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“You need another guitar”: Johnny Marr recalls “constructive criticism” he gave Noel Gallagher after early Oasis gig

“It would be hard to exaggerate how few people were there,” remembers Marr.

Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr on stage together in 2014, both with guitars in hand. Marr is singing into a mic and is pointing outwards with his right arm.

Image: Ollie Millington / Getty

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Johnny Marr once gave Noel Gallagher a guitar following an early Oasis gig where he noticed the band were taking a long time to tune up in between songs.

Back when Oasis had only just decided on their name, and there were below 20 people at their gigs, Marr met Gallagher and the two of them just “clicked.”

He’d only seen Liam Gallagher “around town” at this point, but as his friendship grew with Noel, Marr went along to watch an Oasis gig, and ended up giving some constructive advice to Noel afterwards, who he could tell was “on a mission” with his music.

“They’d just called themselves Oasis. And it would be hard to exaggerate how few people were there,” remembers Marr in an interview with Q1043 New York (via Ultimate Guitar).

“I know there was more than seven, but there was definitely not 20 – and they were all the band’s friends. So, let’s say there were 14 people there. And they went on at 7 PM – it was still bright outside – and I watched them.”

He continues, “He called me the next day or a couple of days later and said, ‘What do you think?’ And I said to him, ‘It’s great, fantastic, well done.’ But he seemed like he wanted some constructive criticism, so I just said, ‘Well, you take a long time tuning up before numbers – especially when there’s only like, 11 people there.’

“So I said, ‘You need another guitar.’ Quite rightly, he said to me, ‘Well, that’s OK for you to say, Johnny Marr.’ So, I put the phone down and thought, ‘OK, he needs a couple of guitars, right?’”

From then, Marr went on to loan him a couple of his own, including a Les Paul he used in The Smiths that was given to him by The Who. “It was owned by John Entwistle [The Who bassist], but it was a ‘Who guitar.’ And so I sent that over to him and it blew his mind,” says Marr. “And then very soon after that, I saw him using it, so I just said, ‘Keep it.’”

Marr says he didn’t give it to him with the premonition that Oasis would “conquer the world”: “Well, maybe Noel thought that! And he was right. I could do it and I was able to do it, so I gave him that guitar.”

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will continue to tour in December. Find out more via his official website.

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