this really pisses me off, they’ve just been signed and they think the world owes them a living and they just turn into knobheads. You’ve got to remember that before Oasis Bonehead who was the eldest was a fucking plasterer. He knew how lucky he was, he woke up every morning and just went ‘Yesssss’ because he didn’t have to plaster walls anymore. They just knew it was a gifted situation they were in and they were gonna grab it with both hands. It was just an amazing phenomenon to be involved with.

Creating the Oasis logo…

The first meeting I ever had with them as a band took place backstage at a gig at Sheffield uni, I believe they were supporting the BMX Bandits! Fucking hell, the BMX Bandits supported by Oasis. Any road, like I said I never normally referred to other sleeves when I was doing a sleeve because you run the risk of becoming derivative or doing pastiches which I’m not about. But on this occasion, because it was the first time I’d met them and wasn’t sure what they were about, I took a load of books with me of classic album covers and classic rock photography and they liked a lot of the early Stones albums like Out of Our Heads. But more importantly they used to have the Decca logo on the front, and it hit me like a ton of bricks in the meeting that it would look ace with Oasis like that on it. Everyone knows it as the definitive Oasis logo and it started to go all downhill when they changed it.

The Definitely Maybe cover…

I don’t remember much about the conversation for Definitely Maybe, we decided it was going to be a band shot and did it at Bonehead’s house. I saw on some website recently that some idiot in some debate about Oasis’ artwork said ‘I hate that cover’ and my first thought was ‘nobhead’ because it’s ace, it’s like someone saying that they don’t like The Beatles, get a fucking grip mate. So I asked him why, and he said ‘it’s so aspirational.’ Which it isn’t, the inference was that these guys were shitkickers from Manchester and they all live in slums and they’ve had their picture taken in this posh flat. That was offensive in the extreme. The idea was that it wasn’t posed but it was, we spent weeks before the shoot with me sitting in every position and being photographed to build up a composition.

On getting The Verve to use Oasis as a support band in 1994…

It was my idea, you can fucking print this, it was all down to me, this is rock and roll history. You’ve heard of the famous Oasis swirl cassette, there’s only ten in existence, the last one went for £2500 on ebay. Noel gave me one but I can’t find the cassette, but I suppose the box would be worth a fair bit. On that Verve tour I drove round in a Renault 5 playing the cassette to David Haliwell the Verve’s manager. And he said this is amazing, and I told Richard that he needed to have them supporting and I introduced them. That tour was something else, no separate dressing rooms, we all just mucked in. They played one in Edinburgh and the power went and the crowd was getting restless and Bonehead went out and played the spoons singing she’ll be coming round the mountain.

The Rock And Roll Lifestyle…

Do you know what, I say this a lot. There’s some things I can’t reveal and wouldn’t. There’s a cracking story about Noel at a fancy dress party at Ronnie Wood’s house, I can’t tell you the rest, not that Noel would give a shit but… fucking hell. We were all so normal and down to earth and what we got up to was no different than what you and your mates got up to. There was a lot of boozing, a lot of cocaine knocking about and a lot of laughing. It was just a fucking piss up, just having a laugh, they were that open about it that there aren’t really any hidden stories, we took drugs, so fucking what. Noel said it all when he said it was as normal as having a cup of tea because it was. We got pissed, got hammered and had a laugh. Nobody was raping virgins or slaughtering animals, it was just so exciting knowing that you were part of something that would be remembered forever. It’s a good job I didn’t know then what I do now it would’ve driven me round the bend. We weren’t blasé about it though, we knew it was super super special and we were all very privileged to be there.

I preferred the intimacy of the small gigs but Maine Rd was ace, the second night in particular. I was e’d off my face in the top tier of The Kippax and nearly fell out. Knebworth was too big, and Loch Lomond. The Cork gig was good but that is because of the crowd. It all blurs into one, not cos I was off my head all the time but there was so many gigs. I loved the start, when it was all just kicking off, there was a real buzz and we were like a secret little gang.

Putting a Rolls Royce in a swimming pool…

The Be Here Now album, which incidentally a lot of people slag off including Noel, is a fucking great record. The original idea was to shoot the individual band members at any location in the world of their choice to make a composite image. Noel wanted to go to the mountain from Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Guigs wanted to go to Jamaica but we changed our minds in the end, nothing to do with budget mind, we could’ve have done anything we wanted. Bonehead wanted to be shot next to a pool with a Rolls Royce in it to hark back to the Keith Moon story which never actually happened, so that was that and we set about finding a location that would let us put a car in their swimming pool. Despite what people think that wasn’t done digitally, that car is in that pool. It was scrapped with no engine and it cost us a grand. And all the props around the pool have no meaning whatsoever, I just took Liam and Noel down to a BBC props warehouse in White City and they picked loads of random stuff, it was total nonsense. It’s a sign of what was going on at the time, people say it was over-produced or whatever but it’s Be Here Now for fuck’s sake. It’s bollocks, it’s Oasis’ last great album…

On stopping working with Oasis…

There was no fall out, I worked again on the 10 year anniversary of Definitely Maybe DVD. It was a crazy time, half the band had left, Guigs had gone, everyone’s head was up their arse, Noel and Liam were falling out and Noel wanted to go in a new direction. I didn’t have a god given right to do it, Robert Freeman did four or five Beatles albums and didn’t do the rest, that’s the way it goes. As it happens it was probably best I didn’t do the others. Oasis was the best time of my life and I’ll always look back on it with incredible fondness and it certainly didn’t do my career any harm. No hard feelings, no animosity, no fallout.

