Feb. 9, 1996 -- Compared to the Madonna-Evita hubbub in Argentina, the ongoing public spat between the English bands Blur and Oasis may seem inconsequential, but dumb fun is fun nonetheless, and now that both bands are touring here regularly, Blur at this very moment, in fact, Americans can begin sharing the yuks with a legion of UK pop fans. Oasis has lately pulled ahead a bit in the "next big band from Britain" sweepstakes, so we dispatched our new LA correspondent, Serena Altchul, to solicit Blur's views when they rolled into town. Here's her report.
SERENA ALTSCHUL: With a strong foothold in European soil, Blur is now touring in the United States to build its following. And here tonight at the Wiltern, the house was packed.DAMON ALBARN: It seems blatantly obvious that if you come up with the right formula in America or anywhere for that matter, if you consistently churn that stuff out, then you're just going to become a huge stadium band. I mean, we like the idea of being
popular, but not at the cost of becoming bland, trite, rubbish, crap.
ALTSCHUL: Blur has been sharing tour dates with The Rentals. Both bands have a real appreciation for vintage keyboard synthesizers.
DAVE ROWNTREE: Well we were looking at their equipment as well...the girl's equipment...
ALBARN: You show me your Moog and I'll show you my Moog!
ALTSCHUL: While Blur and The Rentals got along just fine on their joint tour leg, the band has a very different relationship with their fellow countrymen in Oasis. That band's Noel Gallagher has spoken strongly and often about their running feud. Now here's Blur's side of the story.
ALBARN: I don't know who started it.
ALEX JAMES: All I said was "We're bigger than Oasis!" and now there's all this.
ALBARN: Which we're not!
JAMES: We are in Denmark!
ALTSCHUL: You don't know how it all started or when it started?
ALBARN: We started it, they started it, we started it together.
We sat at down at a table and said "now how can we all sell loads of records?"
ALTSCHUL: So has it all been a scam?
JAMES: Everyone loves a dust up.
ALBARN: It's a rock and roll swindle!
ALTSCHUL: Blur's upbeat melodies are often at odds with their lyrics which offer poignant and sometimes dark observations of everyday life.
JAMES: Music's best when it's talking about sweet sadness, those kind of things.
ALBARN: When you come and see us live, I think all of that goes out the window. I mean, last night we played in San Francisco and it wasn't anything to do with words and intellectual manifesto. It was just, we rocked, I think.
ALTSCHUL: Did you guys enjoy the show?
MAN 1: Most definitely. Fifth time I've seen them. Just as brilliant as ever... and as far as this Blur/Oasis thing, Blur is number one and Oasis is blah!
MTV: Have you ever seen them before?
WOMAN 1: No, I haven't.
WOMAN 2: No, it's our
first time, and definitely, we want more.
WOMAN 3: I thought they were very energetic, they kept the audience's attention the whole time, I thought they were great.
MAN 2: Yeah, Oh my God, it was amazing. The energy that Damon spurted out... It was so amazing. It was the best show I've seen in a long time.