Oasis Interviews Archive

A shitload of interviews from all the various members of Oasis and selected associates from the start of their career right up to the present day. These transcripts have been taken from various websites, forums and newsgroups over the years. Credit goes to those people who took the time to put these words online.

Saturday, May 25, 1996

Marcus Russell - Western Mail - 25th May 1996

Marcus Russell rolls with it:

In many ways, Marcus Russel is quite normal. The softly-spoken ex-teacher loves cricket and supports his local rugby club.

However, Russel, son of a former steelworker from Ebbw Vale has done something quite extraordinary with his life.

When he split from his wife and quit a steady job in an Essex school, he moved to London to take his chances in the music industry.

One fateful evening, Russel went to see five working class lads play a gig in a Manchester pub. He immediately liked their music and style, and shook on a deal with a mop-haired singer/songwriter by the name of Noel Gallagher to become the manager of Oasis.

Now, three years on, Russel is in charge of arguably the biggest band on the planet.
And it would appear he has made all the difference to Oasis, who have conquered both Britain (amidst intense competition from Pulp and arch rivals Blur) and America.

Making it big in the States has been his biggest achievement, and has been the focus of his ambition. He has achieved it by staging nine tours comprising hundreds of concerts.
Today, Russel boards a plane for a distant destination almost as frequently as Liam and Noel Gallagher (the combustible Mancunian brothers who eclipse the rest of the band) drop a swear word in public.

Despite his globetrotting, he still has a strong sense of loyalty to Wales, and takes any opportunity to get back to his family and friends in Ebbw Vale.

Taking a short break after Oasis finished their UK tour in Manchester, Russel, who has never before consented to a lengthy interview, spoke to the Western Mail from his office in London.
He immediately shatters the illusion of a music industry executive. You almost have to provoke him into talking about his strengths.

"You've got to have the ability to see things through," he says "A lot of people fall by the wayside because they haven't got the ability."

The band's latest UK tour, which took in two sell-out concerts in Cardiff, climaxed in two final concerts at Maine Road, the home of their beloved Manchester City. In just two hours, 80,000 tickets were sold out and radio 1 DJs were talking about a 90's version of Woodstock.

Russel is very matter-of-fact about how far he and the rest of the band have come: "I do recognise how fortunate I am, but it's just a case of seeing the opportunity and seizing it."

He says he's loved pop music since his early childhood, when he remembers his brother bringing home Rolling Stone singles.

"Music has always been a part of my life from before my teens. I've always been fascinated by it and if anything has helped me it's been that." He says, "I've got a great understanding of what makes a band successful and I've been able to use that as a career."

He first left Ebbw Vale in 1975. While studying education at Middlesex Polytechnic, he was a promoter for a number of punk bands and scored his biggest coup by staging a show for the Sex Pistols.

When he finished college he settled with his wife in Essex, where he took up a teaching job. After she had a long illness, she left him and, disillusioned with teaching, he drifted into management with Eighties hopefuls Latin Quarter.

When the Smiths split in 1987, he managed guitarist Johnny Marr. And then he saw Oasis.
He signed the band to Creation Records but, intent on promoting Oasis as an international band, he flew to the States to negociate a separate distribution deal.

Russel had already formulated a plan for America: Tour as much as possible and release very little.

By the time the anthemic Wonderwall was released, the band had played hundreds of shows. Both the single and the album Morning Glory were hugely successful.

"It's a long time since a British band has become big in the States and I was determined Oasis were going to do that," he says. "It was a two-year plan that didn't come to fruition until the beginning of the year. We've been working in the US since July 1994, and a lot of the strategy was not to release a single.

"We didn't release a single until this year, so we just kept making the radio play the record or people had to go and see the shows.

"The US is the biggest market in the world - we sell more there than in the UK, and we sell a lot of records here - so once you've cracked that, it really does help."

Russel's success has also provided a fillip to the cottage music industry of South Wales.
Blackwood band, the Manic Street Preachers, still missing their nihlilstic front man Richey James, have benefited from playing the support slot at recent Oasis shows.

"We've done everything we can to help them - they deserve everything they get. They're an inspiration to every other up and comping band in South Wales." says Russel.

It is also no coincidence that Oasis chose South Wales to make the majority of their records.
On the suggestion of Russel, they made their first recording at the tiny Loco studios in Caerleon.
And then they added their names to the list of famous bands that have recorded at Rockfield and sister studio Monnow, Noel Gallagher and Crickhowell producer Owen Morris, an old associate of Russel's, teamed up at the studios near Monmouth to record both their albums.
Russel has no intention of changing the formula. "We are all very happy with the Welsh connection and will be back to Rockfield."

Understandably, Russel is careful when giving answers about the band members, having seen Liam and Noel Gallagher's every utterance blown out of proportion.

He portrays them as street smart lads dedicated to making music and fanatical about Manchester City and clothes.

"Considering what's happened to them, they've changed very little," he says, "But any changes have happened in a very positive way."

"They've got a lot of qualities they had three years ago - confidence (not arrogance), a love of music and ambition, they also enjoy what they do and like it that people get off on their music and attitude. This is what drives them."

Their alleged hatred of Blur (Noel Gallagher once wished Aids on lead singer Damon Albarn) is to be taken with a pinch of salt.

"We all say things. Occasionally, they say things they regret and when they do, they publicly apologise."

"They make a lot of statements just to provoke a reaction, but they're also quite reflective - more so now than when they were carving a space for themselves a couple of years ago.

"I think they are wise in the way they've gone about building their career. They've never been part of Britpop - they've always disassociated themselves from it and they've eclipsed all the ambitions of the Britpop bands.

"I think you could call them street smart more than anything else. They're not a bunch of intellectuals and never purport to be, but they've got a built in wisdom which gets them by in any situation and any sort of company."

According to Russel, all five band members - Mancunian guitarists Paul McGuigan and 'bonehead', drummer Alan White and the Gallaghers - are in steady relationships. This may surprise those of you who have read about the turbulent relationship between Noel (sic) and actress Patsy Kensit.

"They're all very much in love," Russel says.

Russel's role is often a paternal one for the Gallaghers. They broke contact with their abusive father during childhood.

"Part of my job is to make sure they stay focused and the trappings don't distract them, to have a stabilising effect and say things they don't want to hear."

"If we've got to be out at eight in the morning, then I have to tell them to get to bed. But they do it - they're very professional."

But he admits they can also be disobedient.

"The worst situation is when they're fed up and walk off stage." On a recent US tour, Noel, suffering from 'tour fatigue', walked off stage, "He just snapped," says Russel. "I was running all round the place to find him. We searched everywhere from Manchester to San Francisco. But after five days and a few postponed gigs, we eventually found him gambling in Las Vegas."

Russel says that Noel, credited as the creative force behind the band, is remarkable in his normality.

"Considering a lot of songwriters are very introspective and angst-ridden, the most unusual thing about Noel is that he's not unusual. He's a regular guy who keeps himself to himself and is very comfortable with himself. He'll write away as we speak because he never stops."

