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.

Sunday, February 18, 1996

Noel & Liam Gallagher - The Sunday Times - 18th February 1996

Whitley Bay Ice Bowl is one serious kick-ass rock venue. To hell with their "no skates on seats" house rule, tonight the spiritual home to the Whitley Warriors ice hockey team is giving itself up to rock'n'roll hedonism. For tonight, and tonight only, Whitley Bay welcomes Oasis - Britain' biggest band...if they get their shirts ironed in time.

Lead singer Liam Gallagher is on stage in three hours and his Ralph Lauren button-down needs attention. Bless him. His anxiety about his laundry provokes an angry outburst peppered with a volley of four-letter words. All I do is sit back, with the confidence of the man who thought to go drip-dry, and bleep out the swear words in this and many of the exchanges that follow. "I've asked her nice five bleeping times, and I've never ironed a bleeping shirt in my life, man.' The band don't seem too bothered, busily setting about a vegetable curry. A roadie - obviously new - tries to help. 'Don't poke your bleeping nose in.' It falls to Noel Gallagher to shut his younger brother up - "Anyone want to wipe my arse while they're at it?'

Noel irons his own shirts. He probably uses the hotel's trouser press. But I doubt a few creases would tip him over the edge. Strange to think, then, that he is the motor force behind the greatest outcasts in British rock. "The press have always needed a bad-boy, dirty, druggy rock'n'roll band. Before us, pop stars were becoming arty-farty, limp-wristed, fey bastards like Brett Anderson from Suede. We're not that wised-up on books in Oasis, but we know what's what. And the press will always need a band who speak their mind "

I was ready to listen. I had an empty notebook and three packs of B&H in case Noel needed inspiration. Then Liam walked in - uh-oh, shirt unironed.

Backstage he looks like the nerdy American comedian Emo Philips on a bad day, in an anorak that's very C&A. He's quick to point out that it's Diesel, actually, retailing at nearly £300. He is versed in all the body language psychology tell you to avoid - invading personal space and wagging threatening fingers in a "come and have a go if you think you're hard enough kind of way - and everyone wishes he'd just find his dressing room and lock himself in. He doesn't walk, he swaggers at you like you've nicked his pint.

Liam: "Is this your dressing room, or mine? Or is it ours? Dad?"
Noel: "You'd better bleep off, mate"
Liam: "Yeah?"
Noel: "You'd better bleep right off."
Liam: "I'm going to sit over here'
Noel: "Right. You sit over there' '
Liam: "You'd better bleep right off."
Noel: "No, you'd better bleep right off."
Liam: "You'd better bleep right off."
Noel: "No, you better had - sort your head out' (Like Sooty and Sweep, Liam hides round the corner making a wanker gesture as Noel chats.)

When Liam's public see him walk past the stage door at 7.10pm, that shirt is still eating away at him. "Not now - I've got to have my beans on toast or I'll hurl." It's no idle threat. I was starting to understand why Liam doesn't give interviews. Like any rock singer, Liam Gallagher demands attention. He'd be like that if he was an electrician - it's just that people are less tolerant of electricians who demand attention. Liam is Oasis. If you ask Liam, that is. To the rest of the world Oasis are Liam Gallagher (vocals), Noel Gallagher (guitar), Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs (rhythm guitar) and Paul "Guigs" McGuigan (bass). Bonehead, bards best mate, is the balding ex-plasterer, stage left. Noel is godfather to his daughter. Guigs, usually stage right, returned to the band only recently after a break for "nervous exhaustion". He only does interviews with football magazines. Drummer Alan White is too much of a new boy to merit a nickname. Then again, maybe it's because Whatever, he was on Top of the Pops within 12 hours of being hired. And played his second Oasis gig in front of 100,000 people at Glastonbury. Nonetheless he was "mad for it" ' And he's "mad for it" tonight.

Downstairs the ice rink is being boarded up, the ambient temperature is well below freezing, and the band are rehearsing and fooling around. When all the other members are finished Noel drags a stool across the stage and plays an acoustic song from the third album, due out in 1997. Like the student who sits and plays Stairway to Heaven whether or not anyone is listening, he looks blissed out. Like a man who lives to make music.

For those in Whitley Bay who find Oasis a little too much, there's an Evening with Bobby Crush and His Musicians at the Playhouse. Or the Great Whitley Bay Family Day Out, offering reduced admission to the area's three premier attractions. All you need know is that number one is mini-golf, which explains why Oasis tickets are changing hands for up to £125. It's not often the young folk of Whitley Bay get the chance to see a band as celebrated as Oasis. Or as outspoken. "We bleeping hate everybody else," says Noel. "We'll say, 'You - you're a cockney bleeping bleeder, 'You - you're a middle-class bleep.' We don't mean it half the time, but we're definitely more exciting than other bands"

And it's not all talk. Oasis have revived the rock tradition of wrecking hotel rooms, and now face bans from four British chains. Once the bar tab's sorted, they have ended up with bills of anything from £145 (a plywood table Bonehead tipped out a window) to £30,000 - but then hotel rooms do come more expensive in Sweden. The band have been thrown off a ferry to Amsterdam for starting a punch-up (apparently down to Liam's reaction to Noel saying he was prepared to sell their mother for fame). And when it comes to drugs, Oasis just don't know when to stop. Apart from when they run out. In a world of anaemic rock stars, Oasis are a publicist's dream.

Their faddishness has been used by the media to promote a battle of the bands with Blur, their nearest rivals for the teenage audience, even though Oasis actually outsell Blur by roughly three to one. This piece of hype is a time-honoured technique favoured by record labels ever since Rolling Stones fans first punched out Beatles fans in the playground. Blur are clever (they rhyme Prozac with Balzac) and cockney (if Colchester has ever fallen within the sound of Bow Bells). "A bunch of middle-class bleepers trying bunch of working-class heroes," Noel called them. It's a war of words which culminated in a clumsy gibe from Noel, who wished Aids upon two Blur members. He apologised, but record buyers didn't seem too offended.

Tonight the band have other, more pressing things than puerile pop rivalry on their minds. It's showtime! Liam swaggers onstage. "All right? mad for it? We're mad for it." Banter is kept to a strict minimum - nobody understands him anyway. The story goes that in America, after one lengthy bit of babble, one member of the crowd turned to another and said, "I thought they were English?"

In his ironed shirt, Liam is a photographer's dream no need for motor drive because he doesn't actually do anything. All right, he crouches like he's going through a small doorway and bends into the mike. But choreographed he's not. Just disgustingly handsome. He rattles a tambourine - such a lead singer's instrument for something to do. The light show is reminiscent of a village hall disco. As the venues they play get bigger, Oasis will need to present more of a show, but for the moment all they offer is raw, dirty rock'n'roll.

Noel Gallagher has lifted riffs and melodies from the works of T. Rex, Stevie Wonder, Paul Weller, the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Gary Glitter - and he's the first to admit it. But as Paolo Hewitt, journalist and the author of next year's Oasis biography, says, "In Noel's hands it sounds fresh. It's like you've never heard it all before. He can take the most common three-chord progression, that you've heard a million times before, and make it his own. The Oasis sound is unique. It reminds you of Phil Spector in some places - that big wall of sound - but it's still unique."

