Gem Archer - The Star Online - 17th February 2006
Much has been said about the Gallagher brothers and the current health of the Oasis bandwagon. It has been more than a decade since the heights of Britpop and arguably the fortunes of guitar bands from that era have not been too good. In fact, only Oasis has soldiered on (with mixed results surrounding each new album) while many others have fallen by the wayside.
In recent times the Manchester-raised band has spent more time overcoming critics and staging comebacks in a bid to revive the band’s significance in today’s music scene.
But there is no argument that when it comes to the stage, Oasis remains a force to be reckoned with.
Now it seems, more than ever, that Oasis is falling back into the fold of live music and touring its current release Don’t Believe The Truth across the globe is one of the factors that has kept the band’s name in the headlines.
As the band takes on a few dates in Asia, including a stop at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Feb 23, it’s timely to remember the energy and buzz surrounding Oasis’s road trek that will see the band finish off its 12-month world tour in Mexico late next month.
Guitarist Gem Archer spared some time for a brief phone interview recently from Melbourne, Australia.
“Liam said it was one of the Top 5 shows we’ve played. Ever! It was great man, really great. There are certain places in the world where the reception is really great like Glasgow and Melbourne’s like that,” said Gem with much enthusiasm.
As noted during this world tour, the setlists have been all about new Oasis material. Well, it took the band close to three years to come out with a new album, and there is no reason to hide behind the old hits. With tunes like Lyla, Turn Up The Sun, A Bell Will Ring, The Importance of Being Idle, Mucky Fingers and more from Don’t Believe The Truth playing a bigger prominence at recent concert sets, Oasis has proven it is more than capable of mixing the rocked up new material with the classics on this tour.
To date, the Oasis tour has gone without a hitch. Remember the regular instances of Noel Gallagher quitting in the middle of a tour, the band accident in the United States in 2002 and Liam’s bust-up in Germany in 2003? No such incidents have plagued the band so far. Left with a month, Oasis plans to tour hard before heading into the studio to do another record.
Gem, who joined Oasis in 2000 after the recording Standing On The Shoulder of Giants, noted: “Liam wants to go to the studio now. It’s one of those things, you know. We’ve got six albums worth of material but we’re loving it, loving what we do as a band; touring and then it’s back to the studio to record more songs.”
Even though the Gallagher brothers are the only original members of the band now, all the current bandmates play a role when it comes to making music, including bassist Andy Bell.
“The way we make music is that everybody writes. Either we do a demo together or I do a demo with Noel or Andy will do one in Sweden (it’s where he lives). For this album, producer Dave Sardy picked the songs out and it was a good batch of songs.”
For a first time Oasis songwriting credit, Gem provided the standout A Bell Will Ring on the album.
It also helps that Noel has got his own studio filled with vintage gear whenever they want to record a track or demo.
“When we do a demo, it’s more like a first take and it’s not like a usual demo. For the guitar solo in The Meaning of Soul, it was just one take. When it comes to recording, we do it really quick. A song can take a day and we can record five songs in a week and have a break after that,” revealed the 38-year-old.
Gem used a Fender Esquire plugged straight to a Vox AC30 for the record and said that the Fender is his favourite axe.
“Noel loves his Gibson ES335 in the studio but live, it’s a different story.”