No Means No: Noel Gallagher will never, ever revisit Oasis. Period.
By THOMAS CONNER Pop Music Criticfirstname.lastname@example.org October 31, 2012 5:40PM
SNOW PATROL WITH NOEL GALLAGHER
◆ 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3
◆ The Venue at Horseshoe
Casino, 777 Casino Center Drive, Hammond, Ind.
◆ Tickets: $35-$140
◆ (800) 745-3000;
Updated: November 1, 2012 8:41PM
My first post-Oasis earful came last year from Liam Gallagher as he toured Beady Eye, a band comprised of three-fourths of Oasis minus singer Liam’s guitarist brother Noel.
After 18 years together in Oasis, the Gallagher brothers had topped the charts (“Wonderwall,” “Champagne Supernova”) and altered the course of rock and roll. But they were 18 contentious years. The Gallaghers fought constantly, and at the Rock en Seine festival in Paris in 2009 another backstage dust-up turned out to be their last. Noel stormed out. Oasis was over.
Inevitable solo projects followed. Liam and the others came and went as Beady Eye. “We’re not lacking anything,” he assured me. (Except a hit.)
Noel, now 45, stalled a while, then produced a solo album and now a lengthy tour under the moniker Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. The latter debut went platinum in England but hasn’t fared as well in the States.
Which may explain why Gallagher — once one of the biggest rock stars in the world — this weekend not only shares a double bill with the middling band Snow Patrol, but shares it at a casino in Chicago’s hinterlands.
The second earful — much funnier, by the way — came from Noel a few weeks ago. Adding to our conversation, a curious headline had appeared days earlier in the British music mag NME: “Liam Gallagher ‘would reform Oasis tomorrow.’ ” The article claimed everybody wanted the reunion and only Noel stood in its way.
Judging by Noel’s quip-tastic banter, fans shouldn’t hold their breath.
Question: You were the guitarist in Oasis, not often up front at the mike. What have you learned about becoming a front man?
Noel Gallagher: You know the [Maroon 5] song “Moves Like Jagger”? I don’t have them. I have moves like Wyman. I didn’t know what to expect when I first stepped up front. I thought, well, this’ll be weird for people. I haven’t really learned anything, but it’s reinforced my belief that what I always thought is true: It’s all about the songs. The songs are the show. Groups are about the razzmatazz, but when you go see a solo artist like Neil Young or Bob Dylan or Paul McCartney or Bowie or me, you know, you’re there to hear the songs. If you do that, that’s it. Unless, you know, you’re Madonna or Lady Gaga, but who gives a f--- about that? You don’t go to see Neil Young dance.
Q. I’ve heard you talk about Oasis naturally falling into what you call “the trap of stadium rock.” Why is that inevitable at a certain level?
NG: You get to the point of selling out stadiums, and that’s how your success is measured, subconsciously by you and everybody else. So you want to stay there, you know what I mean? People come to see you in stadiums, they want stadium rock. There’s nowhere left for you to go. So you’re expected to try and keep that going. It’s f-----g amazing, amazing, but don’t tell me the next Green Day album sounds different than the last three, not that anybody gives a f---. It was the same with Oasis. You start a rock band and the goal is to play stadiums. You get there, and you’re stuck there. Any movement from that point is considered a failure. You don’t get to say, “We need to f--- this off and go back to playing clubs,” because you just can’t. It’s a trap — an enjoyable one, but it puts an unnecessary ceiling on creativity.
Q. I interviewed Liam last year, and I asked him what the backstage fight in 2009 was about. He said, “You’d have to ask Noel.” So I’m asking: What was it about?
NG: Let’s see if I can recall. He’d not turned up for the previous gig, [the V Festival] in England. He caught a lot of flak in the press over it — we all did, but he got most of it. He’s a little bit like Hitler, Liam. Hitler thought there was a world conspiracy against the Germans, and Liam thinks there’s a world conspiracy against him, perpetrated by me through the press.
Q. But you and Liam fought all the time. What made that fight the clincher for the band?
NG: It was just the straw that broke the camel’s back. What makes an alcoholic give up drink after years of drinking? Going to the festival site that day, I had no intention of leaving the group. I was thinking about the next Oasis record. But after that, you know, I said f--- this. I didn’t particularly want to go solo. But I just said f--- it. That’s it, f--- it. A healthy dose of f--- it every now and then is good. It forces you into things you maybe should have done in the first place. Was it that bad? No. Had there been worse fights? Yeah.
Q. Have there been any moments of regret?
NG: No, and I don’t mean that in a callous way. But, no. There was a huge fracas in the dressing room, sh-- was smashed up. I went and sat in my car outside. The driver had the engine running. A big scene was going on inside. I sat there for what must have been a minute or two, but it felt like a lifetime. In that space of time, everything that had happened and was going to happen was flashing before my eyes. I made the decision. If I told the driver to drive, then it was finished. All the people in the field will go on. It’ll cost us millions. Or I could sit here, calm down, and do the gig. It’ll be f-----g awful. Again, I thought, f--- it, and I said, “Drive.”
Q. You may not think about it, but Liam might. You saw the recent NME story?
NG: Yeah, well, unfortunately in the two years after I left the band, everyone else’s tune was very different. They were quite bullish about it. All the people in Beady Eye were saying, “Oasis ran its course, we’re glad we’re out of it, we’re more creative now.” OK, fine, if that’s the way they feel. But don’t come to me in three years when your sh-- has well and truly gone down the toilet. I’ve seen Liam, Gem [Archer] and Chris [Shamrock] since then, and when I’ve seen them [the idea of a reunion] has never been mentioned.
Q. Is anyone besides journalists like me asking you about this?
NG: Nobody gives a sh--. I do realize that the only way to get people to stop asking me about it is to do it. But I’m stubborn. If it’s the last thing I do, I won’t do it. To re-form it, how could it be as good? People say they want it to happen because they’re younger and they missed us. Tough sh--. I’ve never seen the Sex Pistols or the Beatles. I still haven’t seen Bob Dylan, thank God.
Q. So what’s your future look like then?
NG: I’m going to try and fake my own retirement and see how it goes. I’ve tried disappearing, but I’ve got too big a nose to disappear, really. I always get recognized, even if I dress like an Eskimo. I’m not going to do anything. Watch a lot of TV. What I might do is hope against hope that that guy beats Obama in the election.
Q. Beg pardon?
NG: We don’t get enough laughs out of Obama. We liked George Bush. He was funny as f---. The comedy value would be great with Romney. Not for you guys, though.