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Wednesday, June 16, 2010
(Noel Gallagher looking - back but not with anger)
SAY what you like, but Noel Gallagher seems like a guy you don't want to mess with. See, if life is a rollercoaster, then Noel is the dude riding on the Bizarro, Millennium Force and Nitro rides all rolled into one - who still comes out standing.
"If we weren't not turning up for videos and getting slung out of f***ing recording studios, we were losing bass players; and you know, we were on the way to becoming the biggest band in the world, and we were showing it a healthy degree of contempt, which I think is a good thing," said Noel in a recent interview.
This "healthy contempt" meant that he's also had to endure loads of browbeating, not just from the press and his musical competitors (his bitter mid-'90s feud with Blur's Damon Albarn is legendary), but also from within the band, particularly from a younger brother called Liam.
Their scuffles and spats are things of legend. For instance, during the recording of their big hit Wonderwall, Noel and Liam had an argument about how the drums should go. "And the argument went round and round and round for ages till Liam said he was going to refuse to sing it; which is ludicrous when you think about it now," said Noel.
Their infighting was so vicious, Noel walked out on the band back in 2000, only to rejoin months later. But last August, Noel had had enough. With minutes to go before their concert at the Rock en Seine festival in France, Oasis sent out the message: "As a result of an altercation within the band, the Oasis gig has been cancelled."
"It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight," Noel said in a statement then. "People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer."
But Oasis didn't become one of the biggest Brit bands in the history of rock 'n' roll because of spats and infighting. No, in order to have eight UK No 1 singles, seven UK No 1 albums, six Brit Awards, an estimated 70 million records sold worldwide, listings in the Guinness Book Of World Records 2010 for "Longest Top 10 UK Chart Run By A Group" and "Most Successful Act Of The Last Decade In The UK (1995 to 2005)", you need something special.
And Oasis did have something special: Some of the most singable, hummable, stadium anthems the world had heard since Bon Jovi's Livin' On A Prayer.
Despite the band having officially disbanded in February, when Liam and the rest formed a new band, Beady Eye, Noel returned to the studio to have one last whack at an Oasis album: A compilation called Time Flies ... 1994 to 2009.
And he spoke at length as he reminisced about what the songs meant to him.
Supersonic was the first single. Do you remember how it got started?
I can't remember what was going on but it wasn't happening in the studio for some reason and ... somebody said, "Well, what are we going to do then?" And someone suggested going in and writing (a new song). I think that's the only time that had ever happened in the 100 years we were together. And I just wrote this song and it was a kind of a stream of consciousness thing. The lyrics don't really mean anything. Apart from Elsa - she was the studio engineer's dog.
It's been said that Shakermaker shouldn't have been the second single.
Why it's the second single is a mystery to me because obviously there (were) a lot of better tracks on the album. But if I remember correctly at the time, Live Forever was going to be the third single and we needed something that was just a bridge between Supersonic and Live Forever, and I don't know why Shakermaker was chosen.
I've no recollection of writing this song - not a clue. But it's basically 12-bar blues with a load of nonsense sung over it. Someone - an American - from the record company once said to me, "Are you singing 'she clothed me'? (The actual lyric is "shake along with me"). (Which explains our) never quite making it over there!
Still, Live Forever validated Oasis' standing.
It was the one that kind of convinced everybody that we were the real deal, I think, and not just a bunch of sh*t kickers from Manchester. They used to slag me off for playing the guitar solo because it was a bit like ... Eric Clapton, which is a f***ing insult. Come on! It's better than that!
Is the Sally mentioned in Don't Look Back In Anger the Sally Cinnamon character from the Stone Roses' song?
Someone come up to me at an Ian Brown gig once a few years back and asked me (that question). She'd obviously sat down and worked this out and, you know ... I didn't want to spoil it for her so I said, "Yes, it is Sally Cinnamon" - which it's not really, you know. I wrote this song in Paris, or the bulk of it anyway. At a sound check at our first arena gig in Sheffield, and Liam come up and said, "Who's Sally?", and I was like, "I don't know, what the f*** are you talking about?"
And he said, "Is that what you're singing, 'So Sally can wait'?" And I was, like, "No it isn't, but it f***ing is now - nice one." But this song and Wonderwall have taken on a life of their own. They mean so much to people. Crazy.
Speaking of Wonderwall, that's like your biggest hit ever.
I think the working title of this was called Wishing Stone for a long time, which - if you think about it now - is nonsense.
You were saying Lyla is not specific to anybody.
Well, I went through a period towards the end of writing songs about heroines - angels and stuff like that. So, it's not about a specific person called Lyla. But it's probably about my missus. Actually her name's Sarah. So, you can hear it kind of in the background but you couldn't write that in a song because, number one, she'd want f***ing royalties. I don't know where Lyla came from. I don't know any Lyla, I've never met anybody called Lyla since, strangely enough.
Maybe she's Sally Cinnamon's cousin?
Yeah, or maybe not ... It's a good tune, though.
Is it true Stop Crying Your Heart Out was written for the England World Cup team?
I think England had been beaten by Brazil and they (showed) David Seaman crying, the big doofus, and they played this at the end credits - perfect symmetry. You couldn't have planned it any better and we didn't plan it. That's the way it panned out. It is another meandering kind of over-emotional tune though. Somebody said to me, "What do you feel about Leona Lewis covering that song?" And I said, "How do I feel about it? Only one word - in fact it's not even a word, it's more like a sound effect: It just goes f***ing 'kerching'! Thank you very much. Transcript from Sony Music
Time Flies ... 1994 to 2009 is out in stores now.
via L4e / todayonline.com
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