Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
Background information
Birth name Noel Thomas David Gallagher
Born 29 May 1967 (1967-05-29) (age 44)
Manchester, England
Genres Rock, Britpop, alternative rock, psychedelic rock
Occupations Musician, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, vocals, bass guitar, drums, keyboards, sitar, melodica, mellotron, piano, violin, banjo
Years active 1991–present
Labels Creation, Big Brother, Epic, Sour Mash
Associated acts Oasis, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, The Rain, Tailgunner, Smokin' Mojo Filters, Inspiral Carpets
Notable instruments
Epiphone Supernova Signature Model
Gibson ES-355
Epiphone Riviera
Epiphone Sheraton
Gibson Les Paul
Gibson J-200
Fender Telecaster
Gibson Trini Lopez
Epiphone Les Paul

Noel Thomas David Gallagher (born 29 May 1967) is an English musician and singer-songwriter, formerly the lead guitarist, backing vocalist and principal songwriter of the English rock band Oasis. He is currently fronting his solo project, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds.

Raised in Burnage, Manchester with his brother Liam, Noel Gallagher began learning guitar at the age of thirteen. After a series of odd jobs in construction, he worked for local Manchester band Inspiral Carpets as a roadie and technician in 1988. Whilst touring with them, he learned that Liam had formed a band of his own, known as The Rain, which eventually took on the name Oasis. After Gallagher returned to England, he was invited by his brother to join Oasis as songwriter and guitarist.

Oasis' debut album, Definitely Maybe (1994), marked the beginning of the band's rise to fame as head of the Britpop movement. Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, reached the top of the album charts in many countries and their third studio album, Be Here Now, became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history. Britpop eventually declined in popularity and Oasis' next two albums failed to revive it. However, the band's final two albums, Don't Believe the Truth (2005) and Dig Out Your Soul (2008), were hailed as its best efforts in over a decade and found renewed success. On 28 August 2009, following an altercation with Liam prior to a gig in Paris, Gallagher announced his departure from Oasis and on 23 October 2009, he confirmed he would embark on a solo career.[1]

Gallager's run with Oasis was marked by turbulence, especially during the peak of Britpop, during which he was involved in several disputes with Liam, and the brothers' fights and wild lifestyles regularly made headlines in British tabloid newspapers. Gallagher (along with Oasis) also shared a personal rivalry with fellow Britpop band Blur. However, Gallagher was often regarded as the spear-head of the Britpop movement, and at one point of time, NME termed a number of Britpop bands (including Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as "Noelrock", citing Gallagher's influence on their success.[2] Many have praised Gallagher's songwriting, with George Martin claiming Noel to be 'the finest songwriter of his generation'.[3]

Contents

Childhood and early life

Noel Gallagher was born in Longsight, Manchester, to Irish parents Peggy and Thomas Gallagher. He was the couple's second child, after the birth of Paul Gallagher. Soon after the birth of younger brother Liam in 1972, the Gallaghers moved to Ashburn Avenue in the Manchester suburb of Burnage.[4] Noel had an unhappy childhood. He and his brothers were often beaten by his alcoholic father,[5] and he was often reclusive—Liam described him as "the weirdo in the family". Due to their unease around their father, Noel and Paul both developed stammers.[4] As the oldest child, Paul was given a room to himself, and Noel was forced to share with Liam.[5]

Peggy Gallagher acquired a legal notice of separation from her husband in 1976. Six years later she finally left him, taking the three boys with her.[4] As teenagers the Gallagher brothers—especially Noel—were regular truants, often getting in trouble with the police. When his mother took a job working in the school canteen, Noel ensured that he stopped by to visit her during lunch before skipping the rest of the day.[6] He was expelled from school at the age of 15 for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher.[7] He used to hang around with the football hooligan firms Maine Line Crew, Under-5s and Young Guvnors in the 1980s,[8] and at the age of thirteen, Noel received six months' probation for robbing a corner shop.[5] It was during this period of probation, with little else to do, that Noel first began to teach himself to play a guitar his father had left him, imitating his favourite songs from the radio. Noel was particularly inspired by the debut of The Smiths on Top of the Pops in 1983, performing their single "This Charming Man". He later reflected, "From that day on ... I wanted to be [Smiths guitarist] Johnny Marr."[9]

As teenagers the Gallagher brothers maintained limited contact with their father in order to secure jobs in construction. However, the relationship between father and sons continued to be tempestuous; Noel said, "Because we were always arguing we'd still be working at nine o'clock every night".[6] Having left his father's building company, he took a job at another building firm sub-contracted to British Gas. There he sustained an injury when a heavy cap from a steel gas pipe landed on his right foot. Following a period of recuperation, Noel was offered a less physically demanding role in the company's storehouse, freeing up time in which to practice guitar and write songs. He claimed to have written at least three of the songs on Definitely Maybe in this storehouse (including "Live Forever" and "Columbia"). He later called the storehouse "The Hit Hut" and claimed the walls were painted gold[10] Much of the late 1980s found Noel unemployed and living in a bedsit, occupying his time with recreational drug use, songwriting and guitar playing. He is left handed, but plays right handed.[11]

In May 1988, Noel met guitarist Graham Lambert of Inspiral Carpets during a Stone Roses show. The two struck up an acquaintanceship and Noel became a regular at Inspiral Carpets shows. When he heard singer Steve Holt was leaving the band, Noel auditioned to be the new vocalist.[12] He was rejected, but became part of their road crew for two years. Singer Tom Hingley said Gallagher owes his own career to the band, since "his business sense, work ethic, message and humour are Inspiral down to the core."[13] Noel struck up a friendship with monitor engineer Mark Coyle over their love of the Beatles, and the pair spent sound-checks dissecting the group's songs.[14]