The references (such as Marc Bolan's Get It On in Cigarettes & Alcohol) mean that Oasis songs work on first listen. "The one that really pisses me off," says Noel, "is Shakermaker sounding like I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing - do me a favour. That's got bleep all to do with the New Seekers. Critics still argue about how innovative Noel really is. "I say to them, 'What does innovative mean? You know the words you're using, they're 80,000 years old them words. So are you any more innovative than I am? I don't think so."

Oasis don't do encores. After a bottle of Evian each, the band pile onto the coach. The two Oasis tour buses owe little to National Express. Spilling over two floors (sofa downstairs, bunks and chill-out space upstairs), they are carpeted wall-to-wall. Engines running, the stereo is pumping everything from the Beatles to Portishead, Sly and the Family Stone to the Rolling Stones. Some seminal football match is playing on the video, even though Bonehead wants to watch Brief Encounter. Talk is of everything and nothing, from the merits of the Beatles' White Album to who played full-back for Manchester City in 1954. Paolo Hewitt is last on the bus - with the ubiquitous bottle of Jack Daniel's. "I just thought someone on the bus might want it." The tabloids follow the bus all the way to Scotland. Shame they choose the wrong one.

In two years, Oasis have gone from five-up in a Ford Transit, with Bonehead behind the wheel, to a touring party of 45, transported around the world in four articulated lorries and two tour buses. Bonehead wasn't a bad tour manager - he would say "9am in the lobby or else". The job just got too big. Liam and Noel met Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs and Paul "Guigs" McGuigan in the council estates of Burnage, a grey suburb of Manchester.

"Crack-heads live in Burnage, man, and burn down all your houses;' says Noel. He learnt to play the guitar by listening to the red and blue Beatles albums, and started to dream of escape. He decided he didn't want to end up picking out misshaped Jaffa Cakes for McVitie's like his mum. By the time he knew his third chord, Noel was writing songs.

Life for the Gallagher brothers was punctuated by petty crime - shoplifting and car radios - and substance abuse. Glue for Liam, but Noel's drug of choice was "draw"' (marijuana). "I was getting halfway through writing a line of a song and I'd fall asleep because I was stoned. The day I stopped was the day my life began. I was suddenly clear-headed. I wrote 50 songs in two weeks. I could walk for miles. Before, I'd just been a total mong. People go on about smack and ecstasy - I think draw is the scourge of my generation. I know loads of talented artists and musicians who are still sitting in Manchester in their bedrooms, stoned, because they can't be bothered to get off their arses"

Moral - but weird, given that Noel and Liam are committed users of cocaine and ecstasy. The Oasis songbook is a testament to substance abuse. "When I'm drunk I get maudlin, which is where you get Don't Look Back In Anger, or Wonderwall," says Noel, referring to tracks off their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? "But when I'm out of it on drugs I get a seriously cocky bastard. Champagne Supernova - for Christ's sake, how big is that title? It's like I'm saying, 'I am Mr Noel Gallagher. Do you know who I am? I am the greatest.' I'm like Muhammad Ali. When I'm straight you get Roll With It - little pop ditties. Understand?"

Anti-drug pressure groups have called Oasis irresponsible. 'I won't deny drugs. Otherwise some bleep from the News of the World will pop out from under the toilet seat and snap me. I remember when we was on the cover of the Daily Star -'Oasis in Drugs Shock!' Our quote was, 'Shock to who?' But if I could turn the clock back I would never even have started smoking, let alone smoking pot. Or drinking lager, Jack Daniel's and gin and tonic. If I had my time again I wouldn't bother. It's starting to affect my memory."

Noel escaped Burnage by working as a roadie for indie band the Inspiral Carpets. He learnt the business, then came back to Manchester to hijack Liam's group. Big brother admired the band's attitude, but always figured if they didn't want to be bigger than the Beatles, it was just a hobby. So the gigging began. Once to less than three men and a dog. Not even a dog, actually, but they played a full set regardless - and an encore. On May 30, 1993, everything changed. The band and 10 friends piled into the Transit and headed for Glasgow. Their intention - to blag their way onto the bill and find the path to stardom. They did both.

Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records, was in the audience - him and eight others. This is the man who has a history of fluking it. That's how he found Ride and the Jesus and Mary Chain. And Oasis. "One of my bands was playing, and my young sister got me there two hours early. These scally Mancs had threatened to smash the club up unless they could play. I just walked into the club at the right time. ' When they had the audacity to sing their wannabe anthem, Rock'n'roll Star, McGee decided to sign them.

Their debut single, Supersonic, struck a chord with a record-buyng public bored by the dominance of dance music. Their first album, Definitely Maybe, was the fastest-selling debut album of all time. Their second, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, has gone gold in nine countries and platinum in five. Creation expects it to sell more than 12m copies. After two albums they are hugely popular and universally lauded by the critics. "People think to be a massive successful group you automatically have to be a bleep like Phil Collins," says Noel. "But we're changing all that."

It's the morning after the night before - but then it always is with Oasis. The band won't be hanging out together today. Apart from a 3pm appointment with live football on Sky TV, because it's the nearest they can get to the stand at Manchester City. Noel has been going to see City since 1971, at the age of four, so when he heard Champagne Supernova rewritten on the terraces of Maine Road as Champagne Supercity, he was made up. Almost as much as the glorious afternoon the chorus of Wonderwall echoed round the ground as "And after all, you're my Alan Ball" (Man City's manager).

Devotion to City even shapes Noel's take on politics. "I was drunk at some awards and I met Tony Blair. I could probably walk into Buckingham Palace now and say, All right Liz, man,' but back then I was just some kid off the streets of Manchester who had been on Top of the Pops. I thought, 'I'm going to have a chat with Tony Blair'. I'm like, 'Tony!' He recognised who I was because he's a bit wised up. I said. 'You've got to win it for the people, man. I've never known a Labour government.' The whole theory of the conversation was that Man City have never been successful under a Tory government. If he gets elected, City are going to win the league."

After Final Score, the plan is to pop down to the Royal Mint, where a pub blackboard is advertising "the Gallaghers". A tribute band who dance like Mancs, speak like Mancs, but come from Glasgow - and cover every song Oasis have ever written. At 8pm Noel decides to stay in and watch Match of the Day. But Liam's mad for it, and turns up early. He pushes his way past a couple of pool tables, through the atmosphere (courtesy of B&H) and introduces himself to the boys. Christ on earth, as far as they're concerned. Noel arrives late, but puts the band on the guest list for tomorrow. And them to play at his girlfriend's party.

The next day Liam is in the hotel lobby, wearing the same clothes as yesterday, reading the morning's revelations about his love life in the papers. "Look at this man," he says with a smile. "'Liam was crap in bed.' At least they got that bit right." Hewitt suggests a drink in the hotel bar. "A drink? A good strong drink? I'm mad for it." That's a yes, and the Guinness - as ever - is on the record label.

In the bar of The Mitre, opposite the hotel, friends and family are starting to arrive. The Jack Daniel's is in danger of running out. The artist liaison manager for Creation Records, Meg Mathews, is busily trying to drum up interest in aromatherapy massages from the woman who does Mck Hucknall. Everyone is too distracted by Tottenham vs Aston Villa on the Widescreen TV. Mathews is also the love of Noel's life, and the woman for whom he wrote Wonderwall.

