Last week, we brought you LIAM GALLAGHER and ALAN WHITE answering your questions in the OASIS FAN-ISH INQUISITION.
This week, we promised you the other three: we lied. In the end only Noel Gallagher – songwriter, guitarist, spokesman, Chief Of Staff – and his new axe foil Gem Archer made it to part two of our fans summit with Oasis.
Rookie bassist Andy Bell is sadly absent, still sulking over some cruel ancient NME slight directed at his former group Hurricane Number1 (What was that Noel once said about Hurricane again……?).
Still, two’s a conversational crowd for Noel Gallagher anyway so we’re probably best off with just The Chief and Gem. So let’s crack on, then.
Noel, you’ve slagged off both Morning Glory and Be Here Now, what about the fans who paid for them and still think they’re brilliant? – Madferit, Plymouth
Noel: “I reserve the right to criticise my own music. When you’re writing albums, it’s your thing. But as soon as it hits the shops then it ceases to be the musician’s, it becomes the fans’ album. I can look back on it now and give a more rational point of view. If people love them, fine. I like five tracks off ‘Mornin’ Glory’, and three off ‘Be Here Now’. I think ‘Definitely Maybe’ is a great album. I do reserve the right, though, to critise my own albums because I was there when things were going down and I know how great they could’ve been”.
“In five years from now I’ll look back on this one and maybe see things wrong, I’m just being honest. I think ‘Definitely Maybe’ was great and the other two weren’t up to much as albums. When I was talking about them after they came out I thought they were the greatest gifts to rock’n’roll, obviously. You work on them for so long that you’re so pleased just to have finished the fuckers. But I don’t think much of them”.
Gem: “My theory about ‘Be Here Now’ is that it was The Phantom Menace of albums, it could never have lived up to the hype.”
Noel: “Spot on! You’re good at those analogies, you always pull ’em out. It was actually more Return Of The Jedi, but still….”
Noel, how did you feel about the George Harrison break-in, and do you get stalkers? – Jason P, Plymouth
Noel: “I get persistent fans. If you can call 13 year old girls stalkers, then yeah I get them. I used to get a few nutcases around the house in London but they’re usually after one thing: money. After the Harrison thing I did go check all the alarms, checked the bat phone and made sure that was working. You can’t let it become an all-consuming thing because if someone wants to get in, they will. We just starve the dogs now and they are extremely fucking hungry.”
NME: How many dogs have you got?
Noel: “Five. Two Doberman and the rest are just little fucking yappy things. They’d yap you to death if you came too close. One will only bark at this frequency that really gets in my earhole and pisses me right off. It’s like the dentists drill.”
Did Guigsy and Bonehead play anything on the new album? -Martha, NY NY
Noel: Erm….to be honest, Guigs didn’t, no. Bonehead’s probably there somewhere. No. I played bass on six tracks and a mate of mine who was the engineer on the session who’s a really good bass player played on four. Guigs, by his own admission, wasn’t the best bass guitarist in the world and he used to get away with it. But stuff like ‘Gas Panic’ and ‘Who Feels Love’ I couldn’t even get me head around those and I wrote them!”
“There’s bits of lead guitar on there that I haven’t played because I haven’t got a problem with passing people guitars and saying, go on then, people like Mark Coyle. It keeps everyone involved. It doesn’t fill me with pride saying they didn’t play on the album, but Guigs just wasn’t good enough.”
NME: Did you really kick Bonehead out because of his drinking?
Noel: “No. We had a word with him about….We were going to get Liam to stop drinking or we weren’t going to record the album and Liam agreed to stop while we were doing the album. Then when we got there Bonehead decided that he wasn’t going to stop. We’d said that if Liam was going to stop we should all stop because it wouldn’t be fair, and that when we got home we’d have the party but by time we got there Bonehead had forgotten that conversation. So we had a quiet word with him and he got a pissed off and then he left. But it isn’t anybody’s postion to kick anybody out of the band.”
You said that you wanted to finish the band after Knebworth, why didn’t you? – Larry K, London NW6
Noel: “Didn’t have the bottle, really. If someone – especially Liam – had backed me up and said ‘yeah, it’s the right thing to do’ then I’d have done. But they didn’t see the point. I suppose the alternatives for everybody else wasn’t much because they’re not songwriters. It would’ve been pretty naughty of me because them lot would be like ‘what the fuck are we going to do?’ Just lack of bravery.”
NME: Do you think your legacy would’ve been greater, like The Jam or something?
Noel: “Yup, totally. But you make decisions in your life, don’t you? We didn’t, we put it off and there’d be no point in finishing it now, would there? We might as well make records and do the best we can. But it would’ve been great to go out in a blaze of glory. Pour petrol over each other and set fire to ourselves like those fucking Tibetan monks. But….fuck it.”
What was the worst thing that the Inspiral Carpets made Noel do? – Tom Sykes Swindon
Noel: “When they played Reading Festival they had a pantomine dancing cow on stage and they made me swing on an udder during the encore. That was quite embarrassing. They also made me appear in one of their videos which wasn’t one of my finer moments. The worst thing they actually made me do, though, was hump flight cases up twelve flights of stairs in Manchester. But I’ve got fond memories really of it. I was saying last night that I should never have given it up. It was a good, steady #750 a week. Didn’t have to dress smart, didn’t have to do interviews. Didn’t have a care.”
Gem: “He was looking at the crew going ‘look at them, they haven’t got a care, brilliant.'”
Noel: “I love ’em. They wear the same Megadeth t-shirt everyday, eat us much as they want. They don’t give a shit. And if you want to know a good sitcom, the crewbus sitcom is the one. Sit on the crew bus in America, that is a marvellous sitcom. The sound engineer has always got the arse because he’s the singer of the crew. The lighting guy is like the lead guitarist because he’s the other creative guy. The roadies are all drummers because they just bang things together and go ‘Skol!’. All the people who put the lights up are all bassists because all they do is smoke pot all day and look at lights and go ‘(perfect Camberwell carrot Cockney accent) It’s fucking beautiful, man. See, man, you fucking missed it, man, there was a bit, right, in fucking ‘Champagne Supernova’, man, where you and Gem, right, you were weilding your axes, right, and there was this luverly, luverly like mauve thing going on at the back of your head…….Yeah….(takes deep puff on fag)….. You looked like Jesus, man.’
Which of your outspoken remarks have you most regretted making? – Len Jeannie, Hyde
Noel: “All of them, really. I regret things that I’ve said everyday. I said in an interview that the festival we play is not going to be the most important thing for us. The most important thing is going to be Wembley Stadium. They asked why do the festivals and I said ‘for the money’. ‘Course, I’m coming down here in the car and the headline on the radio is ‘Later on we’ve got Noel Gallagher explaining how he’s going to sell out his fans for cash’. But those festivals are not going to be the most important shows Oasis do this year, it’s going to be Wembley Stadium. We’re doing those festivals for Christmas presents, but it all came out as if we’re selling our fans out.”
Gem: “All the fans will go ‘he’s doing it for the cash? Geezer!’ All the journos go ‘sell-out!”
Come back tomorrow for Part Two of the NME’s Fani-Ish Inquisition with Noel and Gem where they answer more of your questions, giving forthright views on everything from clothes, Richard Ashcroft, to soap operas, plus Noel’s controversial opinions on drugs and the British Royal Family…