Look Back In Anger – How To Quit A Band In Style

With both Noel and Liam Gallagher still in verbal lockdown (unless you count the views of Italian waiters), perhaps the best thing we can take from the Oasis split thus far is Gallagher Snr.’s rather superbly written leaving statement.

As you’ll have read, it brims with the kind of knowing arched-eyebrow persona he’s become synonymous with, and though undoubtedly upsetting (if you’re a fan, anyway), it’s also way more juicy than anything you’ll have seen in the tabloid coverage of the split.

“It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight,” Noel jumps straight in with. Ponder that sentence for a moment. Only “some sadness”, but “great relief”? What a killer, eh? Talk about breaking it to the fans gently, Noel.

Those words, coupled with the most cutting bits from the Tales From The Middle Of Nowhere blog that followed, bear an intriguing similarity to Paul McCartney’s now legendary Q&A press release that let the world know he was quitting The Beatles.

“I feel you have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable,” Noel’s second statement goes, before he ends it once and for all by saying: “And the lack of support and understanding from my management and band mates has left me with no other option [than to quit].”

The real killer in Macca’s piece, by comparison, is every bit as blunt – and wounding, for the fan – to read:

Q: “Is your break with the Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?”

A: “Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family.”

Ouch. Talk about breaking it gently, Paul etc etc etc…

Macca’s Q&A, which is printed in full in Richard Di Lello’s excellent Apple Records memoir ‘The Longest Cocktail Party’ (funnily enough hailed “a fucking brilliant book” by one N. Gallagher), is at times so similar in tone to Noel’s two statements that you can’t help but wonder if he revisited it before writing his own. As well as the ‘please do read between the lines’ elements of each (check Macca’s answer for why ‘Junk’ and ‘Teddy Boy’ weren’t on Beatles records) and the oh-so out of place attempts to sully the heaviness of the situation with humour, both also place their authors firmly in the ‘It’s not me who’s the problem, it’s my bandmates’ camp.

John Squire, when he quit The Stone Roses, did the same thing, as the following – printed in NME on April 13 1996 – shows:

“After lengthy deliberation, it is with great regret that I feel compelled to announce my decision to leave The Stone Roses. I believe all concerned will benefit from a parting of the ways at this point and I see this as they inevitable conclusion to the gradual social and musical separation we have undergone in the last few years.”

Ouch. Again. Etc.

So, Noel’s been “forced” out, Squire’s “compelled” to be the one who jumps ship first, and Macca’s gone solo because working with Linda – rather than John, George and Ringo, presumably – means working with someone who “believes in me – constantly”.

You have to admire Ian Brown, who brought the curtain crashing down on the Roses debacle in October 1996 in magnificent fashion, saying:

“Having spent the last ten years in the filthiest business in the universe it’s a pleasure to announce the end of the Stone Roses.”

We can take two things from all this. One: Rock’n’roll is streets ahead in the softly-softly world of ‘I quit’ statements. You can’t really imagine anyone in sport, TV or business publishing anything as devilishly ‘fuck you’ as what’s been mentioned or linked to above, can you? Two: Away from the frivolous subtlety and (admittedly enjoyable) smarminess most musos seem to favour for this type of thing…maybe it takes a frontman to really say it best, eh?

Over to you, Liam…