Oasis Documentary ‘Supersonic’: The 20-Year-Old Questions We Hope Are Finally Answered

So, the upcoming Oasis documentary, created by the team behind last year’s Amy Winehouse documentary Amy (including producer James Gay Rees and executive director Asif Kapadia), now has a title: Supersonic, named after the band’s 1994 debut single.

It also has a timeline, charting the band’s career from that single to their legendary two-night consecutive gigs at Knebworth in August 1996 – capacity a staggering 125,000. The producers have promised that the film will use original archive material, along with original interviews, and even Liam himself endorsed it on Twitter:

Here’s the poster:

Given that we know the period it will cover, these are the long unanswered questions we hope the documentary addresses.

What happened at that infamous Los Angeles gig?

Oasis were turbulent from the start and their September 1994 show at LA venue Whisky A-Go-Go was a sign of things to come. Showing admirable levels of childishness, Liam change the lyrics of ‘Live Forever’ to “Maybe I don’t really wanna know / Why you pick your nose” (it should have been “How your garden grows”), whacked Noel over the head with a tambourine and insulted American audiences. Noel was so annoyed he buggered off to San Francisco straight afterwards, though was coaxed back by their record label, Creation, for a show in Minneapolis. Liam’s behaviour has never been explained (until now, hopefully).

WTF are those lyrics about?

Let’s consider the lyrics to ‘Supersonic’: “I know a girl called Elsa / She’s into Alka Seltzer / She done it with a doctor / On a helicopter”? It’s been alleged that the nonsense-sounding words reference everything from prostitution to a dog owned by one of the band’s engineers (let’s not read too deeply into the latter), but what is the truth? It’d be good to have the matter cleared up once and for all.

Why did original bassist Paul McGuigan briefly leave the band briefly in 1995?

He cited “nervous exhaustion”, though tour manager Ian Robertson put it down to a fractious relationship with Liam, allegedly saying at the time: “More than anybody, Liam’s venom poison surrounds him.” McGuigan was replaced by Scott McLeod, who dropped out in the midst of a US tour due to homesickness, allowing the original member to make a glorious return at the band’s legendary show at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom in October 2005. We’d like to know, though, which account of his departure holds true.

Why did Noel really push out original drummer Tony McCarroll?

A theme emerging here: the Oasis line-up was the definition of a revolving door. Noel fired McCaroll in 1995, publicly mocking him and claiming that he wasn’t up to scratch when it came to playing newly written Oasis songs. Speaking to NME in 2010, McCarroll implied it was an abrupt and rather bewildering thing: “I keep wondering why we never sat down in a pub where it all started and said, ‘You know, this ain’t working out’, pat on the back for each other or whatever. Things could have been better.” Explanation, please!

Was Knebworth really that lavish?

Apparently the backstage areas at the 1996 Knebworth shows were super lavish, a free-for-all with an endless supply of booze and food. Writer Roy Wilkinson was there and has said: “To anyone with a pass it was all free, all day. It wasn’t that exclusive either. The music-industry types were diluted by numerous family and friends… Portraitists and magicians [were] permanently on call. Professional entertainers wandered the marquee offering tricks and caricature sketches.” We’ve heard the accounts but it would be fascinating to see footage that captured this, what with the music industry being a more restrained place these days. Fingers crossed for October.