Getty Images (2) According to Noel Gallagher, there's no festival bill big…
- Posted on Mar 2nd 2011 2:00PM by Jonathan Dekel
As Liam Gallagher tells Spinner in this exclusive Q&A, he's no longer bogged down by the pressures of fronting the world's biggest band. Though his bravado and bombast hasn't faded, neither Liam Gallagher nor bandmates -- guitarists Andy Bell and Gem Archer and drummer Chris Sharrock -- are fazed by chart position, or even playing smaller venues to a new audience.
The new Liam Gallagher may be a bit softer, but he's still not afraid of anyone (especially not the bloke who tackled Noel Gallagher onstage at Toronto's V Festival) and still doesn't give a crap what you think of him. Between brash expletives and chest pounding, the rock star who famously spent most of his life singing, fighting and/or drunk even declares himself a good role model: "I've seen worse, d'know what I mean?"
When exactly did Oasis morph into Beady Eye?
Andy Bell: The band Oasis broke up in Paris about 18 months ago because Noel Gallagher left the band. Oasis is about Noel and Liam together; it's not about one of them apart. So the rest of us decided to start a new band [the same night] called Beady Eye. We didn't have a name at the beginning, we just decided that we would play together and write songs together.
Did you try to approach it differently than you did in Oasis?
AB: We each were open to ideas from the others about how our songs should be. So, for example, we'd all contribute ideas and no one felt embarrassed to say something.
Liam Gallagher: Noel had his ideas and pretty much had his way. But, y'know, it's good this way.
How does the album compare to, say, 'Definitely Maybe'?
LG: Whether it's better or people like it more than 'Definitely Maybe,' we're not interested in that. We're really proud of it. The playing, the singing, and the songs on this album are amazing. It's a top album. Now whether the songs get to people's souls like 'Definitely Maybe' did, who knows? That's not for us to say. But it seems exciting. I think that people might like it.
Does releasing this album have a similar feel to the first Oasis release -- the idea that there are no preconceived notions?
LG: Well, I think they know what's coming because everyone knows what we're about a bit more now. With Oasis, we were brand new, no one had ever seen my head or Noel. So it's a bit different because I was in Oasis for 18 years so people know what we're about, d'ya know what I mean? We're a bit more about what's now, so hopefully there will be more surprises in there.
You're releasing an album into a musical landscape vastly different from the one Oasis dominated. Does that worry you?
AB: Obviously that stuff changes all the time and it's been changing a lot faster recently. But still the big picture is you make albums. We haven't left the era of albums yet, which is a good thing. As far as singles are concerned, that's down to our label and management to see how that works. But I don't think there is such as thing as a single anymore, they're just radio tracks.
Are you saying that because your first single, 'The Roller,' didn't do as well as you'd expected?
AB: That's kind of what I was saying two minutes ago. It's all changed, you don't have singles anymore. There is no such thing as "hit singles" anymore. The last Oasis singles didn't even go Top 10 or Top 20.
LG: Let me say this: we're not sitting around crying, mate.
Was the single's failure a reality check of sorts?
LG: It was a reality check. But that's the way it is.
AB: So we decided to give up, this is the last interview, goodbye. [laughs]
LG: As far as comparing it to Oasis, let me tell you this, the f---ing record's only been released today so it could do as well as the Oasis records. But it's only been released today, so who knows where it'll go?
With Noel gone, did you feel freer creatively?
AB: The main difference [between Beady Eye and Oasis] is that Noel wasn't around in Beady Eye. He was the leader of Oasis. He had a vision of how the songs should be, he had a vision of how everything should sound and on this everyone had input, so yeah.
LG: We were pretty much free to see what happens. Throw it all out there and see what sticks.
How will you get people, especially Oasis fans, to listen with a new fresh ear?
AB: That's their problem. We're here making music, we can't change their preconceptions -- they just have to get on board or not.
LG: You don't want to make music to live in a bowl where everything's perfect. This is why I can't wait to play live, y'know. Let people know we're still s--- hot. And that's the thing, people will get the record and they might like it or not like it, but as a live band we're roaring, man.
So is the plan to just get on the road and become a touring machine for the next two years?
LG: Naw man, nothing as serious as that; it's not like what we used to do in Oasis. We're gonna be over in North America in June just testing the waters. So if people like it, we'll come back and visit ya; if you don't , well, see ya later then. The plan is to go around the world, tour the album and have a good f---ing time.
You've spent a good portion of your career playing large venues and headlining festivals. Are you worried about playing in smaller venues this time around?
LG: It's gonna be amazing man, those smaller venues is where it's at. Them big venues are boring. I mean, financially it's good and all that, but we can't wait to play small venues.
You always seemed to relish the big spectacle.
LG: We're playing these venues out of choice, we're not doing it 'cause we've been told to. We're just gonna get on stage and play the tunes. No f---ing about.
Last time you you came overseas Noel was attacked onstage at the Virgin Festival in Toronto. Are you worried about returning after the incident last time?
LG: I ain't scared of no f---er, mate.
Have you returned to Toronto since then, I heard you were thinking of moving there a while ago?
LG: Yeah, I've got a house in Toronto. I was there last week. I am really fond of it. My wife's from Toronto so I'm there a lot. We've always loved Toronto. The s--- that happened with Noel isn't gonna dampen that mood. That's just one f---ing idiot, y'know what I mean?
What do you think of bands such as Kasabian who have, to a certain extent, filled the Oasis-shaped 'lad rock' void in British musical culture?
LG: Fair play. I love Kasabian, at least they're out there doing it. But there's not a lot of people out there doing it, is there? It's like in Oasis...
AB: ...is Arcade Fire from Canada?
Yeah, they're from Montreal.
AB: They're a great band.
Would you be interested in touring with the Arcade Fire?
LG: We're not touring with anyone, mate. We're doing our own thing, we're not supporting anyone.
Why have you chosen to do that?
LG: Because we wanna. We're not a support band.
Is going on the road different than it was back in the day?
LG: I mean you got to make sacrifices in life and those sacrifices are that you don't get to see your family as much, but that's f---ing life, isn't it? You gotta bring home the bacon for the missus, y'know?
Now that you have a family Liam, do you worry about being a role model?
LG: You definitely got to tone it down as you get older, less drugs and drinking. As a role model for my family or friends, I think I'm a pretty good one. I've seen worse, d'know what I mean? We look after ourselves and we mean business -- so I think we're bloody good role models.