Collaborations don’t get much more biblical than this. Solo star, Oasis legend and force-of-nature Liam Gallagher has teamed up with John Squire, one of the most influential guitarists and songwriters of his generation via his time with The Stone Roses. The duo will set a high watermark for 2024 when they release their first single together, ‘Just Another Rainbow’, on January 5th, with more new music to follow as the year unfolds. The single is now available to pre-order on 7” vinyl and to pre-save at HERE.
It takes mere seconds to identify ‘Just Another Rainbow’ as the work of the duo, as John’s instantly unforgettable psychedelia-tinged guitar motif leads into a classicLiam vocal – full of passion, personality and utmost conviction. And from here it becomes exactly what you’d hope the duo to deliver: layers of guitar that spin seemingly effortlessly from the infectious melodic rush that recalls ‘I Am The Resurrection’ to an intensity that echoes ‘Love Spreads’, all topped by Liam’s signature star quality.
John says, “To me the most obvious take on ‘Just Another Rainbow’ is that it’s about disappointment, and the sentiment is that you never get what you really want. But I don’t like to explain songs, I think that’s the privilege of the listener, it’s whatever you want it to be. To me, it’s also one of the most uplifting tracks we’ve made together, which is weird.”
Liam adds, “I think John’s a top songwriter. Everyone always bangs on about him as a guitarist, but he’s a top songwriter too, man, no two ways about it as far as I’m concerned. There’s not enough of his music out there, whether it’s with the Roses or himself. It’s good to see him back writing songs and fucking good ones. The melodies are mega and then the guitars are a given. But I think even when you take all the fucking guitars off, you can play the songs all on acoustic and they’ll all still blow your mind.”
While this represents the duo’s first collaboration together, the first time they were in a room together was way back in 1989. The then 16-year-old Liam attended a Stone Roses gig at the International 2 in Manchester around the time their self-titled debut album was released, a show that he describes simply as “life-changing.” It was another four years before they met when both bands were recording in Monmouth, Wales: Oasis had just started work on what would become ‘Definitely Maybe’ while The Stone Roses were deep into sessions for ‘The Second Coming’. And when John first heard ‘Definitely Maybe’ he knew it was something special within the opening few bars of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’.
Their friendship continued in the subsequent years, notably with the pair writing ‘Love Me and Leave Me’ for John’s later band The Seahorses, who also toured as guests to Oasis. But it wasn’t until John jumped on stage at Liam’s gargantuan Knebworth Park show for climactic performances of ‘Champagne Supernova’ that the prospect of working together on something more substantial became a reality.
With John enthused by both the prospect of working with Liam as well as the rush of performing in front of huge audiences again (his final Stone Roses show was six years ago by this point), the idea rapidly took shape. John sent Liam an initial three songs (Liam’s review? “All mega”) and then quickly wrote some more, with the duo then collaborating remotely and sending each other reference points. They were all the greats. Hendrix. The Pistols. The Faces. Bob Marley. And, erm, The Bee Gees.
From thereon in, the project took on a life of its own. Liam arrived at John’s studio in Macclesfield and vowed to complete vocals for two demo recordings each day, a promise that he stuck to, and soon enough they had a catalogue of killer songs to choose from. From there it was off to Los Angeles for three weeks of sessions with revered producer Greg Kurstin who plays bass on the record, with drums courtesy of Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M., Atoms for Peace). They unlocked a shared musical intuition that felt so natural it was almost as if they had always been a band.
There will be much more new music to come – and there could well be shows, too – but for now ‘Just Another Rainbow’ lives up the highfalutin expectations that come with such a collaboration.