Noel Gallagher & Gem Archer - NME - 26th February 2000
In the second of our two-part interview with Oasis, Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer ponder your posers...
We promised you the other three: we lied. In the end only Noel Gallagher - songwriter, guitarist, spokesman, Chief Of Staff - and his new axe foil Gem Archer made it to part two of our fans' summit with Oasis. Rookie bassist Andy Bell is sadly absent, still sulking over some cruel ancient NME slight directed at his former group Hurricane#1.
Did Guigsy and Bonehead play anything on 'Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants'? (Martha, New York)
Noel: "Erm...to be honest, Guigs didn't, no, Bonehead's probably there somewhere. No. I played bass on six tracks and a mate of mine who was the engineer on the session who's a really good bass player played on tour. Guigs, by his own admission, wasn't the best bass guitarist in the world and he used to get away with it. But stuff like "Gas Panic!" and "Who Feels Love", I couldn't even get me head round those and I wrote them! There's bits of lead guitar on there that I haven't played because I haven't got a problem with passing people guitars and saying, 'Go on then,' people like ('Definitely Maybe' producer) Mark Coyle. It keeps everyone involved. It doesn't fill me with pride saying they didn't play on the album, but Guigs just wasn't good enough."
NME: Did you kick Bonehead out because of his drinking?
Noel: "No. We had a word with him. We were going to get Liam to stop drinking or we weren't going to record the album and Liam agreed to stop while we were doing the album. Then when we got there Bonehead decided that he wasn't going to stop. We'd said that if Liam was going to stop we should all stop because it wouldn't be fair, and that when we got home we'd have the party, but by the time we got there Bonehead had forgotten that conversation So we had a quiet word with him and he got pissed off and then he left. But it isn't anybody's position to kick anybody out of the band."
You said that you wanted to finish the band after Knebworth. Why didn't you? (Larry K, London NW6)
Noel: "Didn't have the bottle, really. If someone especially Liam - had backed me up and said, 'Yeah, it's the right thing to do,' then I'd have done it. But they didn't see the point. I suppose the alternatives for everybody else wasn't much because they're not songwriters. It would've been pretty naughty of me because them lot would be like, 'What the fuck are we going to do?...
What was the worst thing the Inspiral Carpets made Noel do as a roadie? (Tom Sykes, Swindon)
Noel: "When they played Reading they had a pantomime cow onstage and they made me swing on an udder during the encore. That was quite embarrassing. They also made me appear in one of their videos, which wasn't one of my finer moments. The worst thing they made me do, though, was hump flight cases up 12 flights of stairs. But I've got fond memories of it, really. I was saying last night I should never have given it up. It was a steady £750 a week. Didn't have to dress smart, didn't have to do interviews. Didn't have a care."
Gem: "He was looking at the crew going, 'Look at them, they haven't got a care, brilliant...'"
Noel: "I love 'em. They wear the same Megadeth T-shirt every day, eat us much as they want; they don't give a shit. And if you want to know a good sitcom, the crew bus sitcom is the one. Sit on the crew bus in America, that is a marvellous sitcom. The sound engineer has always got the arse because he's the singer of the crew. The lighting guy is like the lead guitarist because he's the other creative guy. he roadies are all drummers because they just bang things together and go, 'Skol!'. All the people who put the lights up are all bassists because all they do is smoke pot all day and look at and go, (Perfect Camberwell carrot cockney accent) 'It's fucking beautiful, man. ou fucking missed it, man, there was a bit, right, in fucking "Champagne Supernova", man, where you and Gem, right, you were wielding your axes, right, and there was this luverly, luverly like mauve thing going at the back of your head...Yeah...(takes deep puff on the fag) You looked like Jesus, man."
Have you still got the brown Rolls-Royce? (Tony, Portsmouth)
Noel: "I have. It's in the garage, slowly rotting away. It's beautiful, man. It's a Rolls-Royce in an ageing English mansion."
Gem: "You want to get it on the front lawn, take the roof off it, wheels off it and put a flower bed inside along with the dogs."
Noel: "I've caught the dogs kipping in it. I like looking at it because it's a testament to how much money Creation never really had! 'Why don't you put out another album?' 'No? We'll buy you a Rolls-Royce."
NME: Can you drive yet?
Noel: "No. I took about ten lessons, but the woman kept making me do a three-point turn outside the local comprehensive in Slough and after about three days everybody twigged on that at about half-four knobhead was going to come round the corner in a Nissan Micra with a big triangular L on the top. How embarrassing! I'd pull in and all these kids'd go, 'Wooooohey..' Stalled the tucking car! After about two weeks I got really pissed off with it."
Have you a favourite film, TV show, book... (Rebecca G, Brighton)
Noel: "Film is Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly. Book? I'm not big on books..."
