He was a guitarist in one of Britain’s greatest-ever rock bands.
Now former Oasis member Bonehead – real name Paul Arthurs – is returning to Portsmouth to inspire musicians and raise the profile of a mental health charity.
He’s going to jam with Salford-based songwriter Alan Wilkes, whose stage name is Vinny Peculiar, during a workshop at The Pyramids Centre, Southsea, on Friday, May 24. Guests will get the chance to play their instruments with the stars and get expert tips.
Money raised will go to Tonic Music for Mental Health, which helps people with mental issues to find healing through music.
Bonehead, who was part of Oasis during their early 1990s heyday, got onboard after Vinny encouraged him to.
Bonehead played at The Wedgewood Rooms, in Albert Road, Southsea, in 1994, as Oasis’ star was rising.
He has been back to Portsmouth since to perform with other groups.
‘I remember playing in Portsmouth back in the early days, back in 1994,’ he says.
‘It’s a nice city. I’ve been back a few times since. It’s always a great feeling to get out on stage. Vinny was approached about doing a mental health set and he said to me come and get involved.
‘I just thought yeah, I will come and do that.
‘The more I look into issues surrounding mental health and what it’s about and how music can be a therapy, the more it’s changed my outlook on things.
‘It makes you think about how fragile life can be.’
Bonehead, who lives in Manchester, split from Oasis in 1999 during the recording of Oasis’ fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants.
In his official statement at the time he said he wanted to spend more time with his family.
His daughter, Lucy was born on 23 January 1995 and his son, Jude Arthurs was born on 12 August 1997.
Taking a moment to reflect, Bonehead says: ‘It was a hell of a ride. It took two years to get my feet back on the ground. A lot happened between 1994 and 1999.
‘So much happened so quickly.
‘It took two years to discover the real me again.
‘I built a studio at home and messed about and had a side project with Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke from The Smiths.’
Bonehead then founded a band called The Seeves before becoming a radio presenter on BBC Radio Manchester, a role he held for a year and half.
Despite having moved on with his life, Bonehead knows that people will always remember him for what made him famous.
‘I am always going to be tagged as someone who was in that band,’ he says.
‘It (the experience) was absolutely incredible.
‘It was the best time. You had to be there to experience it. It’s something I will always look back on with great pride.’
Bonehead says he’s still in contact with the band’s vocalist Liam Gallagher, who is now frontman of Beady Eye.
That group is also made up of former Oasis members Gem Archer, Andy Bell, Chris Sharrock and now former Kasabian guitarist Jason ‘Jay’ Mehler.
‘I am in contact with Liam, Alan and Guigsy,’ Bonehead says.
‘I bumped into Noel backstage at one of his concerts in Glasgow last year.
‘I am supportive of what they are doing and they are supportive of me too.
‘I think some of the spark left Oasis after I left but it looked like they had got it back a few years before they split up.
‘When I was there, there was a massive spark and one of the reasons why I left was because that spark was beginning to fade for me.’
Bonehead said his greatest memory of being in Oasis was then they performed two shows at Knebworth in 1996.
Each concerts attracted more than 125,000 people.
More than 2.6 million people applied for tickets, making it the largest ever demand for shows in British history.
‘We went down there before hand and it just felt like a dream,’ Bonehead says.
‘We came in by helicopter, which was just amazing.’
When asked what his favourite Oasis album is, he replies: ‘It’s got to be Definitely Maybe. It’s the whole rawness of it.’
Bonehead has had a passion for making music for as long as he can remember.
‘I was lucky to have a guitar hanging around the house and I picked it up and taught myself.’
He also talks about how music can influence the way you feel.
He says: ‘You get a warmth inside your body when you play.
‘It’s nice to listen to music as well.’
Though Bonehead won’t be stopping in Portsmouth for long, he’s due to come back.
He and Vinny and will perform at The Pyramids again later in the year.
‘Unfortunately doing this kind of thing doesn’t give you the time to get on your feet and take in the local history,’ he says.
‘But hopefully in October we will get some time to soak up the history.’
They’ve also been working on an album together as part of a new project called Parlour Flames.
The record, which is of the same name, will be released by Cherry Red Records on CD, vinyl and in the form of digital tracks on the web on Monday.
‘To be quite honest, for the last year I have been heads down,’ Bonehead explains.
‘It’s very exciting.
‘It’s the first thing I have put my name to since I quit the band and that speaks volumes.’
Vinny has a history of working in mental health and knows how important it is to reach out to those who need help.
‘Not everyone’s health remains consistent throughout life.
‘There is a lot of struggle, and music is a great way of releasing those struggles.
‘Self-expression is therapeutic.
But he stresses that the workshop is open to anyone who wants to learn more.
‘It’s not just for people who have mental health issues, the invitation is open to everyone,’ he says.
‘It’s about getting creative and sharing ideas.’
THE MAKING OF the LEGEND
Oasis, who were originally known as The Rain, were formed by vocalist Liam Gallagher, Bonehead, bassist Paul ‘Guigsy’ McGuigan and drummer Tony McCarroll.
They were then joined by Liam’s older brother Noel Gallagher, who wrote most of the band’s favourite hits including Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back in Anger, Slide Away and Live Forever.
The band split up in August 2009 following a bust-up between the Gallagher brothers backstage at the Rock en Seine festival near Paris just minutes before it was about to begin.
Guigsy left the band around the same time that Bonehead did in 1999.
Noel set up a new band called Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds in 2011, while Liam is now in Beady Eye.
Part of the name is taken from the song High Flying Bird by Jefferson Airplane.