Oasis Interviews Archive

A shitload of interviews from all the various members of Oasis and selected associates from the start of their career right up to the present day. These transcripts have been taken from various websites, forums and newsgroups over the years. Credit goes to those people who took the time to put these words online.

Wednesday, February 01, 1995

Noel Gallagher - Addicted To Noise - 1st Feburary 1995

Editor's Note: When Oasis came to San Francisco at the beginning of February to headline at the Fillmore Auditorium, their latest American single, the anthemic "Live Forever," was racing up the Alternative charts. With their UK pop star good looks, hook-laden songs and the arrogance of youth, Oasis are the English band of the moment. We sent Senior Editor Jaan Uhelszki to speak with the group's leader, guitarist/producer/songwriter Noel Gallagher. They met up on the afternoon of the Fillmore show. Sitting at a round table near the Fillmore bar before sound-check, Gallagher spoke about everything from his biggest fear to the meaning of fame.

Addicted To Noise: The way the story goes, in order to play at the club where Creation Records owner Alan McGee "discovered" Oasis, you threatened the club-owner. It doesn't seem that your band is one that leaves anything up to fate.
Noel Gallagher: No, but we didn't threaten to burn the venue to the floor, that's for starters. We didn't know that Alan McGee was going to be there, second of all. And he did not jump on stage and sign us upon the stage, thirdly. The only reason we threatened the club owner was because we'd paid so much money to get there. Like, Glasgow is about 600 miles from Manchester and we'd paid a lot of money to get there, so there was no way we were going to leave without playing. We didn't know McGee was going to show up at all, otherwise we wouldn't have gone. [Said charmingly with a stab at modesty]

ATN: Is that the fate part?
Gallagher: Definitely. We did not know he was going to be there at all, so it was total fate. It was on my twenty-fourth birthday as well.

ATN: People say that you and your brother Liam used to get along famously before you got in the band.
Gallagher: Yes, this is true. We just spend too much time with each other. Before we were in the band together I was a roadie, so I was off all over the place, and he was doing his thing. And that was all right. But now, even when we get time off, there's things that have to be done, and so we're still together. It's like any relationship, familiarity breeds contempt. We just had a month off and so we've been on this tour for four days and for the first two days it was great. And then it started getting back to the way it was, you know. Arguing and fighting. It's not like big massive, major rows. It's just like petty things. It's childish.

ATN: Do you come to blows?
Gallagher: Well, yeah, we do.

ATN: What do you fight about?
Gallagher: Anything, everything. The weather.

ATN: And who wins these drag-outs.
Gallagher: I do. After all I am the older.

ATN: Why do you think your band translates so well to an American audience, when Suede or Blur really haven't?
Gallagher: I think that our music, and especially the lyrics are quite universal. Whereas other English bands always like to sing about housing estates, and high rise block flats , and chip shops and things about England. It's all right if you live in England and can relate, it's all the little slang words that they might put in and stuff like that. But I just write, I wouldn't consider myself a great lyricist. I'm not a poet or anything. I just write what I feel. I'm just an average guy. [Grinning sheepishly when he sees I don't buy this] Ah, well not I'm not obviously. I write like an average person would write. "Cigarette and Alcohol" mean the same to some kid in Brooklyn as it would to someone from Belfast. It's the same, go out and get drunk have a good time. That means the same in any language. Bands like Suede and Blur... Bands like Blur and Suede sing about all things English. And I don't consider us an English band. I consider us just a band. I think they are very English. Even in the way they sing with sing with Cockney accents and all. When we sing, we don't sing with any particular accents. Just, I thinks that way. And I think we have a classic rock & roll sound, whereas them other bands­­Suede is very David Bowie-ish, and Blur is a bit like the Kinks.

ATN: Did growing up 32 miles from Liverpool, where the Beatles grew up influence you?
Gallagher: The Beatles, to us, were the be-all, end-all. Where it starts and where it finishes. Everything we do is inspired by the Beatles. And our ambition is to go where we want to go as a band. Them and U2, but not U2 musically, just the way they have done things. They started as a working class band and went on to become the biggest band in the world. As did the Beatles. So just the way they have done things and the way they have went about things. I mean Liverpool, we've got the connection, we know a lot of musicians in Liverpool. We recorded some of our first demos in Liverpool. "Supersonic" was recorded in Liverpool so we've got a big connection with the city.

