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Wednesday, November 09, 2011
Liam Gallagher Thinks About Oasis Every Day
Liam Gallagher tells Neil McCormick about his new band - and delivers a withering verdict on Noel’s No1 album.
Liam Gallagher’s voice crackles down a bad phone line from South America. When I ask him to speak up, he snaps back: “That’s the story of my life, mate, I’m always having to go one louder.”
Fans of Spinal Tap will recognise the reference to the comical rock band whose guitar amps have dials that go all the way up to 11. It seem entirely appropriate for Gallagher, who has always had a cartoonish edge to his persona, an almost comically exaggerated intensity and aggressive confidence that helped make him Britain’s loudest, lairiest, coolest and quite possibly craziest rock star for much of the past 20 years. Two years on from the end of Oasis, the group who made him a household name, he remains on fighting form. “I speak the same talk, I walk the same walk,” he declares of his role in his new band, Beady Eye. “When I go on stage I try to eat that microphone. That’s it really. I’m not Jumping Jack Flash. I stand as still as I possibly can. I’m in a bubble, man, singing them songs, trying to blast through people’s souls, change their lives. I’m not thinking about anything except getting the message across. I don’t even know what the ----ing message is! I just wanna blast them with rock and roll.”
The problem for Liam is that the public no longer seem entirely convinced by such bellicose self-confidence. Beady Eye have been touring the world, playing theatres rather than stadiums. They return to Britain tomorrow, for a five-date tour, with some tickets still on sale. “There’s no rush to conquer the world,” Gallagher insists. “I’ve conquered it, mate. It’s all been done. I just want to make music that I like, and if people dig it, then great. As long as I’m not in a band with me brother fighting over M&Ms, that’s a success in my eyes.”
Oasis were the biggest band of the Britpop era, stadium-rocking giants who inspired a generation. At the group’s heart were the battling Gallagher brothers, Noel and Liam, the songwriter and the singer, a pair of complimentary and conflicting talents whose furious internal chemistry might have been the very definition of a unit greater than the sum of its parts.
Until the bond finally broke in Paris in 2009, after one backstage argument too many. It seemed a moment of both sadness and possibility. As even Liam acknowledges, there was a sense that Oasis had run their course. “I was absolutely devastated Oasis split up,” he admits. “But I just look at the positives now. We smashed it, man. We took it as big as we could. And hey, we inspired a lot of kids. I suppose we done what we came to do. It could have been different but the people in the band, that’s the way we are. I don’t regret having an argument with our kid, I don’t regret the break up, it had to happen.”
Younger brother Liam quickly reconvened with guitarists Gem Archer and Andy Bell, and touring drummer Chris Sharrock, this four fifths of Oasis turning into Beady Eye. Older brother Noel has taken his time concocting a solo album with a band of floating contributors dubbed High Flying Birds. But now that both sides of the schism have shown their musical hand, the public have had the opportunity to demonstrate where their allegiances lie. Beady Eye’s debut, Different Gear, Still Speeding, was declared a pleasant surprise by critics, reached number three in the UK album charts, and has sold a respectable 157,000. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds received universally glowing reviews, went straight to number one and has sold 230,000 in its first fortnight. “It’s all right,” is Liam’s rather begrudging verdict on his brother’s album. “I’m glad that people like it, man. He’s got good songs. No balls, though. No attitude. Everyone knows what Noel Gallagher can do, and it’s great, but it’s boring. I’ve heard it all before. Being number one is not all it’s cracked up to be. The Birdy Song was number one. I’d much rather be number three. You’ve got somewhere to go then.”
Liam’s affected nonchalance over his brother’s achievements is somewhat undermined by how often he brings the subject up, and the increasingly inflammatory and insulting way he talks about him, describing him in terms that cannot be repeated. You might have thought the break up of Oasis would have put an end to their squabbling, but it has continued in the media, with comments and insults going back and forth. Liam has gone as far as issuing a libel writ against his brother over remarks suggesting Liam missed the 2009 Reading festival because he was hung-over. Noel has subsequently conceded that Liam had a doctor’s note for laryngitis. But when I have the temerity to suggest to Liam that lawsuits may not be the best way to resolve family issues, he bubbles up with anger. “You think so? Telling lies to get benefits with your lot, you journalists, I’m not having it. The minute he apologised, it got ----ing dropped. And I’d do it all over again.So you be careful.”
The Gallagher brothers may be the most psychoanalysed siblings in rock history; the tragedy of their relationship is that they don’t seem interested in examining it themselves. Noel is probably least culpable, in that he tends to withdraw from conflict, yet it is not hard to detect in Liam’s rebelliousness a desire for the unforthcoming approval of his older brother. “It doesn’t bother me, mate,” Liam insists.
“We’re not the only family that’s a bit weird. I know lots of brothers and sisters that don’t get on. It’s just that ours was in a band that everyone became obsessed with.”
For all the bullish declarations that there are no regrets, both Noel and Liam speak with sadness about Oasis coming to an end. “There’s not a day goes by when I don’t think about Oasis and the music, but it wasn’t meant to be,” admits Liam, who recently suggested they could reunite for the 20-year anniversary of What’s The Story (Morning Glory) in 2015. “Who knows, man, who knows? Time is a great healer, they say. I’m certainly not putting out an olive branch. Me and our kid are still at loggerheads. I’m not desperate to be in a room with that miserable ----. Me and him would get into a scrap immediately. But I’d do it for the right reasons, for the music and for the fans. I don’t need the ----ing money.”
Arguably, both are better off apart, and, in a sense, both are creatively flourishing, albeit on a smaller scale than Oasis. Beady Eye may not quite have nailed it with their debut but there is a tangible ambition to create something worthwhile. “May be we’re just not cutting it. May be the tunes ain’t good enough to cross-over.
“So we’ve got to keep trying, got to keep taking it to the people, got to keep barking up some of the wrong trees, gotta keep making music. I’m optimistic. I know where to go next. We’re going where we would have gone with Oasis. It’s gonna get a bit grander, a bit Spectorish. I’ve got a soul man and my soul is tuned in to music and I’m going to sing songs every day of the week. That’s what I do. I’m more than motivated.”
via L4e / source: telegraph.co.uk
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