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, January 25, 1998

Noel Gallagher - San Francisco Chronicle - 25th January 1998

Q and A with Oasis' Noel Gallagher

Britain's Oasis has become one of the biggest rock bands in the world by sheer force of will.
The cantankerous brothers Gallagher -- guitarist-songwriter Noel, 30, and singer Liam, 25 -- have brought an uncompromising hedonism back to rock 'n' roll, and they are as famous for their outrageous behavior as they are for outsize anthems like ``Wonderwall'' and ``Champagne Supernova.''

The band's second album, 1995's ``(What's the Story) Morning Glory?,'' has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been certified triple- platinum in the United States. But this country remains the group's bugaboo: Despite its initial splash, last year's follow- up release, ``Be Here Now,'' has yet to sell a million copies here. Noel recently spoke about Oasis, which performs tomorrow night at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, with Britain's sitar-playing Cornershop opening.

Q: You can barely set foot outside at this point in Britain, but you could probably walk down Main Street in America and not get a second look. Is that frustrating?
A: No. I'd rather be anonymous, but you can't be successful without fame in England. But you can be successful and not famous in America, which is the good thing about America. Nobody really wants the hassles of fame.

Q: You or Liam -- who's got the bigger ego?
A: Um, I'd probably say Liam. And he'd probably say me.

Q: Have you both felt since you were kids that you were destined for stardom?
A: I would say yes. I definitely thought I was going to do something special. Didn't know what it was until I was 14 or 15. It's all down to luck, you see. We got the lucky breaks.

Q: You guys are certainly doing your part to keep rock 'n' roll youthful. Can you live an entire life without actually growing up?
A: Well, I'm certainly going to try. I suppose one day one has to grow up, but I'm going to give it my best try!

Q: You do most of the talking for the band. Does Liam pop off at the mouth too much?
A: A lot of journalists find it hard to understand what he's going on about half the time. I'm his brother, and I don't even know what he's going on about.

Q: Was recording at Abbey Road at all intimidating or humbling?
A: No, not really. If we'd been in the exact same room as the Beatles, using the exact same equipment, then it might have been. But it's all changed now. It was actually a miserable time for us there, really, because you can't work all night -- it opens at a certain time and closes at a certain time, and you've got to leave.

Q: And Apple is still pretty guarded about everything it does, right?
A: Oh, f--ing hell, man. It's an absolute nightmare. The reason we left halfway through recording there was there was a fellow next door, and he knocked on the door and asked us could we turn it down? It was a bit loud for him, because he was mixing some f--ing classical band next door. By the time we stopped laughing, he'd left the room. It was the first time I've been in a recording studio where someone told us to turn it down.

Q: Is it embarrassing to have one of your heroes, George Harrison, put down by your brother in interviews?
A: I won't say it's embarrassing, but I do think you should channel your energies in a different direction, as opposed to slagging off old men, do you know what I mean? I find it all a bit silly, really.

Q: Tell me about your Burt Bacharach fixation.
A: Oh, I just like his sense of melody. He's just cool. I mean, he married Angie Dickinson, do you know what I mean? ``Police Woman!'' (growls)

Q: What did you make of the Princess Diana tribute album?
A: Well, I would imagine it's appalling.

Q: Have you not listened to it?
A: No. I do believe that somebody phoned our management to ask if Oasis would play on the record. By the time we stopped laughing, the phone had gone dead. . . . In this country, the media, the powers that be, the establishment -- they f-- hate Oasis for what we stand for. It's just loud rock 'n' roll for young people to get drunk to. But then again, as soon as they want to shift some records, it's like, ``Oh, we'll get Oasis on it!''

Q: The British press hates what you stand for, but they're also fascinated by you.
A: Yeah. Well, they're just waiting for us to make some monumental f---up, and they hope to be around when it happens. We've got to get one step ahead of those fellows.

Q: You guys are not afraid to talk about the drugs and the drinking you do. In America, there's this whole political correctness thing . . .
A: (jeering) It's the caring '90s, isn't it? I believe in the freedom of the individual to do whatever one wants to do at any given time. I reserve my right to speak my mind whenever someone asks me a question. I'm not a lying bastard, I'm not a hypocrite. If people get offended by the things we might say, then they should cease to ask stupid questions.

Q: The press makes a lot of the rivalries between you and other bands, but are there bands that you like at the moment?
A: I like the Verve and the Ocean Colour Scene and an up-and-coming band called Travis. I like the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy. Everybody else is a stinking crock of horse s--, to be honest with you.

Wednesday, January 14, 1998

Noel Gallagher - Rocket - 14th January 1998

Has England's Biggest Band Lost the Colonies? It must be part of every band's dream to play to a hometown crowd. Especially when the hometown in question hated you before you became the biggest band in the world. And so it can be assumed that this December performance in their hometown of Manchester, England is a big one for Oasis, even though playing for legions of screaming fans has become routine.

