Arthurs 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, whom he later married. In the late 1980s, while working as a building contractor, he started a band with his friends, Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan (bass), Tony McCarroll (drums) and Chris Hutton (vocals). They called themselves The Rain, after The Beatles' B-side, "Rain".
When Hutton was sacked, he was replaced by Liam Gallagher. Gallagher and Arthurs teamed up as co-songwriters. However, the band were 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. Liam changed the band's name to Oasis, and Noel brought with him a collection of songs that were to make the band famous. Arthurs remembers the first songs Noel Gallagher played to him, "Live Forever" and "All Around the World". Arthurs broke down and cried when Noel played "Champagne Supernova" to the band on their tour bus. On the Definitely Maybe DVD, he said his favourite Oasis song to play live was "Columbia", as the song only consisted of three chords that create a hypnotic groove.
When Oasis performed the song "Whatever" on Top of the Pops, they mimed and one of the cellists from the symphony orchestra was replaced by Arthurs. Towards the end of the song, he started using the bow to conduct.
Arthurs used the same 1982 Japanese-made Matsumoku Epiphone Riviera throughout his time as Oasis' rhythm guitarist. He still uses this guitar today.
Arthurs is a multi-instrumentalist, 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".Noel Gallagher is godfather to Arthurs' first child, a daughter.
Arthurs is the cousin of British comedy writer and actor Craig Cash.
In 1997, Arthurs purchased a personalised car numberplate which read. "S1 SAO" which when viewed in a rear view mirror read OASIS.
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 child, Lucy was born 23 January 1995 and his son, Jude Arthurs was born on 12 August 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 Gallagher 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 to holding no malice toward the former rhythm guitarist and admiring him for the effort he put forth.
Arthurs now lives in Manchester where he has built a recording 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 Sek Loso to play rhythm guitar alongside Loso's new English bandmates. The group toured Asia, Europe, and the US in search of a label deal.
In early 2007 Arthurs had a visible presence in the North West of England for the first time since leaving Oasis eight years previously. His 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 30 March 2007, the Versus Cancer concert was held at Manchester's MEN Arena. Arthurs played bass guitar (rather than the trademark rhythm guitar from his Oasis days) in a two-song set. 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 features Oasis songs such as "Live Forever", and collaborations between the Gallagher brothers and Death in Vegas and The Chemical Brothers.
He also presented 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.
On 29 January 2009, at the Speakeasy in York, Arthurs performed a DJ set, supported by The Banter. In the same month, he joined Manchester band The Vortex. Also in 2009, Arthurs starred as himself, along with The Vortex lead guitarist Maz Behdjet, in a scene in the UK film, Freight starring Billy Murray and Craig Fairbrass.
On 22 October 2010, it was announced that Arthurs had left The Vortex. In May 2011, there were plans for him to appear on a tour of British venues with John Mackie (the former singer with The Vortex) but he chose not to participate.
Arthurs started this project in early 2013 with Vinny Peculiar (aka Alan Wilkes). Their 'group' Parlour Flames released an eponymous album in May 2013, Arthurs' first since leaving Oasis. Guest musicians on the project included percussionist Che Beresford and brass-player Bob Marsh from Badly Drawn Boy and Anna Zweck from Samson & Delilah on flute and backing vocals.
Arthurs' latest project was started in 2014 with singer/songwriter Alex Lipinski. Their EP was released in May 2014 under Cherry Red Records. The EP includes four tracks and is available on vinyl and digital download.