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, July 01, 2001

Noel Gallagher - Guitar World - July 2001

Along with Chris Robinson from the Black Crowes.

Oasis' impeccable, Beatles-inspired songcraft placed them at the vanguard of the Nineties Britpop explosion. They penetrated American culture with picture-perfect singles like "Supersonic," "Live Forever," and "Wonderwall," and are currently in the studio with a retooled line-up, hard at work on a follow-up to their excellent 2000 album, "Standing on the Shoulder of Giants." And while Oasis are Beatles-esque, the Black Crowes excel at their own brand of Stones/Faces-influenced, early Seventies blues rock, with a dash of Allman Brothers-style southern boogie that reflects the Crowes' Atlanta, Georgia roots. They've found a new degree of loose-limbed freedom on their latest release, "Lions."

So, in a sense, the Oasis/Crowes tour embodies the quintessential rock dialect - Beatles and Stones, pop and blues, melody and grit, lager and ganja. Then there's the sibling rivalry issue - another grand old rock tradition. The Black Crowes is co-fronted by singer Chris Robinson and his brother, guitarist Rich Robinson. Oasis is co-helmed, by guitarist and principal songwriter Noel Gallagher and his singing sibling, Liam Gallagher.

Let's just say that fraternal harmony has never been a strong suit for either family. Drunken public fisticuffs and raging torrents of verbal abuse have kept the press busy on both sides of the Atlantic. Liam Gallagher has a history of walking out on concert tours, leaving Noel to busk on without him, inwardly contemplating the sin of Cain. So there's an element of risk involved here. And risk is an essential ingredient in all great rock. The Crowes/Oasis tour is a celebration of the messy mongrel eclecticism that is rock's true spirit - a throwback to the glory days of when you could see the Who, Otis Redding, Joan Baez and Ravi Shankar on the same concert bill and nobody worried about corporate crap like demographics or sending a mixed message to the marketplace. The tour also serves as a reminder that all of rock's greatest eras have been periods of maximum respect, admiration and musical dialog between American and English bands.

Anglo American relations were certainly in good form on a recent rainy morning in London, when Noel and Liam Gallagher dropped by Scala, a grimy old theater turned rock venue where the Black Crowes were set to play that evening at a release party for "Lions." There were plenty of hugs, and handshakes as the Robinson brothers greeted the Gallagher boys. Liam Gallagher asked after Chris Robinson's missus, actress Kate Hudson, commending her recent performance in Cameron Crowe's rock film, "Almost Famous.""Good film, innit?" Liam beamed. "Yeah, it's pretty cool," Chris grinned. "Innocent, man."

Liam is the former husband of fetching British screen star Patsy Kensit. Which led to the inevitable question: Why do rock singers end up pairing off with actresses so often?"They're all fuckin' good shags, man!" Liam promptly observed. And for once, the motor-mouthed Chris Robinson fell silent. After a few embarrassed moments he finally drawled, "Well, I'm not gonna disagree with that. You should ask them why they're with us. I don't know if they'd say we were good shags."

Valiantly trying to steer the conversation back to music, Noel praised the "Almost Famous" soundtrack album, singling out Simon and Garfunkel's late-Sixties opus, "America" for special notice."It's the American 'Day in the Life,' innit?"High praise, indeed, from rock's most notorious Beatlemaniac.

Liam and Rich eventually drifted off to other parts of the venue, leaving Noel and Chris to settle down in an upstairs lounge for a good, long chat. Digging into a baggie containing about an ounce of marijuana, Chris extracted an inch and a half roach and fired it up. Noel crisply unwrapped a fresh packet of Benson and Hedges. America and Britain's cultural exchange was about to enter a brand new phase.

Guitar World - When did you two guys first meet?
Noel Gallagher - Well, it's a funny story. I met them at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, where they were playing a gig. I'd only known them about five minutes, and I collapsed in their dressing room. I was a bit the worse for wear, drinking. And then the next time I met them was in New York, at one of our gigs.
Chris Robinson - It was a much clearer meeting the second time! You guys had a job to do. I mean you always get more hammered at someone else's gig. You don't have to do anything.

GW - How did you get the idea to tour together?
ROBINSON - It came up that Oasis wanted to get back into the States, and we wanted to get out on the road. I think it's a perfect match. Two guitar based rock and roll bands where the two lead singers and two lead guitarists are also the main songwriters and also just happen to be brothers! We're also throwing Spacehog on the bill, and their lead singer and guitarist are brothers too.
GALLAGHER - Our manager or someone mentioned to us, "Fancy going on tour with the Black Crowes?" And the light came on. It was like, "Fuck man, we've been going 10 years, why didn't we think of this sooner?"