To look at them, though, you wouldn't know whether Oasis were playing to thousands of people packed into Manchester's G-Mex Exhibition Centre or to a few close friends in somebody's basement. As always, guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs and bassist Paul McGuigan stand as if their feet are nailed to the ground; blank, almost bored stares adorn their faces. Noel Gallagher remains stony-faced and focused on his guitar work while Alan White, centered at the back, dutifully pounds away at his drums. Liam Gallagher, the band's moody singer and Noel's younger brother, takes his signature stance - his hands behind his back, his face tilted up toward the microphone - as he spits out the words to "Roll With It," one of the U.K. singles from the band's sophomore effort, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?

Not that you can hear Gallagher. The voices of the rabid Oasis fans stuffing the G-Mex to capacity are nearly drowning him out. Pumping their fists in time to the song, the crowd sings in unison: "You gotta roll with it/ You gotta take your time," with as much spirit as if they were chanting the victory cheer at a Manchester City soccer game.

While this scenario may be less commonplace at an Oasis show in America, the band has still become something of a household name in the States. Thanks to their 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe, and, more importantly, Morning Glory - which reveled in England's musical past by combining the melodies of the Beatles with the attitude of the Stones - Oasis seemed on the verge of conquering America as well as England a year ago, a feat few British bands have been able to pull off in recent years. With the release of the fuller, more mature Be Here Now in the late summer of 1997 - an album which sold more than 800,000 copies in the U.K. during its first three days on the market - it was expected that Oasis would once again be sweeping American charts and airwaves like they did with Morning Glory. This time around, however, overwhelming American success seems to be eluding them.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Be Here Now traded in Morning Glory's ballads - the ballads that American audiences ate up - for songs that swagger with punk-like attitude, the type of songs that first put Oasis on the charts. Or perhaps America has just grown tired of hearing Oasis' tabloid-manufactured press and their claim that they're bigger than the Beatles. Whatever the reason, Be Here Now isn't selling like its predecessor.

Oasis, however, don't care what America thinks of them. "[Last time we toured the States,] our record company wanted us to make a big impression in America. We just went and played the gigs," explains Noel Gallagher by phone from Germany a few weeks before the band's Manchester show. "We just come to play to Oasis fans. If we never have a No. 1 record [in America], so be it. As long as we have a good time while we're there, that's all that fuckin' matters to us."

This theme - that nothing matters beyond a good time - is a recurring one with Gallagher. Even on the phone, he's in an exceptionally good mood. And while he plays the part of the cocksure rock star quite well, it sometimes seems as if his oft-quoted arrogant remarks stem more from a belief that they're expected of him rather than from his true feelings.

Take this discussion of John Squire, for instance (his current band, the Seahorses, is opening for Oasis in Germany). Describing how it feels to be touring with the guitarist for the now-defunct Stone Roses - one of the bands responsible for starting the "Madchester" scene in the late '80s and who have been highly influential on British pop music in general - Gallagher says, "[The Stone Roses were] an influence on my guitar playing as well, even though I don't even come close to what [Squire] does. It's an honor, more than anything. It's a great honor for me to be playing with one of me heroes." Of course, when asked if it's strange that his hero is opening for his band and not the other way around, he replies simply, "Well, no."

Phone interviews are less revealing than those done in person, if only because the interview is conducted with just one band member instead of the entire group. In the case of Oasis, however, it's not really an issue, since Noel Gallagher, in many respects, is Oasis. It's always been that way, ever since he returned to Manchester in 1992, after touring the world as a roadie for Inspiral Carpets, to discover that his little brother, Liam, had formed a band along with founding member Arthurs, McGuigan and original drummer Tony McCarroll (McCarroll was kicked out of the band and replaced by White just prior to the recording of Morning Glory).

To this day, Gallagher continues to write all the band's songs; he also tends to handle the majority of the band's press (perhaps because Liam, the less articulate of the two brothers, has a marked tendency to stick his foot far down his throat). Gallagher admits that he often feels as if he's carrying the weight of the band on his shoulders. "But then again," he counters, "no one else is prepared to do anything because they're all a bit lazy, so it's down on me, really."

Aside from the obnoxious comments that fly out of their mouths on a daily basis, the biggest complaint against Oasis has always been that their music can be incredibly derivative. The band is famous for stealing entire riffs from other groups. In fact, Oasis have often been dubbed the Fab Five for borrowing liberally from the Beatles.

Be Here Now, however, veers away from the Beatles- inspired ballads. And while the album has its share of Beatles references, it's noticeably lacking in riffs lifted directly from other group's songs. Reverting somewhat to the pure rock 'n' roll sensibility of Definitely Maybe, Be Here Now features faster, harder songs along with its string-filled melodies and twining vocal harmonies. On tracks like "My Big Mouth," Oasis follow the equation that made earlier songs like "Live Forever" and "Supersonic" such great tunes: basic, steady drum beats, guitar-based melodies and heavy doses of attitude, thanks in great part to Liam Gallagher's vitriolic sneer.