As the business brain behind the band, Russel is trusted implicitly. "Everything to do with the business affairs of the band they leave to me. I don't have to go back to them every other day to check - I just get on with it."

And on the rare occasions when he's not working (Russel is a self confessed workaholic who routinely puts in 16-hour days), his playground is in Ebbw Vale.

He has happy memoriesof his childhood in the unemployment free coal and steel town.

To really wind down, he takes the trip back over the border to catch a Glamorgan game or support Ebbw Vale rugby club, where his brother is club president. While he has little problem paying the Severn Bridge toll, he can hardly be described as extravagant.

"The band are beginning to do very well out of it. But it takes a lot of time in the music industry collecting all your income from abroad.

"You don't do very well from being out on the road. People will look around a packed arena and do a quick summation of whats coming on, but you should see what goes on the other end.

"What wealth I have got is still trapped in the bank," says the man who has lived in the same council house for the last six years.

Thursday, May 02, 1996

Noel & Liam Gallagher, Bonehead, Guigsy & Alan White - Rolling Stone - 2nd May 1996

"Women have had me over. It's happened twice in the last month. After I've bopped 'em, they've gone and sold it to the papers and made money out of it. Fair play. But I've just come in their gob (mouth) and gone off, so therefore I've had them over. Tied 1 - all, baby." - Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher does not make a terrific ambassador for Great Britain - or his gender, for that matter. Granted, he loves to hear himself talk. It's just that the 23-year-old lead singer of Oasis is happiest when he's doing or saying something obnoxious and stupid. Which means he swaggers through life in a state of almost constant euphoria.

Like now, for instance. The setting is the Brit Awards, England's equivalent to the Grammys, and Gallagher is onstage, bent over and pretending to receive an enema from the Best Album statue he and his band have just won for their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? After a few moments, he strolls back to the podium for an announcement: "Fuck."

Then, Gallagher stuffs his hands deep into the pockets of the winter coat he's wearing despite the balmy indoor conditions. "Anyone tough enough to take us off this stage can come up now," he says. And although the room is a pasty sea of other British bands with one-word monikers - Blur, Radiohead, Supergrass, Pulp - no one takes him up on his offer. At this moment it's official: These five working-class kids from Manchester, England, are the kings of the English hill. There is no band bigger or more loutish in all the land.

Gallagher and the other members of Oasis relinquish the stage and saunter back to their table for more celebrating. Carrying a pint of lager and directing the charge is Liam Gallagher's 28-year-old brother, Noel, the band's lead guitarist and songwriter. Behind Noel straggle guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, bassist Paul McGuigan and drummer Alan White, who replaced the band's original drummer, Tony McCarroll, just before the recording of Morning Glory last year.
It is Morning Glory that is the focus of the night, and with the help of the single "Wonderwall," the album has captured the rapt attention of the rest of the world. But it is the band's attitude - personified by the Gallagher brothers' enthusiastic drug use, fighting and self-consciously outrageous rants to the press - that has made Oasis their own traveling sideshow.

"We like annoying people," says Noel matter-of-factly. "It's a Manchester thing. It's a trait. We just like pissing people off."

Almost lost in the maelstrom are Oasis' two albums of undeniably catchy British Invasion-inspired pop. Horribly derivative, yes, but also incredibly addictive. What's more, the group has expanded on the pure bluster of its 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe, adding a softer, more layered sound for Morning Glory. While the first record was relentless rock & roll, the second gently winds its way through the songs. While Liam used to adopt a Johnny Rotten-style sneer, he now sings.

"I had no idea, even after the first album, that Liam could sing like he did on 'Wonderwall,'" says Noel. "I had no idea that any of us could play as well as we did on Morning Glory. I hoped we could, but I didn't know. The whole of the first album is about escape. It's about getting away from the shitty, boring life of Manchester. The first album is about dreaming of being a pop star in a band. The second album is about actually being a pop star in a band."

What being a rock star means most to the brothers Gallagher is freedom. Freedom, for the first time in their lives, to purchase what they want when they want it. Also the freedom to make complete and utter asses of themselves in any way they see fit.

"We've got this reputation as being hard-drinking, groupie-shagging, drug-snorting geezers," says Noel, who recently made the ultimate rock-star move by hiring a bodyguard. "There's always people who want to test you."

Are Oasis in fact hard-drinking, groupie-shagging, drug-snorting geezers? Noel leans back in his chair and smiles contentedly.


To the members of Oasis, everything comes down to class. Not social graces and manners, mind you, but class. As in working, middle and upper class. They are from Manchester, and they are working class. Period. It's as much a part of their identities as their surnames.

"I ain't got no chip on my shoulder because I'm working class, I just know who I am," says Liam. "I don't look down on no one. If I was middle class and my ma gave me everything, I'd admit it. I've got money now, so if I have kids, I'm gonna give my kids everything."

As children, Liam and Noel shared a bedroom. It is a grievance Noel still brings up because their brother, Paul, 18 months Noel's senior, had his own room. For the most part, their daily life was fairly routine. The brothers played soccer, fought, listened to music and skipped school in order to fight, listen to music and play more soccer.

"It's funny, because I don't really remember much about that time," says Noel. "I wouldn't say it was a happy upbringing, but it was normal. The only thing that separates us from people in Manchester now is that I'm sitting here, and all those people are still doing heroin and still on the dole. But we were no different. We've got no qualifications between the five of us. We're not academically qualified to do anything."

Schoolwork was particularly tough on Noel because he suffers from dyslexia. "I didn't know what it was at the time," he says. "When I write, I'll give it to someone else to read, and they'll say, 'This doesn't make any sense.' And then I'll read it back to them, and they'll say, 'Half the words are missing.' But to me they're there."

At 13, just as Noel was beginning to develop an interest in playing guitar, he was thrown out of his music class at school. To make matters worse, the following year the Gallaghers' father - a construction worker by day and occasional country-music DJ by night - abandoned the family.

"I haven't seen him since I was 18; I'm 28 now," says Noel. "I only started to be in a group when I was 24, so from 18 to 24, I had no inclination to talk to him. I don't see why that should change just because I've made a lot of money. He's still a twat and always will be a twat. I don't care if he's living on his own or on the dole. He was always a cunt. He was never there. He was always at the pub. When he finally left, we were glad to be rid of him."

Liam is even more succinct: "If I saw the cunt, I'd kick his ass."

In retrospect, Noel realizes that life for his mother could not have been easy - "Me mum's stronger than all of us," he says - but he still views the entire situation as "inevitable." It happens, he says. Families break up, fathers flee, and sometimes mothers are left alone to raise their kids. In the Gallaghers' case, it was 9-year-old Liam and two teenagers, Noel and Paul, who never adopted a paternal role toward their youngest sibling.

"This might seem very cold and hard, but when you come from Manchester, I wouldn't say it's a brutal upbringing, but it's a very down-to-earth, working-class upbringing," says Noel. "You've got more things to think about than your little brother's emotional stability. You've got to make a fucking living to make ends meet."

Toward that end, Noel tried his hand at crime. At 18, he got caught burgling a house. Soon after, he escaped Manchester as a roadie for the band Inspiral Carpets.

