A Paris auction house will next month sell a guitar smashed backstage at an Oasis concert in an incident that triggered the break-up of the British supergroup and a long-running fraternal feud between star frontmen, Liam and Noel Gallagher. Later repaired, the red Gibson’s destruction at the French capital’s Rock en Seine festival in 2009 was “a cult moment” in music history, said Jonathan Berg, a guitar expert and cofounder of the Artpeges gallery holding the auction.
With a starting price at 150,000 euros ($160,000), the auctioneers say bids for the guitar could reach 500,000 euros ($540,000) in the sale on May 17. A flagship of the 1990s Britpop movement built around the notoriously fractious Gallagher brothers, Oasis scored global success, selling 60 million albums and birthing hits like “Wonderwall” and “Don’t Look Back In Anger”. The band had been slated to play at Rock en Seine in 2009 towards the end of their year-long “Dig Out Your Soul” global tour-named for their album of the same name.
But “things had been brewing for a while between the two brothers,” Berg said. “It exploded backstage, one of Noel’s guitars got broken and that led to the group breaking up.” An eager crowd waiting for the pair to appear were stunned to get the message that Oasis was history. The dramatic split set off years of public barbs between the brothers via the press and social media that have gradually cooled off. Both have continued making music since they parted ways, but have repeatedly ruled out getting Oasis back together.
Noel told AFP in 2015 that solo work was “more rewarding, it’s more fulfilling. I like being in charge of everything.” “I just write songs and I collect the songs together and I make an album out of them.” Following the band’s split, Noel sought out a guitar-maker to repair his smashed instrument, a Gibson ES-355 built in 1960 that he called the best guitar he ever played.
A London-based French luthier, Philippe Dubreuille, managed to put it back together two years later, and Noel played it again for a while with his group Noel Gallagher and the High Flying Birds. But the musician “got rid of it in the end, because it reminds him too much of Oasis,” said gallery founder Berg’s partner, Arthur Perault.
Also on the auction block, but expected to fetch much lower bids is a set of bondage gear worn by Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore in a 1980s photoshoot. And a rare vinyl signed by both Jimi Hendrix and beloved French rocker Johnny Hallyday is up for grabs.
Hendrix signed the record after a 1966 concert in eastern French city Nancy, when a fan of “Johnny” sought out her idol in a cafe, but found only his supporting act, the then-unknown Jimi Hendrix Experience. Some 45 years later, in 2011, French Jimi Hendrix expert Yazid Manou put the owner in touch with Hallyday to finally complete the autograph collection. Both items are expected to sell for up to 12,000 euros. – AFP