On current bands…

I’d love to work with the Arctic Monkeys. They carry the torch, it goes all the way back to the Pistols, then The Smiths, then the Roses and Mondays, then Oasis and now it’s the Arctic Monkeys, I’d love to work with them, stick that in, they might get in touch. Apart from that, there’s a young band from Wigan called GlassHeads who I think are brilliant. Theres another band who I like called The Suzuki’s who are like a british Nirvana without being maudlin. And I thought Beyonce was ace at Glastonbury, what a fucking performance. But I can’t be arsed with Coldplay, middle-class kids who try so hard to be cool, defacing pianos and guitars. Just fuck off.

On Noel’s album

Noel’s a genius songwriter and you don’t lose a talent like that. I haven’t heard any of the stuff but I hope it’s really, really, really good because if it is it will be ace and loads of people will get onto it. He’s an amazing person, top bloke to work for, genius songwriter and I’m expecting great things. But when you’ve got Definitely Maybe as a yardstick it’s difficult isn’t it?
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Oasisblues copyright © 1994 - 2017

Beady Eye gigography and next tour dates

2000

30 May - Forum, Milan, Italy (the first "Noeless" gig since 1991 when he didn't join Oasis yet)

summer tour without Noel

2003

16 November - Andy Bell unplugged - Debaser, Stockholm, Sweden (bootleg)

2011


3rd & 4th March - Barrowland, Glasgow, Scotland +here and here + bootleg
6th & 7th March - O2 Apollo, Manchester +bootleg 1 +bootleg 2
9th & 10th March - Troxy, London +bootleg 1
13 March - Casino de Paris, Paris, france
14 March - E-Werk, Koln, Germany
16 March - Alcatraz, Milan, Italy +dvd bootleg
18 March - La Riviera, Madrid, Spain +bootleg
19 March - Bikini, Toulouse, france
21 March - Paradiso, Amsterdam, Holland (bootleg)
22 March - Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium (bootleg)
14 & 15 April - The Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland here a bootleg image
17 April - Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 April - O2 Academy, Newcastle (a photo here)
23 April - Centre, Newport (photo and bootleg)
30 May - Grosse Freiheit 36, Hamburg, Germany
+a photo here + win tickets here
8 June - Saschall, Firenze, Italy +my story here +bootleg here +win tickets here
11th June - Papillons de Nuit Festival, Saint Lo, france
12 June - Isle of Wight festival +story here and here +interview here +videos here +interview and bootleg here
25th June - Theater of Living Art, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
30 June - Rock Werchter, Belgium (bootleg)
1 July - Main Square Festival, Arras, france +a photo here
7 July - BBK Live Festival, Bilbao, Spain
9 July - Oxegen Festival, Naas, Ireland
26 August - Reading Festival (win tickets) +videos here +review&video here +bootleg here
3 September - AX Hall, Seoul, South Korea
14 September - Twinkle Rock Festival, Taipei, Taiwan
7 October - Atlantico, Rome, Italy +main bootleg here +another bootleg here
+win the concert here
11 October - Volkshaus, Zurich, Switzerland (postponed)
13 October - Gasometer, Vienna, Austria (postponed)
31 October - Theater Caupolican, Santiago, Chile
2 November - Teatro de Verano Ramon Collazo, Montevideo, Uruguay
3 November - Teatro Colegiales, Buenos Aires, Argentina
4 November - Personal Festival, Buenos Aires, Argentina
5 November - Planeta Terra festival, Sao Paulo, Brazil
12 November - O2 Academy, Sheffield
14 November - O2 Academy, Birmingham
17 November - O2 Academy Brixton, London
2 December - The Warfield, San Francisco, U.S.A.
3 December - Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, U.S.A. +another complete review here +win tickets here and here
5 December - First Avenue, Minneapolis, U.S.A.
6 December - The Rave Ballroon, Milwaukee, U.S.A.
9 December - Terminal 5, New York, U.S.A.
10 December - House of Blues, Boston, U.S.A.

2012

new tour

2013

3 June - Abbey Road, London (acoustic) +bootleg here
7 June - McClusky's, Kingston (album launch acoustic gig)



8 November - Olympia Theatre, Dublin, Ireland

2014

Noel Gallagher solo gigography, and Low Lying Turds tour dates

(although his blinded fans say he's a "new solo artist", it's 20 years he's around and already played "solo" gigs previously (the first one in 1994), with the help of other people of course, as the Unplugged 1996, the gig for Tibet, the tour in 2006-2007, London, Milan, Manchester, Moscow, Los Angeles, Toronto, Paris, Australia, etc.)

2010


25 March - Royal Albert Hall - London

2011


28 November - Alcatraz - Milan, Italy + review here +video bootleg here +audio and video bootleg here

2012


lost interest... even Noel got bored of himself

10 April - Auditorio Banamex - Monterrey, Mexico (cancelled)

END OF THE HIGH FLYING BIRDS

2013

fans leave the gig again and ask for Liam again
..... € 10 = £ 8
 

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