That left Liam back at home, age 15, about to be kicked out of school for a fight that ended with his getting cracked in the skull with a hammer. Not that Liam was upset - he quickly landed a job building fences.

"Everyone else was in school, and I was making 70 pounds [$108] a week," says Liam. "I was fucking rich. So fuck them. I told the teacher he could stick it up his ass."

It was Paul Arthurs - dubbed Bonehead at age 9 because his father made him wear a crew cut - who first recruited Liam, McGuigan (also kicked out of school for fighting) and drummer McCarroll into Oasis. Even then the outlook for success looked bleak until Noel reappeared in Manchester in 1992. Returning to his hometown after four years spent huddling around other people's guitars, Noel launched a successful coup, seizing control of Oasis by insisting that he play lead guitar and write all the songs. There was little resistance.

"I knew something was around the corner, but I didn't know what," says Liam of the band's early days. "I just knew I didn't want to work."

But what if your brother didn't write songs?

"That's like, 'What if the fucking world was square?'" says Liam. He pauses as if to find the most perfectly offensive example, then continues: "'Or what if the queen had fucking 10 tits?'"
So with Noel in the band, Queen Elizabeth on the throne and two years of practice under their belts, Oasis traveled to a club in Glasgow, Scotland, talked their way onto the stage and ended up scoring a record deal after just six shows. Since then, Definitely Maybe has become the fastest-selling debut in British history, McCarroll has been fired, McGuigan and Noel have relocated to London, Morning Glory has hit the Top 5 in America, and Manchester has become more a part of Oasis' past than their present.

"I still live in Manchester, but I'm not part of it anymore," says Arthurs, who is married and has a 1-year-old daughter. "When we started the band, people would say, 'Come to the pub, have a few beers,' but we'd say, 'Nope, we're rehearsing.' I had two mates who I'd known all me life that were getting married, and they said, 'Come to me wedding,' and I said, 'No disrespect, but I'm working, I'm rehearsing.' That's how serious we were. So at the end of the day, there's no one left for us in Manchester. They've all said, 'Fuck off.' But now we're up here and looking down at them and saying, 'If that's what you want, then fuck you.' I've probably got one person that I grew up with that stood by me."

There is no reason for Michael Hutchence to be carrying a concealed weapon, but if by chance he were, the members of Oasis would be in grave danger. "I believe Michael wants to slap my face," says Liam, recognizing this peril as he wobbles to the podium to receive the award Hutchence is presenting. The INXS frontman steps quietly to the side, and Noel leans in front of his brother. For a moment, it seems as if taste and judgment might prevail. Wrong.

"They really shouldn't let has-beens hand out awards," says Noel. He pauses to contemplate a more lengthy acceptance speech. "I'm rich," he says, "and you're not."

Yes, we are back at the Brit Awards, and the winner once again is Oasis - the category, Best Video; the song, "Wonderwall."

In many respects, "Wonderwall" represents all that is Oasis. It's a beautiful song with a timeless melody that sounds deceptively effortless. But trying to discern what in the hell it means is nearly impossible.

"A wonderwall can be anything," offers Liam. "It's just a beautiful word. It's like looking for that bus ticket, and you're trying to fucking find it, that bastard, and you finally find it and you pull it out, 'Fucking mega, that is me wonderwall.'"

Thank you very much, Liam. In actuality, "Wonderwall" was written for Noel's girlfriend, Meg Matthews, at a time when she was out of work and he wanted her to know how important she was to him. Why he chose the word wonderwall (the title of a George Harrison solo album) is something not even Noel seems to understand. It's as though his musical inspiration comes from the Beatles (probably a good thing) and his lyrical muse from Dr. Seuss (probably not). An example: "The sink is full of fishes/She's got dirty dishes on the brain/ And my dog's been itchin'/Itchin' in the kitchen once again."

"I know, I know, I get lazy," says Noel. "I'm not John Lennon. I'm not trying to say anything. I'm just trying to entertain people. Sometimes you don't care about trying to make the lyrics make sense. Fuck, it's only lyrics. I oughta make an album of instrumentals." He pauses. "When I'm sober, I think too much about the lyrics. I'm at my best when I'm pissed out of me head and I just write. I mean, 'Roll With It' is like" - he bobs his head mockingly - "who cares. Even 'Don't Look Back in Anger' doesn't mean anything, even though it's a great song."

He's right. "Don't Look Back in Anger" is a great song. But it's like an attractive blind date who turns out to have no conversational skills whatsoever. Just ask Liam.

"There's shitloads of meaning in the songs," says Liam, even though moments ago he'd claimed not to know what any of the songs meant. "I don't know what they mean, but there's still meaning there. They mean things, but I just don't exactly know what."

The songs on Definitely Maybe were great because of their attitude, not their substance. "Cigarettes and Alcohol," "Rock 'n' Roll Star" and "Supersonic" were all rock songs about rock songs, just as Morning Glory's "Cast No Shadow," "Don't Look Back in Anger" and "Champagne Supernova" are more about their own grace than their lyrical content. Not to mention that Oasis should be proud to have avoided being sued for plagiarism on the new album. It's a step in the right direction.

On their debut, "Cigarettes and Alcohol" directly ripped off the opening riff of T-Rex's "Bang a Gong," and "Shakermaker" was the subject of a lawsuit after Coca-Cola noticed that the band had directly lifted the melody (and some of the lyrics) from its jingle "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing." In the end the courts ruled that Oasis had to change some of the words.

"We ripped it off, so they had the right to sue us," says Arthurs. "Fair enough. People will steal from other bands but change the lyrics. We just did the same thing but kept some of the same lyrics in." He pauses. "We drink Pepsi now." Doesn't Noel feel it's an insult to be involved in litigation over stealing from an ad campaign? After all, advertising executives aren't exactly noted for their edgy content. Perhaps, just perhaps, there is such a thing as being too catchy. He disagrees.

"Look at Nirvana," says Noel. "They were the fucking best, and that guy [Kurt Cobain] was the king of the catchy fucking rock record. You could not write catchier tunes than him. So I don't think you can be too catchy. As long as you have your Marshall amps on 10 and it makes people's eyes water."

"I'm miles away from Noel. We've gone past being close. Know what I mean?" Not at all, actually. "Well, neither do I, but we don't need to be close." - Liam Gallagher

It's the second day of the video shoot for "Champagne Supernova," and Liam has had enough. He springs off the bed he has been sprawled on for hours and storms off the set. "I can't be lying there and having a camera pointed at me," he yells. "I have a cold." The director Nigel Dick walks over to where Liam is sitting, kneels beside him and speaks softly. "No," says Liam, flailing his arms. "I can't be lying there, cameras right there in my face. No." He points toward his nose. "I have a cold."

It's time for a lunch break. While Noel, White and McGuigan head toward the dressing room, Arthurs and Liam (miraculously cured of his malady) light out toward the pub. It is the standard scenario: Liam and Arthurs stick together, loudly; McGuigan and White stay close, quietly; and Noel spends much of his time alone or conducting band affairs. It is, after all, Noel's group in almost every sense of the word - music, lyrics, business decisions - and the other four members accept this willingly.

