It’s the stuff of Indie dreams – the announcement that Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Stone Roses guitarist John Squire have been working together on an album. Get your anoraks ready, lads.
It’s not entirely a surprise. The pair teased the possibility of a supergroup a couple of days ago with the very 2000s move of the launch of a website (you’ve gotta have a base for the merch, right?), gallaghersquire.com (the correct order of the names, otherwise it sounds like a minor character in Robin Hood), allowing for the pre-order and pre-save of a forthcoming single, Just Another Rainbow.
The pair – two of Manchester’s most influential musical figures; genuine icons of my home town – have worked together before, though their association goes back even further, to the day in 1989 when the then 16-year-old Gallagher attended a Stone Roses gig at the International 2 in Manchester, an experience that he describes as “life-changing.”
The two men (by that time) met for the first time four years later, when both The Stone Roses and Oasis were recording in Monmouth, Wales: Oasis working on their first record, what would become Definitely Maybe; The Stone Roses crunching their way through The Second Coming (oh to have been a runner at those studios!).
After Squires left The Stone Roses, Gallagher worked with him on a song, Love Me and Leave Me, for Squire’s band The Seahorses, who also toured as guests with Oasis; later Squire came on stage at Oasis’s massive Knebworth Park show in 1995 to play Champagne Supernova (and again last year, when Gallagher played the same venue, this time as a solo artist).
The Stone Roses, with Squire, had last played live in 2017, and the thrill of playing in front of a large audience again sealed the deal for Squire. He sent Gallagher three songs, all of which Gallagher pronounced “mega”, wrote a few more, then the pair began to collaborate remotely, pinging ideas off each other and sending over references such as Hendrix; The Sex Pistols; The Faces; Bob Marley; The Bee Gees.
“I think John’s a top songwriter,” says Gallagher. “Everyone always bangs on about him as a guitarist, but he’s a top songwriter too, man, no two ways about it as far as I’m concerned. There’s not enough of his music out there, whether it’s with the Roses or himself. It’s good to see him back writing songs and f***ing good ones. The melodies are mega and then the guitars are a given. But I think even when you take all the fucking guitars off, you can play the songs all on acoustic and they’ll all still blow your mind.”
After intense work at Squire’s studio in Macclesfield, the duo took their new catalogue of songs to Los Angeles for three weeks of sessions with producer Greg Kurstin (who also plays bass on the record, while Joey Waronker, who has played with Beck, R.E.M. and Atoms for Peace, provides the drums).
Speaking about the new single, Squire says, “to me the most obvious take on Just Another Rainbow is that it’s about disappointment, and the sentiment is that you never get what you really want,” which feels quite on-brand. “But I don’t like to explain songs, I think that’s the privilege of the listener, it’s whatever you want it to be. To me, it’s also one of the most uplifting tracks we’ve made together, which is weird.”
Article by NANCY DURRANT (culture editor) of The Standard (www.standard.co.uk)