Oasis star Noel Gallagher on snubbing 'cultural phenomenon' Trainspotting and why it would be unlikely to get made today
But when Trainspotting arrived in cinemas 25 years ago there was one band notable by their absence from the accompanying album sleeve.
A quarter of a century on, Oasis star Noel Gallagher has hailed Trainspotting as a “cultural phenomenon” which would be unlikely to be made today.
But he insists his band were right to snub the soundtrack, after mistakenly believing Danny Boyle’s film following a group of heroin addicts in Edinburgh was actually going to be about a bunch of railway enthusiasts.
A host of pop and rock stars linked to Irvine Welsh’s original novel, the big-screen adaptation and its soundtrack, including Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie, legendary singer Iggy Pop and groundbreaking dance music group Underworld have been interviewed for a new book published to mark the film’s 25th anniversary.
Jay Glennie’s book recalls how the soundtrack, which featured 1990s Britpop acts Blur, Pulp, Sleeper and Elastica, as well as rock icon Lou Reed, was heavily influenced by the personal tastes of Boyle and Welsh.
Producer Andrew Macdonald recalls: “Danny wanted Oasis. Musically they were the biggest band of the Britpop era and of course from Manchester, close to Danny.”
Gallagher says: “We were at our fu**ing height. I had never heard of Irvine Welsh or the book.
“Somebody called the office and asked did we want to record a song for the soundtrack of a pretty cool film that was coming out.”
Glennie’s book how Gallagher was horrified at the prospect, saying: “Trainspotting? Who the f*** wants to watch a film about f****** Trainspotters?!”
Asked by Glennie if he regretted the rejection in hindsight, Gallagher says: “No, of course I f****** don’t. The 90s were great for me and I sold enough records. Rightly the soundtrack was huge and it hit at the right time. It was the last hurrah of the music industry. CDs were selling in their millions.”
Glennie reveals how Gallagher ended up befriending Irvine Welsh – but only after being offered the use of a private jet to get to a gala screening at the Cannes Film Festival at the behest of movie mogul and Oasis fan Harvey Weinstein.
He say: “I’m pretty sure that I hadn’t seen the film by the time I went to Cannes. I was too famous to have gone to the cinema. So the first time I had seen it was in Cannes. I fu**ing loved it/
“I loved Irvine the minute I met him. We got on so well and spent the weekend partying together.”
In an introduction to the book, Gallagher says: “Would you get Trainspotting made today? I’m not sure you would.
"The world has gone into a state of paralysis, magic and art seems to have been destroyed and also spontaneity. The f****** internet has destroyed the ability to do or say anything; everyone has to pipe up and be a critic in the name of free f****** speech.
"We are living in a very corporate, right wing, stuck up its own arse f****** world, where art and artists have been marginalised. Nobody is pushing the boundaries.
"Irvine and Danny, and Ewan and Jonny, the whole Trainspotting team didn’t give a f*** about what anybody else thought and that’s how great art is created.
“Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction are the greatest films of the 90s.”
Iggy Pop, who agreed to allow Lust for Life to be used for the film’s thrilling opening sequence on Princes Street, was another fan of the book.
He says: “I got a big chuckle out of the whole thing. The gang in the book reminded me so much of The Stooges. I felt a sense of fatherly pride toward the character ‘Sick Boy’, who had obviously been derived from my song Death Trip.
"I was also happy about the scenes in which he spends his girlfriend’s birthday present money to go see me play Barrowlands.”
A private screening of Trainspotting was arranged for Pop to see the film before its premiere.
He recalls: “The track had been used two or three times previously in films, as a background and an excerpt. Well, of course this was nothing like that. It took my breath away. Here was the music I had struggled for so very long, up front and immediate. Loud as f***, perfectly detailed, and brilliantly acted, in its entirety. Wow. That never happens. So that was great, to put it mildly.”
The book recalls how Primal Scream recruited the help of Irvine Welsh to secure a slot on the soundtrack after the author let slip that Blur and Pulp were being lined up.
Gillespie, whose band would get a sneak preview of the film courtesy of Welsh, says: “We bloody loved Irvine’s book.
“I had the early edition with the silver cover with two guys wearing masks. I loved it, especially the Scottish dialects. To me it is a book about post-adolescence, although with me my adolescence went into my late 20s and 30s.
“But in that post-adolescence period you are struggling to work out who you are and who you are hanging out with, and I think Irvine’s book captured that.”
More reluctant to be involved were Underworld, who did not want to be connected with anything “glorifying drug use”.
Co-founder Rick Smith recalls: “We said no to every request and they continued to grow.”
Die-hard fan Boyle eventually invited Underworld them to his editing suite to try to win the group over.
Smith says: “We had complete faith in Danny and just left it up to him where he wanted to use our songs.”
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