Supersonic – Personal Situations With Oasis 92 / 96 is billed as “The fantastic story of the rise of Oasis between 1992 – 96 as told by the fans”. It came out a week ago and we’ve been lucky enough to get an interview with both authors, Stuart Deabill & Ian Snowball.
Supersonic, Personal Situations with Oasis 92-96 is a quality look back on the glory days of Britain’s last great rock ‘n’ roll group through the memoirs and stories of fans worldwide. Also, within the pages is a great collection of unseen pics from the band’s early years from various sources including original drummer Tony McCarroll and Liam’s old mucker Big Un.
This is the 3rd in the series of ‘Personal Situations With…’ by the authors Ian Snowball and Stuart Deabill and it’s arguable that this is not only the best of the three, but also that it’s one of the greatest Oasis biographies you’ll ever read. It’s certainly a collection of engrossing stories soaked in plenty of character and whit.
Wanting to get the lowdown on putting Supersonic together and to of fins out why those early days of Oasis were their greatest Louder Than War’s Carl Stanley caught up with the books authors for this illuminating interview.
Louder Than War: Congratulations on your latest book, what was it like putting it together?
Stuart Deabill: For us it was almost reliving the heady days of the mid 90s with a band we truly believed in. In early ’94 The Roses had gone AWOL. I was bored with house music and although there was plenty of good music about I think Oasis came along at the absolute right time. So to look back through the eyes of myself and other contributors outlooks on the band’s full flight into the stratosphere was a reminder of a great period in my life.
Supersonic is a real ‘fans eye’ view of early Oasis and the mid 90s isn’t it … the first part of the bands career was definitely more influential than their later years, but what do you think made them so great when they broke?
Stuart: I think the sheer will, determination and graft, topped with Northern working class cool and of course a singer that had a fantastic look, voice and attitude allied with a songwriter who was so confident in his songs that he knew they couldn’t fail. Also, the birth of and rise of any band’s career is always the most interesting part for most, but that’s not to say they were poor after 1996, it just seemed that Knebworth was the end of one chapter of the band’s career.
Ian Snowball: Last December I popped into the 100 Club to interview Steve Cradock for Supersonic; both Ocean Colour Scene and Oasis have a relationship that goes back to the early 90s. I caught Steve and his band sound-checking in front of half a dozen people, amongst who was Paul Weller. We had met whilst doing Thick as Thieves and Weller, Steve and I spent 20 minutes talking about it. Both genuinely loved the book. During that conversation I told Weller about Supersonic and he was very positive about it (having seen and liked TAT), in fact he commented that he thought both the Gallaghers would ‘get behind’ what we were doing (in the end they didn’t because we didn’t catch up with them). Also, during our natter I told Weller that we found doing Supersonic was tougher than TAT and that some people ‘seemed’ afraid to talk to us and I said that for many the passion for the band had left them after 96. He sort of agreed and in his own words said ‘yeah I suppose they did level off after What’s the Story. I think this is true, certainly among my mates, after the first two albums a few of them, myself included, lost interest and, I suppose, moved on to other things.
So what’s the books format, can you tell me some of the contributors you’ve got in there?
Stu: We chronologically timeline the period between 1992 – 96 and drop all the relevant contributors pieces, record reviews, gig memories, band bios, personal photos in, as well as over 30 unseen Paul Slattery images who spent a year with them. We also write about what was going on in the UK at that point to place the reader firmly in the time / place.
Alan McGee , Steve Cradock from OCS , Grant Fleming, the photographer who at one point thought he was going to get the nod for Bass duties after Guigsy got ill. Gary Crowley the DJ / presenter talks about meeting them around the time of Shakermaker and then MC’ing at Knebworth, author John Reed was interviewed as was Mr. Sifter and around 30 different fans. People’s memories are sharp, unheard and to the point, so we feel it gives the book a very real insight into what Oasis meant to the fans as well as the people working with them.
Ian: Steve White put us on to a couple of fella’s up in Manc, Richard Dolan and Paul ‘Big Un’ Ashbee. Rich helped Tony McCarroll write his book and Big Un knew everyone that went back to the early days of Oasis. Big Un has even started his own book now, one that will have a tale or two in it. We went to Manchester to meet people and conduct some interviews. Whilst there we spoke with Nigel who owns the clobber store Oi Polloi, this is one of my fave parts of the book, along with Big Un’s and of course Tony McCarroll. But then there are some top contributions from all sort of people; Dylan White, Paul Slattery, Cradock, Craig Gill from the Inspiral’s is really good too. All the contributions are insightful and tell the story of Oasis in the early days.
Are you pleased then with the stories and memoirs that you got for the book?
Stu: I’m really pleased with all of it! At one point we were struggling to get people involved, but bit by bit stories and insights started coming through. A fella called Rob who runs an online shop called The Brit Pop Store was great at helping us track down a couple of Oasis’ associates. There are too many great stories to single out, but I think Big Un’s and Slattery’s stand out as a really close insight into the early period. Also, Peter Bell’s diary account of 1994 next to mine gives some idea into how quick the band went from the likes of The Jug of Ale in Birmingham to The Brighton Centre in the space of nine months.