"It's better to have one person in charge than five," says Arthurs. "It gets done a lot faster that way."

Liam sits next to Arthurs in the pub and explains his often tumultuous relationship with his brother: "I don't think there is a difference between me and Noel. He's a cunt, I'm a cunt. Don't let him spin you; he's a c***, I tell you. I'm the one who gets made out to be the c***, but he makes me be the c***. He pushes me into that c*** zone."

Liam and Noel may share the same zone, but that doesn't explain the distance between Noel and the rest of the band. One reason for this distance might be that while Liam and the band had never traveled outside of England before Oasis, Noel was more worldly, having circled the globe with Inspiral Carpets. "I'm a lot more levelheaded than the other guys," says Noel. "When we went to Japan, I'd been there five times already."

"It's too bad in some ways," he adds in a rare touching moment. "I would have liked to have experienced it with them."

In conversation, Noel is more relaxed and thoughtful than his brother. It's as though he has to strain to come up with the kind of obnoxious quotes that Liam spews naturally. Noel manages, of course, but it often seems as if he is battling his instinctively nicer impulses. When Noel's friends heard a tape of a fight between the two brothers (the obscenity-laced shouting match was released as a single and reached No. 52 on the British charts), Noel says they were shocked that he could get so angry.

The Kinks' Ray Davies not only knows about battling with his band mate brother, Dave, he also presented Oasis with last year's Best New Band award at the Brits. "When you're with your brother in a band, it winds up a situation and makes things more prickly," says Ray. "You're pushed together more often. That aggravates things. But on the other hand, there's a certain amount of telepathy involved."

The Gallagher brothers' stormy relationship has received plenty of attention in the English tabloids lately, with stories about their drug intake and brawling now as commonplace as those on the royal family's bed hopping and divorces. "We've been on the front page of the paper, where it said, Oasis in drug shock," says Noel. "Shock to who? It would be a bigger shock if we all went to church: Oasis in Religious Shock."

Actually, only Noel and Liam partake in harder drugs (their narcotics of choice are cocaine and ecstasy), while Arthurs and White stick to alcohol, and McGuigan smokes marijuana, seemingly to the exclusion of staples such as food.

"I just like gettin' out of it," says Noel. "I like the feeling of lying on the fucking floor, being out of my head. I guess in the long run you think about your body, but until it happens, well....As long as it doesn't affect the work."

During the last year, other things have disrupted the work. First, McCarroll was canned and is now suing the band for unfair dismissal. "He's being a dickhead about things, so he can fuck right off," says Liam. "We never knocked about with him. We weren't mates. He was just a lad who could drum. We needed a better drummer, so we got one. Even if he was our mate, it wouldn't matter. He wasn't a good drummer, and that's the point." (McCarroll could not be reached for comment.)

Enter Alan White, a mild, likable London native who once walked out of an Oasis concert because he was unhappy with the drumming. White met with Noel on a Sunday, appeared on the weekly British television show Top of the Pops on Wednesday and began recording Morning Glory the following weekend. "We went out for a beer, came back and had a jam, and that was it," says White. "I thought they'd be a bunch of nutses, but they weren't, really."

Then just when the retooled band was about to embark on yet another tour, McGuigan suffered a bout of nervous exhaustion that left him unable to leave his bed except to crawl to the bathroom on his hands and knees. It was a frightening scenario, especially since McGuigan is not your typical candidate for nervous exhaustion. In fact, he possesses a level of activity that would make Buddha look like a speed freak. During the two days on the video set, he rarely leaves the same chair, rolling joint after joint and speaking in a voice barely above a whisper.

"I don't really do anything," says McGuigan. "I don't fight now, but I used to be a bad one, just punching people. I used to have a temper, but I don't no more. I changed. Now I just sit in the corner and light up. Watching football is my main hobby. Watching football, watching videos about football, reading about football and talking about football. That's pretty much all I care about."

While McGuigan was incapacitated, Oasis recruited another bassist, who played a handful of shows with the group in the United States before quitting. That led to a tour cancellation until McGuigan could get himself slowly up and running again.

"Things were going too fast," says Arthurs, back at the pub with a pint in hand. "Guigs' leaving made us all sit down. Reality check. We didn't see that coming."

Arthurs leans back in his chair as a band crew member sets three more pints of beer on the table. The subject is changed to why a plethora of Manchester bands - Charlatans U.K., Stone Roses, Happy Mondays, Inspiral Carpets - were considered the next big thing, only to fall flat on their faces.

Liam scoots up in his chair: "Wanna know why? Wanna know why? Wanna know why? They weren't scary, any of 'em."

But really, is Oasis all that scary?

Liam smiles. "Yeah. We're scary enough."

With that, Arthurs abruptly grabs the tape recorder, tilts forward to place it under him and farts loudly into the microphone. Liam in turn laughs like he has just seen the queen with fucking 10 tits.

"Half the time I can't think of anything valid to say, so I just say the most outrageous thing I can." - Noel Gallagher

Apparently, Noel can't think of anything at all to say. At the moment he is wielding a bottle of champagne like a weapon, spraying it across the stage over his band mates and into the attentive audience. It is the Brits' grand finale, the Best Group award, and Oasis have captured yet another trophy.

To offer a little perspective on the voting committee's taste, Bon Jovi beat out Green Day, Foo Fighters, Garbage and TLC for Best International Group. Still, no one in the auditorium doubts Oasis' British dominance. Just two days ago, predicting this very outcome, Noel vented about the very bands he is now showering with alcohol.

"I'm in the best band, and I've just written the best album," said Noel. "So as far as I'm concerned, everybody can" - all together now - "f*** right off. Those other bands are not even in a position to string my guitar at the moment. F***ing wankers, all of 'em."

Noel laughed loudly and then waited a long moment. "But I mean it, man. Do people really think that on the back of our success, these other British bands are going to go to America and be successful? That ain't gonna f***ing happen."

True enough. While a few bands are beginning to have modest success in America (Elastica, Radiohead), it hardly warrants the exhaustive hype about a nouveau British Invasion. Those groups certainly haven't been able to knock Oasis off their home perch.

Tonight, Oasis have virtually swept the Brit Awards, shutting out their archrivals, Blur (whose chief crime seems to be singing about Britain's middle class), and tweaking the interest and ire of the country's press by first agreeing and then refusing to play at the ceremonies.

According to Noel, the next two months are of supreme importance to Oasis. You see, Noel is a Gemini, and he believes this is an important factor in understanding why his songwriting skills often lay dormant during most of the year and flower during spring. During the past few years, he has written the bulk of the band's songs from March to late May, after which they are handed over to the rest of the band when it assembles in the studio.

"Sadly, that's the way it is," says Noel. "I can't make no bones about that. I'm in charge. They don't give a shit anyway, those four."

Oasis' attitude seems to be, if it sounds like the Beatles, record it; when in doubt, defer to Noel; and whenever possible, draw attention to yourself. Unlike many American bands that crave success without public scrutiny, Oasis are nostalgic for earlier times, when rock stars were congratulated for doing lines of cocaine off groupies' stomachs before throwing TV sets through hotel windows. Rather than anonymity, Oasis long for constant adulation.