Career with Oasis

Joining the band

In 1991, Noel returned from an American tour with the Inspiral Carpets to find that his brother Liam had become a singer with a local band called "The Rain". Noel attended one of their concerts at Manchester's Boardwalk, but was unimpressed by the group's act. After rejecting an offer from Liam to be the band's manager,[15] he agreed to join the band, on the condition that he take creative control of the group and become its sole songwriter. According to another source, Noel Gallagher told Liam and the rest of the group after having heard them play for the first time: "Let me write your songs and I'll take you to superstardom, or else you'll rot here in Manchester". His control over the band in its early years earned him the nickname "The Chief".[16]

In May 1993, the band heard that a record executive from Creation Records would be scouting for talent at King Tut's in Glasgow. Together, they found the money to hire a van and make the six-hour journey. When they arrived, they were refused entry to the club because no one notified the venue that Oasis had been added to the bill. The band eventually secured the opening slot and played a four-song set that impressed Creation founder Alan McGee.[17] McGee then took the Live Demonstration tape to Sony America and invited Oasis to meet with him a week later in London, at which point they were signed to a six-album contract. Gallagher has since claimed that he only had six songs written at the time, and has put his success in the interview down to "bullshitting".[5] However, McGee believes that when they met, Gallagher had fifty or so songs written, and merely lied about how prolific he had been following the contract.[10] Richard Ashcroft was so impressed with Oasis during the time, that he invited them to tour with his band The Verve as an opening act.[18]

Gallagher claimed to have written Oasis' first single, "Supersonic", in "the time it takes to play the song."[10] "Supersonic" was released in early 1994 and peaked at No.31 on the official UK charts. The single was later followed by Oasis' debut album Definitely Maybe, which was released in August 1994 and was a critical and commercial success. It became the fastest-selling debut album in British history at the time, and entered the UK Charts at #1.[19] Despite their rapidly growing popularity, Noel briefly left Oasis in 1994 during their first American tour. The conditions were poor, and he felt the American audience—still preoccupied with grunge and metal—did not understand the band.[20] Noel stated that his early songs, especially "Live Forever", were written to refute grunge's pessimism.[21] Tensions mounted between him and Liam, culminating in a fight after a disastrous L.A. gig.[10] Having effectively decided to quit the music industry, he flew to San Francisco without telling the band, management or the crew. It was during this time that Noel wrote "Talk Tonight" as a "thank you" for the girl he stayed with, who "talked him from off the ledge". He was tracked down by Creation's Tim Abbot and during a trip by the pair to Las Vegas, Noel decided to continue with the band. He reconciled with his brother and the tour resumed in Minneapolis.[22]

Britpop and the height of fame

Gallagher followed up the debut in 1995 with Oasis' first UK No.1 single in "Some Might Say". This preceded their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, released later that year. Though it suffered initial critical apathy, the album became the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, entering the UK album charts at No.1 and peaking at No.4 on the Billboard 200 chart.[19]

The success of Oasis and his newfound fame and fortune were not lost on Gallagher, and both he and his brother became famous for their "rock and roll lifestyle". They drank heavily, abused drugs, fought fans, critics, peers, and each other, and made celebrity friends such as Ian Brown, Paul Weller, Mani, Mick Jagger, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp. Noel Gallagher spent extravagantly, buying various cars and a swimming pool, despite the fact he can neither drive,[23] nor swim.[24] He named his house in Belsize Park in London "Supernova Heights" (after the song "Champagne Supernova"), and his two cats "Benson" and "Hedges" after his favourite brand of cigarettes.[25]

Oasis went on to have greater success with their next two singles, "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" charting at No.2 and No.1 respectively; the former becoming their sole top 10 hit in the US. Originally, Noel had wanted to take lead vocals on "Wonderwall", but Liam insisted on singing it. As compensation, Noel decided he would sing lead vocals on "Don't Look Back in Anger".[26] 1995 also saw Gallagher play two songs for the charity album Help! : "Fade Away", accompanied by friend and Oasis fan Johnny Depp and Depp's then-girlfriend Kate Moss; and The Beatles' 1969 hit "Come Together", along with Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and others in a supergroup called Smokin' Mojo Filters.[27] Noel has also collaborated with the Chemical Brothers, Ian Brown, The Stands, The Prodigy and Weller, amongst others. Gallagher became so influential that a June 1996 NME article argued that "If Noel Gallagher, the most successful songwriter of his generation, champions a group, then said group are guaranteed more mainstream kudos and, quite possibly, more sales. And since Noel has taken to championing only five or six groups, then it's a powerful cabal he's promoting."[2] The NME article grouped the bands Gallagher praised, including The Boo Radleys, Ocean Colour Scene, and Cast, under the banner of "Noelrock". John Harris typified these bands, and Gallagher, of sharing "a dewy-eyed love of the 1960s, a spurning of much beyond rock's most basic ingredients, and a belief in the supremacy of 'real music'".[28]

In March 1996, Noel and Liam Gallagher met their father again when the News of the World paid him to go to their hotel during a tour. Noel left for his room, later commenting "as far as I'm concerned, I haven't got a father. He's not a father to me, y'know? I don't respect him in any way whatsoever".[5] Also in 1996, Oasis sold out two nights at Knebworth, playing to over 250,000 fans. Following the worldwide success of Morning Glory?, Be Here Now (1997) became Oasis' most eagerly anticipated album to date. As with the previous two albums, all the tracks were written by Noel. After an initial blaze of publicity, positive critical reviews, and commercial success, the album failed to live up to long-term expectations, and public goodwill towards Be Here Now was short-lived.[29] The album was ultimately regarded by many as a bloated, over-indulgent version of Oasis, which Gallagher has since blamed on the drug-addicted state and indifference of the band at the time.[30]