"You can't go up to someone and say, 'Hi, I'm Wonderwall,"' says Meg. "It's a joke between me and all my friends, but the average Joe Bloggs doesn't know. George Harrison wrote the music to the film Wonderwall, so that's the reference, but to me it's about being his wall of strength. His solidity." She lives with Noel in his two-bedroom basement flat in Camden, north London - it's not all glamour. "In fact my life was loads more glamorous before. Now we stay in and watch Brookside and eat fish and chips'.

While Liam fair revels in the perks of the job, Noel is more ambivalent. "My record company just bought me a £60,000 Rolls for Christmas. But I can't drive. I just get in the back and laugh my bleep off." Maybe not ambivalent then, just occasionally embarrassed. The band arrive at the venue with an hour to spare - "swerved to get some photographers", says Liam - and head straight for the dressing room/chill-out space, a hastily erected sheet-tent in a back room somewhere. With no way through to the inner sanctum - "You need a band laminate, with a photograph, sir" - I decide to scribble three straightforward questions on a serviette to give to the PR. Who promises to give them to Liam. It's the only chance I've got of any kind of interview with the Sulky One.

On stage, infectious melodies mix with howling guitars and Liam's sneered vocals. He is buzzing. The small plywood stage is where he reaches his ultimate high. "No one else has got the same high as I've got on stage. That is the only things that belongs to me - the only thing except my trainers." The sheer optimism he conveys to the crowd in songs like Roll With It and Some Might Say shows on their smiling faces. It is like somebody understands their lives. By the end of the first line of Wonderwall, they are taking over, mouthing the lyrics all the way.

It happened back in the hotel lobby. One moment Liam was sat chatting to a young japanese boy and two adoring girls, the next he caught my eye and leant over. "You and me - now - one-on-one." Him, full of free jack Daniel's; me, nervous that it wasn't an interview he had in mind. As a short waiter ferried round tea trays with a selection of tartan shortbread, we settled on a corner table. "Make it right, and that, otherwise I'm off. If this is going in The Sunday Times I want it to be right. I'm not bleeping thick. I can't sit down and go [adopts highpitched voice], 'I am no one. I've got nothing to say.' It ain't going to be down to our kid who says which is this and which is that.' He seemed drunk. Or stoned. He would just call it "chilled" ' The manager was visibly nervous at the interview taking place at all. So was the PR. "Did our kid blow you away?" Liam was referring to the interview he interrupted two days before. "Did our kid blow you away? I thought you pinned him in a corner. I thought that was sad. You was deffo, deffo, in charge. I don't do interviews no more me, because I've been told I can't do them because it's not good for the band. So they've left it all to our kid. But it's not all his band. I think I'm totally on it. I'm mad for it because you were on our kid's back. So I want this interview proper, and if the interview comes out me more than our kid then I'm fed up for that. So carry on."

I wanted to know if the most famous man in Manchester was a fake - a 23-year-old adolescent with swagger but no substance. "There's no faking. I'm me. I sniffed cans of gas at the age of 12. Took mushrooms at the age of 12 - proper mushrooms. Not 20. More like 150. I've done all that. You walk out of a gaff with a bleeping bottle of Jack Daniel's and people reckon you're on that rock'n'roll myth thing. I do it because I'm onto it. I won't change - not unless the geezer with the big beard lands down in front of me and pulls a giraffe out of his qostril and goes, 'I'm God - you've got to be like this, you've got to be like that.' But until that happens, then they can bleep right off." You can understand why the press has labelled him loudmouthed and ignorant. Because he is.

Loudmouthed, anyway. And once he starts, there's no stopping him. "It's really important to be bigger than the Beatles. I think we're better than the Beatles. And we've only done two albums. It was different when they were around. We'd just come out of the war, and a bunch of Scousers could make us happy again. I reckon we've pissed all over the Beatles. Masterplan - as good as anything; Roll With It - as good as Paperback Writer, Hard Day's Night. We wrote half the third album in 1991 and it betters the Beatles. They ain't the best band in the world - we are."

Oasis are obsessed with the Beatles. Noel can't go a day without uttering their name - and both brothers refer to meetings they have imagined between the two bands. "McCartney was just a soft bleeping lad. A complete and utter soft bleep," says Liam. "Musically he was boss. But at the end of the day, right, he was always out to be nice. I could meet McCartney right now, go, 'Sound, boss to meet you, you knew John Lennon, you did some great tunes, you're a Beatle, I love you.' But I know for a fact I could not hold a conversation with him for more than 10 minutes. Not even that - maybe five, maybe three, maybe two, maybe 20 seconds.

"But I know for a fact if I met Lennon, which I never ever will do, right, I could find a bit of common ground with that chap. I could have a ruck with John Lennon, I could bottle the bleep, he could bottle me. I know for a fact that I'd never ever feel the need to have a ruck or a brawl with McCartney. He's not even worth it. Know what I'm saying?"

That sentiment - you always bottle the one you love most - says everything about the relationship between Liam and Noel. It's violent and loving - not a lie for the benefit of the media. "I love me brother," says Liam. "But I also hate him. Some days I despise him. And I know it's the same for him. That's life, mate."

Liam has his sensitive side. He gets depressed and cries. The bravado ("If a bird wants a shag, I'll do it. I'll do it wherever. I'm just a lad") exists alongside a genuine worry that press reports will upset his mother. She's probably delighted at stories of him settling down with the recently single Patsy Kensit - the woman Liam refers to as "his dove".

"I'm not in prison. I'm not a sad bleep who ain't got no money. Because I have got money. And I'm not a smack-head. Everyone goes out and gets off their brain. If they don't, it doesn't mean they're a great son. I'd rather have a proper son than a plastic son. I just hope me mam's thinking, I brought someone up who's making thousands and thousands of people happy."

Liam contradicts himself. He talks of leaving Oasis, then never leaving Oasis, within minutes. He has threatened to leave before now simply because Noel wouldn't go to the pub with him. "I've been up for leaving for the last couple of months. I reckon that it's coming to the end, right, for me." He bites the filter off a Silk Cut. "I reckon I can write better music, a lot better, about 100 times better, than what our kid can. But having said that, I can't do it now because I ain't got no time. I'm too busy getting off my head and being the Oasis singer. I'm not saying I'm not happy. I'm totally happy. But there is life after Oasis for me.

The PR rejoins us and Liam takes his leave. I'm told I have breached etiquette, but did I mind telling them what exactly Liam said? It's past 2am, and still the fans come - "Liam! Liam!" they scream when he reappears from the toilets. Through the hotel window he shouts, "Look, I'm a skinny little bleep, I've got a bit of a beer belly, I'm not worth the bother, man.' The hotel porter gives the fans advance warning that the police will be arriving in two minutes. The girls run off towards the station with a parting shot for the Gallaghers: "Your brother's on the dole and you give him nothing, you greedy bastard." Fame is a fickle mistress.

