Paul Slattery tells NME.COM about their early days on the road
Oasis photographer Paul Slattery launched a book of rare photographs trailing the band in their early years prior to and following the launch of first LP ‘Definitely Maybe’ in London last night (November 26).
The snapper marked the occasion by laying on a small exhibition of his work from ‘Oasis: A Year On The Road’ at the Gibson Guitar Studio while the band’s debut album was played on repeat.
From March 1994, Slattery had total access to the band as they criss-crossed the globe during their speedy ascent, which saw them going from playing small club gigs to sold-out arenas.
“The first gig I saw them play was in the 100 Club (in London) but within six months they were playing big theatres and I just thought, ‘Shit, they’re going to go all the way’,” he explained.
“But I didn’t realise they were going to do it so quickly though. Within a year they were playing Sheffield Arena to 10,000 people.”
Slattery first hooked up with the band at Eden Studios in west London through mutual friend and band engineer Mark Coyle.
“I took a case of beer down there and I had unfettered access to the band,” he said. “It was unbelievable because when you see a great band like that you just become a teenager again. I lost 30 years in one year.”
The photographer, who shot the band in black and white, went on the road with them to Japan and the US, where he snapped a comical shot of Bonehead and tennis legend John McEnroe.
Slattery recalled: “There is a great picture of McEnroe in the book with Bonehead, who’s pulling a funny face. He was always great to work with because he was like the clown prince of Oasis.
“When things were shit Bonehead would be the one that would go, ‘Come on you fuckers, we’re a rock and roll band we’re going to have fun’. He kept people’s spirits high.”
But the snapper’s favourite shot in the book and moment with the band depicted Liam Gallagher leaning into the crowd at a gig in Nagoya in September 1994.
He recalled: “Every single one of those pics has a story but I must admit that’s the best. It was an amazing night and there was something special happening with the crowd.
“It was the first time I’ve ever seen them do an encore, and everybody at the end of that gig was just in tears.”
As Oasis got bigger and access became more difficult Slattery stopped shooting the band, and has never worked with them since to this day.
“By that time things were getting difficult and it was harder to deal directly with Noel (Gallagher) because very few people had mobile phones in them days so I couldn’t just call him up,” he explained.
“I’ve not done anything with them since because I’ve always had that philosophy that I like to see bands when they are small and hungry – that’s the excitement, and that’s what rock and roll is all about.”