No Way Sis began as ajoke — then Oasis began to take their Glasgow- based tribute band seriously. As the fakers release their first single to the delight of their own burgeoning following, Fiona Shepherd asks where will it all end?
he first batch of T-shirts announced ‘No Way Sis: You Gotta Fake lt’. The latest line, manufactured to coincide with the debut single, ‘l’d Like To Teach The World To Sing’, bears the legend ‘No Way Sis: Can’t Beat The Real Thing . . .?’
’Doing lines like “I need to be myself/Can 't be no one else”. they always sing that line very tongue-in-cheek,’ says retiring manager Russell Nomark.
Brian Cannon, Oasis sleeve designer and now editor of The Ofﬁcial Oasis Magazine has designed the single cover for No Way Sis. ‘He’s always got a meaning behind his sleeves.’ say the band. ‘If you look at ours, it’s supposed to look fake.’
From this. we learn two things.
One: No Way Sis are totally comfortable with being fakers. They play on being second best. Despite the fact that Britain’s premier Oasis imitators (there are hundreds of Oasis covers bands in Britain) have the advantage of still being able to play relatively intimate gigs and despite their recognition that Oasis concerts lose more the larger they become, they refuse to accept that the No Way Sis experience could be superior to Oasis.
‘We could beat them at football.’ says James ‘Bonehead’ McLardy, ‘but musically we can’t touch them. Couldn’t drink them under the table either.’
Two: the Brian Cannon connection is one of
several direct links to Oasis. While many tribute bands are copying icons who are dead or defunct and have remained tightlipped about their imitators. No Way Sis find themselves wholeheartedly endorsed by their heroes. Oasis. it seems. are delighted that five young Glaswegian whippersnappers are touring the country playing their lovingly-crafted songs to increasing numbers.
Noel Gallagher in particular has given the band greater support than anyone could have expected. From the moment Gerry McKay — or The First Noel to give him his Mancunian monicker — addressed Noel with the words ‘how does it feel to watch yourself play‘?’ the elder Gallagher has been a regular observer from the sidelines. offering encouragement over the single and giving McKay his beloved Les Paul guitar as a present (McKay plays it on the single).
The No Way Sis get-out clause whenever they are accused of cashing in. is that they didn’t form the band for mercenary reasons. When they played their first gigjust over a year ago at Glasgow’s Nice ’n’ Sleazy they were simply paying homage to their favourite band for the proverbial laugh. There was no attempt to look. speak or act like Oasis. merely to sound like them. And there were no expectations.
However, by their second gig they were attracting management interest. The man with the plan was Russell Nomark. named in ‘homage’ to Oasis manager Marcus Russell. He persuaded the band to adopt the stage personas of their mentors. (‘Bjorn Again don’t talk in Aussie accents, do they?’) And how hard is that? ‘All I do is put my hands behind my back and stroll about.’ says Joe McKay — or Liam Malone as he was subsequently christened. ‘People think when l scratch my face it’s part of the act. They must be obsessed.’
No Way Sis: Oh yes, brother Joe (second left) and Gerry (far right) McKay
‘We could beat them at football, but musically we can’t touch them. Couldn’t drink them under the table either.’
NO WAY SIS FEATURE
In addition they acquired a bouncer. Neil O’Terry (Oasis’s bouncer is called. inevitably. Terry O’Neill). an orchestra for the necessary string embellishments and facial hair as and when required by Oasis shaving habits. The main coup. however, was that No Way Sis were fronted by two brothers.
‘The only thing wrong is that the brothers were born the wrong way round. Joe being older than Gerry.’ says Nomark. ‘Very inconsiderate of them.’
En route to their current tour and debut Barrowland appearance ( ‘I hope I can last more than three songs!’ jokes Joe). No Way Sis have seen off the Oasis soundalike competition. including The Gallaghers (scuppered when they were sued by Irish folk combo of same name). Oasisn’t, The Morning Glories and Champagne Supernova who have re-emerged as a Britpop tribute band. They have also played at the official launch of the Oasis CD boxed sets and collected a Capital Radio Award from Creation Records supremo Alan McGee on behalfof Oasis.
And now. a single. The New Seekers/70$ Coke advert standard was gleefully ripped off by Oasis on ‘Shaker Maker’ so No Way Sis thought they’d credit the source and drop in references to several Oasis songs in the course of their version.
‘The first night we played it a guy said to me “Shaker Maker was a bit fast tonight,”’ recalls Joe.
There’s talk of a Top Of The Pops appearance.
The Chart Show will probably love the inevitable pastiche video, featuring Geoffrey from Rainbow as a chauffeur in imitation of Patrick McNee in the ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ vid. All we need now is a public sibling bust-up, cancelled tour and unsubstantiated drug rumours. But that would be taking imitation well beyond the realms of ﬂattery. No Way Sis play Barr-owland, Glasgow on Sat [4 Dec and Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Hogmanay. I 'd Like To Teach The World To Sing is out now. See Edinburgh Hogmanay supplement.
The List 13 Dec l996-9 Jan 199711