Gallagher began to suffer drug-induced panic attacks during this period. His depressed, paranoid state inspired the song "Gas Panic!", subsequently included on the 2000 album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Gallagher claimed to have quit using illicit drugs on 5 June 1998. He stated in 2001, "I liked drugs, I was good at them. But I'd had panic attacks for about a year and I stopped because I wanted to. After you make the decision, it is quite easy." Between 1993 and 1998, he claims, "I can hardly remember a thing."[20]

Post-Britpop years

Gallagher performing with Oasis at the Shoreline Amphitheatre on 11 September 2005

After the hype surrounding the release of Be Here Now had started to wane, critical response to the band became calmer and more considered, leading to a media backlash. In 1997, Noel was criticised for attending a high-profile and well-publicised media party at 10 Downing Street, hosted by the newly-appointed Prime Minister, Tony Blair, along with other celebrities and industry figures who had supported New Labour in the run-up to the general election. Both brother Liam and Blur's Damon Albarn declined their invitations, with Albarn commenting "Enjoy the schmooze, comrade."[31] The perception of Gallagher as someone now mixing with politicians—or, in particular, a famous photograph of him sipping champagne with Blair—conflicted with the "working class hero" status championed through songs such as "Up in the Sky".[32]

In 1999, rhythm guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs quit the band, with bassist Paul McGuigan following soon afterwards. As a result, the fourth studio album, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, was recorded by just the Gallaghers and drummer Alan White, with Noel playing all guitar parts. Gallagher commented on Bonehead's departure, "It's hardly Paul McCartney leaving the Beatles, is it?".[33] After the recording sessions were completed, Gallagher selected Gem Archer to join in place of Bonehead.

Later that year Alan McGee decided to leave Creation and sold the rest of his 51% stake in the label to Sony.[34] Gallagher took this opportunity to set up Big Brother Recordings, which took over Oasis' distribution in the UK, but Sony imprint Epic Records continues to handle the band's international distribution.[35] Around the time of the album's release, Andy Bell, formerly of Ride, joined the band as bassist. In 2001, Gallagher formed his own label, Sour Mash Records, which released records by the likes of Shack and Proud Mary. The incorporation of the label followed Gallagher's debut as a producer, working with Proud Mary on their debut, The Same Old Blues.[36]

In late 2006, Gallagher toured the UK, Europe, Japan, America and Australia in a series of acclaimed intimate semi-acoustic gigs accompanied by Gem Archer and Terry Kirkbride on percussion. The show proved successful and a further series of sets took place in 2007. March 2007 saw Gallagher perform in Moscow—the first time an Oasis member has performed in Russia.[37] Yet Gallagher dismissed claims that he was planning to embark on a solo career.[38] In early 2007, Gallagher joined the rest of Oasis to collect the "Outstanding Contribution to Music" Award at the Brit Awards 2007.[39]

Noel, along with the band recorded their seventh studio album between 2007 and the next year in Abbey Road Studios and Los Angeles, and started at the end of the summer of 2008 a tour that will last at least 12 months.

In March 2009, The Times in conjunction with iTunes released a selection of live recordings by Noel Gallagher taken from his semi-acoustic performance at the Royal Albert Hall on 27 March 2007 in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. The Dreams We Have as Children features classic and rare tracks from the Oasis canon along with several cover versions of some of Noel's favourite artists.

Departure from the band

On 28 August 2009 Noel quit Oasis after a fight with his brother, Liam Gallagher. A little before midnight on Friday he posted a statement on his message board called "Tales from the Middle of Nowhere" on the band's website announcing his departure.[40]

Post-Oasis

Solo performances

Noel's first concerts without Oasis were announced on 1 February 2010[41] to be at London's Royal Albert Hall on 25 and 26 March 2010 for Teenage Cancer Trust .[42] Noel was supported by The Courteeners and Plan B respectively.[43] Terry Kirkbride and Gem Archer joined him on-stage,[44][45] as did Jay Darlington,[46] all of whom Gallagher had previously worked with while he was still a member of Oasis. He played a mostly acoustic set,[47] and played a variety of Oasis album tracks and B-sides.[48] It was almost the same set he played at the Royal Albert Hall in 2007.[49][50][51] Noel also joined friend Paul Weller onstage in London on 21 April 2010, and played the Oasis song "Mucky Fingers" and a song he co wrote with Weller, "Echoes Round the Sun".

Returning to the studio

Noel confirmed that he would be returning to the studio in August 2010 to record drums for another unnamed artist. Paul Weller subsequently confirmed in an interview with Absolute Radio that he was the previously unnamed artist who would be using Noel's drumming services. He also denied rumours that he would be the Best Man for Russell Brand's marriage to Katy Perry.[52] In August, it was mentioned on a UK Music blog, Sourmash Music, that Noel has been working with Liverpool's own The Sand Band. Lead singer David McDonnell has been co-writing with Noel and are looking to collaborate on future solo projects together.[53]

On 24 November 2010, Miles Kane revealed that Noel sings on a track from his debut solo album entitled My Fantasy. He also revealed that he will appear on Noel's forthcoming album, playing guitar.[54]

On 10 February 2011, Noel stated he has "not even started" his first solo record, despite Liam rumouring that he 'swiped' material from the Dig Out Your Soul sessions. "I am not recording new stuff, not just yet," Noel said to Talksport. "It'll be out when it's finished I guess. Well I've not even started it, so I don't know."[55]

