Big brothers are a pain in the ass, it’s their birthright. I know, I’m one. But there’s maybe nobody who relishes the role more than Noel Gallagher, who continues to assault and annoy his little brother Liam with musical and rhetorical noogies, long after the break-up of Oasis. For years in interviews he would laugh off the attention Liam got as the front man for the most 90s Brit Pop machine ever built by getting to stake a claim as its chief engineer. To borrow from their most obvious influence, Liam got to be “The Cute One” while Noel got to be “The Rich One.”
And so, true to form and on the heels of Liam’s solo debut (As You Where), Noel readies his follow up to 2015’s Chasing Yesterday with this year’s Who Built the Moon? and a trippy lead-off single/video, “Holy Mountain.” The track is a charger with big horns, a choog-a-loo rhythm, Paul Weller on organ and some BJM refugee in a poncho playing penny whistle!
Be Here Now was the 1997 follow-up to Oasis’ massive hit, (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? To say the former met with mixed reviews given the bar set by the latter is an understatement. In hindsight, everyone seemed to just be confused. Lots of people initially praised it as “bold” and “ambitious,” only to turn around and poo-poo it as “self-indulgent” and “bloated.” Noel Gallagher himself adding to the chorus. As The Chief said in Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop:
“It’s the sound of … a bunch of guys, on coke, in the studio, not giving a fuck. There’s no bass to it at all; I don’t know what happened to that…And all the songs are really long and all the lyrics are shit and for every millisecond Liam is not saying a word, there’s a fuckin’ guitar riff in there in a Wayne’s World style”.
Of course, they say hindsight is 20/20 and with 20 years of reflection, maybe we can give Be Here Now another look…another listen.
Posting on Facebook, Gallagher said, “As the years went by I’d started to accept that the songs on Be Here Now were in fact insanely long… too long! Someone (I can’t remember who) had the idea that we re-visit, re-edit the entire album for posterity’s sake.”
A total album remix? Now that’s interesting. And this might not set off the shit storm George Lucas faced when he revisited the original Star Wars trilogy. No, this was not tampering with a beloved title, but the opportunity to right some wrongs. Han will always shoot first.
Alas, “We got as far as the first track before we couldn’t be arsed anymore and gave up….it does sound fucking mega though!”
Oh well. Here then is the remix of the lead-off track, “D’you Know What I Mean,” which hilariously is only one second shorter than the original. Also, where’d those big ass NWA drums go?
Look at this picture and just imagine the comments. Imagine being a poor soul with ugly shoes who happens to pass by. The insults would be earth shattering. Mozzer, Russell Brand and Noel Gallagher all passing judgment on you in a public space? It’s just too much.
But now imagine that rhetorical arsenal put to work for good. Imagine these were the judges of a nationally televised talent show. Forget American Idol or The X Factor or America’s Got Talent…this is Fuck Off The Stage!
Act after act would come out to perform their bit and then stand there as these three loudmouths dress them down for the entertainment of millions. Mozzer’s turn-of-phrase, Noel’s Northern English verbal blunt trauma, Brand’s…Brand-ism. The horror!
And the best part would be that nobody wins…ever. The season would end with no winner, no big finale…just those three guys having pints and talking shit. THAT I would watch.
You can tell a lot about people by their choice of shoes and undergarments. In Noel Gallagher’s latest video, our star-crossed heroes bond over a shared love of suede trainers and leopard print skivvies. And, naturally, Noel drives the cab.
Noel Gallagher’s first solo effort debuted at #1 in Great Britain, moving 122,000 units in its first week. While a nice feather in Noel’s cap and a stick in the beady ey of his brother (who debuted at #3), it’s unlikely to rival the sales of Oasis’ catalog but this is a different time, isn’t it?
Speaking of…brother Liam Gallagher has said he’d be open to a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the band’s chart topper What’s the Story Morning Glory.
Liam told Rolling Stone, “In 2015, if we can put our shit aside, we can tour and play the album in its entirety for the 20th anniversary,” he says. “I’d be up for that, if it’s on our terms. There’s got to be two-way respect.”
It appears Noel still knows the songs since he played nine Oasis tunes in his live debut. Maybe the hoopla around the Stone Roses has got the old boy thinking…
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds North America Tour Dates:
November 7 & 8 @ Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
November 11 @ Philadelphia, PA @ Academy of Music
November 12 @ Boston, MA @ Wang Theatre
November 14 & 15 @ New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
November 17 & 18 @ Los Angeles, CA @ Royce Hall
November 19 @ San Francisco, CA @ Orpheum Theatre
“The world can be split into two camps: people that like Neil Young and people that don’t. And the people that don’t are fucking idiots. Mind you, I wish he’d spend more than a week making an album.”