GW- Who's headlining? Oasis or the Crowes?
GALLAGHER - Well, it's co-headlining. But I mean we're going on first, so we can get trashed and watch them. We sat down with the managers and went, "Who's gonna close the show?" And all of our band went "They are!"
ROBINSON - I imagine that two or three days into the tour, one communal room will get set up backstage, with amps, a drum kit and a keyboard. We'll do some jammin'!
GALLAGHER - Yeah. We always bring a Porta-studio on the road. We're always writing in the dressing room. 'Cause there's fuck-all else to do. And another thing I'm looking forward to is going to radio stations and people not saying to me, "Well, tell us about your new record."
ROBINSON - I know what you mean. When this idea first came up, there were some people who said, "I don't get it." Whenever that happens, you immediately know you're on to something.
GALLAGHER - People say, "Oasis doesn't have an album to promote. What's going to happen when you back to America again next year to promote your new album?" Well, fuck the shit. That shit'll take care of itself when the time comes. We're not doing this for any reason other that the fact that we're all Black Crowes fans and we all love playing. Who wouldn't go?

GW - Both of your bands are conscious of rock history. Oasis reflects the English rock tradition in a similar way that the Black Crowes reflect American rock tradition.
GALLAGHER - Well, we're both bands that are constantly playing records backstage. And once you've listened to as many records as these two bands have, you end up sounding like your record collection. I'm not ashamed about it at all.

GW- Beatles or Stones?
GALLAGHER - Obviously I'm really immersed in the Beatles, but I only recently started reading Mick Jagger's lyrics.
ROBINSON - I mean, I'd have to go with the Beatles, definitely, just for the record making. But the Stones, to me, are more of a BAND band. A rock and roll band. Whereas the Beatles just stand as this entity.

GW - Clash or Sex Pistols?
ROBINSON - Clash for me.
GALLAGHER - I dunno, I was too young for that anyway. But the one record you had to have was "Never Mind the Bollocks," by the Sex Pistols. I mean, even my mum had it, and she was about 40 when it came out.

GW- Hendrix or Jeff Beck?
GALLAGHER - Hendrix.
ROBINSON - Definitely. Although Jeff Beck, man
GALLAGHER - Good guitar player.
ROBINSON - But somebody that great should enjoy playing more.
GALLAGHER - The thing about Jimi was he appealed to the whole fuckin' counterculture thing in America at that time. He spoke to everyone. Jeff Beck is great and all that. But put it this way: If Jeff Beck would have played "God Save the Queen" on his guitar at the Isle of Wight, it wouldn't have meant fuckin' jack shit. But when Hendrix played "The Star Spangled Banner" at Woodstock, it meant something.
ROBINSON - I just think Jimi's music is so deep. It's from the deepest, darkest Africa and goes to outer space. And it includes every kind of music - classical, everything. I think music is a collective part of who we are as a species. It's probably in our genetic code somewhere. Why else would it be around for so long?
GALLAGHER - And why would people that make music be famous and so respected if it didn't mean anything?
ROBINSON - Back in the day - with native music, Moroccan music and stuff - if someone was ill, they'd start playing music. They'd play for six days straight, and for some reason the person wouldn't be ill anymore.
GALLAGHER - Obviously, I wasn't around back then, but in tribal times, music would accompany every single facet of life. You were born to music. You went through your education with music, and you died to music. It was part of your fuckin' life.
ROBINSON - I listen to music constantly, whenever I'm not playing guitar. When I was a kid I went to sleep with the radio on.
GALLAGHER - Me too, and woke up with it. And when I go see a band play live, if I come out feeling like I want to go do a gig myself, that's when I'll say, "Fuckin' great band, man." Whereas with some bands I just say, "Okay, that was cool, but I just wanna go home now."
ROBINSON - These days, it seems like people in our industry don't really even enjoy playing music anymore. And you know what? Their records sound that way. It sounds like a fuckin' chore to them.
GALLAGHER - Whereas you listen to T.Rex records; they're having a fuckin' party playing "Bang a Gong." You know it, man. You can almost reach out and touch that. You shut your eyes and they're all there in the studio with feather boas and Flying V's. There's too much pressure put on people these days to be successful. They'll write a song and then they'll rewrite it, and rewrite it. And the record company says, "Well , you have to change that bit." Fuck that!
ROBINSON - I mean, we all want to be successful, but I'm not prepared to make uncool records in order to be successful. And that's really what's asked of you sometimes. I doubt if anyone would ever admit it, but it's definitely a subtext of every conversation you've ever had with those people.
GALLAGHER - Absolutely. It's hard to have a relationship with them. It's like, "Just sign the fuckin' checks. I'll give you the record, but I don't want to be your friend."