ATN: Were your parents big Beatles fans?
Gallagher: Yeah, of course.

ATN: How old are these parents?
Gallagher: My mum's about 50.

ATN: What's with Manchester and this burgeoning band scene. Is there something in the water?
Gallagher: There's absolutely nothing to do in Manchester. Apart from... well if you grow up in Manchester, you either go to work in a factory or you play soccer, or you sell drugs, or you become a musician. I think that's why we have two pretty good soccer teams, and we've got a lot of good factories, we've got a lot of good drug dealers and a lot of good bands, and that's about it really. There's nothing else to do.
I think the people from New York, Detroit, and Chicago to a lesser extent have all sort of got the same attitude towards life: "We know it's shit here so let's just get on with it, and make the best of it because we all can't go off to Hollywood and be in movies. And we're all not talented. So okay, I'm going to work in a factory and I'm going to make sure I'm going to enjoy myself working in a factory, I'm not going to get down about it." People from Manchester have that same kind of attitude towards life. They aspire to get out of there, but if you never do, so what. At least have a good time trying.

ATN: Did you get out?
Gallagher: Oh, yeah. I live in London now. In Chelsea.

ATN: I read where you quoted Keith Richard's on the writing process. He had said that all these songs are whirling around the universe, and all you have to do is pick out some bits and write them down. What happens if they pick out the same bits?
Gallagher: Well they get sued, don't they? (Making sly reference to The New Seekers suing Oasis, claiming they had stolen music from "I'd Like To Teach the World To Sing (In Perfect Harmony)" and used it in "Shakermaker.") The thing is, as people like Keith Richard move on, people who are my age will have been influenced by what he's done. And there are a lot of kids who come to our gigs who would have never have heard of T. Rex if we hadn't took that riff for "Cigarettes & Alcohol." So they go out and buy T. Rex records. It all goes in a circle, like music always does. I think that's why the Beatles are still so big 30 years later . They're as big now as they were then. Because as each generation goes on they take stuff from what has gone before. And then when you read their interviews... Like when I first read Sex Pistols' interviews, for instance, they talked about the Stooges and the MC5, and I'd never heard of those bands, at all. MC5 is a Detroit band. I never heard of those bands and probably would have never gotten into them if it hadn't been for Johnny Rotten mentioning Iggy Pop and the Stooges. Because I didn't know Iggy Pop was in a band called the Stooges. When I was growing up he was just Iggy Pop, The Idiot .
John Lydon used to mention David Bowie as well. When I was growing up all the sixth formers at school were into Bowie, and they all wore long overcoats and floppy hats. It wasn't until I started reading about the Sex Pistols and you go back to the Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars phase, when they were a fucking' excellent rock-and-roll band. They were like a punk band. They were influenced by the Stooges as well. You can see the Stooges and the MC5 influenced David Bowie. I can see that anyway. If you listen to like Diamond Dogs , that's just like MC5 to me. Even the lyrics and all that. [He starts to sing.] "When they pulled you out of the oxygen tent/You asked for the latest pie/Young girl they call that the Diamond Dogs." That's punk rock to me. All music tied in somewhere along the line to it's forebearers. And if it ever stops that's going to me a sad day for music. When people are to scared to pull the bits out of the sky, it's going to be a sad day.

ATN: What about The New Seekers lawsuit? Has anything been resolved yet?
Gallagher: It's still going on.

ATN: I could see where they would sue, but...
Gallagher: No, I can't . I didn't set out to use their song. I hadn't thought about that until the writ landed on the fucking table. It's actually a rip off of "Flying" by the Beatles, that's what it is. I just put lyrics to "Flying" and I came up with "Shakermaker," and then the New Seekers appear and say they're going to sue us for one hundred percent royalties on the single. And they're actually going to reform now after twenty-five years, because of this.