"I nearly got ripped to pieces in Italy by about 2,000 people, so I guess it's bye-bye freedom," says Noel with an ear-to-ear grin. "This will all pass in about five or six years. We have the rest of our lives to sit around our houses and be inconspicuous. Now is our time. We're in the eye of the hurricane now, and one day it's going to blow out. We'll look back in our late 30s, no worries, and we'll still be able to get together and say, 'We were good, man. In fact, we were the best. And this is what we built.' As for now, it's a small price to pay."

But is it all too limiting sometimes, this life that exists only within the confines of Oasis? Noel claims he could have the same kind of success without the other members - "Good music is good music," he says - but recently he turned down an offer of nearly $800,000 to write the music for the film The Crow II on his own, insisting that if he has songs to write, they should be for Oasis.

"Who wants a life outside of Oasis?" says Noel. "Without music, there would be no point in being around. I'm not saying I'd kill meself, but if I got my hand chopped off in a car crash, I'd have to have music. It's everything. It's the be-all and end-all of my life. F*** art. Drawing pictures - big deal. And I don't read. I sometimes read books about groups, but I can't read fictional books. Somebody telling a story - how boring."

Forget mentioning that there might be people out there who find the practice of writing songs boring or that recent history is littered with the carcasses of British bands that purported to be bigger than the Beatles. There's a good chance Noel's just spouting off anyway, acting obnoxious for want of anything worthwhile to say. After all, it works. Just ask his brother.

Liam, do you ever get sick of being full of shit?

"No," answers Liam immediately and without taking offense. "I love hearing myself talk."

Wednesday, May 01, 1996

Noel Gallagher - BBC Radio 1/Chris Evans - May 1996

Noel & Liam Gallagher - Select - May 1996

HOW THE WEST WAS WON. Bigger than The Beatles? Bigger than Bush? Bigger than Big Bob Dole himself...Oasis have stormed the US rock primaries and now they're heading for landslide victory. The last vestige of post-grunge austerity is blown away as America embraces proper British rock cool again. They've woken up with Morning Gliry at last. And it feels good...

Within fifteen minutes of their plane taking off for Kansas, Oasis have assumed battle positions. Liam Gallagher is in the toilet with a couple of stewardesses, and Noel is raking out lines of white powder. Guigsy is contentedly puffing on a huge spliff, while Alan White beats up a swimwear rep from Idaho. Bonehead is left well alone as he runs up and down the aisles, dressed only in a Heartbeat-style police motorcycle helmet and complete American gridiron football kit, custom made in City colours. His personal stereo blasts forth with The Great Ecape.

Or perhaps not. Guigsy sips calmly on a cup of in-flight coiffee, while Liam wrestles determinedly with a bag of peanuts. Noel, meanwhile, slumps back with the broad smile of a man for whom monopoly money has recently become indistinguishable from the real thing. Nothing untoward, even though this trip is being billed as the most important visit to the USA by a British group in the last 30 years. And it's not hard to see why. As Oasis touch down in Kansas, they're hurtling out of record shops the nation over. Oasis have cracked the American charts, big time.

When the Wonderwall single climbed to number 13, the record company, Epic, promptly took the bold step of deleting it, focussing all the attention (translation, money) on the band's album WTSMG. This too is flying across the counters, having leapfrogged from 36 to 18 to number four. It took the British outfit Bush a year to achieve a top five album in the US; Oasis swung it in five months.

Oasis' current fortunes have inevitably led to to anticipation that their huge success will break down the door for all the other UK acts to follow. But such an assessment feels wrong. Very wrong.

In the first week of their arrival stateside, Uk vocalist Seal will pick up three Grammy awards; Annie Lennox will also win, while the sales of Sixteen Stone by Bush are hardly slack.

Oasis are British - have been for years - but they are not the first contem[porary band to have hit big in America of late. And does anyone seriously believe that millions of Americans, on the strength of hearing WTSMG, will be saying, ' Wow, got to get more Pulp, Elastica and Blur into my life.'?

The truth is more prosaic. Oasis, like all great bands, have steered away from Little Englander flag-waving. They didn't spend years on the dole to benefit a multitude of lesser UK groups. No one does that.

No, the last British invasion, between 1963 and 1965, happened because of the four things that Oasis share with their revered Beatles and Stones. Great songs, attitude, timing and huge ambition.

This is why America has made the band a phenomenon, the exact same reason France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and most other countries have - Americas is responding like the rest of the world.

This is Oasis' seventh trip to the States. For a group who released their debut single just over two years ago, this is quite a figure. But then, everything has gone to plan concocted by band and management back when the dream that is their life now was just that, a dream.

If there is a first on this trip it's that now the fruit of the band's labour will finally be tangible. Now they can regularly hear themselves on the radio and see their name in the charts. Now they can take pride in the fact that every venue has sold out in 15 minutes flat. Rolling Stone want them for the cover; press and radio requests can now be vetted, not fretted over.

Oasis are about to become part of American musical history. Not bad for "five shitkickers from Burnage, Manchester".

At 1.30 the next day, a restless Noel Gallagher gets hold of his tour manager, Maggie, and requests a lift down to the gig with drummer Alan White. Noel had been unable to sleep, having woken at five, got back to sleep by six, up again at seven; a vicious circle of jet lag.

Maggie says fine, and they arrange to meet at the hotel bar. Two security guys, Kevin and Terry, accompany them. Terry will travel with Noel and Alan, Kev with the rest of the group.

Noel orders a beer, the rest opt for lemonades and cokes. Above us, the TV is on. CNN News. "Have you seen some of the stories they have on here?" Noel enquires. "Check this one I saw this morning. There's this guy who's 75 and he's got cancer. So his doctor tells him he's got about two years to live. So he thinks, 'Fuck it, I've always hated my wife, the stupid bag.' So he kills her. 'What the fuck, I've got nothing to lose.' Then he's put in jail but, the problem is, he doesn't die. He's 99 now and guess what he's doing?" Noel surveys our expectant faces. "Suing the doctor," he cackles. "He's taking him to court," he continues, pissing himself. "And he's saying, ' If it wasn't for what you told me I would never have killed my wife and now you owe me ten million pounds.' I'm sitting there thinking, 'I know I live in a mad country but it's not half as crazy as it is here.'"

Alan White laughs, rubs his head: "I've got to get a haircut soon. A number four, I reckon. I'm sweating like a c*** on stage." Noel: "That's becuase you are a c***. If you were a geezer like me, you'd sweat like a geezer. See?" Alan: "Thanks a lot, Noel." White gets it no more and no less than any of the other group members. Oasis, like any gang, are huige on taking the piss, winding people up. Americans are perhaps not notable for their humour in this department, but Alan is. He had no choice, despite his being a native South Londoner, he and the band cliicked straight away as people. Different accents, different clobber, but the same sense and sensibility. What they leave alone is his drumming. It's not hard to see why. Check his work on Wonderwall, or Don't Look Back In Anger or Champagne Supernova. Simple, deadly, effective.