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds released a self-titled album on 17 October 2011; a collaboration album with Amorphous Androgynous will be released in 2012.[56] He will be on tour, debuting in Dublin on 23 October 2011. The touring band for Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds includes David McDonnell (guitar), Russell Pritchard (bass), Mikey Rowe (keyboards) and Jeremy Stacey (drums).[57] On 20 July 2011, Gallagher released a 47 second trailer of his first single "The Death of You and Me". The video for the debut single was released on 25 July at 8:21 am (GMT).[58]

Personal life

Relationships

At the age of 18, Gallagher became engaged to his then-girlfriend Diane, but they never married and eventually separated. In 1988, he moved out of his family home to live with Louise Jones, whom he described as his "soulmate" and for whom he wrote "Slide Away". They had an on-again, off-again relationship before finally separating in June 1994, with Gallagher stating, "I don’t think I’ll ever get over it."[59]

In June 1997, Gallagher married Meg Mathews in Las Vegas, Nevada. He'd met her in 1994 through her roommate, MTV presenter Rebecca de Ruvo, whom he was dating at the time and whom he left for Mathews.[60] Mathews gave birth to a daughter, Anaïs Gallagher, on 27 January 2000. Gallagher and Mathews divorced in January 2001 on grounds of his adultery with Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald. After the divorce was finalised, Gallagher claimed he had only admitted to cheating in order to speed up the divorce process and that he had never actually been unfaithful.[61]

Since his separation from Mathews, Gallagher has been in a relationship with MacDonald, whom he met at club Space on Ibiza in June 2000. He wrote "Waiting for the Rapture" about their meeting. They have two sons, Donovan Rory MacDonald Gallagher (born 22 September 2007)[62] and Sonny Patrick MacDonald Gallagher (born 1 October 2010). Gallagher and MacDonald were married on 18 June 2011 in a private ceremony at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest National Park.[63]

Other

He was a frequent guest on The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2, appearing on almost every show, leading Brand to dub him an unofficial "Co presenter". He is also a regular on the digital radio sports show, "TalkSPORT"[64] Other notable friends of his are, Mani of Primal Scream, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve – for whom he dedicated a song, "Cast No Shadow", the band members of the Chemical Brothers, -[65] Sex Pistols members John Lydon[66] and Steve Jones[67] the members of the rock band Kasabian,[68] Andy Nicholson,[69] boxer Ricky Hatton,[70] Paul McCartney,[71] Liverpool F.C footballer Jamie Carragher, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland,[72] Johnny Marr,[73] Paul Weller,[74] Ian Brown, Kelly Jones and Johnny Depp (who played slide guitar on the Oasis song Fade In-Out).[75] He was also good friends with Kate Moss who used to stay with him when she was visiting London.[76][77][78] In 2001 he was reported to have an estimated personal fortune of £25 million.[79] In 2009 The Sunday Times Rich List estimated Noel and Liam's combined personal fortune at £52 million.[80]

Gallagher is a fan of football, being a well-known supporter of Manchester City F.C.[81] He is a friend of former City midfielder Joey Barton,[82] as well as Celtic manager Neil Lennon[83] and Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero, who described Gallagher as Italy's "lucky mascot" during the 2006 FIFA World Cup,[84] and appears in the Oasis video "Lord Don't Slow Me Down".[85] Gallagher was an official ambassador for England's bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[86]

Gallagher stated in a 2006 radio interview with Russell Brand that he does not believe in God or "an all-guiding force."[87] Despite this assertion, throughout his career, many of his songs have mentioned God ("Carry Us All," "Gas Panic!," "The Hindu Times," "Little by Little," to name four), and all the tracks he had contributed to Dig Out Your Soul, as well as the other bandmates' songs, have lyrics and references to God and other biblical terms. Dig Out Your Soul has been described by Noel as a "religious Armageddon". But in recent interviews for Dig Out Your Soul regarding religion, Noel stated "See, I don't know what I am. If I was an atheist I'd just write songs about not believing in God – but I don't know what I am."[88]

In 2008 it was announced that Gallagher would sell his home in Ibiza located near fellow musician James Blunt's, saying while in Los Angeles on the Russell Brand BBC Radio 2 show that he "Can't stand living there in the knowledge that Blunt is nearby making terrible music."[89]

Gallagher along with Matt Morgan (who was co-host on The Russell Brand Show) sat in for Dermot O'Leary's Saturday show on BBC Radio 2 on 10 September 2011.

Gallagher was reportedly asked by Simon Cowell to be a judge on The X Factor after Dannii Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Cowell himself declined to participate in series 8.[90]

Songwriting and musicianship

Noel Gallagher was the primary songwriter in Oasis, and on the group's first few albums he was the sole songwriting contributor. Gallagher is often criticised for the praise he gives to his own songs. He points out "If you'd written 'Live Forever', you'd be walking to a different tune the next day too."[91] Gallagher has often been accused by critics of plagiarising the music of his heroes, but he has maintained outright homages in his music are his intention. In a 1996 Guitar World interview, he described himself as "a fan who writes songs" and stated, "I'm not saying, 'I'm the greatest songwriter in the world. Listen to me.' Usually, I'm saying, 'These are the greatest songwriters in the world. And I'm gonna put them all in this song"'. His response to critics about the topic of "blatantly pinching riffs" was, "No, I don't feel guilty. But you feel pissed off because you didn't do it first."[92]

Though naturally left-handed, Gallagher plays guitar right-handed, which he claims is the only thing he can do with his non-dominant hand.[93] Noel has said he sometimes does not understand his own lyrics, commenting in 2005 that "when I'm halfway through 'Don't Look Back in Anger' I say to myself. 'I still don't know what these words mean!'"[94]