The album does still contain a few Morning Glory- like ballads, such as the moving "Don't Go Away." It's a song full of typical verse-chorus-verse Noel lyrics-- simultaneously simple and nonsensical. Still, it's a beautiful tune, and one that exemplifies Oasis: The song might not break ground in terms of originality but it's addictively catchy.

How Oasis manage to write such consistently memorable songs that appeal to so many people is something not even Gallagher can entirely explain. "I think it's a combination of a lot of things and I'm not even too sure what them things are. I'd like to think it's just the melodies and the music and the words, but I suppose there's other things, like the way the band looks, the interviews, the shit like that. I don't know what it is, to tell you the truth. But I don't particularly want to know what it is, because if I know what it is, then it won't interest me anymore. If you don't know what the magic is, how can you lose it?"

Despite the musical growth exhibited on Be Here Now, it seems that Oasis might be losing their cash-register magic--here in America, at least. While Morning Glory sat in the U.S. Top 10 for 15 weeks, as of late December, Be Here Now, five months after its release, was sitting at No. 77 in the Top 200.

Perhaps the band's declining popularity in the States has less to do with its music and more to do with its persona. For one thing, American audiences aren't accustomed to bands who, when they play live, just stand there without cracking a smile. And these days, with many high-profile American artists ducking world-wide fame, Americans aren't used to bands who actually enjoy being famous.

Does Gallagher think people resent Oasis for relishing their fame? "I hope so, yeah," he says characteristically with a laugh. "I don't care if they resent us."

Pausing to consider the question more carefully, he continues, "Well, if they do, then fair enough. But I don't resent people for not enjoying it. That doesn't matter to me. I'm going to enjoy whatever I do because I could get run over by a bus tomorrow. I could die in a plane crash - touch wood, I won't - but I could die in a plane crash. And what then? I fuckin' live my life like a miserable cunt, sat in dressing rooms going, (in a mopey, American accent) 'Hey man, just like, could you stop taking pictures, man.' Fuck that for a game of tennis, mate. You've got to live it while you're young, haven't you? I'm only getting older. This is like a party for us."

Even if the American portion of Oasis' party is at a lull, the band is too busy enjoying the here and now to bother worrying about what may be around the corner. Even the title of their current album is indicative of their state of mind: Live for the present because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Take it from the 30-year-old man who often claims to be in the biggest and best band in the world. "I don't worry [about our success running out] because bands don't stay at a certain level forever. Nothing ever lasts forever. So we're just enjoying it as much as we can until whatever it is deems that we should be back where we started. But I don't care about that. We all just live for the moment."

Thursday, January 01, 1998

Liam Gallagher - Channel V - 1998

Noel Gallagher - Q - January 1998

What a shoddy old year it's been for Oasis. Only six million of Be Here Now "shifted". Only voted The Best Act In The World Today by Q readers for the second year running. Woe and shame. Adrian Deevoy interrogates the most successful failures of 1997. Upon receiving the news that Oasis have once again been voted Best Act In The World Today by Q's readers, Liam Gallagher gets straight on the fax. "I personly," he writes, employing the Old English spelling of the word, "feel like flying a kite and going to the pub." Can we gather from this - you wonder by return of fax - that all is well in Liam land. "Yes." And how does the frontman feel when he refracts on last year's cocaine trousered, post - Q Awards brush with the law? "I turn my head round and face the north," he replies. Well, it's a thought...

A week prior to this exchange, Noel Gallagher turns up at his management's office at the crack of lunchtime. His objective: to make sense of Oasis's last 12 months, a period punctuated by despair, disappointment and dishonor yet sprinkled with the fairy dust of fame, fortune and farting in the general direction of doubters.

Kitted out in casual-but-costly clobber and glugging a mug of tea, Noel immediately makes it plain that he isn't here to deliver an air-brushed version of events. "To be honest with you," he says, "it's losing it's magic. Every tour we used to do would be five times as big as the last one, but once you get to Knebworth, what do you do? You can't go touring places that size all the time so you've got to step down. It's like, We're playing Earl's Court for three nights. Again. Great. It's a shitty thing to say, but there you go. It's a situation forced on you by becoming as big as you do." He exhales hard. "I don't know what you do about it. You fucking tell me."

But it isn't long before the Noel of old returns, cracking his scrunch-eyed crocodile smile, rambling like a chat show regular, springing up to act out another daft scene, slipping into characters and accents with Davro-like deftness. And, all the time, attempting to understand the madness he has created and the little monster who is his lead singer and baby brother.

What has this year taught you?
Don't get drunk before you go on the radio. God, we were fuck-faced for that interview. Good though, wasn't it? I've also learnt not to take advice from anyone else. Just stick to what you think you know best. It's not for me to say if my instincts are good or bad but it's my instincts that run it all, so fuck everybody else. It's my instincts that count. I'm in charge.