ATN: You said "punk rock is an attitude not a form of music, it's in the mind, not in the music. You're born with it, and you die with it." Do you have it?
Gallagher: That's not for me to say. I'd like to think so. The reason I said that quote was because R.E.M. was saying that their new album, Monster , was a punk album. And I'm afraid you can't go from playing a mandolin and being a sort of folkie alternative band, to then claiming yourself a punk rock band in few years. You can't. You can't go from losing your religion to being a punk rocker. You can't. You're either that when you start, and that's it. And for Michael Stipe to say it himself, that's worse.

ATN: Do you remember the ones who said you couldn't do it?
Gallagher: Plenty of people. Yeah. We had people around Manchester who just dismissed us immediately as just another band. And we said we're going to be massive, and they said, "No, Manchester is dead." I think a lot of people in Manchester just gave up after the Manchester thing, and sat on their asses and didn't do anything. There's a lot of musicians who are just wasting away in Manchester. There are a lot of great singers and guitarists, and bands who are just sitting around doing nothing, just wallowing in their own self-pity.

ATN: You seem to have this intense work ethic. You'll do anything to make it.
Gallagher: Well there's no point in being a band if you're not going to be out there. Myths don't sell records. Or they do to a certain extent. But people have got to hear you, and people have got to see you. And they have to be able to read about you, and they have to be able to see your photograph. Or what's the fucking' point. You only last... you get five years. If you haven't built up a big fan base to carry it through to the rest of your career, then you're fucked. I think that you have to do it in your first five years. Or else you just become a mediocre band for the rest of your career.

ATN: What's been memorable about your success? What has fame brought to you?
Gallagher: Nothing. It's not the money thing. I mean it's nice to get noticed. I could never understand pop stars who go on about fame. I like it... no I wouldn't say I like it, but I mean it gives you a good feeling when you're walking down the street and somebody stops you and says, "Can I have your autograph?" If you can't enjoy that there's no point in being in a fucking band. Or like people will come up to me and will say, "Can I take a photograph with you?" And I always say, "Well, yeah." That's what I'm in a band for. I'm not in a band to sit at home and hide under the blankets and be ashamed of what I am. I'm in it to be on the cover of every single magazine. On the telly 24 hours a day. Total Oasis, 24 hours a day.

ATN: Well if you're using the Beatles as a role model, they did try to launch all Beatles radio.
Gallagher: Yeah. There's no point in getting ashamed of being a rock star. When someone says, "Are you in that band," and you go "No," what's that about? It's fucking' insanity. I think people just look into it too deeply. It's no big deal, really when you think about it. But a lot of people well, for the finest example: Kurt Cobain. I don't mean to say I'm slagging him off. I loved the man. I loved his band and I thought it was really sad when he shot himself. But fame is not that big of deal. People say your life is not your own anymore, but I'm sorry, it is . If you're going to go walking down the street, people are going to stare at you. But I mean you go in and shut your front door, and your life is your own. It's like people say, "I can't go out." But you can go out. All these people sit outside your house, but if you just go up to them and say, "Excuse me, could you have a bit of respect for the fact that I want to go shopping today," and they all walk off and leave you alone. Pop stars end up being imprisoned in their homes because it's them that imprison themselves. It's not the kids. All the kids want is an autograph and a picture, and they'll piss off. As soon as you give them an autograph, they'll go. If you don't give them an autograph or a picture, they'll stay there. That's the way I see it.

ATN: So you would say there's no price of fame.
Gallagher: The price of fame is you don't get to spend as much time with the people that you love. Girlfriends, or family, or friends for that matter. You tend to lose contact with them. If there are true friends they'll be there when it's all over anyway. It's only a small part of your life. It's like five years, six years out of your life, so it's not that big of a price to pay.

ATN: Has this fame wreaked hell on your relationships? You write songs about your ex-girlfriends.
Gallagher: Yeah, but it's good material for songs.

ATN: You write a tremendous amount. Will Oasis ever do covers?
Gallagher: We do "I Am the Walrus" by the Beatles. It was a B-side in England, and we do it live. In fact we'll end with it tonight. I'd like to do a covers version album. I can sit for hours and hours and hours playing covers on the guitar. I'd like to do a covers album, but not next. It's paying the people who influenced you homage, isn't it?