It's been said that Noel is dyslexic, which slows down the process of his songwriting, nor can he read or write music.[95]

Changing band dynamic

Gallagher's role as chief songwriter for Oasis changed over time as he allowed a greater level of lyrical input from the other band members. Standing on the Shoulder of Giants included Oasis' first ever album track written by Liam Gallagher. Heathen Chemistry included a further three tracks by Liam (including the single "Songbird"), one by Archer and one by Andy Bell. Don't Believe the Truth featured another three tracks by Liam (though one of them, "Love Like a Bomb" was co-written with Archer), one from Archer, and two from Bell. The latter two albums have been greeted with increasing critical and commercial success in the U.K., particularly Don't Believe the Truth.[96] Yet the second single from Don't Believe the Truth, "The Importance of Being Idle" became the second Noel-sung Oasis track to top the UK charts and was named 2005's finest track by Q magazine, as well as being nominated for the NME's "Best Song of 2005" award. However, on the last Oasis albums, Noel's increasing role as lead singer, apparently to compensate for his diminished role as songwriter, caused some tension with Liam.[97]

Zak Starkey, son of former Beatles drummer Ringo Starr and previous drummer for Gallagher's heroes The Who and Johnny Marr, replaced long-time drummer Alan White during the recording sessions for Don't Believe the Truth. The loss of White prompted Gallagher to comment, in a 2005 interview, that he puts Oasis' trouble with drummers, in part, to the fact that he is himself a talented drummer, saying "I get a lot of stick for it, but I'm the best drummer in the group."[98]

Controversy

Gallagher is well known for his controversial, outspoken statements in the press; he acknowledged his tendency for faux pas in the song "My Big Mouth" on the album Be Here Now. Yet Gallagher has defended himself, saying "people think [I'm] controversial for the answers [I] give to silly questions in interviews, but ... I'm not thinking about insulting ... people; I say what I genuinely feel is in my heart. My conscience is clean, d'you know what I mean? Y'know, I'm true to myself—fuck everybody else."[99] His opinions have earned him an "elder statesman" reputation, with NME dubbing him "The wisest man in rock".[100]

Damon Albarn and Blur

The most infamous of Gallagher's controversial statements was in a 1995 interview with The Observer, where he expressed a wish for Damon Albarn and Alex James of rivals Blur to "catch AIDS and die", a comment which he quickly apologised publicly for, and stated that "AIDS is no laughing matter."[101][102] This statement was preceded by the success of (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, which led to a well-documented feud with fellow Britpop band Blur. The differing styles of the bands, coupled with their prominence within the Britpop movement, led the British media to seize upon the rivalry between the bands. Both factions played along, with the Gallaghers taunting Blur at the 1996 BRIT Awards by singing a rendition of "Parklife" when they collected their "Best British Band" award (with Liam changing the lyrics to "Shite-life").

Gallagher maintains that the rivalry was conceived by the magazine NME and members of Blur's entourage as a ploy to raise their respective profiles, and that since this point he has had no respect for either party. However, Albarn has suggested the roots of the feud were much more personal.[103] By 2007, the tension between the two had cooled, and in an NME interview, Gallagher said "I've got a lot of respect for Damon, I really do mean it. Because I'm indifferent to Damon he thinks that I think he's a cunt. Our Liam will talk to him, I won't because he's just another singer in a band to me, but I don't think he's a cunt. Good luck to him!"[104] In an interview during The Jonathan Ross Show on 22nd October 2011, Gallagher explained how he coincidently met Albarn in a night club and how they reconciled their feuds and reminisced about the music scene in the 90s.

Liam Gallagher

The Gallagher brothers famously share a turbulent relationship; one of their arguments was even released on a 1995 bootleg single entitled Wibbling Rivalry. Although in recent years their relationship had stabilised, during the band's early career there were a handful of incidents where the two have actually come to blows. In an L.A. show during their first American tour in 1994, Liam took to changing the words of the songs so that they were offensive to both Americans and Noel. A confrontation after the show which led to a chair being thrown and a brawl caused Noel to leave the tour and head for Las Vegas; Noel later claimed he had "visions of Fear and Loathing flashing in [his] eyes". During recording sessions for the second Oasis album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, the brothers had a violent fight involving a cricket bat, when Liam invited everyone from a local pub back into the studio while Noel was trying to work.[105] Noel took hold of the bat and whacked Liam over the head with it.

Noel (right) performing with Liam Gallagher at the Coors Amphitheatre, San Diego, 14 September 2005

In 1996, Noel provided lead vocals at a performance for MTV Unplugged when Liam backed out minutes before the set was due to start. Liam claimed to have been struck down with a "sore throat"; the band later found out that Liam did not like performing acoustically.[5] Noel was further angered when Liam proceeded to heckle him from the balcony and nurse his "sore throat" with beer and cigarettes while the band performed. Just before the band were about to board a plane to the United States for their crucial make-or-break US tour, Liam left the airport, claiming he had to find a house for his then-wife Patsy Kensit. He later joined the band for their last few gigs and the infamous MTV Awards performance; the remaining dates were scrapped. The band's future was daily tabloid news.

