Noel Gallagher - San Francisco Chronicle - 25th January 1998
Britain's Oasis has become one of the biggest rock bands in the world by sheer force of will.
The cantankerous brothers Gallagher -- guitarist-songwriter Noel, 30, and singer Liam, 25 -- have brought an uncompromising hedonism back to rock 'n' roll, and they are as famous for their outrageous behavior as they are for outsize anthems like ``Wonderwall'' and ``Champagne Supernova.''
The band's second album, 1995's ``(What's the Story) Morning Glory?,'' has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been certified triple- platinum in the United States. But this country remains the group's bugaboo: Despite its initial splash, last year's follow- up release, ``Be Here Now,'' has yet to sell a million copies here. Noel recently spoke about Oasis, which performs tomorrow night at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with Britain's sitar-playing Cornershop opening.
Q: You can barely set foot outside at this point in Britain, but you could probably walk down Main Street in America and not get a second look. Is that frustrating?
A: No. I'd rather be anonymous, but you can't be successful without fame in England. But you can be successful and not famous in America, which is the good thing about America. Nobody really wants the hassles of fame.
Q: You or Liam -- who's got the bigger ego?
A: Um, I'd probably say Liam. And he'd probably say me.
Q: Have you both felt since you were kids that you were destined for stardom?
A: I would say yes. I definitely thought I was going to do something special. Didn't know what it was until I was 14 or 15. It's all down to luck, you see. We got the lucky breaks.
Q: You guys are certainly doing your part to keep rock 'n' roll youthful. Can you live an entire life without actually growing up?
A: Well, I'm certainly going to try. I suppose one day one has to grow up, but I'm going to give it my best try!
Q: You do most of the talking for the band. Does Liam pop off at the mouth too much?
A: A lot of journalists find it hard to understand what he's going on about half the time. I'm his brother, and I don't even know what he's going on about.
Q: Was recording at Abbey Road at all intimidating or humbling?
A: No, not really. If we'd been in the exact same room as the Beatles, using the exact same equipment, then it might have been. But it's all changed now. It was actually a miserable time for us there, really, because you can't work all night -- it opens at a certain time and closes at a certain time, and you've got to leave.
Q: And Apple is still pretty guarded about everything it does, right?
A: Oh, f--ing hell, man. It's an absolute nightmare. The reason we left halfway through recording there was there was a fellow next door, and he knocked on the door and asked us could we turn it down? It was a bit loud for him, because he was mixing some f--ing classical band next door. By the time we stopped laughing, he'd left the room. It was the first time I've been in a recording studio where someone told us to turn it down.
Q: Is it embarrassing to have one of your heroes, George Harrison, put down by your brother in interviews?
A: I won't say it's embarrassing, but I do think you should channel your energies in a different direction, as opposed to slagging off old men, do you know what I mean? I find it all a bit silly, really.
Q: Tell me about your Burt Bacharach fixation.
A: Oh, I just like his sense of melody. He's just cool. I mean, he married Angie Dickinson, do you know what I mean? ``Police Woman!'' (growls)
Q: What did you make of the Princess Diana tribute album?
A: Well, I would imagine it's appalling.
Q: Have you not listened to it?
A: No. I do believe that somebody phoned our management to ask if Oasis would play on the record. By the time we stopped laughing, the phone had gone dead. . . . In this country, the media, the powers that be, the establishment -- they f-- hate Oasis for what we stand for. It's just loud rock 'n' roll for young people to get drunk to. But then again, as soon as they want to shift some records, it's like, ``Oh, we'll get Oasis on it!''
Q: The British press hates what you stand for, but they're also fascinated by you.
A: Yeah. Well, they're just waiting for us to make some monumental f---up, and they hope to be around when it happens. We've got to get one step ahead of those fellows.
Q: You guys are not afraid to talk about the drugs and the drinking you do. In America, there's this whole political correctness thing . . .
A: (jeering) It's the caring '90s, isn't it? I believe in the freedom of the individual to do whatever one wants to do at any given time. I reserve my right to speak my mind whenever someone asks me a question. I'm not a lying bastard, I'm not a hypocrite. If people get offended by the things we might say, then they should cease to ask stupid questions.
Q: The press makes a lot of the rivalries between you and other bands, but are there bands that you like at the moment?
A: I like the Verve and the Ocean Colour Scene and an up-and-coming band called Travis. I like the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy. Everybody else is a stinking crock of horse s--, to be honest with you.