An hour later, the rest of us pile into the bus for the 20-minute drive to the Kansas Memorial Hall. On the way over, the American driver asks Maggie if she's been watching TV.

"This guy Buchanan looks like he's going to win the nomination for the Republican party, and that guy is anti-everything," he explains, "I mean, everything. He wants to build a wall in Mexico and stop all the immigrants coming in." "You what?" Liam says in amazement, "Say that again." The driver repeats himself. "Dickhead, fucking dickhead," decides Liam. "They're off their tits here." He looks out of the window. He's dressed, as ever, in jeans that bunch up at the ankles and a large coat done up to the neck. All he can see is suburbia, American flags flying everywhere. "Imagine if us four were walking down the street," he announces, "They'd all say 9adopting a whining American accent), 'Look at those mad fuckers with their haircuts.' When in reality it would be them who are the nutters." His long fingers stroke his two-week old beard. "Thank fuck for Burnage," he says to no one in particular. Liam has also been up most of the night, chewing the phone, in the parlance of his brother's song Talk Tonight, waiting for the dawn light. Now he's in America and he's tired. "I already feel like an alien, " he mutters sourly. At the venue, Noel and Alan are already onstage. Noel is repeatedly playing a new riff, a long snaking tune bearing faint echoes of Jimi Hendrix. Then Guigsy and Bonehead plug in.

The first two songs are new, with Noel taking the vocals: "Where angels fly/You won't play...I'll put on my shoes/Walking slowly down the hall of fame." The working title is provocative, .Me And My Big Mouth. The second song is in the same vein, fast and melodic, proof that Noel has reverted back to writing on his electric guitar.

That said, either song could easily have been penned years ago and only now brought out to play. That's how Noel is, a bank of songs in one pocket and a bottle of Jack Daniel's in the other.

The band follow with Hey Now, which has been specially inserted for the tour (Round Are Way being given the elbow), and then run through the opening numbers Swamp Song, Hello and Roll With It.

Next, Noel soundchecks his acoustic guitar for his solo spot. Again a new song, this time titled Setting Son, and with a beautiful melody to boot. It also shows the strength in Noel's vocal, his ability to go from plaintive to passionate and back again within a single line. Then he loses his memory. This has been happening a lot of late. "What songs did I used to do in this part of the show, Mickey? he asks the lighting man, "I just can't fucking seem to remember." Mickey, a tall man with a ponytail, calls out a few titles, Cast No Shadow, Wonderwall. Instead, Noel plays a rich version of Slide Away and then Wobderwall. Now it's the support band's turn.

The hall itself has a capacity of 2,500 people. The dressing room is to the right of the stage, so if the band want to wander out, they'll have to go through the crowd.

Instead they go downstairs, eat their meals and then sit around the auditorium amiably taking the piss out of Terry and Kev umtil the support band arrive to soundcheck.

There had been plans to bring Teenage Fanclub over to provide support on the whole tour, but some record company shenanigans put paid to that. Instead, they elect to pick up a local band at each gig. Oasis retreat to the bus where they will spend much of their time over the next three weeks: sleeping, eating, reading, arguing and, naturally enough, getting out of it.

Noel comes up from the back of the coach and passes Guigsy a book on scooters and a large toy scooter he's bought that morning.

Scooters are a big thing with this band. Liam has a 1954 Vespa at home and Guigsy went on scooter runs when he was 16. Last year, on holiday in Italy, Noel bought each band member a scooter.

"I'm going to get a flight case made, take it on the next tour," reckons Noel. Liam: "What about mine?" Noel: "What about it? Not my problem." "Here y'are Bonehead," Guigsy says. "Sort it out with the coffee." "It's not fucking working," Bonehead answers. After an hour of changing filters and siphining water from one bottle into another, Bonehead and Guigsy finally crack it. It's like watching some cult comedy show." "Here y'are," Bonehead finally hands me a cup. "Instant coffee." Maggie climbs onboard. "Time to go, boys."

Instead of using the backstage entrance, Terry and Kevin take the band round the front of the building to the other side. Fans arriving late gawp in awe as Oasis walk right past them. "Alright mate," Noel nods to one, as though walking past an acquaintance on the way to the shop for some milk.

It's a good gig - not a great one. The band haven't played for a month and are conscious of the fact. As of late, they open a s a four-piece, blasting through Swamp Song. Halfway through, Liam enters to prowl the stage with his tambourine, leeringly staring the audience out.

Then it's the jagged opening chords of Acquiesce, another B-side, apparently unfamiliar in the wild of Kansas. Hey Now isn't played, but Champagne Supernova has finally been nailed as a live song, and the band take care to get its delicate timing right, so that the explosive chorus has even more impact. Things really take flight with Don't Look Back In Anger but by then it's too late. There's only Live Forever and I Am The Walrus in reserve.

The audience are pretty subdued, although there are some who want to storm the gates. Just not enough of them to really make the charge worthwhile.

Interestingly, as soon as Noel finishes Wonderwall, the first song of his acoustic set, loads of the crowd who've been screaming and flicking lighters in the air come streaming out of the hall to load up on refreshments. Wonderwall, the peoples' choice as Song For The UK in 1995, is clearly heading for the same status here.

There is no encore; there rarely is. At the mixing desk afterwards, two guys come over to Hugh, the sound engineer, asking if they can get backstage. "Not possible," says Hugh with a smile, but he gives them a set list as consolation and they depart, whooping as only Americans can whoop. They are from St Louis, some four hours down the road, and the next night's scheduled gig. But Kansas seemed a better bet for them, as Oasis have thrice cancelled St Louis (twice becuase of sick or missing bass players, the other time because Liam and Noel were rucking badly). No one in St Louis really thinks they're going to make it to tomorrow's gig.

In the dressing room, a coterie of fans have been let in after the band have got themselves together. It's always at this point that Noel will wander over to the production office to discuss the night's events with Maggie or Trigger, the road crew's manager.

Meanwhile, in the dressing room, there are three Scottish guys and a very drunk woman whose husband has just left her. One of the guys keeps asking the band if they know Paul Morrison, the organiser of Scotland's T In The Park fest. Oasis played there two years previously. "Top gig," remembers Liam. "No it wasn't, dickhead," Guigsy counters. "It rained on us." "Did it?" Liam replies, muzzily. "I can't remember nish these days."

The drunk woman moves in and sits down next to Guigsy on the sofa. She says hello and proceeds to put her hand on his leg. "Oi!" he responds immediately. "Get off!" She looks shocked, not understanding that this isn't the way to play things. Then she sees Noel entering the room.

Instantly, she gets up and buttonholes him. "Look," she's saying to him, "please understand. My husband has gone, I'm desperate. I don't know what to do. But you know what? That song of yours, Wonderwall." Her fingers grope towards him. "Yes, that song has saved me." "Really?" Noel replies. "It's made me a fucking millionaire. See you later." And he turns on his heels and is off.