–Noel Gallagher, Mojo Magazine, September 2011
God bless The NME. We had this idea a while back but never got around to researching it, so here are Noel Gallagher’s 50 Funniest Quotes. Not only funny but the dude was prescient on the course of indie rock. Choice cuts from the ex-Oasis man:
On ambition: “You want to sell 5,000 limited-edition red vinyl seven-inches, that’s fine. Make music for a closet full of people in Bradford somewhere … but it doesn’t mean anything to anyone. Phil Collins has got to be chased out of the charts, and Wet Wet Wet. It’s the only way to do it, man, to fucking get in there among them and stamp the fuckers out.” (The Guardian, Sept 1994)
On the death of guitar music: “They’ve been saying it for 30 years, ever since The Beatles split up, you know, that rock’n’roll’s dead. When ever there’s a boom there’s always a bit of a lull afterwards. I suppose that avant garde punk rock will come back for a while, and it will all be shit again, and then guitar music will come back.” (Total Guitar, December 1998)
On Kaiser Chiefs ‘being wankers’: “Well, they are, though. The worst thing about them is that they’re not very good. They play dress-up and sit on top of an apex of meaninglessness. They don’t mean anything to anybody apart from their fucking ugly girlfriends.” (Time Out: Chicago, December 2008)
We were parked at the Meijer gas station on Plainfield Avenue outside of Grand Rapids. Jake was gassing up the black 1976 Datsun 280Z his mother had finally let us take out and I was in the passenger seat listening to classic rock radio station WLAV’s resident hipster Steve Aldridge do the lead-in to his weekly “alternative” music slot, Clam Bake. We’d read all about them in British weekly music rags and had seen a handful of pictures, which was almost enough to sell me on the spot. They were snotty faces and shaggy hair and flared jeans and bucket hats. Aldridge paid them the proper amount of respect as the “next big thing” out of Britain and then cued up the first Stone Roses song I ever heard, “Made of Stone.”
The Stone Roses were an odd band from the beginning. Ian Brown doesn’t exactly have range, or even pitch, and his live recordings are proof of that. But on record—and without the aid of digital pitch correcting tools, thank you very much!—he exudes a sort of foreboding and danger within that somewhat fey whisper of his. When he sings “I don’t have to sell my soul, he’s already in me,” you believe it. There is something menacing about this skinny Mancunian with a slightly simian look and a Christ complex. He’s the street hustler who is underfed and over drugged with a knife in his backpack. It doesn’t take much to imagine him as the scooter boy he claimed to be in interviews and if you’ve been to the rougher parts on Manchester, England you know how raw the inhabitants can be. Their sissies will kick your ass.
We knew from reading the articles that they were obsessed with the Beatles and that guitarist John Squire was a disciple of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr, which made for two references you simply could not beat with us then. You can hear the strains of the Fabs in the backing vocals and Marr’s hand in the 12-string guitars throughout but the Roses were more than the mere sum of their collective influences. The inspirations weave and blend like the paint on their album covers, which could just as easily be dismissed as Jackson Pollack knock-offs just as some would dismiss any band who hews a little too close to their musical heroes. But the Roses took those clear references and created a new sound, and that was extremely exciting for two Anglophile Midwestern boys whose favorite bands were in the past. The Stone Roses were different…and they were ours.
Another classic interview with Noel Gallagher. This time, the chief Oasis songwriter talks to Filter Magazine about still charging for his music:
“I have to pay for the studio, I have to pay for the videos and I have to pay to go on tour, so I guess that’s only fair. And if people don’t want to buy it, if they find it on the Internet for free, good for them. I’m not like some Lars Ulrich fucking character who would have all these kids locked up. I really don’t give a shit. As long as I can keep my swimming pool and my Rolls-Royce, that’s all I’m worried about.”
And when Oasis’ newest album, Dig Out Your Soul, leaks to the Internet, which Noel coolly predicts will happen within the next six weeks—an estimated calculation that still gives some time before the commercial release date—his response? “Fucking hell, email our website and tell me how great it is.”
This is a review for Oasis fans. I’ve found over the years that it’s impossible to convince anyone of Oasis’ ability to be anything more than loudmouthed musical thieves. Never mind the fact that very traits that prompt accolades from fans and critics alike for equally derivative bands like Sloan, Spoon, and even my beloved Elliott Smith are all cited as evidence that the Gallaghers et al. are nothing more than Beatle worshipping dipshits with great hair and big amps. So, the rest of you can click away, we’re going to revel in our fandom for a bit.
Most artists (and yes I know Noel Gallagher doesn’t consider himself an artist) have periods of inspiration followed by terms of mediocrity or creative drought. Perhps the energy of having created greatness leaves them depleted and withered for a spell. Or maybe they simply got lucky with a couple great pieces and then the luck ran out? Most will tell you that Oasis peaked with 1995’s What’s the Story Morning Glory—a truer testament to Britain’s domination over pop culture in the mid-90s than flannel wearing Cobain worshippers would have you believe—and there’s an argument to be made there. But I think that argument rests mainly on the band’s position as pop culture icons, especially in Britain, and the fact that they not only beat the sophomore slump in which so many bands slog but for a brief moment made the premise seem silly. Morning Glory established the band once and for all as the dominant British lords of pop music and banished their rivals Blur to the college rock ghetto until they too rose up to hypnotize America with “Song #2,” which oddly sounded more like Nirvana than the Kinks, but I digress.