While on tour in Barcelona in 2000, Oasis were forced to cancel a gig when Alan White's arm seized up, and the band spent the night drinking instead. Liam made a derogatory comment about Noel's then-wife Meg Mathews, and attempted to cast doubt over the legitimacy of Noel's daughter Anais, causing a scuffle. Following this, Noel declared he was quitting overseas touring, but returned for an Oasis gig in Dublin on 8 July 2000. During the performance, the two brothers shook hands at the end of "Acquiesce".[106]

However, the relationship between the two brothers had become strained throughout 2009, leading eventually to a last-minute cancellation of an Oasis concert scheduled to take place on 28 August 2009 in Paris, due to an "altercation within the group."[107] Later that evening, Noel confirmed he had left Oasis as he "simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer." Through the Oasis website, Noel said "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight".[108] On 29 August, Noel expanded further on his blog, stating "the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends and comrades has become intolerable. And the lack of support and understanding from my management and band mates has left me with no other option than to get me cape and seek pastures new."[109]

Glastonbury

Noel Gallagher blasted the organizers of the 2008 Glastonbury Festival for scheduling Jay-Z as a headliner for the traditionally guitar-driven festival:

"If it ain't broke don't fix it. If you start to break it then people aren't going to go. I'm sorry, but Jay-Z? No chance. Glastonbury has a tradition of guitar music and even when they throw the odd curve ball in on a Sunday night you go 'Kylie Minogue?' I don't know about it. But I'm not having hip-hop at Glastonbury. It's wrong."[110]

Emily Eavis, the organiser of England's famed Glastonbury music festival, said she was honoured U.S. hip-hop artist Jay-Z was headlining the event saying: "He is absolutely the right act for our festival," she said. "There is no reason why we should not have the greatest living hip-hop artist on at Glastonbury."[111] Eavis also cited that Jay-Z was far from the first hip-hop artist to appear at Glastonbury. The Roots, Cypress Hill, and De La Soul had all previously performed at the Glastonbury Festival.

Jay-Z responded to this controversy saying the following:

"We don't play guitars, Noel, but hip-hop has put in its work like any other form of music. This headline show is just a natural progression. Rap music is still evolving. From Afrika Bambaataa DJ-ing in the Bronx and Run DMC going platinum, to Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince winning the first rap Grammy, I'm just next in the line. We have to respect each other's genre of music and move forward."[112]

Jay-Z opened his set at Glastonbury 2008 with a cover of Oasis' song "Wonderwall". When Gallagher was asked about the incident he replied "The way it's played itself out is that I said Jay-Z had no right to play Glastonbury, which is a crock of horseshit. I got off a plane and someone asked me about the fact that Glastonbury hadn't sold out for the first time in years, and if it was because of Jay-Z. From there it grew into this crap that I was standing on an orange crate at Speakers' Corner saying, 'Gather round, brothers and sisters. Have you heard what's happening at Glastonbury this year?' I have a certain turn of phrase. So if I say, "Chicken sandwiches in McDonald's are just plain fucking wrong," it doesn't mean I'm attacking all chickens or all sandwiches. I've hung out with Jay-Z in Tokyo. I've seen his show. It's not my bag, but it's all right. We have a mutual friend in Chris Martin. So I am a guy who doesn't like hip-hop—shock, horror. I don't dislike rappers or hip-hop or people who like it. I went to the Def Jam tour in Manchester in the '80s when rap was inspirational. Public Enemy were awesome. But it's all about status and bling now, and it doesn't say anything to me."[113] When Jay Z was asked about Gallagher's comments he said "I haven't spoken to him [Gallagher], I heard he was reaching out. I don't bear any grudge, it's all good. I just believe in good music and bad music, I've always said that. You look at any interview from the beginning of time, I've always stated that I don't believe in the lines and classifications that people put music in so they can easily define it". When asked who he would be interested in collaborating with in the future, the rapper said, "Anyone. Oasis as well – it doesn't matter to me."

Politics

Gallagher has spoken out about his political views on several occasions, most notably when he visited Tony Blair at No. 10 Downing Street in 1997. In an interview in 1997 when he was asked about why he visited Blair he replied, "I've taken a lot of flack for going to No. 10 Downing Street but the thing about that is, I never considered myself a rebel anyway. I wasn't going there representing the 'Indie community'. I wasn't representing anyone. I was going there for me. You have to understand that from when I went to school and from when I was born all we ever knew was conservative, Tory, right-wing government. What people don't mention is, they say 'He went to meet Tony Blair.' No. I went to meet the LABOUR prime minister. Our parents always drummed into us that the Labour Party was for the people and the Tory Party was not. I went to meet the Labour prime minister. Full stop."[114]

In an interview in 2007 when asked about politics he said, "I'd been unemployed all my life. It was a big deal for me when he [Tony Blair] got in. Now David Cameron is no different than our Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is no different than our David Cameron. They're all cut from the same cloth and it annoys me that the biggest political icon in the last 30 years has been Margaret Thatcher, and she's a dick. Someone who tried to destroy the working class. It freaks me out. So I don't really think there's anything left to vote for. I believe that I, as a person, can only change things once every 5 years and that's by voting, and my point is that even casting that vote means that the same guy gets in, the only difference is one has a red tie and the other has a blue one. That's all it means, so I think that I should start the Gallagher Party."[115]

He was open in his support for Barack Obama's successful bid for U.S. President, calling his acceptance speech to the 2008 Democratic National Convention "spellbinding."[116]

In 1997 he played a 5 song set at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in NYC.[117] As a result Oasis have been deemed "unsuitable" by the Chinese government, forcing a planned tour of the country in 2009 to be cancelled.[118]

He has also been very vocal about knife crime. He said to one journalist, "It all goes back to the Thatcher Years. I know it's a cliché to say it but that's where the rot set in. If you go up north to any city there are rows and rows and rows of derelict houses. They can't even afford to knock them down and build something new, and that's where it all starts, if kids haven't got anything what are they supposed to do?"