Do you feel it was a mistake going to meet Tony Blair at Downing Street?
I didn't. It's just that everyone gave me a hard time about it. People seemed to have this very sinister image of it but I went there because my wife said, Come on, lets go for a laugh. I thought, Fuck it, why not. I've never considered myself to be a rock 'no' roll rebel. I wasn't there representing guitar music, I wasn't there representing the indie community or some twat in a bedsit. I wasn't even representing the band. I was there because the Prime Minster invited me to his house for a beer. You've got to go, haven't you?

What did you make of Blair as a bloke?
Hard to say, isn't it? I'd like to say that he'd be a great leader for this country but something tells me that the Labour Party will probably contrive a way to fuck it up for themselves. If things don't change then they don't, but at least it's not the Torie's lying to you.

You're worth £40 million. True?
So they say. But it's not true. Every time this is in the press, Noel Gallagher's got forty million quid, we get a phone call off the inland revenue going, Can we see your books again. I don't reckon I've got twenty million quid. I've not got ten million quid, to be honest with you. I got a shit load of money from my last publishing deal but everyone seems to think I take all the money in this band, which is another perception that's grown over the years. Everything is split five ways apart from my publishing advances. And I get that because I write the songs. I'm the cunt sitting in a flat in the pissing rain with a pen and a piece of paper trying to make sense of the ideas I've got.

Has you're perspective of money changed?
You lose the value of things. I have no value for money any more. I don't know what it means. It's nice because you go out there and buy a Rolls Royce on the credit cards you're carrying with you, and that in itself might be a laugh, but it doesn't mean anything. The worst thing about having money is getting pissed and having a load of credit cards on you. You're off your tits going, Have it. Just have it. On me. You want it? Have it. And you wake up the next day thinking, Mmm, what was I up to last night? Oh no. I've given me car away. Again. Then it's, Hello, it's Noel here. You know what I was saying last night about the house? Well I've just seen these suitcases on the door step and...look, I was pissed.

Are you a big spender?
I've always believed if you make a bit of money you should spend it and go and earn some more. I'm just having trouble spending it at the moment because there's a lot of it. But I'm thirty, I left school when I was fifteen, so it's taken me fifteen years to get to this position. And that was fifteen years' hard graft.There were a few years when it wasn't hard work because there wasn't any work to be had and we were on the dole. So I'm not going to apologise for it. But people treat you differently now. The people who sell the Big Issue follow you down the street going, Come on mate, give us forty quid for the lot and I'll be off home. I'm like, What am I going to do with sixty Big Issue's?

For all your mouthing off, you don't seem like a particularly arrogant bloke. Are you?
Not really, no. Sometimes I look at Liam and I really don't know what his problem is.

But isn't it an age thing? You can't imagine Liam behaving in the same way when he's 35.
You said it mate. I hope someone tells him that. Actually, Liam's worn a lot of the fight out of me. Some of the things he says and does now I can't be bothered about. Two or three years ago, he might have got a mic stand across his head for some of the stuff he's done in the studio.But I just can't be fucking arsed with it anymore. I just look at him and go, Whatever, just get on with it. I'll be down the pub when you're finished.

Does he embarrass you?
Never, no. I'm proud of him. He's my kid brother. He gave me a job [laughs]

Does he ever interpret you're lyrics and bring something to it that you didn't know was there?
He can get an extra attitude out of some of the lyrics. I don't think he'd sing it with any more feeling than I would. We're two completely different singers. He's got a fucking loud, loud, loud voice and he sings the loud songs better than I do. Then I sing the soft ones better than he does. But I'm happy singing the Magic Pies and Don't Look Back In Angers. That'll do me.

"Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know too soon." What's that all about?
"Tomorrow never knows what it doesn't know too soon..." Well, Hmm, I haven't got a fucking clue to be honest. I'm sure at the time I probably jumped up and went. Yes! And I probably explained exactly what it meant to someone, but sitting here today...no, not the faintest fucking idea.

"Damn my education/I can't find the words to say." Do you ever feel thick?
If I could turn the clock back I would have studied English a bit more at school because I've since become a writer. But saying that, if I was highly educated I wouldn't be where I am. But I'd like to be able to communicate more, in a way more people could understand. A lot of the time I know what I mean but I couldn't explain it to you and that can be frustrating.

Is Be Here Now as good as the first two albums?
I think so, yeah. Every album has it's stand-out tracks. On the first, it was Supersonic, Live Forever, Slide Away, Rock 'no' Roll Star. On the album after that, there was Some Might Say, Don't Look Back In Anger, Cast No Shadow, Wonderwall, Champagne Supernova. And on this album there's Stand By Me, Do You Know What I Mean, Fade In/Out, All Around The World, It's Getting Better Man.

