Noel Gallagher - MTV Europe - 2000
Noel Gallagher: In the case of Bonehead, not particularly, because we sort of saw that one coming. And in the case of Guigs, that happened overnight, so that was really more of a blow. But I personally went about [and dealt with] it that night when the two of them had left.
It was a problem for that night. The next day I woke up and I already worked out what we were going to do. You know, other people in the band were flappin' a bit. But you know these things; it was a crisis on a Monday night, and on Tuesday morning it was just a problem. It was no big thing in the end.
MTV: What is your take so far on the new members, Gem and Andy Bell?
NG: We were fans of Heavy Stereo and Ride, and we've done gigs with both bands, actually. We basically knew them as people, and [the thought was] to sort of keep it in the family. But, first and foremost, they are brilliant musicians. Then after we rehearsed together, we went away to do these shows in America and, you know, we got along really, really well.
MTV: How did you approach getting the new guys up to speed with both the new material and the old? Are you teaching them the specific parts, or are you giving them a little freedom on some of the songs?
NG: Well, we obviously gave them some [arrangements] for them to learn it, but we didn't give them the live versions of stuff. We just gave them the records, because things generally start to change quite a lot when you play it live, anyway.
So we just gave them the records and said, "Look, there are the parts, but you just do whatever you think is right. And if you're doing anything that nobody likes, then we'll stop you and tell you. If we don't stop you and tell you, then just kind of do what you've been doing."
We haven't had to stop anyone yet. They're not that difficult of parts to work out, really. And when you're in a band like ours, I mean, it's basically a rock and roll band. It's not an experimental art rock band or anything like that. So everybody's allowed to be quite loose.
They're quite structured songs, so there's not a lot of meandering going on at all. It's generally verse, chorus, verse, guitar solo, double chorus, and then ending. So, it's quite disciplined in that way. They just bring an extra sparkle to the music.
MTV: They also give a bit of a freshness to the songs when you're playing them live, right? Because you have two guys that are not familiar with the material?
NG: Well, the best thing about all this is that it's like being in a band. It's just like being in a brand new group, to be honest with you, because I don't play so much lead guitar anymore, because Gem is a better guitarist than I am. So it benefits my singing and backing vocals if I stick to rhythm guitar.
Andy's just a mega, mega bass player. But he also has opened it up a lot for Alan [White, Oasis' drummer]. The old stuff has never sounded better. It's like a cover band doing our songs properly, but the rehearsals have been going really well, and everything sounds about 20 percent better than it ever did during our show. By the time we finish rehearsals and get to playing live, it's going to sound 50 percent better.
MTV: Liam strums a guitar as well in the video for "Go Let It Out." Is that just a prop, or is he really planning on playing live on the tour?
NG: For the video, it's just a prop. He can play his own songs, and I don't think he can play anybody else's. But I don't think he played on the album unless he did it while I was in bed or something. So, no, it's just a prop for the video. There are enough guitarists in Oasis at the moment.
MTV: How did you arrive at the title for "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants?" Didn't you scrawl it on the back of a pack of cigarettes?
NG: Yeah, I had just finished the last session at our recording studio out in the country, and I went down to the local pub for a drink. So it's about four in the morning, and because we've been so busy over the past five years, I've never [actually] seen a two pound coin.
So, there was one lying around in one of the ashtrays, and I picked it up to have a look at it, really. And I noticed around the side of it, it was written, "standing on the shoulders of giants." I thought it sounded really good, so I scribbled it on the back of a cigarette packet and wrote, "Standing On The Shoulders Of Giants - album title" in brackets.
When I got up the next day, because I'm sort of dyslexic, I can't spell or anything like that, I wrote, "Standing On The Shoulder Giants - album title." So then I wrote it out on a big piece of paper and it still sounded really good. And once I found out [the saying was actually] "standing on the shoulders of giants," we thought that little "s" on the end tended to get in the way. It's got no massive, deep, spiritual meaning, or anything.
MTV: Looking back at "Be Here Now," do you now think that the sound of "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants" was actually a more proper follow-up to "(What's The Story) morning Glory?"
NG: This probably should have been the third record that we made, yeah. We were basically forced into the studio last time, for one reason or another. We shouldn't have really gone in. We should've had the two-year break back then. But, you know, it's one of them catch-22 situations.