ATN: The January issue of Select magazine was dedicated to "What happened to Evan Dando?" and you and your band seemed to play a big part in his, should I say, fall from grace. So I ask again, What's wrong with Evan Dando, and what does it have to do with Oasis?
Gallagher: He's a friend. [Said a bit tartly, and defensively] It's actually quite a factual piece. He's a total laugh. We can't wait to bump into him somewhere out here, on tour. He's fucking' mad . But he's really a laid back sweet guy, and he makes me laugh for a start. Plus the amount of times I've ended in a hotel rooms with just him and me and just an acoustic guitar... I could sit and listen to him for days. He's got a great voice and he sings great songs.

ATN: Where did the name Oasis come from?
Gallagher: I joined the band two months after it got going. Liam just got it off a poster on a wall.

ATN: Did you have an early premonition that this would happen to you?
Gallagher: Yeah. When I realized I was good at absolutely nothing else apart from playing guitar. I knew from an early age that it was always going to happen. You can't keep a good man down. It doesn't matter if you have a dream and you never get there, that's all right. The worst is having a dream and never even trying to fulfill it. That must be the worst feeling. As long as you tried, you know you tried and you failed in life. You know if you gave it your best shot, fine. So be it. I've met lots of people who say, "I can write as good as songs as you can." And I say, are you in a band? And they say, "No." Well, do you record them? "No, no, no, I just play them in my own bedroom."
To me you don't exist. There's no point. I can say I'm the greatest painter of all time. And someone says, "Can I see some of your paintings?" and I say I actually haven't painted any, but I know that I'm the greatest. That doesn't count for fucking' all in my book.

ATN: Is there an Oasis song that is most you?
Gallagher: Yeah. "Slide Away," "Live Forever," "Rock and Roll Star," "Married With Children," some of the new stuff is really me.

ATN: So they do tend to be autobiographical.
Gallagher: You can't really help it.

ATN: So your ex-girlfriend really did say those lines "all your music is shit."
Gallagher: Yeah she did.

ATN: Is the current girlfriend more supportive of your music?
Gallagher: Yeah, a little bit more. But they all hate my music in the end. It always comes to that.

ATN: In one interview you said your lyrics are meaningless. How did you mean that?
Gallagher: Well they all mean a lot to me, because I wrote them obviously. But I'm not one for... Certain people who write songs will sit there and try to convince you that they have created the great art form. They love talking about themselves. I don't particularly like talking about me . I would never go around and say what a great guy I am, or I think I'm the best lyricist on and on. Regardless of what I think of those songs [I write] it's meaningless. It doesn't matter what I think of them. What my songs mean to me is lots of kids queue up in the pouring rain the day the day a single comes out and buy it. That's what it means to me. It doesn't matter what I think of my songs, it's what you think. It's more important than what I think because I'm not going to go out and buy the records. Obviously I think they're the greatest pieces of music ever recorded. But I'm not going to say this is the greatest song since "Strawberry Fields Forever" because it means, blah, blah blah, and that line means blah, blah, blah. I don't really like talking about things like that.

ATN: Is there a line that keeps running through your head. Like a personal creed or motto?
Gallagher: Yeah. "Make It Happen." And the Keith Richard's line "Be Awake." Be aware, and always look back as well as forward.

ATN: Is there something you still need to learn?
Gallagher: I need to learn to play guitar. I need to learn how to operate a mixing desk. I need to learn to say no a lot more. I say yes to everything. I can't say no.

ATN: Records that really mattered?
Gallagher: All the Beatles records.

ATN: What's your favorite?
Gallagher: If I had to pick one track it would be "Ticket to Ride" or "Paperback Writer." If I had to pick an album, it would be the red one and the blue one. You know the compilations, 1962 to 1967, and 1967 to 1970. Because they've got all the singles on them. That's why they're the best.

ATN: I was interested in knowing why you consider "Helter Skelter" the beginning of the punk movement.
Gallagher: Because it was exactly a year after that, that the Stooges and the MC5 came out. In 1969. "Helter Skelter" was recorded at the back end of 1967, and that was the first. If you listen to "Helter Skelter" and listen to the MC5 and the Stooges, it's that sound. They sound exactly like that record. And song, the way it's played, is the birth of punk rock as we know it.