When the interviewer suggested it was for status he replied, "In my day status was about trying to be somebody, not trying to kill somebody, so how's that all changed?"[119]

Speaking out about the August 2011 riots that took place in England, Gallagher claimed that violent video games and television shows which children were being exposed to were partially to blame for social problems.

In October 2011 Gallagher told Newsnight he believes the Labour leader Ed Miliband is "utterly uninspiring and dull", and says he has no idea what he stands for.[120]

Musical equipment

Throughout his career Gallagher has used a wide range of different guitars, effect pedals and amplifers from his large collection.[121]

Guitars

Electric guitars
  • Epiphone Supernova – Gallagher's signature model combines features from Noel's most frequently used guitars over the years, including various Gibson and Epiphone semi acoustics. The most notable reference is the union jack paintjob, which echoes his custom-painted Epiphone Sheraton that he used at Maine Road in 1996. The model originally put out on the market for sale differs from the actual guitar that Gallagher uses. The line of guitars feature humbuckers and a stop-bar tailpiece, whereas Gallagher's actual guitar features mini-humbuckers and a frequensator tailpiece.
  • Epiphone Riviera – Gallagher has several in different finishes. A wine red model was Noel's main guitar for (What's The Story) Morning Glory tour and seen in the promotional videos for "Don't Look Back in Anger", "Roll with It", "Morning Glory" and "Champagne Supernova".
  • Epiphone Sheraton – Gallager owns several, one of which with the Union Jack graphics. Noel also used Sunburst and Wine Red models on the Be Here Now tour- one sunburst model even gained a Manchester City F.C. sticker on the pickguard. This guitar was used a lot during 1997–98.
  • Fender Telecaster – Gallagher uses several including one with pink paisley graphics. A white telecaster was given to Noel by Johnny Depp as a birthday present.
  • Rickenbacker 330 – Gallagher owns several including one previously owned by Paul Weller. Weller famously used this guitar when he performed Town Called Malice with his former band The Jam on Top of the Pops in 1982. It was given to Noel as a 30th Birthday Present by Weller.
  • Epiphone Les Paul – This was Gallagher's main guitar in Oasis' early days as seen in the UK promotional video for Supersonic.
  • Gibson Les Paul – Gallagher has owned several. This and the Gibson ES-355 (see below) are his main guitars for gigs. He owns a black Les Paul given to him by Johnny Marr.
  • Gibson Silver Florentine – Semi-hollow version of the Les Paul Custom. Noel's main guitar on part of the Be Here Now Tour (along with the Epiphone Sheraton). This guitar is no longer in his possession and was recently sold on eBay.
  • Gibson Firebird Non-Reverse – One of which is fitted with Bill Puplett Custom pick-ups. Used in numerous recordings including 'Morning Glory' and used on 'Top Of The Pops' for a performance of 'Rock n' Roll Star'. It's also seen in the 'Live Forever' US promotional video. This guitar was recently sold on Rockstars Guitars. Another Non-Reverse firebird with 3 stock pick-ups featured in the 'Cigarettes and Alcohol' promotional video.
  • Gibson ES-355 – Since 2002 this model has been Gallagher's main guitar for the majority of live performances.
  • Fender Jaguar – Noel is pictured using a blue Fender Jaguar in the promotional shots for the album Be Here Now. However there is no evidence that he used this guitar in the studio or live.
  • Gibson ES-345- Used in the studio and as a backup guitar on recent tours.
  • Epiphone Casino – Used by Noel on the Be Here Now Tour and in the studio. Seen in the Promotional video for Sunday Morning Call. Noel also used a casino with a natural finish (presumably a nod to John Lennon's famous 'stripped' casino), during the recording of Dig Out Your Soul. Noel can be seen using this guitar in the 'Gold and Silver and Sunshine' film from the Dig out your soul DVD.
  • Gibson Trini Lopez As seen in the promotional videos of The Hindu Times and Lyla, also used at Oasis's Glastonbury 2004 performance
  • Gibson Flying V Used for a short time around 1997–98, can be seen in the promotional video for D'You Know What I Mean?
  • Gibson ES-335 Used on the Track The Girl In The Dirty Shirt and various other studio recordings.
  • Gibson SG Gallagher isn't often seen with one, however he played a cherry red SG with a maestro tremolo at the Fuji Rock Festivalin 2009.
Acoustic guitars
  • Gallagher has two different Gibson J-200 standards that he plays as his main stage acoustics. One, used during live performances, has an Adidas sticker just above the neck joint and classic Gibson 'crown'-type fret markers. This guitar has a retrofitted soundhole single-coil pick-up.[122] Gallagher's second SJ-200 is slightly different; rather than the 'crown' fret markers, it has "M"-shaped inlays. The second instrument has a similar pick-up to the first, but is different in that it has a brown, rounded pickguard- rather than the J-200's usual floral, unusually shaped one. Perhaps most notably, this guitar was used for portions of Gallagher's solo tour, which culminated in a recorded concert in Paris on 28 November 2006.[123]
  • Gallagher also owns a wide array of vintage Gibson and Martin guitars. On "Dig Out Your Soul," for instance, he played a 1970 Martin D-28. Other acoustics known to have been employed either in the studio or on-stage are a Takamine EF-325SRC, a Takamine FD −460SC, Takamine EG 335 12-string and a Takamine NV360S.[121]:
  • In the beginning of Oasis, before Gallagher had his Gibson SJ-200s, he extensively played an Epiphone EJ-200, which can be seen in the live performance of "Talk Tonight" with Paul Weller. It's also the guitar he holds on the cover of Definitely Maybe and is seen on the cover of the Cigarettes and Alcohol single.