But are those songs better? Do You sense that people are disappointed by Be Here Now?
I'm sensing now that people might be. I had my manager come in earlier with a big long face because the album's been out two months and it's only sold two million. Fucking hell, what a bitch, he? We might as well pack it in. I just said, Go and tell that to Echobelly. I don't know what everyone's moaning about.

But the songs are too long.
So fucking what? I like an intro and an outro and a middle eight. Morning Glory was a moment in popular music because that was the album that everyone in the world was going to go out and buy. It was like, Who are these ruffians from the North of England? And, Ooh, what's this beautiful ballad Wonderwall on here when it's made by these fucking thugs from Manchester. Allegedly. It was a moment in pop that the world latched onto. When it comes to pass, this album will have sold as many copies as Definitely Maybe so we'll be back to the hardcore fanbase.

Are you personally happy with Be Here Now?
I'm always happy finishing an album with the band intact, to tell the truth. I've listened to this album more than the other two but I listened to Definitely Maybe the other day and I'd forgotten how good that was.There aren't many great albums knocking about. I don't actually think anyone's made a great album since Definitely Maybe. That was the sound of a garage band having it large and that was great, but you can't go on doing that. Every album has reflected the mental state of the band at the time.

So what now?
I can't record another big rock 'no' roll album. It's bore the tits of you and it would bore the tits of me. I want to write something that is Oasis and somehow isn't. And if I can ditch a few of these little kids that stand outside my house twenty-four hours a day then that'd be nice too.

There's something about you're songwriting that makes it almost subliminally familiar. You know what's going to happen.
Yeah, they're very Trad. Arr. It's traditional rock 'no' roll and I've not snapped out of that frame of mind because I've been in a rock 'no' roll band. With the lyrics, they probably sound familiar because I go for the most obvious thing.

Are you going to put your hands up and admit culpability for nicking the All The Young Dudes riff in Stand By Me?
Absolutely. Course. I 've had two songs out of that now - Don't Look Back In Anger and Stand By Me. I'll see if I can get another one out of it. If I can get another one out of it, I'll be fucking laughing. And he's still not sued me yet.

If you were trying to write a hit song now, which song would you plunder?
There's a very good riff in Nobody Told Me by John Lennon. But if you want to write a good rock song, go back to those old 60's Nuggets albums. And the geezers are all bound to be dead or mad or sold their publishing for two bob to some bloke with a piece of straw in his mouth. I've got a load of them records at my house and I'm sampling them all up. Let's do it, you and me. A fucking triple album. Call it something bizarre and we'll be away.

You're as romantic as a big girl's blouse. Discuss.
You don't write a song like Wonderwall if you're not romantic. I am. I'm a dreamer and a romantic. Liam is too.

Do you understand Liam's appeal?
If I was a teenage girl, I'd think, Fuck me, he's really good looking.If I was a teenage boy, I'd think, If that cunt can do it, then there's hope for us all. But I don't understand why he appeals to me. Because he pisses me off.

Do you think he's sexy?
I do, yeah. It's the swagger, isn't it? It's that, I don't give a fuck mate. Which he doesn't. He appeals to young people. He's a child himself. His whole psyche is built out of being a child, which is cool, it keeps everything exciting. I'm five years older than him, but I've been thirty for five years. I've always been quite grown up which is a pisser but I do have my moments, believe me.

What's your day-to-day intercourse with Liam?
We don't have any. We tried but the more time we spend together, the more the relationship deteriorates. As soon as we get off the road we can't get far enough apart from each other. Having said that, the other day we spent all day in the pub together.We were still up from the night before and we were pissed as arseholes. I rang my wife from the pub and said, Are you coming out for a beer or what? And she said, Who are you with? I said, I'm with our kid. And she's like, I'm having me nails done. And she told me why yesterday. She said, Because when you and your brother have been up for two days and your down the pub, and your getting on, then you know that some monumental fuck up is about to occur and I'm not going to be within 20 miles of the place.

What's your relationship with drugs these days?
Every time I do an interview now the subject comes up and I take a deep breath and try to explain the situation. They might as well hand me a gun so I can go [pretends to blow both feet off]. I use drugs for recreational purposes.

When did you last take drugs?
Oh, I can't get into that. The American Embassy will be reading this. I don't use them as much as I used to. I'm bored of them. I've been bored with drugs since I was 20 years of age. And drinking. But what else is there to do? Drugs stimulate conversation. And absolute bollocks conversation at that. Nobody knows this but...what the fuck, I'll tell you anyway. I've started leaving Dictaphones on around our house when I have people over. I want to release an album of spoken word called Noel And His Mates Talking Bollocks Round At Supernova Heights. I'm going to get all the clearances for it. Imagine that. And we'd tour it, too. The curtain will go up at the Albert Hall and there'll be ten of us going, Did you see that game of football last night? And another thing about Mohammed Ali, right, I heard... Wouldn't you pay fifty pounds to hear Shaun Ryder, Goldie, me, Paul Weller and our kid off our heads drinking beer round at my place talking about wheter there's life on other planets. Weller'd be going (gruff cockney), There's fucking mods on other planets, mate. Too right, I've seen an Unidentified Flying Vespa. UFV's mate.