Gem: "I'd go for The Wasp Factory by lain Banks."
Gem: "No, no, no.."
Noel: "Book would be the best of Viz. No, I'm not big on books' more biographies. The last good book I read was Revelations From The Memphis Mafia and it was Elvis' entourage and all their stories. It was brilliant. TV show? Top Of The Pops, probably. Or Sounds of The Sixties on UK Arena."
Gem: "I can't pinpoint one thing. Films: The Godfather, Jaws, Unforgiven, Serpico, Toy Story..."
Noel: "Nuns On The Run 2..."
Gem: Telly...when I was a kid it'd have to be The Six Million Dollar Man. Now I could miss anything. Tweenies is good."
Noel: "There's one on the Cartoon Network called Sponge Bug Square Pants! It's this little sponge bug and he's got chocolate square shorts and he lives at the bottom of the sea and it's about his adventures. Fucking mega! That's the best thing about having a kid. Legally, they can't touch me for watching cartoons all day. I sit there with me daughter and she can't even focus on it yet and I'm going, 'It's fucking brilliant!"'
Gem: "My Joe comes in and it's like, 'Dad! Simpsons!' I can't wait until he can tell what time things are actually on, like the TV guide."
Which cartoon character are you all most like? (Matt Tassell, Essex)
Noel: "Liam's the Tazmanian Devil. Andy Bell's the butler off The Munsters: doesn't say fuck all but when he does it's really funny. Alan is Cockney Wanker out of Viz. I'm Mr Burns off The Simpsons."
Gem: "We were saying that the other day. We were doing rehearsals without him 'cos he was ill and we were checking for bugs and hidden cameras. We could hear him from bed going, 'Do that again!...
Noel: "Gem's Scooby Doo."
What is the best drug? (Eric Jones, Willington, USA)
Noel: "If you're talking about the best chemical drug then it's got to be alcohol because it's freely available, it's legal, it gets you shitfaced and you think you're Superman and fucking Jim Carrey rolled into one. But otherwise I'd have to say love, man. I think they're all good, actually. They all serve a purpose. Apart from crack and heroin which are pretty bad because they kill you; or in the case of crack you kill other people, ha' I've had good times on them all. As long as you use them in the right way and don't abuse them and don't let them tuck you up they're fucking top...D'yer hear that? That's the sound of a million tabloid journalists' pens going, 'Yes, Noel says drugs are top!...
NME: What about that 'drugs as normal as a cup of tea' fall-out?
Noel: "I always get in trouble for being honest. The twats with the microphones go 'thanks for your honesty' and then phone their editor and go, 'You'll never guess what he said this time!' But that was probably not the right analogy-like having a cup of tea. But as soon as people accept that in this country we are in the midst of a massive drug culture the better. "I only know five people who haven't taken drugs and that's my mam, me gran, me father-in-law, me mother-in-law, and my newborn baby. Everyone else, lawyers, doctors, or what have you, they've all got their heads down once in a while. Nothing wrong with it, all part of growing up."
What's Your favourite biscuit? (Matt Roberts, Stockport)
Noel: "It's got to be the Chocolate Digestive, plain or milk. Unsurpassable in the biscuit world."
Gem: "True. But if you're feeling a bit fancy, perhaps a Hobnob."
Noel: "Ah, but when you're stoned all the little bitty bits get under your false teeth. Horrible. The Chocolate Digestive, though. I've had packets whilst stoned and watching Prisoner Cell Block H. Fantastic - those were the days."
"If you were PM, what would be the first thing you'd do? (Live Forever, Sweden)
Noel: "I would outlaw the Conservative Party and make it a criminal offence to be in the Conservative Party. I would make it a criminal offence to vote Conservative and a criminal offence to have relatives who are in the Conservative Party, and to be part of any royal family or to be a fucking lord or lady. I'd have the lot of the bastards shot. And if that's a bit too extreme, at least seriously maimed."
Gem: "There's your headline."
Noel: "Well...fuck 'em.
Gem: "I'd resign and install The Natural Law Party instead."
Noel: "Fuck that! I'd make it an offence to resign and to have The Natural Law Party put in instead."
Gem: "You're not having tantric flying?"
Noel: "Fuck. Right. Off. It's eating cross-legged and farting, all that shit."
That's how it ends: with Noel Gallagher PM insisting on criminalising the right of wing. Hard, but no doubt fair. Noel Gallagher Rock Star, meanwhile, has an appointment with the BBC to play his songs on Later With Jools Holland. On Sunday 'Go Let It Out' will top the chart with considerable ease. Next week Oasis start their world tour...And the questions for Oasis continue to pour into NME weeks after the closing date. Please stop now. It's over.