Many of us can link a certain album to pivotal moments in our lives. Whether it’s the first record you bought with your own money, the chord you first learnt to play on guitar, the song that soundtracked your first kiss, the album that got you those awkward and painful pubescent years or the one that set off light bulbs in your brain and inspired you to take a big leap of faith into the unknown – music is often the catalyst for change in our lives and can even help shape who we become.
In this series, Music Feeds asks artists to reflect on their relationship with music and share with us stories about the effect music has had on their lives.
Lawson Doyle, Port Royal – Oasis’ ‘(What’s the Story) Morning Glory?’
Dear Noel Gallagher,
You probably don’t remember me screaming your name at the top of my pre-pubescent lungs at age 15 at one of my first ever concerts – your post-Oasis solo project the High Flying Birds. At age 15 I wasn’t the most confident or happiest young fella, in fact I was quite the opposite, but as the songwriter of that 1995 multi-platinum record (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – I want to thank you for giving me something with substance to believe in.
I was struggling with high school big time, finding myself at the short end of the stick with bullies, life pressures, organisation, sexuality, first love and getting myself a grip on what seemed like a very black and white world. I was a pretty lost 15 year old boy if I’m honest. I didn’t have a lot of friends nor a lot of direction. I wasn’t good at sport, was bored to death by the academic program and I found little passion in anything else but music.
Trap, rap or heavy metal were all the rage at the time. I loved The Beatles, I loved the Stones, but they had been done to death and weren’t incredibly relevant to the average Australian teen in the early 2000s. I didn’t know it was ‘cool’ to be in a band. Oasis were huge then, how had I not discovered this earlier I thought? That record was mind-blowing, and still to this day revolutionary for the time as the ’90s had well wished goodbye the golden era of rock & roll and welcomed the new ‘cool’ medium of electronic dance music. I didn’t fly with that stuff, it felt like everyone around me was living in a different world, all they wanted to do is get on it and zone out to beats. I was looking for more from my music, I was looking for a meaning; I wanted something bigger than bricks and water music to believe in.
One day I was cycling through YouTube watching a mashup video of musical anthems of the ’90s and stumbled across your song ‘Champagne Supernova’. I was in a bit of a slump that night, but that song saved me. I couldn’t believe what was hearing, it was an anthemic mix of beauty, romance and passion moulded into this positive uplifting piece of music that just made me feel powerful in my feet. It was relevant, it was real and the magnitude of its influence was quite obviously substantial. I remember thinking to myself that night, this is perfect, this is worth living for. I had to hear the whole record. From first listen, the flow had me wrapped.
The eloquent bravado of ‘Roll With It’ waltzing into the camaraderie of the anthemic ballad ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ which transitions so effortlessly into feel good bluesy sway of ‘Some Might Say’. Morning Glory shook me where I stood as I heard it beckoning through the stereo for the first time. “Another sunny afternoon, walking to the sound of my favourite tune” – I can tell you Noel, these songs had me wrapped; they were so freeing and empowering to a young person lacking direction. I watched interview after interview of yourself and the band. I began to discover a deeper meaning in what ‘rock & roll’ was all about. The partying, the carry on, the bullshit, that was all extra garbage that goes along in the world of showbiz, but you were far too smart to be caught up in that world for long. The passion and vulnerably in your brother’s voice, the honesty and confrontation of those lyrics; this was about trying to understand life through self-expressionism.
I remember smoking my first ever joint to ‘Champagne Supernova’ in the park one night after a secret mission impossible style escape from the family home. I remember lying in the grass looking at the stars listening to that song. It was about being young, lost, broken hearted, out of whack with the world; it made me feel like everything made sense – you were a real person too. Those tracks are timeless, they are relative to everybody. (What’s the Story) Morning Glory taught me so much about songwriting; composition combined with honesty combined with freedom of expression. You taught me to believe in myself, that it’s okay to be vulnerable, that’s it’s okay to love, that it’s okay to fail but you gotta pick yourself back up. You made me believe I could start a band, that I could do it too, that I didn’t have to do what everybody else was doing – I can’t thank you enough.
Seeing your solo project High Flying Birds for the first time is 2016 was rather bittersweet. I understand where you’re at now, and the legacy you’ve left behind with Oasis will always be there; that was then and now is now. We’ll do our best as Port Royal to keep honest, keeping the passion in the songwriting, wade through the bullshit and keep the positive feel good message of rock & roll alive. I won’t stop believing in rock & roll Mr Gallagher, and I’ll keep walking to the sound of my favourite tune.
God Bless you x
Lawson Doyle (Port Royal)
Port Royal’s latest summery single ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ is out now. You can catch the band from February through May on a huge run of national tour dates. Head here for details.