Why is it so difficult to imagine Paul Weller having a laugh?
I'll tell you, he makes me laugh so much, that man. I reckon, seriously, that he'd make a great stand-up comedian.

Can you paint portraits of the other members of Oasis.
Bonehead - he's bald, he's funny, he's a father, he's dependable except when he's drunk. When he's drunk we call him The Man With The Spinning Head because he loses all control of his neck muscles and he grunts. Pain in the arse when he's drunk. Whitey - top drummer, pretty quiet, keeps himself to himself, Guigs - Jah Rastafari. I think he's spoken to me, and this is no word of a lie, since I was 17 - 13 years - for a total of about an hour. All he says is "sweet as" and "alright". That's all. Typical bass player, isn't he? I say to him, Bass player, sit down, shut it. Top man though, he's just had a baby boy. Called him Pat McGuigan. I said, That's really bad 'cos he sounds like a navy already.

Has travel broadened your mind?
We've got this rule in the band: no matter what trouble your going to get into, never get arrested in a country that doesn't use your own alphabet. Get arrested anywhere that uses your alphabet and your basically alright. But if you get arrested in a country that uses squiggles or a box or a line instead of proper letters, you're fucked, mate, you're never coming home.

Do you understand America yet?
They still think they're pilgrims. (sincere American) Do you believe in God? (bolshy Burnage) Are you taking the piss or what? And they consider themselves to be the discoverers of the New World. Isn't it funny that all these weird cults always spring up there. that's the reason aliens have never shown themselves on this planet because where do they always land first? Fucking desert in America. They land and the first human they see goes (Southern redneck) Got any barbers where you come from, boy? If you were an alien you'd be, Fuck this, back in the old spaceship and off. But if he landed in Burnage, cultural epicentre of the world, it'd be, Alright alien, mate, come and have a spliff and listen to some Jimi Hendrix . It's be cool. You'd have fucking millions of aliens living in Burnage. All the mod aliens, the lot.

Have you, in the past, abused your position as a rock star?
No, but my wife does. Trying to get into restaurants when I'm on tour. She's giving all that, Excuse me, I'm Mrs Gallagher. I wouldn't mind but she hasn't changed her name yet. I think other people abuse your position on your behalf. I went to see a band a little while ago at Brixton Academy and I was on the guest list so I got out of the car and stood at the back of the guest list queue, like you do. You don't want to charge to the front of the queue going, Hello, the rock star's here. So I'm standing here minding me own business having a fag and this security guard recognizes me and goes, What are you doing? Get up the front of the queue! And he drags me to the front shouting double loud, Make way! Band member,! Embarrassing, man. But you've got to see the funny side. You have to enjoy it because if you sat down and dissected everything that's sick about being a rock star, you'd be there forever.

Is this what you thought being a rock star would be like?
In a funny way. But if anyone wants to know what it's really like to be in a rock band, go and watch Spinal Tap. That just about says it fucking all.

Guigsy - Bassist - January 1998

Oasis of Bases

'It's been nine months since we played on stage. The longest breather we'd ever had between gigs before, was about three weeks.'

Paul 'Guigsy' (prounounced 'Gwigsy' by all in the Oasis entourage to avoid any possible link with Man United's Ryan Giggs) McGuigan is pleased to be back 'out there', hammering out the foundations to the songs of the band he loves. "It was right to take a break when we did, and do the album, but in the last six to eight weeks it was, like, 'let's do something; we've got to do something'. Boredom was kicking in, because playing's what we do; what we're known at. So everyone's really happy with what we're doing; everyone in the band is happy, everyone in the crew is happy - it's almost like we're waiting for something to go wrong," adds Guigsy, wary of the Gallagher Bros' ability to whip up negative hysteria at any given time, whenever a microphone is switched on, a situation for which Radio 1 has already had to action 'damage limitation' against, following a recent controversial live Gallaghers 'interview'.

Though Oasis have effctively gone back to 'provincial' venues, like Exeter and Birmingham's NIA, for the first leg of the British tour, returning to Earl's Court as you read this, Guigsy will certainly have his wish to go back to playing live well and truly fulfilled thanks to an extensive upcoming world tour.

"Europe, then Ireland, and then it's another UK tour. Then it's America, Australia, Japan, everywhere again, really, probably up to the middle of next year. I don't know what we'll do then; probably stop and have a holiday at some stage. Maybe we'll just jam around and play for a bit - we've not done that for a while, other than when we were rehearsing this time. We haven't just played without having a schedule to meet. I don't know what Noel's plans are about writing for the next album, yet. We're just dealing with this at the moment."

Guigsy has recently become the father of a bouncing baby son; it's not going to be easy to stay out on tour for that length of time with a little one growing up fast, but Guigsy has let the experience add to his feelings about the 'lifetie' left for Oasis...

