Noel Gallagher (33) and his brother Liam (29), are the principal members of the Britpop rock group Oasis.
During the 90's, Oasis achieved phenomenal global success.
Yet, along with that success, came a high degree of notoriety, primarily due to the Gallaghers constant quarreling and lives of excess with drugs and alcohol.
While they've watched their commercial appeal gradually decline over
the past two years, Noel Gallagher, as he outlines in the following interview, feels that the band is ready to experience a next phase in
their career. And, that, their new music, which they are currently working on, will be among the finest the group has ever released.
Noel is referred to by those who work closely within the Oasis organization is known as "The Chief". However, Liam is Oasis's charismatic lead vocalist and viewed by many of the group's fans as the top rock vocalist of his generation. Thus in the following interview, Noel Gallagher discusses the at times delicate relationship with Liam,
Noel's current attitude and personal life, as well as how he sees Oasis staging a comeback of grandiose proportions.
(Q)- Is Noel Gallagher healthier and perhaps happier then two years ago?
Noel Gallagher-Yeah definitely. I was definitely an angry young man.
I was one frustrated young man. But I feel a lot more free in my mind and in my work I feel a lot more free and I feel like I have a lot more space and a lot more time. I'm a lot more relaxed about life itself. It's all about growing up man. Now the little things are just that, the little things. Whereas, fucking drugs had a lot to do with that. I don't drugs anymore. I got straitened out in regards to that. While it is a part of my life and if I could have a good time and do it all again, then I'd do it all again. But there comes a point where you just go,' Alright. Fucking no more! This is just too much! And, I sort of gave up that lifestyle and, what initially what was going to be for only six months, I said, 'Well, let's see what it's like to live a normal life.' After about six weeks, I said to myself, 'This is actually this is kind of fucking good man! This is like, I can remember stuff. I get up in early the morning and I go for a walk and I can remember where to be (regarding) places on time. I can remember people's names. Where in the past, it was different, I didn't.
(Q)- The future of the band is riding on your shoulders along with Liam.
(Q)- The trouble for the group, especially between you and Liam, usually comes in between the long layover days on the road, in areas where there's not a whole lot to do,. It's been a situation that has occurred all too often in the pas. There would be all night drug taking and drinking sessions. How will things be different on tour, this time around? No more split ups in mid tour as between you and Liam as with last year's tour? Is there rules this time out as far as drinking and drugs?
Noel Gallagher- There's never been any sort of rules set up by myself. What it is man, alright it's all about getting older and the things that would have annoyed me not just Liam, or about being on the road, or traveling around the country with twenty other guys. just don't annoy me anymore. If you know what I mean? I've been fine with it for a long time, but the stuff that happened last summer was just Liam saying some stuff that was personal to me and my family which is like, I'm well.... fuck that, when things get bad with Liam, I can take Liam's bullshit whenever he's getting in my face personally, but when he starts slogging off my kid and stuff like that, then it's like, 'Well fuck that man, I don't want to play with you tonight, I'm going to go home. But, you know, it's all about growing up and getting older. I'm a lot more mellow then I was last summer, in fact I just don't give a fuck anymore, you know what I mean? (About Liam's antics). It's like, I do my thing for an hour and a half and I'll go off and if anybody wants to stay up all night drinking and fucking partying, that's fine, I'll just go sit on the bus and go to bed, or read a book in private (On the tour bus). No more all night drinking for me..end star....
(Q)- Are Paolo Hewitt (Oasis biographer) book's accurate?
Noel Gallagher- To a point but then again, a lot of it, especially the last one, which is about the "Be Here Now Tour", I mean e were pretty much out of control on that tour and (Paolo Hewitt) would like go off to bed after a show then he would get up in the morning and say, 'What happened last night?' And even we weren't sure what happened the fucking night before. So, he's sixty per cent accurate. But he(Paolo Hewitt) would understand more then anyone the attitude within the band, the spirit within the band and the outlook within the band, I suppose. He understands us as people although some of the situations he describes on the band, are factually incorrect.
(Q)- You previously seemed to leave yourself and your own personal needs as far as your health and your own well being, out of the picture and became too concerned, with the songs, music, the live performances and the business of the Oasis in general . To the point where, the success of Oasis took the front seat and your need to take care of yourself, health wise and with your own personal life,
was not your primary concern. Yet, without you writing those hit songs and Liam singing those hit songs, then there's no Oasis
Noel Gallagher- Yeah, Absolutely. I would agree with that totally. (Noel laughs.)