Oasis are more than the latest "future of rock'n'roll" sensation. In Noel Gallagher they have the most significant songwriter of the decade. In Liam, they have a rebel of the old school who is doing his growing-up in public - much to the delight of the press. But he has extraordinary presence, and a voice that is only just beginning to realise its potential. American success is starting to happen (What's the Story.. had charted at No 5 in the US at the time of writing) and tomorrow it's the Brits. Oasis are up for five awards, and they deserve the lot. If they remain hard-working, and relaxed about fame (as Noel says, "I only have to fart now and it gets in the Top 10"), then - definitely maybe - we will soon be talking about a band as great as the Beatles.

Thursday, February 01, 1996

Alan White - Rhythm - February 1996

From signing on as a struggling session player one minute to touring the world with Manchester's biggest export the next, Alan White's rise to stardom has been meteoric to say the least. In a Rhythm exclusive he tells the truth behind the rumours.

It's the parents I feel sorry for. Having one child spending every waking hour playing drums in the house must be bad enough, but two? I wouldn't want to live next door either.

But ofcourse Mr and Mrs White must be very proud. You know one of their sons already - Steve, who works with the modfather himself, Paul Weller. But have you met Alan, who currently stands as the luckiest drummer in the world, having had a permanent placement with the biggest band in the country dropped effortlessly in his lap?

It could be suggested that Oasis' interest in Alan White stemmed from the fact that he was Steve's brother - Noel Gallagher and Weller being best Britpop buddies - but in fact that's just coincidence. And it's certainly not a theory that Alan would have much time for.

"I've always wanted to get a name for myself, not off Steve's back," he says. "I happen to be his brother, but we're two different blokes - I'm Alan White." No, it was all far more bizarre than that. Alan was working with Idha and Andy Bell(ex-Ride) at Matrix Studios when Noel Gallagher walked past the door and heard him playing within. As far as Gallagher was concerned he had found a replacement for Tony McCarroll who had just been sacked from the band. "I don't really know what happened," states Alan, "I still haven't got round to asking Noel. I went home a couple of days after working with Idha to see if I'd had any calls, and my Mum said, 'Well, some bloke called Noel Gally...Gally-something...'I said, 'What, Noel Gallagher?' 'Yeah, that's the bloke. He sounded Northern; he sounded like someone out of Coronation Street'. I said, 'You know who that is don't you, mum? Noel Gallagher from Oasis!' 'Who are they then?' 'Alright mum...' I thought somebody was winding me up, and I was literally waiting for Jeremy Beadle to walk in. I would have broken down in tears.

"So I phoned him back the next day - I thought I'd let him stew and it was him. I was like, 'Bloody hell, it's you!' He goes, 'I've heard you're a good little drummer. We're sacking ours; do you want to be in my band?' I said I did but that we ought to have a jam or something. He says, 'No, I've heard you and you're alright. As long as you're not eighteen stone and an ugly bastard, you get the job.' He asked me to meet him for a drink, so I met him in a cafe in Camden, and there he was, sitting outside with his bottle of Becks. 'You must be the boy', he said. And that was it, I got the job."

The next day Alan and Noel went to a rehearsal studio to run through the material for Oasis' forthcoming album (What's the Story) Morning Glory? which they were due to start work on the week after.
"Then it was Top Of The Pops the next day," laughs Alan. "It was all right in at the deep end. It was only 'Some Might Say', which wasn't hard, but you have to get it a little bit right for telly. I had an old Rogers kit at that point which Noel loved. We started playing and really hit it off, we had a nice little thing going. I've been so over the moon with it all, plus I've been so busy that I've never had the chance to sit down and think about it. It's just great to be doing it. I'm well pleased."

You don't have to be a genius to figure out where Alan's interest in drumming came from. Being Steve's younger bro meant that there were, as they say, "always drums around the house." Alan started messing around with the instrument at the age of ten and after a few lessons at school ended up spending three years under the tutelage of Bob Armstrong, who had also taught Steve. Perhaps it's because of that that Alan and Steve's playing isso technically similar; from a distance it's almost impossible to tell them apart visually - that mechanically accurate right arm, the huge left-handstroke...
"That's a compliment," says Alan graciously. "I'd say Steve is probably a very big influence on my playing. A lot of drummers with brothers who are also drummers would probably say, 'He had nothing to do with it', but he was a big inspiration for me. I think he is the governor when it comes to drumming, he's fantastic. The reason we look similar - apart from being the old man's fault - could be to do with Bob as well. We were both taught how to play the drums gracefully if you like. I think that's probably where it'srubbed off - that and the fact we're brothers."

Something else that I would imagine is unavoidable being Steve's sibbling is an appreciation of jazz. Alan hasn't done the jazzer bit to the same extent as his brother, but with the relative simplicity of the Oasis gig has come an urge to get back into the, let's say, more cerebral side of drumming as well.
Our dad built Steve a loft for his drums, and when Steve got his own house I sort of got promoted to the loft," Alan remembers. When I was up there I used to get all these jazz books out and tinkle away, but I've never really got into it heavily because I've never had anywhere to practice. Hopefully this year I'll be able to get a house and get my dad to build me a studio.I've got three months off, so I'm going to bet back into doing my latin and samba stuff, a bit more technical stuff than I've been doing with Oasis. I really enjoy the straightforward stuff, but it does get a bit frustrating when you want to get your double bass poedal out, which I really want to do."But Alan's main vibe is undoubtedly groove based, as his list of influential bands shows. "I was really into James Brown's stuff; I really loved the Clyde Stubblefield grooves and all those boys. Mainly a lot of soul. Once I started getting older I started listening to a lot of '60s stuff as well,like The Beatles, The Who, The Stones...stuff like that. So I was taking ideas from those sorts of drummers really. Ringo was a big influence. A lot of drummers nowadays think it's brilliant to play as fast as possible. I think that's all very well if you've got the space and you're in a band where you can do that, but there are four other blokes in my band, everyone's doing things at the same time, and I don't want to kill it. Space is just as important as doing a 100 miles an hour paradiddle in one bar. 'A Day In The Life' by The Beatles - Ringo's tom fills are so sparse, but that's what makes it.

"I'm one of those band drummers rather than a technical clinician," he continues. "I really rate them though; I used to go and see them with Steve, people like Dave weckl or Vinnie, the usual. But you'd come away from these things blinded by science; it was like being back at school with your math teacher. I used to say to my dad, 'It's all great stuff, but do you reckon it'll get me a gig?' And if I went to Noel Gallagher and went, 'Hey Noel,check this out...' blllllllrrrrrr, loads of paradiddles and fast stuff, he'd tell me to fuck off."

Why, he'd punch your face in."He'd get somebody who knew 'Day Tripper' or 'Ticket To Ride', and they'd be in there. That's what songwriters want these days."

And songwriters don't come much more prolific in their requirements than Noel Gallagher. In a recent interview, defending the fact that while Oasis' royalties are split five ways, he gets all the publishing, Noel has effectively stated that he's the only one who earns it, no matter how much of a contribution to the songs the rest of the band make, because he does all the writing. Isn't Alan bothered by this attitude?"
I can understand where he's coming from, but I do think the drums play a major part," he reveals. "We could be jamming away and I could do something with a little samba rhythm in it or something, and he could go away and whistle that in his head as a groove and come up with something. But at theminute I don't have a song in me, I don't think I ever will. I'll leave that to him - don't mess around with a well-oiled operation, he's doing a bloodygood job. But I think Bonehead (rhythm guitar) might be attempting - he's got his piano and I think he might come up with a few tunes. And Noel's always up for ideas anyway, he's not like this ogre or anything. He always tells me to do what I want in the studio."

