Noel Gallagher - Calgary Sun - 21st March 2006
Oasis braintrust Noel Gallagher doesn’t think success has come too fast or too soon for the Arctic Monkeys, who are currently enjoying “Next Big Thing” status in England.
The Sheffield band’s first CD, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not, broke first week record sales for a debut disc in England when it was released earlier this year.
But fellow Brit Morrissey was recently critical, saying the band members, who are all aged 19 or 20, haven’t earned their success and that it’s unnatural and undeserved.
“It happens when it happens man, and I would say thank God that it does happen,” said Gallagher, speaking to The Sun in a print exclusive interview, hours before the Arctic Monkeys opened at Oasis’ sold-out Toronto show.
“You’d be a bit of in idiot if you said, ‘No, I’m too young for a record deal.’ ”
Gallagher also stresses the notoriously enthusiastic British music press has gone a bit overboard in the myth-making department when it comes to the Arctic Monkeys.
“The way it’s written up in Britain is not really reflective of how it is,” he said. “They’ve not sold 50-million albums. They’re not on the cover of Time/Life magazine. And they’re not as big as The Beatles yet.”
One comparison in the English music press is that the Arctic Monkeys’ debut is the biggest thing to come out of England, since, well, Oasis’ 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe.
“We used to sit and read things about us and think, ‘Are they talking about the same band?’ ” remembered Gallagher.
“If the music didn’t stand up, but you’ve only got to listen to the tunes. They’re unique to themselves.
“It doesn’t sound like anybody else and I like the way that they don’t wear shirts and ties and blazers.
“You can always spot an English group by the amount of hats there is in the room.”
Still, Gallagher thinks their unique quality is frontman Alex Turner’s lyric-writing what he calls, “the word play and all that.”
“That hasn’t happened for awhile in England,” he said. “A lot of music since Oasis started has all been very melodic and about the songs more than the words.
“I think the Arctic Monkeys, a lot of it is about the wordplay. ’Cause they are quite stunning lyrics to be honest.”
And, ironically, that could be their downfall in terms of success beyond England and around the world.
“The thing about the words, it’s alright if you understand them, if you’re South American and can’t speak English, I don’t know,” said Gallagher.
“But will it translate? The sound is quite rock ’n’ roll, do you know what I mean? It’s kind of funky in a way. Whether it will translate, I don’t know.
And even if it doesn’t translate well, Gallagher says the Monkey’s probably don’t care.
“They’re just doing their thing. And when this kind of thing happens in the first two years, people will dislike the Arctic Monkeys purely for all the hype that surrounds them but that’s got nothin’ to do with them.”