I know there’s Tony McCarroll in the book as well as Big ‘Un who was there at the birth of Oasis and was Liam’s big mate … what were they like to talk too? Tony released his own book (a great read) a couple yrs back didn’t he?
Stu: The drummer Steve White put us on to a couple of fella’s up in Manchester – Richard Dolan and Paul ‘Big Un’ Ashbee. Richard helped Tony McCarroll write his book Oasis – The Truth and Big Un knew everyone who went back to the early days of Oasis. Both were great to talk to and Richard in turn sorted a meet in Didsbury one cold and frosty January morning with Tony. Tony was fantastic and was nothing like the character that was portrayed by Noel up until his own book was published. A warm, intelligent and engaging conversation was held over several pints of Guinness. We also spoke with Nigel Lawson who owns the clobber store Oi Polloi and knew Liam before the band got signed and met up with drummer Craig Gill, who of course knew Noel when he was a roadie for The Inspiral Carpets before Oasis had formed.
Ian: Tony McCarroll was great to meet, great to spend time with and great to have his support for the book. On the 29th of November he is joining us for an Oasis drenched night at the Pelirocco Hotel in Brighton where we are promoting Supersonic and doing a sort of Q&A session. We are looking forward to this. It’s limited to 50 people so get your tickets quick.
Big Un is a top character, full of beans, shall we say. He has helped us loads and I wish him well with his own book, which he is being helped with by Rich Dolan. Both are good fella’s, hard drinkers and a part of Oasis history. All is revealed in Supersonic.
Of course both of you are big Oasis fans too and were there when they started to blow up, like the now legendary gig at (100 Club ), you were there weren’t you Stuart … what’s your memories of the night?
Stu: The band was certainly making a buzz in London by this point and I made sure I got a ticket for the 100 Club as I didn’t want to chance it on the night. I thought they were OK , maybe a bit nervy, but it was when they played The Marquee in June that I then saw how fantastic they really were live. It was a really hot, intense gig heightened by an idiot who threw a glass at them which in turn seemed to spur the band on. I remember the band hanging round upstairs waiting for the offender to come out as he was also giving it the wanker sign during the gig!
What makes Supersonic – Personal Situations With Oasis special and quite unique is that you have ‘real’ fans stories from across the world, not just the UK?
Stu: With this book we really tried to reach out across the world as we know the high esteem Oasis are held in across all the continents, so we have some contributions from the US, Europe and South America which was lacking in our first book Thick As Thieves. There were one or two stories we had to edit as they could have been liable, but by and large nearly everyone who contributed is in there in some form.
This book is actually number three in your own series of books, with ‘from Ronnie’s to Ravers – Personal Situations in London Clubland’ your other recent release. How successful have they been up to now and what is the book industry like to work in?
Stu: We all know the book industry, like the music industry, has changed. If we were writing books twenty years ago we could probably be earning a living from it. These days it’s just not viable to throw caution to the wind and turn all arts and crafts. In saying that though, money has never been our motivator, we do it because we have the bollocks to try. Also, it’s the angle that we have stumbled across that works. The DJ Norman Jay described us as social commentators and I feel that’s true to an extent.
Ian: We’re documenting history through people’s experiences. This angle really worked with The Jam book T.A.T. I’m always getting people telling me that the reason they like our books is because they see themselves in the stories, they see themselves as part of that history. From Ronnie’s to Ravers and Supersonic has achieved what Thieves did in that respect. Most of all it’s a buzz doing this stuff, meeting people, discovering and learning new things about the Jam, Oasis, etc. and so on … roll on the next book, which is….?
You’ve also got some pretty good ‘book openings’ coming up in London and Brighton with special guests … can you tell us more?
Stu: We have a book launch party in London on October 30th at The Elixir Bar, Eversholt St, NW1 which will feature a book signing and a Q&A with ourselves and The Big Un which should be interesting! He’s a proper character whose stories of working at Man U valeting the players motors are worth the admission alone, never mind hanging about with Liam and Bonehead. (Well, it’s free, but you get my drift) .
Then on the 29th of November we have a special and rare book signing and Q&A with Tony McCarroll. This is going to be at the legendary Hotel Pelirocco in Brighton (Tickets) which we’re all looking forward to. If someone wants us to do an event in Manchester as well, we’re open to offers!
Lastly, do you think you’ll ever cover the later years of Oasis, and have you both got more ideas for future ‘Personal Situations’ releases?
Stu: I hope so, it seems a bit of a strange one for some that we’ve only gone to Knebworth, but the truth of the matter is that we only had five months to complete the writing and of course by Be Here Now (which is probably a book on its own) and Standing On The Shoulder and subsequent tour, the band had totally changed. I think I would have had to go and do what James Caan in Misery does to write and tuck myself away in total isolation to concentrate on that. But without the sledgehammer on the ankle of course!
We’ve both got different projects lined up for the next year or so, after who knows? The Arctic Monkeys are a damn fine band …
Get your copy of Supersonic: Personal Situations With Oasis 92/96 @ from Amazon.
Go to ‘Supersonic’s’ Facebook page here.
Tickets for the Brighton event mentioned above can be bought here.
All words by Carl Stanley. More writing by carl on Louder Than War can be found in his author’s archive.