GW- So is rock dead? Has the corporate mentality finally killed it off?
ROBINSON - Obviously not.
GALLAGHER - When the tickets went on sale for this tour, I was prepared for the answer to that question. And after two weeks, it was clear that rock is emphatically not dead. Because there's thousands and thousands of people all over some of the major and not so major American cities who are paying money to come and see two rock and roll bands. To people who buy Britney Spears and Limp Bizkit records, yeah, rock is dead. But what would they know in the first place? Do you think a person who buys a Limp Bizkit record has ever heard fuckin' Elvis Presley? I would doubt it very much.

GW - Not only are the two of you in bands with your brothers, you've also tended not to get along with your brothers very well in the past.
ROBINSON - You're talking to the two oldest here. So let's just say our brothers haven't gotten along with us. I don't know about you, Noel, but I'm always right. My brother doesn't know what the fuck he's talking about half the time.
GALLAGHER - Mine too. I'd have to agree with that.
ROBINSON - I love him more than anything, but he just talks shit all the time.
GALLAGHER - But when you're on tour, you can take great strength from the fact that one of your family is going to be there when you wake up - whether you're getting on with him or not. At least there are two people on the bus who know each other inside and out. Because with a lot of bands, it's five guys who've only known each other five or six years. They aren't really willing to argue over the important stuff. Whereas me and Liam just go at it. If anybody leaves the bus, that's fine too. If things have to be said, they have to be said. It's as simple as that.
ROBINSON - I know what you're saying. For all the fights me and Rich have had - and there have been some bad ones - at the end of the day, he's still your brother. The band can break up, the Black Crowes may go away, but Rich and I, and our music together, will always be there. The two of us have gone through something that not a lot of people get to go through, being in a band like this. It's something very intense that happens to your lives, and you did it with your own blood.
GALLAGHER - The two of you were together before you met the other guys in the band, and you were trying to convince your parents that it was the right thing to do.

GW - What if Liam walks out on this tour?
GALLAGHER - He won't. I know he won't. None of us will. The only reason that anyone's ever walked out on a tour is because you come in from doing six hours of press in a day and then you do a soundcheck and your brother turns up drunk. Then he goes onstage that night and he can't fuckin' sing. And you think, You know what? I'm gonna go fucking sit on a beach for two weeks until he gets his head together. But it's not gonna be like that on this tour, I can tell you that.

GW - Different vibe this time?
GALLAGHER - It's because we want to do it. It is the first time ever we've not been shoved up the fucking steps of the plane by someone going, "The record's out next week; you have to go and tour." And you're going, "But I wanna go watch the football!" This time we're saying, "When are we leaving? I can't wait." And at the end, everybody's gonna be saying, "What, there's only three gigs left?"
ROBINSON - And I think it's gonna be a proper rock and roll show every night. All the bass players wear their basses around their waist. Not down by their ankles. That's how you can gauge we're all in out thirties.

Noel Gallagher - BBC Radio 1 - July 2001

Although Oasis didn't perform at the Scottish Music Festival in July, Noel turned up to guest on stage with Weller and also ended up doing one track with Proud Mary who were also playing at the festival

Looking at the line-up there are very few Americans...
Yeah, there must be no American bands with albums out. Last year it was Limp Bizkit and all that lot. It's probably because lots of British bands have albums out, next year will be back to American bands, I think. The Strokes are on.

Did you enjoy them?
They are just the most important band since my band, I suppose. If they inspire a load of kids to pick up guitars, like John Thunders when they came to London in the 70s and inspired the Sex Pistols. All the bull s**t the media was writing yesterday about the new music is going to happen. I like them, I think they are fantastic, but there is a lot resting on their shoulders. If there is ten kids out there that's seen that and start bands and do it with a bit of energy and edge - fair play to them.

Lead singer Julian kind of reminds me of Liam with the swagger and the nonchalance...
He was going around the stage looking for a full can of beer and it took him about two minutes to find one, our kid would have had it immediately as he has an in-built homing device in the top of his forehead. You could put 600 empty cans of beer on a stage and one full, and he's find it first go. He'll learn, he's a good front man actually.