"It won't be easy," Guigsy agrees, about the separation, adding philosophically, "but he gets to get good things because of this lifestyle, and this is what we do. Funnily enough, at the start, everyone expected Oasis to finish within 18 months; even ourselves, originally, because we couldn't see how we could carry on. Now we can't see an end to it; it's turned full circle in that way. For a while it was, any minute they're going to explode/implode, depending oj who was saying it. Now I'm really looking forward, even though I 've got my little one. I'm looking forward to getting out playing again because we're getting better all the time, we really are; playing, everything; we're just getting better all the time. Confidence is back and it's bigger than ever."

America will undoubtedly bring back a few unwelcome memories of the previous tour, which ended in fiasco, much as it had begun., thanks to Liam deciding at the airport, waiting fot the flight out, that he had to find a house to come back to, leaving Noel to handle vocals on the early dates, before the errant brother somewhat disgruntedly rejoined his outfit. Then he shocked MTV audiences by gobbing on-stage at a live televised awards' gig. Noel eventually packed it in early and returned to the UK, with some four high-profile US dates left to play. Amid talk of multi-million law suits for non-appearance, what, exactly, was it like for the remaining three Oasis-ites: Guigsy, guitarist Paul 'Bonehead' Arthurs and drummer Alan White, at that time, buffeted by the turbulence of the siblings' bickering?

"When we got back to England, we were freaked by the reaction," explains Guigsy. "It wasn't like the media were telling it like it was. See, we'd already been on that tour for 18 months, with only a couple of breaks, Liam didn't come out first because he didn't have a house, and we did the US gigs with signs up saying Liam wasn't doing it and if anyone wanted their money back, fine, but us four are going to do it. So we just did it, and it was alright, we had a good laugh. I don't know what people thought of it, but very few asked for their money back. Liam came out, but at the end Noel was like, "Look, we need to make some new music. It's all getting a bit stale isn't it?" We all had a chat and agreed; so we said we might as well go home right then. Suddenly, we've split up!" he snorts.

"But we couldn't see where it was going to end, and it came to a head where it was, like, let's just go home. Nothing to do with America; we were just fed up with touring, the endlessness of it for four or five years, then an album and straight back out again. We took a month off to think about everything. Noel went to Mustique, did some demos and sent them to us, and it was the first time we'd ever made usic where we had a bit of time to think about it! Before, I'd take a demo home and play different things to it, but usually it was, get in the studio and Noel might have five or six tunes and he'd write the rest in there. Go in, bash it out, 12 days to record an album - that was the first two albums, but this time it was just a case of stepping back a little bit and taking a little bit slower, and trying to make a better record all round."

Be Here Now
"It seemed like a big production, but only because of the extra instrumentation, really." comments Guigsy on the sound of Be Here Now. To him it's more straightforward. "The drums were still just straight drums, I just played the same old bass line I always play - top string!" he laughs, quietly. "Sometimes there were 12 guitar tracks, and a lot of it was to do with Mike and Paul coming in and some keyboards and things going on, and we also had strings and trombones and stuff. It was still pretty straightforward to do, in that way. And then there was a lot of production just to bring all the levels together, really, with that many instruments going on. I don't really think that we went for too many tricks."

Does sound BIG, though. Guigsy laughs. "Yes. Someone told me the other day that it wasn't as loud as the other albums! Yes, I think it sounds outrageous. It's different to the others, but it's totally Oasis, up front. But in another way it's almost like the band has grown into the parts, a bit, and feels more confident to express their playing, and their attitude to making a record. The first time we didn't know what we were doing, and we had to do it in a rush. Now we all know how the studio works; it's a lot more relaxed and everyone is a lot more confident. Confidence makes you more relaxed. At first, we thought, 'Everyone hates us and we don't care'. Now we know everyone doesn't hate us really, and we do care a little bit!"

Home Studio
"I'm hoping to get a reel-to-reel and some old Roland Space Echo units at home, to get more into that dub sound. Just trying different things out; different guitars, different amplifiers, rigging all sorts of things together just to see what happens. I like to play anything, really, but I like to play a little dub when I'm sat on my own, which I think is a bass player thing when you're at home. There's not a lot you can play on your own, so if you have a nice dub line and you have a nice big spliff, then you can sit there playing that line for about a day, can't you?"

On-stage sound
"Lots of (drummer) Whitey's bass drum and snare in my side-fill monitors. Bonehead's that loud these days, I can hear him from behind me, don't need him in the monitors. Liam is loud, too, with all his stuff, I can hear him as well. I have Noel's guitar in front of me, and me in both the front and side-fills, but I'm having to turn the top end up - getting a bit deaf these days. I don't like fizziness, so I take that off. It is getting a bit like a dub session on my side of the stage, with bass, drums and a bit of lead guitar!"

