Noel Gallagher of Oasis | Interview
Oasis's Noel Gallagher loves the NFL on LSD. But he's not too hot on other bands-or his brother.
Thirteen years have passed since “Wonderwall” made Liam and Noel Gallagher the biggest sibling rock stars on the planet. Since then, the brothers have overcome internal fisticuffs, feuds with their competition, rotating band membership and five hyped “comeback” albums that inevitably bummed critics, including this year’s jammy Dig Out Your Soul. Yet each time the Mancunians play Chicago, they hit increasingly larger venues—from the Metro in 1994 to this week’s Allstate Arena gig. We phoned Noel as he prepared to blow the roof off another soccer arena in Scotland.
Time Out Chicago: You’ve had awful experiences touring North America. Are you nervous about coming here?
Noel Gallagher: Well, let’s put it this way: The last three or four times, I’ve been violently ill, I’ve been in a car crash, and I’ve had three fucking broken ribs. I do look at the itinerary and go, Hmm, what will it be this time?
TOC: In September, some kook jumped on stage and assaulted you in Toronto. I read that as you healed in the hospital, you watched a lot of American football. You’re a fan?
Noel Gallagher: Yeah, I’ve liked it for years, since I was about 17, when they were showing it in England for the first time. I watched it when I was doing acid, right, and I liked the colors and all that. It was like, What the fucking hell is all this? If you watch it on acid, it’s a very psychedelic game, like watching a mad cartoon.
TOC: Do you have a favorite team?
Noel Gallagher: If I was to pick one, the Dallas Cowboys. It’s not because I think they’re a great team. I have no concept of any of their players or anything. But I do like that one navy blue star on the white background.
TOC: I hate to tell you, but they’re the most reviled team.
Noel Gallagher: Oh, are they? Really? Well, don’t put my name fucking by them. Let’s say the New York Giants. Oh, the Chicago Bears! I remember that fellow the Fridge. I’d like to get the populist vote.
TOC: You’re big on populism. You’ve said Oasis is a “shared experience,” as opposed to bands like Radiohead that write for “headphones”?
Noel Gallagher: Well, bands like that make music for the brain. We make music for the heart.
TOC: Then how did you feel when your current tour mate Ryan Adams publicly described Dig Out Your Soul as Oasis’s equivalent of Radiohead’s brainiest, Kid A?
Noel Gallagher: I didn’t read that, but Ryan’s got a very disjointed view of the world if he thinks it sounds like Kid A. I’m not a huge fan of theirs. I find the singer’s voice annoying. I’m sure he meant it as a compliment.
TOC: He did. You seem to slag another band in every interview. Do journalists often provoke you?
Noel Gallagher: If I’m asked what I think of such and such, and I don’t think they’re amazing, I have to say how I feel. I guess writers ask me loaded questions. But give me the gun, man; I’m a good shot.
TOC: The pull quote in every Oasis interview is inevitably something like, “The Kaiser Chiefs are wankers.”
Noel Gallagher: Well, they are, though. The worst thing about them is that they’re not very good. They play dress-up and sit on top an apex of meaninglessness. They don’t mean anything to anybody apart from their fucking ugly girlfriends.
TOC: Speaking of playing dress-up, your brother is rather obsessed with the Beatles—John Lennon in particular.
Noel Gallagher: It’s quite unhealthy. He named his son Lennon, d’you know what I mean?
TOC: Lennon was quite radical, yet Oasis is into his musical side, not his political side.
Noel Gallagher: To be quite honest, John Lennon had questionable politics. There was a flip side. He was all peace and love, but he was a very violent character. I don’t give a shit about the Beatles as people. They’re no better than me as a person, but as songwriters they’re astonishing. I’m required to wear sunglasses with a cool leather jacket, play guitar and be fucking brilliant. That’s all I’m interested in.
TOC: If Oasis had never made it, what would your relationship with Liam be like?
Noel Gallagher: It might be a bit better ’cause we wouldn’t see a great deal of each other.
TOC: I hear Liam wants to move to New York and live in the Dakota building.
Noel Gallagher: Good, good, I hope he does it. New York’s loss will be our gain.
Oasis visits Allstate Arena with Ryan Adams on Friday 12.