ATN: Any records besides Beatles records that really matter to you?
Gallagher: The Stooges first album, Kick Out the Jams, and then there was Never Mind the Bollocks , Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. A lot of the Jam's records. A lot of the Smith's records. And the Stone Roses' first album. I think they were quite important records, at least for me anyway. And for British music in general.

ATN: What's your most valued possession?
Gallagher: My guitar. Any single one of my guitars.

ATN: How many are there now?
Gallagher: There's 18. Quite a few.

ATN: The best piece of advice anyone ever gave you.
Gallagher: I went to my first and only guitar lesson in school. And I'm left-handed, but I play guitar right-handed. And my guitar teacher gave me a left-handed guitar, and he said, "You've got to play it this way, because you're left-handed." And I said, "I can play it right- handed" and he said, "No, no, you can't." And then my mom just took me out of the class, and she bought me a guitar, and said, "You go out and play it however you want to play it." And that was the best piece of advice I ever got.

ATN: Who was your favorite Beatle?
Gallagher: John Lennon. I don't really separate any of them. Because when they all went solo, they were fuckin' rubbish anyway. So, John Lennon to a lesser extent, when he first left the Beatles, he was all right. And George was all right for a while. They were the Beatles and as soon as they split, then it meant it was done. The magic was gone.

ATN: What comes first words or music?
Gallagher: Music.

ATN: Do you feel more attached to one more than the other?
Gallagher: Music no doubt. I'd rather not write lyrics, if someone else in the band would do it, then I wouldn't do it. I find it very difficult to write lyrics. I find it really easy to write melodies and music. But to actually physically write it all down, and make it all make sense­­mean something­­and not make it sound ridiculously light, like you wrote all the lines together and make it all tie into the last line, is really difficult. And to make the chorus make some sense with the verses.

ATN: Do you always labor over them?
Gallagher: No. Sometimes they come out in 20 minutes. Like "Rock 'n' Roll Star" took fucking hours to write. Hours and hours and hours and hours. And "Live Forever" took 20 minutes. And "Slide Away" took 20 minutes. Also all the ones that are about real feelings, songs like "Live Forever" and "Slide Away," "Married With Children" come real easy because you just write down what you feel. What you've lived. But if you're trying to write about rock-and-roll stars, trying to write about trying to be a rock-and-roll star, that usually takes quite a while.

ATN: Things that you've been hit with on-stage.
Gallagher: A fist in Newcastle. A bottle in Preston. And various plastic glasses. Water. Beer.

ATN: Is there somebody you didn't want to meet, but you're glad you did?
Gallagher: Paul Weller. I idolized him so much. When you idolize them, they're like gods, and you worry if you meet them, they could be a twat, or he could just tell me to piss off. But not him. Because he's one of my best friends now.

ATN: Your biggest fear?
Gallagher: Boredom.

ATN: The truest words ever said are­­
Gallagher: I'd have to say : "Fucking shove this up there, sonny it'll make you a better person." Umm, I'd say when John Lennon said, "We're more popular than Jesus now."

ATN: Something you want to do, but haven't done yet.
Gallagher: Have a number one single. Play for Manchester City F.C. Play with U2. Meet George Harrison. Meet Paul McCartney. Meet Mick Jagger. Play with the Stones. All musical things really. I played with Crazy Horse. And I played on Paul Weller's new album that's coming out this year, so I'm getting there. I'm crossing them off one by one.

ATN: Questions you can't answer?
Gallagher: What's the meaning of life?

ATN: Is there an event in history that you wish you had witnessed?
Gallagher: The Beatles last ever gig . Or first ever gig. Or any Beatles gig. Or any Sex Pistols gig. I've seen the video of the last Sex Pistol gig. I'd like to have seen the Stones in about 1969. I'd like to have witnessed the Rock 'n' Roll Circus. I'd like to have witnessed Manchester City winning any fucking' trophy, whatsoever.

ATN: Anything you want to say to folks at home?
Gallagher: Buy my albums, make me a millionaire.

ATN: You're not millionaires yet?
Gallagher: No fucking' way. God no.