Of all Alan's drum parts on Morning Glory, one of the highlights has to be his work on the blinding 'Wonderwall' (which most certainly plays a majorpart in the overall composition). Dynamically sensitive to the point of being almost upsetting, the delicacy of his sound and sublime subtlety of those snare graces makes this a truly consummate performance.
"I couldn't wait to do that track; I did it in one take, I didn't want to touch it," enthuses Alan. "'Roll With It' was the first track that I recorded with them as soon as I got there. Everyone was so keen to get in there and start hitting things. It's alright, it's got a little sparkle. I did a few others which are a bit more solid. But with that one, everyone was moving with one another and it sounds good as a band. Another thing is that a lot of drummers tend to listen to the drums from a drummers point of view, which you have to do because you're a drummer, but at the end of the day you've got to listen to the band - it's not your drums that are going to be right up front. You've got to have a bit of leeway and a bit of give and take, which is what I've always done. If it sounds good with the guitar and he's happy, then why change it? It makes the band. I think the whole album sounds like a band rather than everyone doing their own thing."

There is of course another side to Oasis other than the purely musical one.The band have brought good old fashioned rock'n'roll attitude back to a British music industry seriously in need of a character injection. From being thrown off a ferry to cindicated drug stories to Noel's sincerely regrettable AIDS/Blur remark, the press have loved every minute of their affair with Oasis. Alan doesn't seem like the sort to get involved in any of this stuff - he's just too chilled out - but what does he think of the Oasis image?
"I think there is definitely an image that's been brought up about Oasis," he concurs. "There is an image because of the way they are. If Liam's got something to say, he'll say it; like the thing about Justine from Elastica getting her tits out - he wanted to say it, so he said it."Er, yeah...
"What Noel said about AIDS was well out of order, I must say. But he realised it and did make a formal apology in the press. He was on the piss that day and he shouldn't have said it. I don't know if any of the band saw any come back about that apart from Noel."

Although Alan's managed to maintain a quiet presence in the band as far as the press are concerned, he is started to get recognised in the street.
"I was in Sainsbury's yeaterday and a little kid came up and asked me for my autograph," he says sounding surprised. "This is in Lewisham - they allexpect you , because you're in Oasis, to be living in Hampstead or something, but fuck it, I'm not, it's cheaper round here (South London). I signed about four or five autographs. It was a little bit of a buzz. I've been there, doing Saturday jobs and all that, and if my hero walked in I'd be well pleased. I'm opening a fete at my old school and talking to the kids about not listening to the teachers, doing what they want to do and pissing everyone off. They wanted me to do something for Christmas but I wasn't here. "

How does it feel being the only southerner in a very hardcore (in the viberather than musical sense) Manchester band?
"They like me because I'm down to earth, and if I don't like something I'llsay so. I think that's why I got the job. I play the drums and I'm honest.It's that sort of louty thing. In France we're billed as abunch of football hooligans, pissheads, whatever, but we still sell a lot of records, so wemust be doing something right. Kids are naughty, aren't they? You go into that school," Alan points through the window at his, Steve's, and indeed Ginger Baker's old school which is just behind the house, "and they're ten times worse than when I was there, they're little sods. Kids are gradually getting naughtier and naughtier, and they look up to bands like us. We'renot telling them what to do; we're not telling them to go and smoke drugs,or do coke, or drink beer. We're just telling them that is what some of us do; Noel does it, but he's not saying, 'This is what you should do'. He's telling them the truth."

Despite the high-octane rock'n'roll rollercoatser that is the Oasis lifestyle, Alan claims that he's still the same man he was when he joined."
Everyone in the band's their own man, and that's created an image in itself. If there was a ruck and Liam was getting a good hiding, I'm sure everyone would bowl in; but a bunch of builders or plumbersd would do that.It's because we're so down to earth. I've not changed at all since I've been in the band. You know, Noel still sees the same people. And his mum Peggy; you should see them - they're just the same as when they had nothing.

Eighteen months ago he didn't have a pot to piss in, none of them did, but the only thing that's changed is that they have a few quid in their pocket now. But they're still Guigsy and Bonehead from Manchester, and they can still go up there, see all the old boys and have a drink. If they had changed, them sort of people up there would have noticed it because they're pretty hardcore."

Okay Al, what about this Blur/Oasis thing.
"Cobblers mate...bollocks."

Indeed, but doesn't it piss you off?
"At the end of the day there's been a few slaggings, but I don't get involved. If there's anything to be said then let Liam or Noel do it because they're always up for a bit if that anyway. It bores me and it's starting to bore everyone else as well. When you're in America and you read about it inthe paper...You're a thousand miles away and you get bloody Blur and Oasis...I'm sick of it. Good luck to them, let them get on with it and do what they want to do."

The thing that's always struck me as odd about the whole debate is - and call me an old cynic if you must - that the two bands aren't even vaguely similar in any way whatsoever.
"That's it, it's two different things. They're more teenybop, and we're a little bit more hardcore." That word again. "I think we're appealing to the masses more; we've got fans from fifteen up to 30. They're a younger generation band, the music's different, it's just that we're two young bands from England and we're doing very well."

Since this issue of Rhythm is the Britpop special, I thought it would be apt to get Alan to shed some light on this enigmatic concept. Unfortunately he wasn't much help.
"I don't really know what Bripop is," he shrugs. "Next year it might be Afropop, mightn't it? There might be a bunch of reggae bands that are doing really well. It's only something that sells more papers and a headline for NME. As long as they've got something to define all these bands then they're happy. But it isn't Britpop, popular music is what it is. I wouldn't put us in the same pigeonhole as Pulp or Blur because we must be doing something a little bit more than them to have sold so many more albums. It's gone backto number one this week; the single's gone up to number four. It shows we really are the governors at the end of the day. I'm not blowing my own trumpet, but I think we're the hardest working out of all these bands. You always hear about other bands being on holiday or taking a year out, but we've just got to plod on because we enjoy it. I'd gig every night if I could; I thoroughly enjoy getting up there and getting sweaty."

So there you have it - Britpop is nothing more than the media lumping together a number of essentially unrelated and very different bands and conning the public into believing they all live in the same metaphoricalstreet. The power of the press, eh...?

Noel Gallagher - Q - February 1996

Noel Gallagher: The Greatest Songwriter Of The 90's?

"NOEL GALLAGHER: THE GREATEST SONGWRITER OF THE 90's? 'TOP OF THE WORLD MAM!' From Burnage building sites to the biggest band in Britain: the rocket-assisted rise of Oasis has occurred with fantastic speed (not to mention "Charlie"). Having guided them this far, their big-browed groot kaas is now looking back at family break-ups, dictatorial determination, dyslexia, hobnobbery with ex- Beatles . . . and the devotion of multitudes. "It makes me cry," Noel Gallagher tells Phil Sutcliffe.