If a band ceases to write songs, especially my band, and we cease to write songs, then what is it? We're not a groove based band. We're songwriters. (Noel and Liam). The songs connect and the way the melodies rhythms and music connects on a fucking human level with the audience, for me, being the main creator of that (member of Oasis), if that's taken away from me, then I don't know what I'm going to do. I don't have the imagination to sit down and write novels or (plays, movie and TV) scripts, or I'm that a fucking good actor, I'm not really that good at sports, so I don't consider myself to be that good at playing guitar to be a
(recording) session musician. So, without the songs, it's just like blank, there's nothing without songwriting. It defines who I am. Without songwriting, there just is this blank.... there is nothing to me without songwriting.
(Q)- You're not caught up in the statistics of your album sales or ticket sales anymore are you? You're focusing on the possibilities now, for your songwriting, the music and Oasis? And maybe the future of the rock and roll genre worldwide. Correct?
Noel Gallagher- (laughs) I wouldn't be the one to take the future of rock on my shoulders, thank you very much. I had that once and it nearly killed me. But, I know what you're saying and I do think in the past I may have worried about popularity as opposed to I don't know....I've rushed a lot of things(songs) just to be out there and to do it and now, it's like,' Look man, I've done my fucking thing. I've been around the world I don't know how many times, I nearly....I've taken it to the edge with the fucking drugs and the music and now it's like, 'Right, you've got to give me fucking five minutes here while I sort out what I want to do. Again it goes back to the time thing. I've been given more time. By the people in the band and the record label. It's going good man, it's really going good.
(Q)- Why is that the case what is different this time around?
Noel Gallagher- Again it goes back to the time thing. I've just been given more time by the people at the record label and I've had the time to just get away and to map it out for the next couple of years. I'll tell you, it feels good, it's going good man.
(Q)- Deep down, are you still that angry boy growing up in Britain? Or at one time, were you were that boy and a bit angry about the way your life was at an early age and after certain landmark situations in your life, such as the series of concerts at let's say the Maine Road (April 26 and 27,1996) shows, or whenever you got and have managed to stay clean and off of drugs, you came to a point where you realized that you're someone.
That's why you don't have to be this angry young man?
Noel Gallagher- I've gotten past all of that stage where now, all that's important to me is, I remember where I come from and I remember where I started from, but it's something that....I've got my daughter, I've got my two brothers, I've got my mother, I've got the guys in my band, who I love and I've got the band itself, and within that, that's all I need myself. I don't need to go and bring up the past and go over here I've come from and walk around with a chip on my shoulder. I don't have to have a chip on my shoulder, because I'm done with it, it's over man and that's the end of it. I am who I am and I don't care who I was. I am Noel Gallagher in 2001 and I like me.
(Q)- What is the song play list for the North American tour going to be like?
Noel Gallagher- I think we'll play twelve songs. We're doing stuff and we're not doing what we would term as the singles from our albums. Mostly album tracks, B sides and a cover tune in here or there. It's all pretty up tempo, rock and roll songs.
(Q)- You're primary desire has always be to be a songwriter, a lyricist and a performer. Not a celebrity. The myth that the UK press has created is that, you're a celebrity first and a rock and roll star second. The press has attempt to separate the myth of whom they say the band is from the fans from the music and in turn they failed, because you remain popular time after time. Agree?
Noel Gallagher- I totally agree and it's very frustrating that down the years, I don't think we've been given the credit for the things that we achieved as a group. The way that we kick started a whole new page for British music. But, saying that, I have no control what these people write I don't really fucking read it anyway. But the people who know, they know and the people who don't know, they'll never know, you know what I mean? When I was younger, maybe a few years back, I would get frustrated and upset about that, but it's like I have no need to go and preach to people and to try and convert them to how I feel about the band. It's like this man. If you like music and you like your music played on electric guitar then you'll like my band. If you read something in the papers and it shies you away from liking my band, the fuck you. I'm not asking you. We do what we do and people write (about Oasis) what they write, but the fans are people who get it. And, a lot of people don't, "Get it", especially people in the British newspapers. It's still something that does get on my nerves now and then but I don't really loose any sleep over it.
(Q)- It is vital that the music continues no matter what people write about it.
Noel Gallagher- Absolutely. It's like there is no need for me to be all concerned about it. It's like when it's all said and done, it's like the music will stand on it's on two feet.
(Q)-The music stands on it's feet rather well and there's a solid chance it will continue to stand because it is all in the mix of the music, at the end if the day.
Noel Gallagher- Absolutely. Well said. It is all in the mix. I listen to my (older) records now and it's like, 'You know, this is a fucking gas.' I can remember them when they were made. And, they still sound good and they (the older Oasis songs) were ahead of their time. I mean we do what we do we get on with it and fuck what people think about it. Life's too short to care about what people think. Saying that, we respect the people who turn up to the shows and who buy the records, but I mean, we're well past caring what other people (who are not fans) think about Oasis.
