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Media Blitz

September 08, 1996|Dave Jennings, from London

Ah, remember the good ol' days when rock stars knew how to behave--like Keith Moon and Keith Richards?

That was the surprising message of an editorial in the Daily Telegraph, Britain's most conservative paper--one of the most bizarre of many twists to the recent Oasis split and subsequent reunion.

With Liam Gallagher having temporarily bolted the band as it was about to embark on a U.S. tour, citing stress over the sale of the house he and his fiancee, actress Patsy Kensit, lived in, the paper deplored the fact that it was such matters as this that led to personnel problems in modern rock bands rather than the more dramatic intra-band battles of yore.

It might seem surprising that the publication even felt the need to comment at all about the matter, but the Oasis Crisis dominated news coverage in the U.K., overshadowing even the royal divorce and the build-up to the next general election.

Coverage of the band's outdoor shows at Loch Lomond and Knebworth last month had already led to a number of stories comparing the Manchester quintet to acknowledged role model the Beatles. It intensified when Gallagher, pleading severe laryngitis, failed to join the band on stage for its Aug. 23 taping at the Royal Festival Hall of an "MTV Unplugged" session and left brother Noel to handle lead vocals. (MTV Europe officials were not pleased at all, and at press time it was still unclear whether the network will go through with the scheduled debut of the show on Oct. 14.)

When Liam fled Heathrow Airport after receiving word that his house had been sold, the matter blew up into huge proportions. Some stories inevitably cast Kensit as "the new Yoko" breaking up the country's most beloved band, while one publication hired a psychic to offer "insights" into the relationship between the Gallagher brothers. Meanwhile, it was widely reported--and vehemently denied--that Liam (who rejoined the band Aug. 29 in Chicago) had been undergoing therapy to help him overcome the problems of fame. Creation Records, the band's U.K. label, is pursuing legal action over that allegation.

"I think Liam is a very strong person," says the band's spokesman, Johnny Hopkins. "I think he's handled all of this impeccably, and hats off to him for doing it. I don't know how many people could have taken that barrage of abuse. He's not buckling at all. He's not mad, he's mad for it."

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