Friday 15 December 2017

Chilled out to the Bone

Parlour Flames – Paul Bonehead Arthurs and Vinny Peculiar
Parlour Flames – Paul Bonehead Arthurs and Vinny Peculiar
Barry Egan

Barry Egan

'I have no regrets," Ingrid Bergman once said, "I wouldn't have lived my life the way I did if I was going to worry about what people were going to say."

Bonehead chose to leave one of the biggest rock bands in the world in 1999 – Oasis, the group he formed eight years previously. He says he doesn't regret it for a second and he will always feel it was the right thing to do. It wasn't a decision most people would take lightly, to walk out on the band that had made him, Paul Arthurs, a working class lad from Manchester, rich beyond his wildest dreams.

Bonehead had had enough and felt that the magic had gone from the band anyway. So he walked out of Christian Dior's chateau in the south of France – where he and the rest of the group were staying while they recorded Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants – and never came back.

At the time, he said in his official statement that he wanted to spend more time with his wife Kate and family (his first child, Lucy, was born in 1995 and had a certain Noel Gallagher as the godfather; and his son, Jude, was born in August 1997).

All these years later, Bonehead is honest enough to admit that he "would have been lying to myself and the fans of Oasis if I had stayed. We weren't the same as we were any more when we started as a gang of lads in Manchester. We were hanging out in palaces in France. I just wasn't feeling it any more," he says.

One of the founders of Oasis, he was born in June 23, 1965, in Burnage, but the nickname Bonehead emerged in his teens and it has stuck to this day. He has since abbreviated it to Bone.

His front room was immortalised on the cover of Oasis's first album Definitely Maybe – one of the greatest debut albums of all time – in August 1994, with the fireplace and The Good, The Bad & The Ugly playing on the TV. "That movie is forever on my telly," he jokes. Oasis, and Bonehead, will go on forever because of the two timeless classics they bequeathed the world – the aforementioned Definitely Maybe and its follow-up (What's The Story) Morning Glory?

In terms of the legacy, he believes that Oasis should have stopped after the second night of Knebworth shows in 1996 – they had played to 300,000 fans over two nights with nearly three million people applying for tickets. Oasis were at their pinnacle. It went downhill from there and Bone thinks they should have ended at the top, with dignity.

"We were at our best," he says. "From when we started off in Manchester, if someone had said to me that you will have a quarter of million people in a field shouting your name, you know, I wouldn't have believed them."

"That gig at Knebworth," he continues, "went beyond what we believed we could achieve. I thought 'where else can you go after this?' I think if we had just bowed down and at the end of night, said 'Thank you, good night, thanks for coming along for the ride and we are Oasis', we would have gone down in history, as 'oh what a band'."

He has glorious memories to look back on, however: his mum and dad in a box at the home of his father's beloved team Manchester City as he played onstage with Oasis. "I'll never forget that for as long as I live."

The former Oasis guitarist's new band Parlour Flames – with the man he describes as "Salford alt-pop troubadour, Vinny Peculiar" – have an intriguing new album. It is out-of-kilter psychedelic rock that Liam Gallagher recently described as like Laurel & Hardy music with cool lyrics over the top (meaning it as a compliment). Who knows, it might even be better than Liam's new Beady Eye album. I'm In A Band is one of the stand-out tracks.

"Vinny has an incredible way with words," Bonehead says of Mr Peculiar.

"That song was inspired by a night out with Mike Joyce (The Smiths). He was stuck in a car park and he wanted to park in this space. Somebody came over and said: 'You can't park there, that's my space.' And Mike just said: 'Go away! I'm in a band!'"

For what he did in Oasis, Bonehead will have a car park space in Heaven waiting for him.

Parlour Flames play a live performance at 2pm at Tower Records on Wicklow Street in Dublin on July 5 with a live gig later that night at the Mercantile on Dame Street in Dublin

Irish Independent

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