"You wouldn't believe the number of people who come to our front door," says Noel Gallagher with a grin full of rue and a wary glance towards the concrete steps descending to his modest basement flat in North London. "The trouble was, we moved in on a Saturday afternoon. Big fucking mistake. Me and Meg get the gear in, but there's no food in the fridge so we walk up the road to Sainsbury's. By the time we're on our way back, we're being followed. That was it. Oasis fans sitting outside singing Roll With It all hours of the morning. Stacks of hate mail from Blur fans every day.

"On the Monday morning after our two nights at Earl's Court, I'm getting up about 11, in me boxer shorts, having something to eat in the kitchen, when I look up and there's this procession of kids coming down the stairs. I've always sworn I'll never refuse an autograph or whatever, so I open the door and say, Do you want a cup of tea, then? I swear to God, man, it was like the chimps' tea party in here, all these kids, me with the Tetley's and the kettle.

"Then this thought comes to me. Mark Chapman. He's here. I'm gonna get shot! So I say, Er, sorry, you'll have to go now, a car's coming to take me to the airport, I forgot. I'm thinking, Last time I'm gonna do this. We've got to get out of here, get a place of our own. It's too much."
For Noel Gallagher, Oasis's songwriter, guitarist and semi-benevolent dictator, life is sweet and life is loony -- blink and it changes again. Two years ago he had nowt and he was nobody. Now he's up for quasi-John Lennon assassination paranoia.

Still, you've gotta laugh, and he does. Sometimes even at himself. After all, he and brother Liam did OK the release of Wibbling Rivalry, the Troggs Tapes de nos jours, a merciless assemblage of outtakes from an early interview which exposed bare naked the sibs' capacity for foul-mouthed epiphanies of internecine daftness.

And indeed, at times, they've walked it like they've talked it. Misconduct has been their watchword: Dutch deportations and hotelular defenestrations of fixtures and fittings a speciality. Of late, though, an element of restraint has borne down on these excesses. Conceivably, they've just been getting used to the constant shocks of how marvelously everything's gone for them since their first single, Supersonic, came out 18 months ago.

The wonder of it is not so much the parade of hit singles and the two probably- million-selling-as-we-speak albums. The crux is the combination of intensity and dumb luck that propelled them.

In 1991, Oasis were Liam Gallagher's no-hope Sunday afternoon rehearsers -- until the day they asked Noel to join. He raised the stakes a gigawatt or three by saying,"Yes, but you fucking belong to me seven days a week and we're going for it big time ! " Nonetheless, two years later they were still so obscure that they had never even been mentioned in a music paper. Then Alan McGee, boss of Creation Records, missed the last train out of Glasgow, dropped into subterranean gig parlour King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, chanced on Oasis and offered them a deal before they got back to the dressing room. They were made men. Bar all the hard work.

Gallagher's rented flat has a clattery tiled floor, rather dim lighting, few personal touches apart from the usual pop star's array of gold and silver discs -- including one in the toilet for an Ice-T single dedicated to Noel's long-time girlfriend Meg Matthews, who used to do the rapper's promotional work. (She's tolerantly parked herself in the bedroom to watch videos for the evening.)

He settles down in the back room, big armchairs under a glass conservatory roof. On the occasional table a small crowd of coffee cups, beer cans and dog ends gradually gathers like desultory listeners at Speaker's Corner.

He's in loquacious form. His nasal Mancunian tones buzzsaw indefatigably into the night. Comfortably aware that the minutiae of his life and character are now of interest to multitudes, he constantly reports his own past thoughts and speech, jumping up to act out significant scenes, frequently resorting to mime when words fail him.

As in every other aspect of Oasis's career, he 's going for it big time.

Did you enjoy Earl's Court?
They were the best gigs I've ever done in my life. I had to sit down and have a drink to comprehend it all. The fans confound me. Whatever did 350,000 singles. So did Some Might Say and Roll With It and Wonderwall. Earl's Court 40,000. Both albums have sold over 900,000 now. I mean, I meet these kids in the street and they're shaking but I'm saying, "I'm honoured to meet you."

You sound like an old showbiz sentimentalist.
I am an old romantic. It makes me cry. It does. It's beyond special. Until you've been in that position, I don't think you can judge it.

You like the numbers as well though, don't you, those sales figures?
It's lke in Raging Bull where Jake Lamotta says,"The jury's rigged in this town, but the people know who the champion is." Still, there's better bands than Oasis in England.

It's a surprise to hear that from you.
The Verve are a better band than we are. And Primal Scream, Cast, Ocean Colour Scene. All right, what I mean is they're as good as we are, not better. But they've not got involved in media bullshit bollocks like our so-called rivals Blur. They haven't been dragged into this "Who's bigger? Who's better?" thing. But if it comes down to it, we are the biggest band in the country.

Whatever it is that got Oasis to Earl's Court seems to spring from the Gallagher family background. Was it a "happy childhood"?
The early part of it. I remember my first experience of being cool: when I was in primary school I had a kidney infection for years, so I was the only kid allowed to wear long trousers. The others had these little grey shorts like something out of Kes and I had these dead cool black skintight trousers with little Doc Martens - everybody hated me.

What I was bad at was spelling. Still am. Anything over six letters and that's me gone.

Maybe you're dyslexic.
I am actually. Sometimes I give lyrics to Liam and the two key words of the sentence will be missing. When I gave him Don't Look Back In Anger, he's singing, "But don't back in anger, not today." I'm saying,"It's 'Don't look back in anger'." He's saying, "Well, that's not what's fucking written 'ere, chief."

When did you start playing guitar?
I was 13 or 14. I sent off to John England's catalogue. It was a horrible black acoustic rip-off of a Gibson Hummingbird. But it was homework out the window, practice, constantly playing House of The Rising Sun and Ticket To Ride, just the two songs forever and ever and mam downstairs going (mimics a very miserable mam glaring up at the ceiling).

Who inspired you?
First it was Steve Jones with his white Les Paul and his leather kecks. But I didn't take it seriously until I saw Johnny Marr. He had the Brian Jones haircut and the shades and the white polo neck and the big red semi-acoustic. When your Haircut 100s and your Echo & The Bunnymen and everyone were jingle- jangling up here (clasps imaginary fretboard at nipple level),Johnny was rocking out down here (stoops to mid-thigh).When The Smiths came on Top of The Pops for the first time, that was it for me. From that day on I was . . . I wouldn't say . . .Yes, I probably would say, I wanted to be Johnny Marr.

Was there a particular moment when you realized music might be the center of your life?
Yeah. I left school with no qualifications whatsoever and I remember me mam sitting down one night and going, "What is going to become of you?" I didn't have an answer. But the only thing I was good at, the only thing that would make me get off my arse was that plank of wood (points at guitar).

Allegedly, you wrote songs almost as soon as you'd learned your third chord. It's a huge leap from copying to creating. Do you remember when it happened?
I was in my bedroom. Winter time. It went G. E minor, C, D, the basic chords, right, and the chorus was, "And life goes on, but the world will never change". I must have been smoking too much pot at the time. It was, I dunno, just to see if I could do it. After that I wrote about 75 songs no one's ever heard.

Did you think, "Great! I'm a songwriter"?
No. I didn't think anything for years. The second stage for me was when I was about 20. I started playing at parties and they'd go, "Wow (spoken with wonderfully quiet awe on his listeners behalf). You should be a professional." That got me over a hurdle of playing my songs to other people -- nobody actually laughed at me. After that I was out to conquer the world, man.