(Q)- For the upcoming North American our, while Oasis has a core audience of fans, it's almost like the group is starting over again because you haven't had a big, hit single at radio, for quite some time. It's like starting over in 1993, the feeling around the group is almost like underground, vibe to it.
Noel Gallagher- It is like an underground scene in much of the world especially America. Yeah man.
(Q)-What's it like for you this time with the songwriting process? You've always seemed to be a songwriter and a recording artist
who writes songs about personal subjects. Has anything changed in that regards now that you're divorced and cleaned up from drugs?
Noel Gallagher- I consider myself to be a very good songwriter and good at writing lyrics. I consider myself to be a good guitar player who is with a very fucking good rock and roll band. I think that this record, doesn't really matter if it sells one hundred thousand copies in America or if it sells whatever, it doesn't really matter to me. I know that this time around, we've done and it's not even finished yet.
And, I'm telling you, are the best album that anybody will write in the next ten years. Period.
(Q)- What within you heart of hearts and your soul tells you this is the best material ever? What convinces you to make that statement that the next album will be the best one ever for Oasis?
Noel Gallagher- Because, this time around... usually I was sitting around writing a song with an acoustic guitar and I'd write the word and the music and get the arrangement and then play it to myself constantly and constantly over and over again and again and then go and do (record demos). And then that would be it would sound on the record though it would sound a tiny little bit different because of the other instruments and the different sounds. This time the stuff that I've made for right now, is far more emotional and special the what I had in my head. A lot of that has to do with the guys in the band because they're playing stuff that Bonehead and Guigsy could never play.
(Q)- So the next time Oasis puts out new materials (songs)the sound will be that of more of an 'ensemble' then of a solo songwriter with a band playing the songwriters personal material.
Noel Gallagher- Yeah. You know, I can't really out it into words. I just feel that this next record is going to be the best. I mean in your career and in your lifetime as a songwriter you maybe have the potential to write fucking half a dozen or a dozen, proper, big, massive, songs in you. And I've written six this year and they're great songs.
(Q)- There are some possible new tracks.
Noel Gallagher - Yeah, let's see, "Shout It Out Loud', is definitely....that's done. "She's Love', that's done. "Born on A Different Cloud", is written by Liam, which is very good. And I think that the rest... there's some very fucking good songs on this next album.
(Q)- Is there a date whenever the next album will be released?
Noel Gallagher - I would definitely say that by the end of the year, maybe October or November, there will be something. Maybe not an album,
but there will be something to buy, whether it be a single or an EP or there will definitely be (new) songs to have people to listen to on the radio or fucking wherever, on MTV, or something. By the end of the year. And by the of spring time of next year, there will be an album.
(Q)- Songwriters often have a difficult time consistently turning out big hit singles. You seem to be over that time and are doing quite well.
Noel Gallagher-This time around, it's like all the pressure is off of me. What do I do that makes me really happy? Songwriting. We've got our own record label out of the fallout with Creation, so we've got as much time to do what we want. There is no pressure on us.
(Q)- You, as well as the group, have more control this time around and that is important to you, isn't it?
Noel Gallagher- Yeah. And the greatest thing that anybody can be given by anybody is just time to work on what the fuck it is that you really want to do. And, where is it you're going. (with your new material and songs) Sometimes, now you work better whenever you have no time, because you have no time to think about it. But I think the older you get, the more you second guess things and we've given ourselves plenty of time and luckily for us it's working out perfectly. It's like, you know, I'm really excited about people listening to the new (As yet to be released.) record.
(Q)- So much has been said about how Noel Gallagher brilliant songwriter for the band Oasis, feels in regards to his brother Liam Gallagher and Liam's role in the band's history. What are your feelings in regards to Liam at this point in your life?
Noel Gallagher- The thing about me and Liam is that it is very hard for me to convince Liam that....Liam thinks that I think that he's just the guy who stands behind the mic and sings the fucking songs. And sometimes I can be like that and In his own ways, there's been times he's pissed me off. But, trying to convince him that, it's like, 'Look man, if we fucking split up, then there is no other group. There is no other career for me and you. It's me and you, or it's fucking nothing. So, it's me and you or it's like sitting in bed all day.
(Q)- So what is the truth about the way you feel about Liam and Oasis?
Noel Gallagher- As much as I need him, I want him even more which is a greater thing. I want him to sing my songs, be in the band and I want him to be center stage, because that allows me to do my fucking thing without singing. Because I can sing, but I'm not anywhere initially. So as much as I need him, I want him to sing for me and be with me in the band even more. He's my brother after all. Being in this band, this is the best band in the fucking world, because you actually never know what's going to fuck it up every night. But when we're the best, we're the best rock and roll band in the world on that night. And, some nights it's not so good, but fuck it, just look at the draw.