Bonehead taps Guigsy on the arm and gestures to the Scottish guy who's now asking everyone, "Do ye know Paul Morrison? Do ye?" "It's amazing, isn't it?" Bonehead notes. "You can play anyhere in the world and you'll still hear that accent in the dressing room afterwards." What are Bonehead's thoughts on the gig? "It was OK," hes ighs. "Good for a first gig, but they really came just to hear Wonderwall." He shrugs. "It's true innit?" Guigsy says: "You see that bit of hair left on Bonehead's forehead? Yeah? Well, that's his third eyebrow when he gets drunk."

An hour later we're on our way to St Louis. I've brought along some tapes: Beatles, Kinks, couple of compilations. The band groove on it all and know about every song going, even Anada Shanka's sitar-led version of Jumping Jack Flash. "We used to have tis on in the van all the time," Bonehead says, cracking open another bottle. "Did you bring any Easy Listenming stuff?" Surely he must be joking. "Fuck am I," he replied. "I'm mad for it. Double mad. Sergio Mendes, all that stuff. When Coyle [Mark, initial producer and sound engineer, considered to be the sixth member before a bout of deafness sidelined him] was with us, we used to go off and buy loads and loads of stuff. I've got millions of records." "Yeah, but do you know about Robin Friday?" Guigsy asks. "Ah," Noel perks up. "Robin Friday, listen to this one." Friday was a footballer who Goal magazine had just profiled.Rtaed by many as the best they'd ever seen, Friday was a relatively unknown star who went to prison, pushed needles into his arms, flicked the V-sign at the goalie after scoring and was found dead in his flat after a heroin overdose. Friday is Oasis icon. Understand him and you understand them.

Four hours later we're in St Louis. It's here that we meet up with Oasis manager Marcus Russell.

As ever, Noel is one of the first to rise. Does he have trouble sleeping, or what? "No, it's just that I've got a girlfriend who somehow manages to ring me every day precisely two hours after I've gone to sleep. She says 'Hello?' and I say, 'Hello?' and she says, 'Are you asleep?' and I say, 'Yes, I am fast asleep, which is why I just said hello to you."'"

It's a beautiful day outside; the air feels fresh and summery. Which is just as well - to feed the insatiable appetite for Oasis-related matter back home, press man Johnny Hopkins has arranged a photoshoot so that all the papers can run pics of the lads in the States.

Consequently, the band meet outside the hotel at 2.30. The photographer introduces himself to Alan White. "I sjot you guys before," he says. "I did that shoot with the motorbikes." "Yeah I do remember that," Alan answers. "And we fucking binned the photos as soon as we saw them." "Thanks a lot," says the photographer, skulking off to get the rest of his equipment. The band are taken to three different locations. At length, Alan approaches the lensman. "Sorry mate, I didn't mean that earlier on." He is, of course, lying through his teeth.

The gig is situated right next door to the hotel. The band walk down the alleyway, signing autographs and then carry on through a large garage door into the venue.

At the soundcheck, Oasis tear into the new songs, while, outside, some British press loiter expectantly in the alleyway. One of them even tapes the soundcheck.

Currently doing the rounds is a fast-selling bootleg CD containing the earliest demos and first ever gig at the Boardwalk. Anything, anything, to do with this band, is a licence to print money.

Soundcheck finished, the band head on downstairs to eat. "Day off tomorrow," Guigsy offers brightly. "Is it fuck," Bonehead counters. "We've got a photoshoot for Rolling Stone and then we're doing a radio interview that doesn't finish until eleven." "Some fucking day off," Noel says flatly. The group finish their meal. Some get their heads down for a kip. Liam and Alan go shopping. The only thing to break the encroaching monotony is the arrival of the football results. Man City 3 Newcastle 3. All of them wish they'd been at home to see that one.

At 9.15, the band walk coolly onstage and it's straight into Swamp Song. This one is a much better gig, with more crowd energy than Kansas. At the end of Acquiesce Noel points out a guy in the audience to Liam. "This one's for the guy in the red and white striped suit," Liam intones over the opening chords to Supersonic. "Nice one, mate."

Later on, Liam notices another guy in the audience and excitedly points him out to the rest of the band, laughing loudly. The crowd keep looking round to see who he's talking about, but Liam gives no clues. It turns out the guy is a dead ringer for a mate of the singer's back in Manchester. Liam thought he was seeing an apparition.

As Noel thrashes out the lead guitar lines that close Champagne Supernova, Liam saunters over to the PA and puts his ear to the speaker. He genuinely just wants to check out the band, but unknowingly causes a near riot down the front. Liam takes no notice, lost in the music.

The gig over, and a good one to boot, a fan says to Liam, "You know, you remind me of Charlie Manson with that beard." Liam is astounded. "You what? What are you talking about? Here are. Here are. Have you ever seen Charlie Manson onstage singing with a band?" "I can't say I have." "Well thenm don't come in here calling me that, you dickhead. Fuck's sake."

The mood in the room is a little subdued and Liam can't handle it. He hates silence. With a passion. In Liam's world it's better to talk bullshit all day than be silent for one minute. His gaze falls upon the drummer. "Look at you, Whitey - in the group for one year and already you got the big house and the car. There's me, right, struggling along for fucking years and then what happens at Christmas? 'Here are, Whitey,' goes McGee, 'Here's your Xmas present.' And it's a car, a fucking car. 'Here are Liam, lead singer, original member, who's worked his arse off for years, here's yours.' Compared to you, nish, fucking nish, and you've been in the group a year. Outrageous tackle." The American girl standing next to me is utterly bemused, "I'm sorry, but could you please tell me what he just said? I really have got no idea at all."

Meanwhile, over in the production office, Marcus and Noel are talking and the news is, as ever, astounding. Back in the UK, DLBIA has entered the charts at number one, selling some 250,000 copies in its first week of release. Combine that with the sales of their two albums and 400,000 Oasis records were sold in the UK last week. And that's not taking into account what was going on in the rest of the world.

Consequently, Creation want to launch a new marketing campaign. Marcus wants to use a photo of the band that shows them smiling and laughing among themselves. "All the other ones have been full-on attitude," he tells Noel. "So it'd be good to use this one. What we need is a slogan to go with it." "How about, 'We The People For The People'." A line from Scorcese's Taxi Driver spoken by the politician stalked by friendly neighbourhood psycho Travis Bickle. "Sounds a little bit political to me, boyo," Marcus says. " Sounds like our American constitution," chips in the promoter, handing over huge wads of money to Maggie. "See," Noel says, "if you divide the sales of DM with MG, then there's 1.1 million who haven't got the second album." "And who can they be?" Marcus enquires. "Sony and Creation don't know who to target with this as idea." "Deaf people," Noel jokes. "I know, let's do an ad in braille. Or do it as a missing persons poster." He adopts his best American accent, "Hi, if you haven't got this album please could you ring the following number..."

Marcus has brought over a tape of the band's Top Of The Pops appearance for the band to view on the bus. It opens with Noel, holding the Union Jack guitar that his girlfriend Meg gave him for Christmas, wearing Lennon shages and a tasty white button-down collar. "Go on, our kid," his brother yells. Liam had been placed behind the piano for the clip, and would have got away with it had he not got bored and started doing 'chopstick' movements. Still, it hardly detracts from a stately, masterful performance. The band give Noel a round of applause.