In your late teens, your parents broke up. Liam says he took it in his stride. Did you?
I think we accepted that it was going to happen about three years before, so when it did, it was relief. I was only concerned for me mam. Dad had his own business doing concrete floors and he was a part-time. We all started off working him, but the worst thing in the world is working with your dad. You can't do anything right.

People ask what it's like being in a band with your brother and I think,"What about being on a building site in January when it's hailstoning -- with your dad and your two brothers and two of our cousins and two of your uncles and you Fuckin' hate the lot of them?" We'd turn up at work in this yellow transit van, all sat in the back like this (elbows on knees, head down, looking surly). Because we were always arguing we'd still be working at nine o'clock every night. Then we'd argue about whose fault it was we were late and then, when we got home, mam'd had the dinner in the oven for hours and she'd start kicking off. Years of just rowing. We were the Clampetts, the Burnage Hillbillies.

I quit and got a job with a building firm who sub-contracted to British Gas. And the pivotal moment of my entire life was this: a big steel cap off an enormous gas pipe we were laying fell on my right foot and smashed it to bits. When I came back from the sick, they gave me a cushy job in stores handing out bolts and wellies. Nobody would turn up for days on end. After about six weeks I started bringing me guitars in and I wrote four of the songs from the first album in that storeroom. I look at this foot sometimes in the winter when I get chills in it because of the cracked bones, and I go (thumbs up and big grin at his foot).

You and Liam are always going on about your mum.
Well, she never once said, "Go and get a proper job" or "Settle down and get married". She said, "If that is what you really want to do, I don't care if you stay on the dole. But you'd better make something of yourself. You'd better not let me down." And I've not.

She's retired now. She used to work in McVities' on the production line picking out all the mis-shaped Penguins and Jaffa Cakes. She used to come home with bin-bags full of them. Any time me aunties would come round, she'd be going, "You want a biscuit?" You could see them (lips curled, behind the hand),"Fucking Jaffa Cakes again!"

She still lives in a council house and she's the best gardener. She should enter competitions. She's got more fucking plants and trees and, uh, things knocking about - and birds, they must come from all over the world to nest in her garden. The lawn's like a bowling green, I think she cuts it with scissors. She just gets up in the morning and goes out in the garden all day, talking to the plants. Totally chilled out. Wherever she goes, the hairdresser's or whatever, it's all free now. She goes on the bus for nothing. "You're that lad's mother! It's on the house, luv."

You and Liam being five years apart, that's a huge gulf when you're in your teens. Were you close?
It's the theory of relativity, isn't it? When I was 15, he was 10. A social life with him was inconceivable. It's laughable to think I'd end up in a band with him. But here we are. I'm 28 and he's 23. Such is life. When I'm 65 he'll be 60 and it'll be irrelevant, we'll both be old together.

Your time as a roadie with the Inspiral Carpets must have been a limbo period.
No it wasn't, it was a great chance to suss it all out for three or four years. Being around managers, agents, record company people, journalists. I'd just sit there never saying a word to anyone, going (the thinker: chin in hand, attention rapt).

Is it true that, before you roadied for them, the Inspirals rejected you as a vocalist?
Yeah. When they asked me to come and have a go, I thought, "This is my destiny in life!" I did Gimme Shelter, shouting me head off like Shaun Ryder, and they turned me down.

Madchester was happening then and it must have looked as though you'd missed out. Weren't you afraid you were going to get stuck with a bunch of keys and bum cleavage for the rest of your days?
I tell you what, part of me thought,"This is staring me right in the face and I'm doing nothing about it." But one of the greatest lyrics that Morrissey ever wrote - and he's a Gemini, same as me - the one that stuck in my head for years is, "You should not go to them, Let them come to you" (The Hand That Rocks The Cradle). I always knew that it was going to be. And lo and behold, the chancer that I am, it fucking happened.

I couldn't believe it when Alan McGee walked up to me in that club and said, "Do you want a record deal?" I had to turn away and smirk to meself (turns away and smirks to himself). To be quite honest, we'd have signed for anyone. But it was only Creation Records - Jesus & Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine. Give us it! I believe in fate and I believe it was all mapped out.

There's a lot of religion going about here. Astrology, fate, some kind of God?
I don't wear that for nothing (pulls crucifix on a chain out of his shirt). I don't know what it symbolizes, but I believe in a higher power. I don't believe that on a Monday morning some white-bearded geezer with fuckin' nothing better to do created the planets. Bollocks to that!

The way you took over the band that Liam and the others started, by sheer force of personality it seems, still defies belief. Did they really just surrender, as legend has it?
To be fair to the rest of the band, I don't think it was a surrender. Once you've heard a song like Live Forever . . . I remember playing it to them on an acoustic guitar one night (sings), "Maybe, blah . . .", and it's one of the greatest moments I've ever had as a songwriter. They were just completely and utterly fucking speechless. If I hadn't had the songs, they'd probably have told me to fuck off.

With all the background of family uproar between you, why didn't you sack Liam when you took over the band?
Liam's a fucking brilliant frontman and he stamps his authority over everything he sings. It's his. I can't even come close. Now, the way it's going is there are certain songs where I'll go, "You're too punk rock for this one," so I do it. He's cool about it. What holds Liam back is his refusal to write Lyrics. He won't even entertain it.

Didn't that come from you putting him on the back foot, shaking his confidence?
I suppose so. Half of it's probably my fault. I'm not going to say,"I want you to write three tracks for the next album." But I hope if Bonehead or our kid ever presented me with a While My Guitar Gently Weeps or a Something I'd be big enough to go (hands up) . Until that happens, I'm too busy writing me own songs to spend time bringing stuff out of other people.

The first time you played with Oasis (October 19, 1991, Manchester Boardwalk) was the first time you'd ever played in public and you were 24 already. Most people on the local scene must have thought you were a prize bullshitter by then.
Listen, that gig, there was 40 people maximum there and we had a song called Rock'n'Roll Star. "Tonight I'm a rock'n'roll star." People were going (sniggering behind hands),"Yeah, course you are, mate, bottom of the bill at the Boardwalk on a fuckin' Tuesday night." Pretentious arseholes is what they thought we were. Went down like a fucking knackered lift (laughs) .We thought they were going to be in raptures And it ended in this bowl of silence.

But from that first gig on, I don't know what came over us. We knew we were the greatest band in the world. We'd go, "Fucking Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, they haven't got the tunes we've got."

For about 18 months you've been living a rock'n'roll dream come true. But what were the biggest mistakes you made?
I wish I'd never said some of the things I've said. That's done me no end of harm.

Especially the quote in The Observer, saying that you hoped Damon and Alex out of Blur died of AIDS?
I said what I said, and as soon as I said it, I was (head in hands). I apologized in the next breath to the interviewer. Weeks later when I saw it I put the paper down and I said to Meg,"I think I've blown it." she read it and went, "You idiot! "The first person on the phone was me mam saying,"I didn't raise you to say things like that! " My whole world came crashing in on me then. If it wasn't for our kid, I don't know what I'd have done (mimes arm round shoulder, quiet word ) . "It's all right, you just said something daft."This is my little brother, who I look after, putting his arm round me, saying, "It'll be all right, man." But I don't think people will ever forgive me for it.

