He’s been described by some as Creation’s golden boy. The ex-member of Ride, Hurricane#1 and now a full-time member of Oasis. We caught up with Andy Bell and he talks to us exclusively about his proudest moments, the end of Creation and life with Oasis.
You spent 10 years on Creation, what would you define as your proudest moment?
Seeing the first Ride EP in the shops, and the first couple of years, when it was all ‘on the up’. It felt good when Ride and Primal Scream got Creation into the charts and onto Top of the Pops for the first time. It felt like we’d beaten the system.
Were you sad when Alan decided to leave?
I felt bad for all the staff. I was sitting in the pub down the road from the office the day he told them all. He’d sprung it on them after The Sun ran a leaked story about it, and so there were all these people wandering into the pub completely gutted, totally taken by surprise, even the ones who had been there for years. But no, I wasn’t sad for Alan, It was obvious that he wasn’t happy and he had to do what he had to do. He had taken the label as far as he could.
You must have made some great friends on the label.
Yeah, just through being involved with the label for ten years, quite a few of my mates are people I’ve got to know through the Creation experience.
How does it compare to being on Big Brother?
The people who dealt with the band while they were on Creation are now running Big Brother so as far as Oasis are concerned it’s kind of similar, just more efficient. Creation was flakey because it was always all about Rock and Roll. Big Brother is there to put our records out and thats pretty much it.
Before Ride signed to the label, did you have any aspirations of what you wanted to achieve in your musical career?
I started playing the guitar when I was nine, and I always knew I’d be in a band. I wanted to put records out and play gigs and be a pop star.
Are you proud that Ride still have a big following all these years later?
The people who liked us then seem to still like us now. That’s pretty cool, it means that the music has lasted for a few years.
How’s your relationship with Mark these days, did you get the chance to see The Animalhouse many times?
We talk on the phone now and then. We’re mates again, we have been since a few months after the split. I saw Animal House a few times. One of their first gigs was supporting Hurricane, and they also supported Oasis a couple of times last year. Marks songs are great, and I like the band, but I think they waste Loz’s talent a bit. He’s a phenomenal drummer.
Was much of your relationship blown out of proportion in the latter Ride days by the press looking for a story?
Well there was a bit of tension flying about for a while, then the rumours started, and the press kind hurricaneof stirred it all up. It became a self fulfilling prophesy. By the end it was definitely true that we all couldn’t sit in a room together but I think that happens to most bands at some point. You either get over it or split up.
How about Alex Lowe, do you still stay in touch with him and have had the opportunity to listen to his solo recordings?
I saw his first London gig last year. He has a new band and a new LP although I havent heard the album yet, his live set was good, especially the cover of Stay With Me by the Faces.
Why do you think the press were so harsh towards Hurricane#1?
When we started out we got a lot of positive press around the single ‘Step Into My World’, and a lot of Radio play. The single did really well, so we were in the spotlight straight away. I obviously had my history with Ride, but I didn’t want to talk about that, so all the interviews centred around how I’d had these auditions and found the band members that way. I think people felt like that was not ‘for real’ enough or something.
Meanwhile, Creation’s reaction to the success of the first single was to go into marketing overdrive, a bewildering and unsettling experience for any band, especially when you end up a year later owing the label so much money that they can force you to do an advert for The Sun just so they can get some back. The big budget videos and everything else just turned the presses noses up even more, and in the end, the whole experience did take it’s toll on the band. I ended up leaving the country to try and get some peace, and to write the bands third album. I hit a huge writers’ block, and ended up, to all intensts and purposes, retired from music. After a few months of that, Oasis called me up.
‘Step Into My World’ I personally think was one of the great singles of the late 90’s, have you tried to convince the others to include this in an Oasis set one night. It would sound great with Liam singing.
I agree it was a good single but… get real dude.
How’s Idha? Does she still write songs and will she be releasing any records in the future?
She’s doing fine, thanks. The answer to both questions is yes.
Any plans for any future solo ‘Andy Bell’ recordings?
I will probably get around to it one day.
If you had to recomend one record of yours, which one would that be?
One of the first two Ride albums. I can’t decide between them.
Have you had a chance to listen to many Poptones records? Any predictions or recomendations?
I’ve heard quite a few CDs from McGee. My favourite so far is January. There’s one particular song on their album that blows me away.
Do you ever get the chance to go to Oxford these days? Your life must have changed a lot in the last 18 months.
Yes I go back now and then to see my folks.
Reading ’92 was an amazing gig, but last summers Oasis gigs in the UK were equally as special. Was it quite moving being part of such big shows.
Walking onstage at Wembley Stadium was mad. Except for the birth of my daughter, it was the most moving thing that ever happened to me.
How’s the new Oasis album coming along?
Really excellent. It’s a bit tantalising because we’ve started loads of songs but there are no vocals on yet, and we’ve stopped to do this American tour. But what’s been recorded so far has got me totally excited about the album. We’ll get back to work on it later in the year.
Was it strange the first time you heard Liam singing one of your songs?
It was awesome. I think he’s better than Lennon, Elvis, or anyone else. And he knows a good pair of shoes when he sees one.
Any UK gigs planned for this year?
There’s nothing in the diary yet.
Finally, is there anything you want to say to the kids today?
Yes, in the words of Phil Spector, ‘Be Good to Rock and Roll, and Rock and Roll will be good to you’. And eat your greens.
Interview: June 2001