Noel Gallagher - Melody Maker - 5th September 1999
Noel Gallagher has exclusively told The Maker about his ideal replacements for Bonehead and Guigsy, the latter of whom quit Oasis last week.
In a revealing interview conducted at Olympic Studios, Barnes, London, where Oasis were mixing their new album, Noel hypothesized "Johnny Marr would be good, but he’s started his own band. The obvious choices are Nick McCabe and Simon Jones from The Verve."
However, Noel admitted the dream team would probably no work out: "I don’t think they would be right. People have to want to do it. People have to be into all the old songs and the news songs. At least the two members left at the right time. It gives us six months, but we’ve got to do it now. We’re not panicking yet."
The rest of the interview in full:
How’s the new album sounding?
"It’s rock ’n’ roll pop music. It’s not fucking drum ‘n’ bass. It’s not a dance record. It’s typical Oasis, but it’s a little different. It’s not a radical departure - we like the way we sound. We’re not into 21st-century rock ‘n’ roll, but it doesn’t sound like 1969 either."
Is it a harder Oasis sound?
"One song should have been written by the Sex Pistols."
What’s the first single called?
"I’ve been told to say fuck all! The single is out in January. That’s the most poppy-sounding on the album. The rest is pretty heavy. We’ve already written the stuff for the next record. So we can get on with it with the new lads, whoever they will be. If we leave it too long, people will continue to speculate about the band."
Has Liam written anything for the album?
"There is a Liam song on there. He plays guitar, I think. I sing two songs on it. It’s half an hour shorter than "Be Here Now" there’s no eight-minute songs. The lyrics will take on a new meaning now (that Bonehead and Guigsy have quit). People will read thing into it."
Is Oasis still a tightly knit unit?
"Everything is fine. People are saying it won’t be the same. Of course it’s not. We had eight years together. Of course it is going to be different. We toyed with the idea of changing the name. But we didn’t spend eight years together to just break up, restart under a different name and still sound the same."
Did you seriously think about ending Oasis and starting with a new name?!
"Of the original members, there’s only Liam left - they were Oasis. There would be no point in renaming the band and sounding exactly like Oasis. We’re spent eight years around the world as Oasis."
Any possible name changes?
"It never got to that point. We just laughed and said ‘fuck it!’"
With your wife, Meg, expecting a baby at the end of the year, might that mean you could quit Oasis too?
"I can’t say. I love my family. I’ve got a record coming out and I’ve got a baby coming out. We’re still together, the three of us, the music will still go on."
Who’s producing the new album?
"Mark Stent. We worked with Owen (Morris) for so long and you get to know people so well. We liked the stuff he (Stent) has done with U2. Whish is not to say this sounds like U2. When we told people at the record company about Mark, they were a bit worried because of the Spice Girls (who Stent has worked with). But it was more because of U2. It’s worked very well. We’ve not sacked him."
What have you been listen to while making the album?
"The Travis album. I haven’t really listened to much - The Chemical Brothers. I was planning to get to the festivals, because it’s a good way to see all the bands. I was going to Reading, but I’ve got to go shopping for baby clothes. We’ll see them all at the festivals next year."
Are you still going to tour the world?
"There’s seven million people that brought the last record and lots of people to play to. I think this time we’ll want to play England last, as opposed to first. I don’t think England has seen the best of us. We usually start here with six massive gigs, but we don’t hit our stride until after a month or two. I don’t think we played particularly well on the last tour. Coming out onstage in a big red fucking telephone box threw us a bit. That was a bad advert for drugs."
Will the new Oasis material be just as commercial?
"It’s always going to be a commercial record. I write records to sell records. We’re a big fuck-off rock ‘n’ roll band. I was getting bored of it, but we’ve been at it for six years solid. The year off was designed for everyone to sit down and see if we wanted to do it again. That’s what they (Bonehead and Guigsy) have done. They have given it on last go and got out while the going was good. I totally respect that."
Are you still mates?
"Yeah, I don’t fall out with people easily. Apart from that knobhead in Blur. He looks like a dustbin man these days, but good luck to him."
Does Oasis need to be a five-piece with a rhythm guitarist?
"I can’t carry the band with one guitar. I’m not that good. Ideally, I would like the play rhythm guitar and get Jimi Hendrix to play lead. But that would change the sound."
Are you just mixing the record now?
"Yeah, we have to finish tonight (Thursday, August 26). We’ve got no more time left. We’re finishing the single, them I’m going home to listen to it on my stereo and then coming back to cut it. Then I’m going to the pub to get smashed. Later this week, we’ve leaving for the USA to cut the record and we’re doing the video."
Is Tailgunner still a going concern?
"I start Tailgunner next week. Mark (Coyle) has written all the songs. While I’m in the USA, he’s going to lay down the tracks and I will come back and play the drums. I’ve got my own studio in the country."
There are newspaper reports that there’s an on-going row between your wife, Meg Matthews, and Liam’s wife, Patsy Kensit, because of the double pregnancy. And that this has caused tensions which were felt among the band members.
"That’s not even worth answering. If there is a row, then I haven’t noticed one. There’s a few between me and my wife! That’s something the lads were pissed off about. Things get written that don’t concern the band."
How’s your relationship with Liam been during the making of the record?
"Superb, as a matter of fact. We have not had one disagreement."
What’s his voice like on the songs?
"It just sounds like Liam. But with more attitude, if that’s humanly possible."
There was talk a few months ago of this record having a punkier sound. Any truth to that?"It’s quite loose. We didn’t fancy about doing a hundred takes, or on the mixing. The last record we mixed the life out of, and played the life out of."
We left Noel to carry on with the recording and, contrary to talk of a more punky new record, could hear 'Wonderwall"-esque acoustic guitars emanating from the studio.
Liam, who seemed anxious to get on with the album, was unusually quiet. "We’re too busy," he said. But he did agree to pose for a picture when he left the studio with a minder at 10pm. "Oh, if it’s for The Maker", he joked, before being driven off in a red Audi.
Earlier that afternoon, Richard Ashcroft had arrived at the studio with wife Kate (from Spiritualized). When asked how things were going, he said "Splendid." But what was he doing at the studio? What exactly was going splendidly? Is he contributing backing vocals to the album? With no Bonehead, is he playing guitar on any tracks?
Guigsy’s departure was announced on Wednesday, 25 August, at a press conference at pub music venue The Water Rats in London’s King Cross, much to the shock of music industry and Oasis insiders. He reason for leaving seems to echo Bonehead’s desire to spend more time with his family away from the unrelenting stress of touring.