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Liam Gallagher: America 'didn't know how to handle us'
(Liam Gallagher at MSG / photo: Paul Bachmann)
Liam Gallagher: 'Oasis did in three years what took The Beatles eight'
Liam Gallagher has again compared Oasis to The Beatles, saying that the band achieved the same level of success and impact but in a much quicker time.
The former Beady Eye frontman was interviewed in Little White Lies by Mat Whitecross, director of the new Oasis documentary Supersonic.
When Whitecross mentions how Oasis went from being signed to headlining Knebworth in just three years, Gallagher replied: "What we did in three took the Beatles eight. Good, y’know, fuckin’ rightly so. I thought we were the bollocks and I thought we’d be doing that all over the world.
"I thought America would buy it, everyone would buy it… But that my friend is cocaine for you."
When asked why Oasis didn't crack America with as much success as they did the rest of the world, Gallagher replied: "I don’t know man, they like all the razzmatazz don’t they and we weren’t given them any of that. They thought we were vaginas and they didn’t know how to handle us so it was move along boys y’know what I mean.
"But I’m fuckin’ glad about it. We could’ve gone over there and married an American actress and got a house in Malibu and started wearing biker jackets and pointy shoes and all that shit."
Watch Noel Gallagher reveal how the band’s 1997 tour was completely over the top
Speaking in a video interview for the new reissue of Be Here Now, Noel claims that the group were asked for ideas for their stage set. They were told that now they were the biggest band in the world, they needed to compete with the elaborate production seen on tours for the likes of U2.
Supersonic review – Oasis pop history lesson ignores battles The excitement of Noel and Liam Gallagher’s rapid rise to pop stardom is well captured in Mat Whitecross’s documentary, but it is disappointingly coy on the band’s decline and breakup
Here is a watchable, intimate but oddly truncated history of Oasis, directed by Mat Whitecross, who gave us the recent Madchester drama Spike Island and the excellent Ian Dury biopic Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll. Noel Gallagher is the film’s executive producer, and it should probably be entitled Oasis: The Golden Years, because it ends with the band’s colossal concert at Knebworth in 1996, almost implying they went up in a blaze of glory after that.
We don’t hear about the Cool Britannia tussle with Blur, or Noel’s strikingly explicit endorsement of Tony Blair and New Labour (“There are seven people in here who are givin’ hope to the young people of this country. Me, our kid, Guigsy, Bonehead, Alan White, Alan McGee ... and Tony Blair”); nor the long decline into acrimony after that.
This documentary uses a collage of archive material — TV clips, milky analogue home video — accompanied by off-screen narration from the main players including Noel and Liam. It’s impossible not to be excited all over again by the band’s stunningly swift success; the two brothers are naturally funny comics, and it’s like cracking open a time-capsule to hear Liam’s compellingly lovely nasal-siren voice.
As for the legendary brother-on-brother love-hate chemistry which turned to hate-hate … well, maybe the film could have been less coy about the role played by money. As the songwriter, Noel got paid more than the charismatic front man Liam. Entertaining stuff — but odd to see the years 1996-2009 airbrushed out of history.
Supersonic review: a lot of laughs in the Oasis pop history lesson
This intimate portrait of two Mancunian brothers from a council estate who changed the world will make you howl, and possibly cry
If there has ever been a quote uttered that more suitably sums up the reason Liam and Noel Gallagher let the rot set into Oasis' fairytale, it's this one.
"Noel has a lot of buttons, Liam has a lot of fingers," says a former member of the group's management team. Quite right. Nothing more needed.
Noel himself assesses the challenging sibling relationship in more animalistic terms. "I'm a cat, Liam's a dog," he says in Supersonic, the new Mat Whitecross docupic charting the band's rise and rise from their early days on a Burnage council estate to breaking records at Knebworth.
The film - out on general release on October 7 - is a carefully chosen assembly of grainy home videos, even grainier family snaps, news reports and newspapers, gig footage, and arty cartoon strips and photo negatives all recreating the memorable moments from their turbulent rise to the top.
The filmmaking challenge here is obvious. Even by the time they reach Knebworth, this is still pre-internet, pre-mobile phones, pre-affordable digital cameras. Unlike Whitecross' last docupic 'Amy', about tragic singer Amy Winehouse, footage is clearly thin on the ground.
Instead, revealing voiceovers by the key players - Noel and Liam, of course, but also mum Peggy, their bandmates Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs, Tony McCarroll, and Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan, plus long-standing crew - fill in the gaps that archive footage can't.
Those chats are are most captivating when they paint portraits of the Gallaghers that you don't expect: of Liam as a 16-year-old with no interest in music hurling abuse at kids in bands; of Noel the "loner" stuck in his bedroom or trying "not to get sacked" from his job as Inspiral Carpets road crew; or of Peggy moving her family away from the boys' father - "I left him a knife and a fork and a spoon," she says , "and I think I left him too much".
With Noel and Liam as chief narrators, the film's comic credentials are secured. They have both perfected the rock 'n' roll soundbite, and secured sufficient tour stories to keep the laughs coming throughout.
But what is interesting are the moments when Whitecross really gets into the brotherly love that unites them and drives them apart.
Be that in the studio recording (What's The Story) Morning Glory? when we discover its iconic tracks were laid down at a rate of one song a day, and committed to tape after Noel had played the song to Liam just once on acoustic guitar, and Liam had in return sung the entire lyrics just one time too.
Or, more controversially, when Liam confesses that he used a note of reconciliation from Noel to carry on partying and snort another dose of drugs.
There are curious omissions in this Oasis overview - perhaps, as the credits reveal, because of Noel's proximity to the storytelling as the movie's executive producer - when life in Oasis wandered away from being about the records. The Britpop spats, the New Labour endorsements, the pop star relationships.
Does it matter? A little. But in the end, the film's key viewers are those already worshipping at the musical church of Oasis. They know about these missing bits of narrative already.
Bookended by footage of Knebworth, the movie is really a remarkable reminder of how high kids with nothing but arrogance and ambition can aim. And of the spirit that guided Oasis, which was that you don't have to stop "just 'cos you've kissed the sky", summaries Liam.
"Give it a ****ing love bite," he quips. And that's impossibly irresistible optimism.