Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (born 23 June 1965, Burnage, Manchester, England) is one of the founding members of English rock group Oasis and rhythm guitar player from 1991-1999.
He is almost exclusively known by his nickname Bonehead, a reference to the short back and sides haircut his father made him have when he was young.
Childhood and early musical career
Arthurs was born in Manchester to Irish Catholic emigrants. His father worked in the demolition industry. Arthurs supports Manchester United.
He left school in 1981 and worked as a plasterer. He started his first band in 1984 - called Pleasure and Pain. Around this time he began a relationship with Kate, who he would later marry. In the late 1980s, while working as a building contractor, he started a band with his friends, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass), Tony McCaroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). They called themselves The Rain, after The Beatles B-Side, "Rain". During this period, Arthurs owned a van which he used to transport the band's equipment to Hutton's garage where they would perform. The van was nicknamed The Bonemobile and was decorated by Guigsy with a psychedelic mural when they took it to The Stone Roses' 1990 gig at Spike Island.
Oasis and role therein
When Hutton quit, he was replaced by Liam Gallagher. Liam changed the band's name to Oasis. Gallagher and Arthurs teamed up as co-songwriters. However, the band was still unsuccessful until Gallagher encouraged his brother Noel, who had just come back from travelling the world as a roadie for Inspiral Carpets, to join the band. Noel brought with him a collection of songs that were to make the band famous. Arthurs remembers the first songs Noel played to him being "Live Forever" and "All Around the World".
He claims his favourite Oasis song to play was "Columbia" as the rhythm guitar part only consists of three chords. However, tour manager Ian Robertson has claimed that the first time Noel performed "Champagne Supernova" for the rest of the band - an acoustic version on the tour bus - Arthurs broke down and cried, something that Noel and Liam confirmed in an interview.
The Arthurs' front room was used on the cover of Oasis' debut album Definitely Maybe. Arthurs had painted and plastered the room himself.
When Oasis performed the song "Whatever" for Top of the Pops, they mimed and one of the cello players from the symphony was replaced by Arthurs. Towards the end of the song, he started using the bow to conduct.
Arthurs is a multi-instrumentalist and is credited as having played piano and mellotron on (What's the Story) Morning Glory? and can be seen on piano in the video for "Don't Look Back in Anger". He was supposed to take lead vocals on one Oasis track, "Bonehead's Bank Holiday" - a jocular ode on the double vinyl issue of (What's the Story) Morning Glory. However, in the end Noel sang the song as Arthurs had been nervous about his first vocal performance and when Liam Gallagher took him for some drinks to calm his nerves they overdid it- samples of their drunken singing were used on the track. Noel claims to enjoy the song for its comedic value "Particularly the way he sings it, because he's beyond tone deaf." He highlights it as Oasis' "Ringo track".
On top of his role as musician he also fulfilled the vital role of band diplomat, saying "If it ever kicked off between Noel and Liam I was never scared to dive in. I was renowned for it."
Although Noel Gallagher has downplayed his relationship with Arthurs in recent years (claiming to have shared only a few hours of conversation with him in their six years in the same band, a claim he has always made - more convincingly - about Guigsy), he gave rather a different impression in 1995, stating "being in a band with [Bonehead] is not miserable, 'cos that guy is like Peter Sellers and Rigsby combined, with less morals with either of them - he's just outrageous". Noel is also godfather to the Arthurs' first child, Lucy Oasis Arthurs 1995 and sometimes claims to have written Don't Go Away at Arthurs' request, for Arthurs' mother, Delia, who was dying of cancer at the time. This song is also cited as being about Noel and Liam's mother, Peggy who apparently had a cancer scare.
In 1997, Arthurs purchased a personalised car numberplate which read OAS1S.
Arthurs left the band in 1999, during the recording of Oasis' fourth album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. In his official statement he claimed he wanted to spend more time with his family (his first son, Jude Arthurs - named after the Beatles' song Hey Jude - was born August 12, 1997).
Arthurs was replaced by Gem Archer, who was thereafter pointedly referred to as a "professional". The rest of the band downplayed the reaction to his departure, Noel commenting "it's hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles" though he also said "We've got to respect their (Bonehead and McGuigan) decision as family men." Gallagher has admitted on several occasions holding no malice toward the former rhythm guitarist and admiring him for his effort he put forth. It is also rumored that the Go Let It Out b-side "Let's All Make Believe" was written about the departure of Bonehead and McGuigan who left less then a month after Bonehead departed.
Arthurs now lives in Manchester where he has built a studio under his house and formed Moondog One (named after Johnny and the Moondogs, one of the Beatles' former titles, before they rose to fame), which also includes The Smiths' Mike Joyce and Andy Rourke.
In 2004 Arthurs teamed up with Thai superstar Sek Loso to play rhythm guitar alongside Loso's new English bandmates. The group is touring Asia, Europe, and the U.S. in search of a label deal.
In early 2007 Bonehead had a visible presence in the North West of England for the first time since leaving Oasis 8 years previously. Bonehead's support for Andy Rourke's Versus Cancer fundraising concert saw the pair busking together in Manchester's Cathedral Gardens to raise Cancer awareness and to fund-raise for Manchester's Christie Hospital. On March 30, 2007, the Versus Cancer concert was held at Manchester's MEN Arena. Bonehead played bass guitar (rather than the trademark rhythm guitar from his Oasis days) in a two-song-set early in the night. He was in a band billed as Electric Milk Band, which also featured former members of Happy Mondays.
He has been playing DJ sets in clubs, most recently in London. His playlist heavily features Oasis classics like Live Forever, and collaborations between the Gallagher brothers and artists like Death in Vegas and The Chemical Brothers.
He also presents a radio show on BBC Radio Manchester with Terry Christian, Natalie-eve and Michelle Hussey. The show is Manchester Music and has had fellow Manchester Music artists as guests including members of Happy Mondays, The Smiths and The Charlatans.