Noel & Liam Gallagher - Addict - 1st February 1995

The British aren't coming, they're already here. And one prong of the attack on US radio is Oasis, a Manchester quintet whose "Live Forever" and "Supersonic" have been topping the charts at modern rock stations around the country. This band didn't crawl out of obscurity to launch a battle on American radio, they were already bonafide stars in the UK, and have been since their debut album, Definitely Maybe, was officially declared Britain's fastest-selling debut album of all time last December.

Beatle comparisons are inescapable when it comes to Oasis, right down to their lilting northern accents, their '90s take on the mop-top haircut, and their optimistic pop lyrics. As I set forth to interview guitarist Noel Gallagher, one fifth of this outfit, and brother of Liam, the band's lead singer, I begin to feel as if I've stepped into a remake of A Hard Day's Night. Maybe you can blame it on Oasis's proximity to Liverpool, the town that spawned the Beatles; the most successful and significant rock group in history. A town that casts a long metaphoric shadow over the surrounding countryside of northwestern England, if not all of the world.

Noel Gallagher internalized the Beatles' model, absorbing the musical style he had grown up listening to, and when he began to write songs for his band he used that same musical recipe. The uncomplicated harmonies; spare arrangements; the short, upbeat, exuberant tunes about love, ambition, and drugs; and spectacular hooks. Updating it with the grinding, often psychedelic guitars.

But Oasis are more than just Beatles clones. One can hear Ziggy-era Bowie in the album's lead-off track, "Rock 'n' Roll Star," T. Rex in "Cigarettes & Alcohol," the Stooges in "Bring It All Down." And one can imagine Liam mouthing Sex Pistols lyrics in front of the bathroom mirror when he was a kid; he has a classic English pop voice (think Lennon, think Ray Davies) that he uses to deliver a devastating Johnny Rotten (AKA Lydon) sneer at just the right moment. All of those influences have been thrown in the blender; the result is a sound that is as unique in its own way as Nirvana's take on punk was, or Pearl Jam's version of hard rock.

All five members of Oasis­­bassist Paul McGuigan, drummer Tony McCarroll, second guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, and the two Gallaghers­­grew up in Burnage, a suburb of Manchester, only thirty-two miles from the mothership of the Mersey beat, where the Beatles are the dominant musical and cultural paradigm. It certainly had its effect on the brothers Gallagher, who both claim vehemently and independently of one another that they aim to be bigger than the Beatles. Noel, at 27, the elder of the two and the author of all of Oasis's songs, reveals that his parents were huge Beatle fans. Beatle references are liberally peppered through their speech, and their songs are suffused with admittedly stolen licks.

But this isn't just a story of braggadocio and empty claims. Oasis' witty, engaging hook-laden songs deliver the goods. They are much more Muhammad Ali than Hulk Hogan. "I've been saying we're fucking great since our first interview, and that everyone else was shit," says Liam Gallagher, 22. "And I say the same thing now. People said to us, 'Who are you to say they're crap when you haven't even had an album out.' But now we do, and it's number one. It's good to look back and say, 'I've always thought your band was shit and we're the best,' and still mean it... And if we become the biggest band in the world, we do­­and if we don't we don't. I know we're the best band on the planet."

I enter the Fillmore in San Francisco with visions of John, Paul, George, and Ringo dancing in my head. It's been arranged for me to interview the "smart one" rather than the "cute one" according to the record company publicist, ostensibly because he is more quotable. Read: more circumspect and careful.

As I walk into the dark bowels of the club, I spy Noel and Liam sitting at a small round table near the bar, having their makeup applied. A slight woman, with a flesh colored disc in her right hand, is dabbing pancake makeup on Noel's impassive face. Liam sits to his brother's right, patiently waiting his turn. He raises his left hand in a silent salute, peering up at me and his publicist from behind his retro aviator glasses.

Noel looks over, cocks his head to one side, and gives us a wide smile­­while quickly taking off his glasses and slipping them into the pocket of his of faux brown seal coat before he gets up to follow me to a quiet corner of the venue. Although it is uncomfortably warm in the club, Noel never takes off his fun fur during our time together. Perhaps it's his talisman to help him fend off probing questions, because he is particularly skilled at that, even though his band is relatively new to all this.

