Oasis was formed by Liam and Noel Gallagher and it has been one of the biggest rock bands in the world from the moment they started. That meant having no loose ends in their group, and the band wouldn’t go the distance if they still had Tony McCarroll.
Before Noel joined the band, McCarroll had been a part of the proto-Oasis group The Rain and was originally known to be pretty competent behind the drumkit. Although Noel initially hesitated to join his brother’s band, everything changed once songs like ‘Live Forever’ were written. The group had a certain magic, but McCarroll started to find himself out of step with the rest of them.
Reason Tony McCarroll was fired
During the production of Definitely Maybe, many tracks started derailing because of how sloppy McCarroll’s drumming was. In a documentary on the album released years later, Noel talked about just how frustrated he became trying to show McCaroll the drumbeat for the song ‘Bring It On Down’, recalling:
“I had been telling for fucking ages ‘It goes like this’. We had a session drummer come in with Tony there, and it must have been awful for him, but whatever. And then the session drummer couldn’t get it right”.
While most of the band was likely to go along with ‘The Chief’, McCarroll was determined to show Noel he could play it, knocking the song out in one go after getting worked up about it. The rest of the sessions weren’t much better, though, including a moment on the final record where the band almost went out of time with each other during the beginning of ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol’. Once the tapes got into the hands of producer Owen Morris, he covered up the blatant error with the song’s signature hiss sounds.
As the band went on the road, McCarroll’s punk-leaning side of playing wasn’t working out, causing most of his bandmates to gang up on him. In the Supersonic documentary, soundman Mark Coyle mentioned how tough it must have been for McCarroll, saying:
“You’d have to feel for the boy. I’ll put my hand up with the rest of the band and say I gave him a terrible time as well”.
Before the tour had even finished, Noel already knew that McCarroll had to go, thinking he could never pull off the drum performances needed for future songs like ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’. The final straw came towards the end of the tour when McCarroll told Noel off, remembering:
“He said something, and I was just like ‘Fuck you, mate’. I told in so many words what I thought of him. I kinda regret that a touch”.