You tend to get into trouble when you've got more than ten minutes on your hands, really. So we decided to go on and do it, which was the wrong move. This, to me, will always be the third album. Although there are some good things on "Be Here Now," probably about three tracks out of the eleven, [but that's] not really good enough. [RealVideo]
To me, this will always be the third album. In fact, to me, this will always be the second album, because I don't even like "Morning Glory," to tell you the truth.
NG: "Wonderwall," "Don't Look Back In Anger," "Champagne Supernova," and "Cast No Shadow" [are good]. The rest of it's sh**. To be honest, when I listen back to it, it sounds like an indie band.
MTV: In a recent TV interview, you described the recording of "Be Here Now" with the comment: "The lights were on, but no one's in." Is that a fair assessment of those sessions?
NG: I don't remember, to be honest with you, I don't remember anything from sort of midway through, after we finished that record. Because, you know, we just went mental for about four or five years.
We were like the biggest band in the world, because we were selling the most records and playing to the most people in the most countries. So we were determined to have a good laugh along the way, 'cause you're never sure how long these things are going to last.
You know, I haven't got a good memory of the best of times, but being nightly red-eyed for, like, eight out of every twelve hours of the day doesn't help. We had some brilliant, brilliant, brilliant years on the road. But I don't remember much of it, to be honest with you.
MTV: What made you want to go out and take a lengthy sabbatical at that point?
NG: Ah, I just got bored. The main reason was boredom. Another certain reason was for health reasons. The third and probably most important reason was that the thing that I do best and the thing that I love most is writing music, and that was suffering, because annoying little things were just getting in the way.
I was sick of having a house full of people that I didn't know, and I was sick of waking up with a headache every day. You know, six days out of seven. And I'd lost the inspiration to work and be in a band. I'd forgotten who I was. So I decided to give it a clean break, and it was only meant to be for about six months so I could get me head together. And it's sort of, like, turned into two years now.
MTV: Is that why you're so happy with this album, because lyrically and musically you're more focused on what you're doing?
NG: I'm never happy with anything I ever do. 'Cause it's really hard to get the sound out of your head on a record, and everybody has to have their opinions in the studio. So, it's all about compromise in the end. One day, I hope to make a masterpiece. I haven't gotten there yet, but I'm certainly going in the right direction with "Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants."
MTV: I remember interviewing Liam a couple of years ago, and we talked about you playing with the Chemical Brothers. And we mentioned that the next Oasis album could have a dance feel to it, and he said "F*** dance, I'm rock. Bad boys rock.' Dance loops have appeared on the new LP, but I think they're subtle in there.
NG: Well, it will teach you not to take any note of what comes out of his mouth in the future, now won't it?
MTV: Are you pleased with some of those tracks, like "F***ing In The Bushes" and "Gas Panic," because they each have a different feel to them?
NG: Totally. I think one of the best things I was involved in, including Oasis, was "Setting Sun," that thing I did with the Chemical Brothers. I think that was, for me anyway, that's probably in the top five of what I've done. Although Liam would completely disagree, because he's not on it, which is fair enough. All things are like that.
As long as we can keep the basis of a five piece rock and roll band, but embellish it in a way to make it sound more interesting, then that is what we'll do. It just tends to get more boring in the studio just playing the same old chords every now and again.
It's not a radical shift from what we do. It's not radical enough for my liking, but the next one, you know, the next one will be. This is the great thing about being in a band. Your last album is never your last album. There's always something else to go on with. And being in the band that we are, we're not likely to get dropped in the near future, so we've got a fair few more albums to go yet to get experimental.
We're going in the right direction. We still see ourselves as, you know, the Sex Beatles.
MTV: Now, you let Liam get loose with a song called "Little James." Is that his answer to Paul McCartney's "Hey Jude" and John Lennon's "Beautiful Boy?"
NG: I don't think he's that contrived about writing songs at all. I don't think anyone in the band sits down and says, "Today I'm going to write my version of 'Hey Jude' or what have you." Regardless of what popular opinion is, these songs are all about feel. I think the band is. I write what I write and Liam writes what he writes and that's just the way it is.
["Little James"] came out sounding like "Hey Jude" because he put a lot of "na na nas" on the end, which he was advised against. But you know, you might as well be talking to [an inanimate object] in talking to Liam. That's where the Beatles thing will come. But he wanted to sound like the Beatles, so he made it sound like the Beatles.
I wouldn't have anybody interfere with one of my songs. If anybody was giving me advice on how one of my songs should sound, I wouldn't take it. Not in the slightest. Liam's the same because he's a Gallagher, you know. We just don't tend to listen to advice. We're good at giving it, but we're just not very good at listening to it.