Noel is rather a study in contradictions. He tries to come off like a cocky self-assured footballer from Manchester who talks tough and carouses with the best of them, destroying hotel rooms and going on days-long binges with the likes of Evan Dando. Yet he wears a delicate claddagh ring and an antique amethyst on his pale well-formed hands, and speaks in a slow northern cadence which suggest a more intellligent and sensitive nature. But then, so do his lyrics.

Noel is completely at ease in the interview situation, leaning forward on his elbows every now and then to clarify a point, making sure that he's not misunderstood. Something one suspects has happened quite a bit, since Oasis became The Next Big Thing in Britain. He's of average height, on the lean side and has pale steel-blue eyes, which are framed by the most impressive eyebrows I've ever seen. These are the brows of a nineteenth century politician. William Gladstone brows, heavy with the burden of a huge potential.

Oasis got their first break in what had all of the aspects of a Cinderella story. As the "official" story reads, late in 1992 the members of Oasis, who had only met a year before (and had never played beyond the confines of their native Manchester), hitched a ride to Glasgow with Sister Lovers, another local band on the understanding that they would be on that night's bill. When they got there, tired and broke (they had to spring for gas), the promoter tried to back out of the promise. These lads from the north of England weren't having any of that and they threatened him, not with arson (as the myth goes), but with bodily harm (as Noel will admit).

The club promoter relented, the band did their set, and unbeknownst to them, Creation Record's Alan McGee (who just happened to be in the audience), trailed them to their dressing room, intent on an on-the-spot signing. It's a good story, almost plausible, until you meet Noel, and then you know that all that destiny and happenstance stuff is pure crap. "No, no, it was definitely fate," he argues.

He lights a cigarette, leans forward on his elbows, and tries to convince me. "We didn't know that Alan McGee would be there that night. If we had, we wouldn't have gone. We'd have been too nervous," he continues modestly, but somehow I find that hard to believe. This is a guy who could have given Dale Carnegie a few tips on the power of positive thinking. Or he could have been a field marshall for the Third Reich. Under Gallagher they would have never marched into Russia. They would have taken a right at Greenland, as his hero, John Lennon once said, and found themselves in America, the last frontier for an up-and-coming Brit band. He says John is his favorite Beatle, but he's more Paul, ready with the quick self-deflecting quip, the succinct, romantic lyrics, even down to the matter of his birth sign and his left-handedness.

Noel wasn't even in the band when Oasis began in 1991. He was touring America as a guitar tech for the Inspiral Carpets when his mother informed him during a phone call to Manchester that Liam had formed a band. Noel arrived back home just in time to see the first Oasis performance. At that show Noel saw his future, and his ticket out of the industrial wasteland of Manchester. Afterwards he approached his brother's band. Depending on his mood when he recounts the story, he either asked them to let him join ("Let me write the songs, and we'll be stars. Or don't and stay stuck in Manchester.") or simply took over ("I barged in there and said, 'Right, I'm taking over this band now, so sit down, shut the fuck up, and we'll go make loads of money.'").

Whatever really happened, these days Noel is firmly in the leadership role, makes all the creative decisions, writes all the words and music, and produces the records. When asked whether Liam has ever refused to sing his lyrics, he answers tartly, "No, never. If he did, I'd kick him out of the band." When questioned whether writing everything himself is harder than collaborating, Noel matter-of-factly tells me, "Oh it's much easier, I don't get no fucking singer saying anything."

The two brothers battle incessantly. When asked what his pet peeves are, Noel says: "Brothers. Sound checks. Brothers. Making videos. People from record companies. Manchester United. Flying. Extremely hot weather. Brothers." They fight at the drop of a hat, and did so on stage in Los Angeles, when Liam knocked Noel in the head with his tambourine. And on a ferry to Holland, causing them to be barred from disembarking.

"We fight about nothing, everything, the weather," admits Noel. "We just spend too much time together. We used to get along famously. It's like any relationship, familiarity breeds contempt. We just had a month off and we've been on this tour for four days, and the first two days were great. And then it started getting back to the way it was. Arguing and fighting."

He is quiet for a moment, then adds regretfully, " It's not just big massive, major blows. It's just like petty things. It's childish."

"Who wins?" I ask innocently.

"Me of course."

Why am I not surprised at his answer.

