Liam Gallagher - Straits Times - 23rd February 2006
He says Don't Believe the Truth, but Liam Gallagher says the truth is, he and brother Noel are no longer the feuding siblings they used to be. Have Oasis really reached a new calm?
If any band name seems at odds with reality, it is arguably Oasis, given the calm-shattering behaviour of the two bickering main men - the Gallagher brothers Noel and Liam.
But Liam says in a recent phone interview from London that he has mellowed and that, gasp, he loves his older, 38-year-old sibling.
"Ah, you know, we're brothers. I love him. If anyone ever said a bad word about him, they'd get their ears pulled," says the 33 year old who, despite this liberal use of swear words in the interview, sounds relaxed and is polite.
"We don't go around holding hands and kissing each other like most brothers in bands - we don't fuck around."
Their concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium tonight has seen 90% of the 10,000 tickets sold. Tickets are priced from $68 to $160.
The new Oasis of calm, if true, is certainly a marked change from their heyday in the 1990s when the Manchester outfit made headlines for fighting, drinking and spectacular kiss-and-make-up sessions between the Gallagher brothers.
The group was then part of the Britpop phenomenon that included bands like Blur, Pulp and Suede.
The band formed in 1991 when Liam joined a group called Rain.
A year later, seeing his brother perform, Noel proclaimed the band 'utter shit' and offered to take over, provided he could lead its direction from then on.
Thanks to the critically acclaimed debut album Definitely Maybe and its 18 million selling follow up (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis have become part of modern rock history.
Their third album Be Here Now became the fastest selling album in Britain, with almost 500,000 copies sold on the first day alone.
While newer outfits like Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Party and Kaiser Chiefs have pooper up since,
Oasis still hold their own, with their last album Don't Believe the Truth selling 2.5million copies worldwide, including 10,000 copies here.
All in, they have sold an estimated 50 million copies of their eight albums so far.
The current Oasis line-up includes rhythm guitarist Gem Archer, 39, bassist Andy Bell, 35, and drummer Zak Starkey, 40, son of Beatles drummer Ringo Starr.
Oasis, which cancelled a 2002 date in Singapore after the Oct 12 bomb blasts in Bali that year, was in Bangkok last Saturday to perform at a rock festival.
They shared the bill with Scottish band Franz Ferdinand, who had flown in after their Singapore gig. Liam, by the way, had slammed Franz in the press before, comparing them to 1980s group Right Said Fred of the "I'm Too Sexy" fame.
Singaporean musician Nick Chan, 25, of Astreal and Muon, who caught the Bangkok Rock festival, was unimpressed with Oasis' performance.
"They have aged like vinegar rather than wine," says the guitarist and music producer. He adds that at one time, he could relate to their music, but that their "pub rock anthems have not really changed or evolved".
But Adrian Wee, 30, founder of the successful indie night event Poptart, which takes place once a month at Home Club at The Riversidewalk, is still a fan.
"I still think they are an important band for what they achieved in the 1990s. Along with Blur, they were one of the key bands in the Britpop invasion."
He attended an Oasis concert in 1998 in Melbourne, Australia, and plays hits like Roll With It at Poptart.
Will Oasis raise their game tonight to please music critics? The concert organiser, Lushington Entertainments, has spent over $1 million to bring them in, and is certainly hoping they will in their 90 minute set.
Not that criticism will bother Liam. The father of three children says: "The kids who buy our records, they like the songs, they come to the concerts. That’s who I care about."
There was a three-year break in between the last album Heathen Chemistry and DBTT last year. What were you doing in that period?
Well, there wasn't really any break, you know. We were writing the record and demo-ing stuff. That took about a year, I suppose. Then we decided to record it; we did that a few times.
We didn’t have much time to sit at home, we were pretty much in the studio all the time. I would like to say I wouldn’t like to take that much time ever again, it’s just boring. I would like to get a new record out towards the end of the year.
You want to kick butt, basically?
Fucking right, man. I didn’t join a band to cruise, I joined a band to make music
You’ve been touring for quite a while now. Do you hate seeing Noel on an almost daily basis? Is there anything nice you have to say about your brother, since you guys fight a lot?
I’ve got lots of nice things to say about him, though he’s always slagging me off. But I think he’s a great songwriter. He thinks he’s a little bit better at singing than me, which always pisses me off.
The album reviews of Don’t Believe the Truth I’ve read are lukewarm. Does that bother you?
Not really, I think that’s the way it is, darling. Until we pull out something really amazing, that is. The ones I’ve been reading have been all right, it’s been about 50/50 with the reviews. I think people expect too much of Oasis. But nothing bothers me.
Nothing bothers you? I hear you’ve got a hot temper, though.
Yeah, I’ve got a got temper when people pop cameras in my face. Other than that, I’m sweet. I get on with everyone.
But you’re not shy about having a go at other bands like Franz Ferdinand the way you did last year…
That’s my born right to have an opinion. And it’s my opinion that they sound like Right Said Fred. It’s not personal.
People go, “Do you like Franz Ferdinand?” I say, “No”. It’s my right as a musician, as a person, in general, to diss them. And they can diss my band, I don’t lose sleep over it. And if they get upset and say “Oh, he slagged off my band”, I say “Fucking go back to art college, you little wussies.”
Does it bother you that they slag you off in the press and not to your face?
Not in the slightest. The difference between me and them is that I’ll tell it to their face when we go to Bangkok. (No slagging face-off, as far as we know, went on in Bangkok.)
You guys have kept your fan base even if your last three albums were slammed a bit by the critics. How do you think you’ve managed that?
Do you think I give a toss about what some failed musician says about my record? Some spotty little idiot writing for some stupid magazine didn’t like my record because he didn’t like my attitude? I don’t give a fuck.
All right Liam, would you say you’ve mellowed down over the years?
No, not really. I wouldn’t say so. It depend I guess. I think I’ve a good angle on my life. I was on a bender for the past 15 years, not any more. I’ve kids, I’ve other things in my life than being a rock star.
It’s a nice place to be. Ten years ago, I didn’t have anything. All I had is this band, and you tend to go a bit daft. But I’m not the person I was 10 years ago.
Is it true you thought about taking up yoga to chill out?
(Chuckles) Laying on your back and all that, getting into bendy awkward positions? No, I don’t think so. People who write these things must be on drugs. No, no yoga for me.
Have you and your long-time girlfriend Nicole got married? There are rumours floating around on the Net…
No. You’re all nosy parkers. I don’t think it’s all that important. It we got married, you’d know about it. But it wouldn’t change your life.
Are you excited to come to Singapore?
I’m excited to go everywhere, man. I’ve got a huge amount of energy and I love to see places I haven’t been.
I can’t remember where it is, to tell you the truth, but I can’t wait. And people can expect a no-nonsense, straight rock ‘n’ roll show.
Pure attitude, five great-looking guys on stage doing it how it’s meant to be done.