Onscreen, Liam steps up to the mike and says, "Yeah, yeah, yeah," to the audience. The brothers shout, "Get your boots on, skinheads," and the band erupt into C'mon Feel the Noize. Much to everyone's amusement, Liam deliberately fluffs the famous line about singing out of time.

"There's only a few bands who have done two songs on Top Of The Pops," Noel beams contentedly. "That's us, The Beatles and The Jam. Good company, eh?" He sounds like a man who's just become a dad for the first time.

Making everything even sweeter for the band is the fact that recently-eclipsed arch-rivals Blur were on before them, peaking earlt at number seven. "The war was won tonight," Noel trumpets. "You know, I've heard he's doing a Brian Wilson at the moment, is Damon. Apparently, he can't stop playing MG, trying to figure out how to beat us. (Wilson did the same thing with Revolver and Sergeant Pepper) But you see, the thing is, all the pressure is on them now. They've got to come back with a great album." He settles back on his chair, drawing on his cigarette. "Whereas we've got all the time in the world."

Did Noel talk to Blur at the Pops? "Did I fuck. I can't even be in the same room as him. I refuse to be. The rest of the band went to the bar. I stayed back in the dressing room. Give a shit, me." When the rest of the band troop off to bed, the brothers keep going. The talk turns to The Beatles. Liam states that he'd rather be a dead Lennon than a live McCartney. Noel challenges him. "What? You'd rather be dead than alive?" And they're off on their first 'discussion' of the tour.

It's fascinating to watch, this verbal tennis match between the brothers. They've been playing it for years, the pair of them constantly vying to score points. They know one thing from their upbringing and that is you never back down. Not ever. Not for anybody. And that applies to your own brother. So on and on, back and forth.

At one point, Liam strays into religion, imploring, "Don't you care about your soul? I mean, really care about your soul?" "Look mate, I care about this band, about my music, about me ma, Meg and my close friends, and that is it. All i know is that tonight I've got to sleep and tomorrow I'll wake up and do whatever we're supposed to be doing." "But you don't know that. do you?" Liam says, pushing it. "Don't know what?" "If you're going to wake up tomorrow." "Look mate, I'm waking up tomorrow. I know that." "Oh, you know that, do you?" "Yeah, Ido." "You don't know what's going to happen." "Yes, I do. I know I'm going to carry on making hit records until I die." "No you don't." "Believe me," Noel says in all seriousness. "Oh yes I do." And so it goes on, all the way up to Minneapolis, and that's a mighty old long way down the never-ending dusty road.

Sitting in the hotel bar, sipping on his beer, Marcus Russell is in high spirits. The band have just finished the first day's shooting for the Rolling Stone cover and now liam and Bonehead are about to go downtown for a radio link-up with New York and Minneapolis.

The jock will play Oasis records and callers would phone in with questions. Noel was due to appear, but his hangover proved too much. He wanted a meal and then bed. Liam didn't. He wanted to keep going "until 1998. Maybe then I'll slow down, but until then, I'm mad for it."

"When did you know you were going to be big in the States?" asks David from Wisconsin. Liam and Bonehead are now installed behind the microphones. Liam: "About three hours ago, when someone told us we were four in the charts." "What was your biggest break?" Jason from New York wants to know. Liam: "My biggest break was 39." Bonehead: "Mine was a hole in one." "What makes you different?" This from someone called Alice. Bonehead: "Good songs." Liam: "And a handsome lead singer with a beard." What's the difference between DM and WTSMG?" asks Tim from Milwaukee. "We've got better songs," says Liam simply. Afterwards, the boys mooch along to First Avenue, Prince's club. Everything has been arranged, but when Terry takes them through the wrong door and gets some stick off a bouncer, he loses his rag. "Fuck 'em," he seethes, 2fuck 'em." And we retire to a nearby bar. There we meet a couple of fans who are coming to the next night's show. With Liam standing next to them, I start asking questions. "What's so great about Oasis?" "Oh, the songs. They're just great." "Why are they the first relevant British group to make it in recent times?" "Songs...and the attitude. There's been nothing like this group for years in America. Now there's these guys, actually saying something, standing up for something."

I shoot a glance at Liam. "What do you think?" "I don't know mate. I never analyse stuff, me. I just do it." He swigs his beer and pats his midriff. "I'm getting a bit of a beer belly." Success, it seems, is going to Liam Gallagher's gut.

The next night's gig is the best yet. Even though strict Minneapolis laws (this is a town where you hotel mini-bar automatically locks at 1 am) keep people in their seats, the upstairs of the hall, at least, truly rocks.

On board the bus Noel has been given a video about the mafia by his guitar roadie Jason. "You watch," he says. "We'll put it on and Liam will go, 'Wankers, yo ain't hard. I could have you.' You watch." Liam appears. "Put some music on," he says, plonking down. "Nah, we're going to watch this video." "What's it about?" "The mafia." "Mafia? Fuck's sake, why do you want to watch that? That's shit. Play some tunes, man." "Nah, we're going to watch this." "Oh, I suppose it makes you feel hard watching that kind of shit does it? Make you feel like a man, does it?" "No, we just want to watch a thing about the mafia." Someone leans over, pushing the play button. The video starts. "Fucking wankers," Liam spits, as Al Capone and his boys fill the screen. "I could have them. Any time." Noel grins triumphantly. Told you so. "Right, that's it," Liam fumes. "I'm going down the back and I'm going to play my tunes and I'm going to learn something and I'm not going to sit here getting all fucking hard and macho over this gangster shit because I'm into peace and love, me, and that's that." As he stamps off, Noel says to Alan White, 'He'll be back up here in ten minutes.' "Nah, he's serious, he'll stay down there." "Bet you a tenner?" "You're on." The group are all in a good mood. The gig was good one, auguring well for Chicago, the first really major town of the tour. As it happens, the windy city will be the one where the band do play a dream of a gig, with the crowd going mental from start to finish. But that's tomorrow. A minue later, Liam returns in a huff. "Bastard," says Alan to Noel, fishing in his pocket for the wedge. "What's going on?" Liam wants to know. "There's no fucker down there. I'm not going to sit on my jacks, am I?" "Right," Noel announces. "For you to sit here after all that gyp you gave us about watching the video, you've got to let me pull you're beard." Thsi is when the brothers get funny, real funny. Liam: "You're not pulling my bird. I spent a year pulling her." "No, come on, let me pull your beard." "Nah, pull your own." "I can't I'm clean shaven." "So leave my bird alone." As the bus carries Oasis deeper and deeper into America Noel recounts how he and his kid walked out of that day's rolling Stone photoshoot after about an hour. "But some bands give over eight hours for this," the photographer had remonstarted. Swiftly and bluntly, Noel and Liam put him straight on that one. "We're not 'some' band. And your paper didn't make us, mate. And you know what about youir Rolling Stone cover? Arsed mate, arsed." The Oasis stroy has really only just begun.