As if on cue, Liam sticks his beautifully sculpted cheekbones in the door, and chides me for interviewing his brother, and not him. "Sure Noel is good, but I'm better. You should have been interviewing me," he says with a smirk. He quickly glances over to see how Noel is taking all this, and you can see he enjoys goading him. "Mr. Rock and Roll Star" is how he refers to Noel when his brother isn't around. Noel is used to this, you can tell. He he looks right through Liam, and, without missing a beat, says, "Who is he? Throw him out."

Liam is as animated off-stage as he is wooden on. He's tall and lithe, with enormous blue eyes that turn down at the corners. He has lush, pouting lips, that he juts in and out on stage, working his mouth around his brother's dreamy lyrics. He resembles his older brother Noel, but the parts just hang together differently on Liam. Where Noel is lean and tightly wound, Liam is limber and at home in his body, charmingly lethargic. Freer, looser. There's a refreshing bluntness about him, and he's liable to tell you exactly what he thinks without censor.

I'm beginning to realize why the publicists steer everyone to Noel. Liam is a bit of the loose cannon. In December, he told a reporter who asked him if he was getting a big head, that "I've always had a big head. Me, I'm a big-headed arrogant bastard. Only now I have a right."

Noel told Rolling Stone last fall that "When one of us starts acting like a pop star, he'll get a cut-down from the other one. And usually it's Liam getting one from me." That's not hard to believe, either. Liam has the same come-hither charisma that has marked some of the great ones. Jagger comes to mind. So does Iggy. He is reason the band is dubbed "The Sex Beatles" in the British press. But Liam is curiously subdued on stage. His moves are economical, if barely perceptible. He stands stock still in front of the microphone, eyes closed, occasionally shifting from one foot to the other, hands clasped behind his back as he snarls out Noel's lyrics.

One would be tempted to say this is the musical version of the Cyrano de Bergerac story­­with the stunning Liam mouthing the beautiful words for his less stellar-looking brother. Except Noel ain't that bad. So what if these guys move like stick figures? The power and presence of the music is unmistakable, and their hit potential seems limitless. As Noel will tell you, he's got a million of them. When queried about how he can be so self-confident, he counters, "Because I write all the songs, and I write them in bulk. So I've probably written enough material for the next album, and the one after that. I'm the only one who has heard these songs, so I know what's coming over the next two or three years. I know it's good. As good as Definitely Maybe, if not better. But then I would say that wouldn't I?" he attempts at self-mockery, albeit unsuccessfully.

That's not too say he's all piss and ego. He's actually quite charming. It's just that he's on a mission. This is a man whose personal creed is "make it happen." A personal mantra that he admits is threaded through all his waking thoughts, and a phrase that he incorporated into the lyrics of "Cigarettes and Alcohol." He believes all that anyone gets at the top is five years, max­­and he intends to make hay while the sun shines by touring incessantly, and being completely accessible to all media. "Well there's no point in being in a band if you're not going to be out there. People have got to hear you, and people have got to see you. And they have to be able to read about you, and see your photograph. Or what's the fucking point? You only get five years at the peak of your popularity. If you haven't built up a big fan base to carry it through to the rest of your career, then you're fucked... My goal is to be on the cover of every single magazine, and on the telly twenty four hours a day."

"So you never had any doubt that this was going to happen?" I inquire.

"Do you remember the film The Commitments?" he asks me. "The part where the guy is interviewing himself in the bath? I used to do that every night."

"What, watch The Commitments?" I tease.

"No. I used to interview myself in the mirror. I'm serious. I really did," he insists. He is dead serious.

I give him a funny look, then look away. Confessions have that effect on me. I start to squirm when things get too real. I think I'm more comfortable with pop star artifice. Vulnerability makes me retract my claws. "So what did you ask yourself, and more importantly, what did you answer?" I ask, trying to lighten things up again.

Noel refuses to answer. I've gotten off the beaten path, and we both know it. Noel seems suddenly a little abashed that he's actually revealed something about himself. This is a self-made man, in a self-made band, and he's determined to steer it to world domination. And there aren't any unscheduled stops along the way, not if Noel can help it. If not , it's going to be a Hard Day's Night. For someone.