Tell me about the last week? You've become an uncle again...
Liam celebrated in style, didn't he? It's weird when being an uncle because it's not yours, you can do all that stuff and give it back. Liam's fine, Nicky looks great - it's quite unbelievable she's had a baby.

Has he got over his trouble with the press?
I went to see him that day, and then the next day I got up and was watching Sky News with the sound down and there was a picture of Liam offering a photographer out. The caption said 'Liam celebrated birth of new child', I laughed for a full five minutes at that. It's like f*****g typical, in the throws of fatherhood with another son, and what has he done - kicking people's heads in on the footpath.

Talk me through the bands here...
Stereophonics - I haven't actually seen them live, and haven't seen Kelly for a while so it will be good to see him and take the piss out of him before he goes on stage to wind him up... I'm looking forward to playing with Paul Weller. Catatonia, I've never seen them live, so will stick around for them. Then probably get drunk.

Tell me about the Weller set, have you got anything specific lined up?
He's done what he always does. He phoned me yesterday and said 'we are doing A Town Called Malice and it's in B, I'll see you there'. I went to see him the other night at Shepherds' Bush Empire and he does about four Jam songs and a few Style Council numbers. I'm looking forward to that it will be a good old sing-song.

We spoke last in America about the Oasis record, has anything moved on since then?
Absolutely not a f******g crotchet, not a plectrum has been lifted in anger. We were supposed to record last week, then Nicky had [baby] Gene, so we decided to sack it. We are going to rehearse for the next two weeks for going to Japan. When we come back we promise we'll start on the record, if Liam can be bothered. Liam's got a lot of catching up to do, but the plan is to get something out by the end of the year. It's all becoming a bit of a rush now but I think we work better under pressure. I'm looking forward to it.

How was The Black Crowes and the Neil Young thing?
The Black Crowes tour was five weeks and we did every single gig and it was really really good. It did us a lot of good just to get out there, just to play without having the pressure of promoting an album. It was all that I expected it to be and little bit more. We made some really good friends, and we are thinking about doing it next year and maybe getting The Black Crowes over to Europe. I think everybody was waiting for something controversial to happen, but the most controversial thing to happen was we finished the tour without falling out. The Neil Young gig - I'm not sure whether we played too good or not, we just winged it and didn't really rehearse. But he was just fantastic. Just to watch him do his thing 10 foot away on stage is something else - grown men cry and stuff like that.

So the mood is good in the camp?
We haven't seen each other properly since we've come back from the States. Andy has been making babies and stuff, I've been moving house, and Alan has been trying to get his thumb right. We are all back to work on Monday, so the mood is as good as it's ever been. We were sort of drifting a bit with the album. Because we were producing it ourselves it was like we'll finish it when we finish it, and our manager has gone 'we've got to have it finished by October', so now we've got a deadline to work towards. The trouble is now everybody is just writing so the album I was talking to you two months ago is completely different. There are more songs to record and better songs than was on it originally. It's going to be intense over the next three or four months.

What is the song-writing breakdown?
Liam has written the most. I think I'm up to about ten, I haven't finished some of the lyrics yet. There is definitely one of Liam's going on the album, probably two. I think we've recorded two of Gem's and two of Andy's. The boys are a bit shy about presenting their stuff, because they are the new guys in the band you have to drag it out of them a bit. It's good just to hear other people's songs which sound like the thing that you do that isn't written by you, which is really good for me. I feel they are both really good songwriters, they've just not been in the right bands - it's as simple as that. I think you'll be surprised at Andy's songs especially. I don't think they've been given the respect they deserve, especially for Andy in Ride - they were a pretty seminal band. I hope the fans listen to it for it is and not think 'it's not Noel's song so we'll just skip through it'.

The tour?
People keep saying are you going to come up with a title for the tour - since when have we had a title for a tour. We haven't played in-doors since Morning Glory, so this is tiny gigs. It's going to be interesting to see if we can hear ourselves again. It's good to get back to that because when you play outdoors you get massive monitors and that, we are just taking the stuff we use in the rehearsal rooms on tour. You can feel already it's going to be great. We are going to be doing new stuff, it's going to be a long set as well. Everyone is really looking forward to it, it seems to have captured people's imagination as well. It's funny to think that ten years down the line we are still here and people are still bothered about us. I was talking to Tim Booth from James and he said 'Do you feel old?' and I was going 'I am old'. It's going to be good to get sweaty again.