How has success affected relationships within the band, not just between you and your brother?
It's hard to say. The main thing is that although the royalties on the records are split five ways, I'm the songwriter and I get the publishing.

Are the others jealous? Is it a source of conflict?
It's not a source of conflict. Whether they're jealous or not, you'd have to ask them. They've never said anything to me. I can't believe they'd expect a share of my songs.

It's often done, though: a percentage of the publishing paid to a band member whose drumming or bass playing is acknowledged as enhancing the songs. I disagree with that.

Why? Because in your band they don't play creatively?
No. Not that. But I disagree that a bass line has made one of our songs better or worse. I didn't get where I am today without losing a lot of friends in Manchester through being so driven by my own songwriting.

When I'm writing a song, that's it. I'll sit up in this chair 48 hours, smoking, drinking, playing the same line over again. I put that girl through hell. When I'm going through all that, them chaps are in their cosy beds, with their cosy lives - it's all cosy for them. And when it's time to make a new album, they wake up in the morning and go, "Where's the songs?" It's me who has to come up with them. It does come naturally to me, but you've got to fucking work your bollocks off, man, and I do. I live this band 24 hours a day.

What I will say, though, is if the shit hits the fan and all this stops tomorrow, I'm Bonehead's daughter's godfather, right, and I'm Liam Gallagher's brother, and I'm Paul McGuigan's best friend, and I'm Alan White's best friend. We are a family. Whatever I've got, they can have.

Liam appreciates your songwriting anyway. He's been quoted as saying, "Noel's up There next to John Lennon in my book." How you rate yourself?
If we were to sit down now and take John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Ray Davies, Steve Marriott, anybody's first two albums against my first two albums, I'm there. I'm with The Beatles. If you ask me where I'll be after my eighth album in comparison to The Beatles, then they'll piss all over me. Probably.

You seem to have ambiguous feelings about songwriting. You've said it comes naturally and that it's very difficult too.
The music is easy. Like at the moment I've got this fucking blinding riff on the guitar - and the intro and the chorus and the bridge. I've even got the title: New Suede Shoes. Nothing to do with Elvis. The melody comes next. Then I get to my biggest failing. I sit down and go (despondently hunches over imaginary guitar), "Fuck, what am I going to say?" I said everything I ever wanted so say in Rock'n'Roll Star.

Then maybe you agree with some of the reviews of (What's The Story) Morning Glory? which said the lyrics were slack?
I know I could do much better. I could take more time over them.

One song from the album, Cast No Shadow, seemed to be partly about your dissatisfaction with your Iyric-writing..."Bound with all the weight of all the words he tried to say."
That's me. I'm not Morrissey. I'm not Bob Dylan. I'm not Brett Anderson. They are better lyricists than I'll ever be.

So Oasis is a band that's about the sound and feel of songs more than what they say?
It's about the connection and the emotion between the band and the audience.

Cast No Shadow could imply that you want to say less in your lyrics - if you let it all out then it might hurt you?
Exactly right. I don't ever want to bare my soul. Lyrics to me are an ongoing grey area and I don't know what it's about.

In Hey Now you wrote, "I asked myself, Why can I never let anyone in?"
There's one person on the planet who could explain that lyric to you and she's sitting in the next room. I'm a happy-go-lucky character. I'm not that miserable. But I can never ever let anyone into my world.

Apart from the Lyrics, do you ever get blocked?
Except for New Suede Shoes, I've been blocked since coming out of Rockfield. A good six months now. It's the only time in my life I've just had one song on the go.

Does that frighten you?
Frightens the fucking life out of me. But I know it's going to come.

Do you think your obsession with The Beatles could go too far?
It's beyond an obsession. It's an ideal for living. I don't even know how to justify it to myself. With every song that I write, I compare it to The Beatles. I've got semi-close once or twice. Live Forever I suppose, Don't Look Back In Anger, Whatever. The thing is, they only got there before me. If I'd been born at the same time as John Lennon, I'd have been up there. Well, I'd definitely have been better than Gerry And The fucking Pacemakers, I know that.

From what I've heard from Paul McCartney, he likes about half a dozen of my songs I met him twice, on the Come Together album and then I went round his house in St John's Wood one night. He likes Slide Away, Whatever and Live Forever. If I'd been knocked over by a taxi that night, I'd have died the happiest man.

When we were recording Definitely Maybe, Mark Coyle, the co-producer, said a great thing to me -- admittedly we were out of it -- he points at me and he says, "You have a duty to educate everybody in this country under the age of 20 about music."

When did you introduce your solo acoustic spot to the live show?
The critics are on about me being on a power trip and wallowing in the limelight, aren't they? Well, I first played it when we went to Japan and we were contracted to play for an hour and a half when we only had a 40-50- minute set. The one way out was for me to play acoustic. I'll admit to you right now it felt really good. I thought, "All right, I'll carry on doing this" But I've had a lot of shit off the band about it.

They think you're "wallowing in the limelight" too?
They probably do. The way I see it is this: I believe the fans of the band should get a chance to see how these songs are born. They all start with one man sitting in a chair with an acoustic guitar singing into a Walkman. I'll never let it go now.

People presume you're lining up to go solo. Is that your plan?
No. Never was, never will be. This is my first band and my first rock'n'roll experience and it'd be my last. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Despite Wibbling Rivalry, you and Liam do manage to say something nice about one another once in a while. There was an interview recently where he said, "Never one day goes by without me wanting to see our kid."
I know what he's saying because I'd like to be in Manchester to look out for him. He's a bigmouth, you know, all front, "I'm gonna shag Justine from Elastica," all that. I wish I did still live up there so I could (mimes locking Liam's head and er his arm, fist in face), "Shurrup, will ya, just shurrup." I miss him now and he misses me. He's the most famous person in Manchester. The poor lad can't walk outside the front door without being Liam Gallagher, if you know what I mean, and getting beaten up or threatened at least.

Why did you leave Manchester?
As soon as I got some money, I was out of there. In Manchester I was sick and tired of going into pubs I'd been going into since I was 15 and everyone saying, "Tight bastard! " if I didn't buy the drinks and "Flash Bastard!" if I did. I was sick and tired of young crack heads coming up to me in clubs sticking a screwdriver in me back and saying,"We're doing the merchandising on your next tour" or "We're going to be your security team."

I hate the way anyone from the working class who makes money, the working class turns on them. The people in my band, we'll be working class till we die. We were brought up socialists and we'll die socialists.

Do you enjoy spending money?
Oh yeah. I spent too long on the dole not to. I enjoy all the trappings. My biggest vice is guitars.

You've often given the impression that you hoover cocaine by the bucketful and some would suggest that's a vice.
Whoever said I'm on a line of cocaine every 40 minutes, I'll sue the fucker. That's out of order. In Oasis, Guigsy, Bonehead and Alan White don't take drugs. Me and our Liam do. We'll take anything that's put in front of us because . . . that's just the kind of guys we are. But we've never been on stage out of it. We've never taken heroin or crack. We do take too many drugs, though, and I wish I'd never started. In fact, I wish I'd never started smoking cigarettes or drinking beer or taking cocaine or ecstasy because I'd have a lot more money.