Effect pedals

In the early days of Oasis, Gallagher's effect setup was quite limited: he used a Boss delay pedal and a Roland Space Echo. By 2002, in contrast, his pedal board had ballooned to include a large array of stomp boxes as well as a large MIDI controller. Following is a list of all the guitar effects known to have been used from 1994 to 2009:[121]

  • Boss RV-3 and RV-5 Digital Reverb
  • Boss PN-2 Tremolo/Pan
  • SIB Echodrive
  • Boss LS-2 Line Selector
  • Analog Man King of Tone
  • Danelectro Dan-Echo
  • Boss HR-2 Harmonist
  • Boss SD-2 DUAL OverDrive
  • Crowther HotCake
  • DigiTech Whammy
  • Z.Vex Lo-Fi Loop Junky
  • Boss SL-20 Slicer [At the very end of the left side of his pedal board]

Amplification

Gallagher is well known for his changing amplification preferences. During the band's early days and the recording of its seminal album Definitely Maybe, Gallagher utilised a Marshall Valvestate 8080 solid-state combo run through an overdriven Vox AC30. When the band first appeared on television, the Vox had been replaced with a WEM Dominator 25-watt tube combo, special gold edition. By the time Oasis toured behind the album, however, the recording setup had been abandoned in favour of a 100-watt Marshall "NBs-On" JCM900 head and one or two matching 4x12 cabinets. Following the release of (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Gallagher appeared with various amplifiers. Some sources indicate that he used a pair of Orange Overdrive 120 heads with four matching 4x12 cabinets, but photographs from this period clearly show him playing through a JCM900 stack, in this tour, in 1995–1996 he uses also two Laney combo: lc30 and lc50 as we can see in the DVD "...There and Then".

From 2000 onwards, however, Gallagher's setup has remained more or less intact in that it has revolved around the entrance of the 15-watt Fender Blues Junior. At one point he ran a pair of Blues Juniors into Marshall 4x12 cabinets loaded with Celestion G-12s. Other amps to have made appearances in his rig during this period are the Clark Beaufort Combo and the Clark Tyger Combo. Also present in his quite substantial rig were a vintage Vox AC50 head, and an unidentified Orange head which could very well be another Overdrive 120. During the "Don't Believe The Truth" tour he used a Fender Bassman head and matching cabinet with the two 4x12 Marshall cabs driven by a Blues Junior and the Vox AC50 Head. By 2008, Gallagher's rig had evolved again: a single Blues Junior coupled with three 2x12 Vertical Custom Hiwatt 100 combos. At the iTunes Festival at Camden Roundhouse, the rig had changed again; Gallagher had replaced one of the 2x12 Hiwatt combos with a Hiwatt amplifier head and matching 2x12 cabinet.

Discography

Albums

Also featured on:-

High Flying Birds

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
UK IRE
2011 "The Death of You and Me" 15 35 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
"AKA... What a Life!" 20 -
"If I Had a Gun..." - -


Year Album details Peak chart positions Certifications
UK
[125]
FRA
[126]
GER
[127]
IRE
[128]
ITA
[129]
JPN
[130]
US
[131]
2011 Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
  • Released: 16 October 2011
  • Label: Sour Mash
  • Formats: LP, CD,
1 9 11 1 2 5 28

Other charted songs

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
UK
2009 "Don't Look Back in Anger"
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
101 The Dreams We
Have as Children
- Live at the Royal
Albert Hall
"Talk Tonight"
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
119
"Cast No Shadow"
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
120
"(It's Good) To Be Free"
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
121
"The Importance of Being Idle"
(Live for Teenage Cancer Trust)
141
2011 "The Good Rebel"
(Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - B-Side)
192 "The Death of You and Me"
2011 "Let the Lord Shine a Light On Me"
(Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - B-Side)
107 "AKA... What a Life!"
2011 "Everybody's on the Run"
(Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds - album track)
128 "Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds"

As featured artist

Year Single Peak chart positions Album
UK
1995 "Come Together"
(The Smokin' Mojo Filters )
19 The Help Album
1997 "Setting Sun"
(The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher)
1 Dig Your Own Hole
1998 "Temper Temper"
(Goldie featuring Noel Gallagher)
13 Saturnzreturn
1998 "Let Forever Be"
(The Chemical Brothers featuring Noel Gallagher)
9 Surrender
2004 "Keep What Ya Got"
(Ian Brown featuring Noel Gallagher)
18 Solarized

2004 Free Love, Freeway - Ricky Gervais Ft. Noel Gallagher Although credited as 'Pappa' on Guitar and 'a special guest' Backing Vocals for the 'Office Christmas Special DVD' which you can watch the video of the recording session featuring Noel & Ricky.

Other

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Further reading

  • Gallagher, Paul; Christian, Terry. Brothers, From Childhood to Oasis (Virgin Books)
  • Harris, John. Britpop!: Cool Britannia and the Spectacular Demise of English Rock. Da Capo Press, 2004. ISBN 0-306-81367-X
  • Hewitt, Paolo. Getting High: The Adventures of Oasis (Boxtree Press)
  • Mathur, Paul. Take Me There: The Story Of Oasis (Bloomsbury Publishing PLC)
  • Middles, Mick. Oasis: Round Their Way (Independent Music Press)
  • Moody, P. Oasis: Lost Inside (UFO Music Ltd)
  • Robertson, I. Oasis: What's The Story? (Blake Books)
  • Wheeler, J. Oasis: How Does It Feel? (UFO Books Ltd)
  • Williams, J. & Cook J. Oasis member attacked on stage (Canoe.ca)

External links


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