Favourite tunes
"The set goes by very quickly at the moment, but usually there's a tune that gets me every time. 'D'You Know What I Mean?' does, plus 'Magic Pie', 'Fade In-Out', 'All Around The World', and then coming back on for 'Acquiesce', I just loved that. I was going to smash all my guitars up when we did that, but I saw reason before the end of the tune..."

Oasis - Live, Here, Now
Taking their cue from mainman Noel, Oasis definitely (maybe) like their sound produced by traditional amplification, though now well beyond the Orange and Hiwatt amps Guigsy used in his previous bass stack. The affable Oasis bassist now stands in front of two Trace Elliott stacks (side by side, two V6 amps above two 1248 cabs each), beautifully finished in pristine Man City blue leathercloth. Noel Gallagher, ever mindful of the 'correct' Oasis gear image, didn't originally rate Trace gear, and told Guigsy to use Ampeg. Guigsy himself had extreme reservations too, as he explains.

"Yes, it's getting a bit big now," is Gigsy's modest assessment of his rig. "Trace has been really good to me. I didn't like the way it looked originally - all that metal grille stuff; too 'hard rock', and that green luminous badge stuff was, like, aargh...I don't think so! So they made it look nice, cloth grilles and Man City colours, which is always going to influence me a little bit...(Yea, City need all the help they can get at the moment - Ed) A few other makers we talked to were saying valves were rubbish, but I really wanted valves, like my old Orange and Hiwatt; Trace were the opposite, saying valves were the way forward. So we had it upgraded a bit, because I'm louder than most people! ("He'd use an action like a bow and arrow if I let him," comments tech, Roger) We had a few problems last year because I had it so loud, the circuitry couldn't take it. So it's all been modified slightly, and it's really good."

For security against blow-ups, there are now two V6 amps on standby behind the main stacks. No DI is used now to put the bass through the PA. Instead, one cab speaker is mic'ed with a Shure SN52. A remote tuner (with muting facility, following Guigsy banging out his tuning up at 20kW between songs at the Maine Road gigs) is utilised, after an American sound engineer discovered that the onboard active tuner-out systems robbed up to 6dB from the power levels when in use. Roger; "You wouldn't notice that during a pub gig, but with us, it was, like, where did the bass sound go?"

For the record, Guigsy has toured with Ampeg SVTs in the past ("blew up 16 of them in a three week tour stint..."), and, at the famous Maine Road gigs, he managed to blow one of the Trace stacks. This man is a bass animal, readers.

"I think I blew three amps at Maine Road, actually. I blew quite a few last year, to be honest, and I got a little grumpy about it, thinking that it shouldn't be blowing up. So they went back and worked on it, and I'm really, really happy about the sound at the moment. And I'm still hoping that I can get lower, that would be nice!"

Guigsy Digs Dub
Perhaps, surprisingly, Guigsy is a committed fan of the low, low dub reggae bass tones, as utilised by Family Man Barrett.

"I've always really dug reggae; I don't know many bass players who don't. All the bass players I know, their record collections are about the same - The Beatles and The Who, some funk and some reggae. Family Man and his work with Bob Marley set us on the way to the best bass sound that there has ever been. I don't try to recreate that, because I don't play it the same as him, but I get down there with him; down the low end where he is. Lee Perry has to take a lot of credit for that - as the producer, he got that sound down there."

Guigsy reckons there are three top bassists who have much to offer anyone looking for guidance. "John Entwhistle, Macca, and, yeah, Family Man. If you can get something out of those three, then you'll be doing alright. But, really, there are hundreds, aren't there? There's another 50 you could pick that mean something, but if I can take a bit out of those three, I'll be happy."

The Guigsy Baa Collection
The Oasis bass player has recently developed a predilection for early 60s Fender Jazz basses; in particular, 1962/63 versions.

"I've got three now, and that'll do me; so if everyone wants to and buy them, feel free. I knew I'd never find one after I told you about them being my favourites! Mind, I haven't got one with the stack control knobs (1961 first version). Two control knobs, that's all you need, isn't it? I don't know about four.

Ricky 3000
"I've been chatting to Mani [ex-Stone Roses], who's osing a Ricky 3000. See, we're both only little fellows, so we're always looking at thin necks, with our little hands! I used to play a Telecaster bass, and that was hard work. I've got another one of those Les Paul Triumphs. It's nicer than my other one. (Tech) Roger got that up in Keighley, very cheaply, about 600."

Paul's enthusiasm has turmed him into quite an avid collector, and uses the tours to keep a look out for basses. "In the last 18 months, because all the vintage guitars are disappearing now, any time I come across anything, even if it's not in the greatest shape, a bit beaten up, I've been buying it and having it all nicely set up again. I'm not really bothered about what it looks like, it's what it sounds like, really. Then you get into that place where, if you like it, you need a spare! It starts getting silly after a bit. I'm pretty happy with what I've got; someting for all seasons, with about 25 basses, and they're all nice. I can't see myself playing anything other than the 62 at the moment. It's taken over my life.