Noel Gallagher of Oasis

Interview with Noel Gallagher: Is There Life After Drugs? by Gabriella
The quiet life may suit some, but not Oasis. From mud fights with fellow Brit pop band Blur to notorious sling shots between the Gallagher brothers, to public announcements that drugs are a natural part of the music business, it seems sensationalism is the band’s forté. The latest in the Oasis media extravaganza is a boxing challenge delivered by Brit pop rival Robbie Williams to Liam Gallagher at this year’s British Music Awards.

With friction both in and out of the band, prior to finishing the current album,
Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, two of the original members of Oasis, rhythm guitarist Paul “Bonehead” Arthurs and bass player Paul “Guigsy” McGuigan, left the group and for legal reasons their parts were re-recorded.

    NYROCK:

Be Here Now did not achieve the level of success that the other albums garnered. Did this influence the new album in any way?

          NOEL:

Of course it does. When I listened to it again after a while I didn't like it myself. I wasn't satisfied with it, which is the most important part for me. How can I expect the audience to like it if I don't like it myself?

    NYROCK:

And the reason for your dissatisfaction with Be Here Now? You sounded quite proud of it after you finished recording.

          NOEL:

But you can't really see it if you just recorded it. You're still too caught up in it and I was in a situation where I felt really tired and burned out. I was tired and burned out and it sounded good to me. If I listen to it now, I see it in a different light. I see the weaknesses it has and I didn't see them back then. It just sounds how I felt, tired, like a band recorded it that had no past and has no future. I think that's what we were and it was time to change it.

    NYROCK:

What did you change?

          NOEL:

I took a break. I got out of it for a bit. I concentrated on the songwriting and just decided to ignore all the media hype. It wasn't easy. For some reason everything we do seems to make headlines and that can be really distracting. I had to get away and moved to the country and concentrated on my songwriting.

    NYROCK:

Just like that? Packed up and went to the country?

          NOEL:

It was something that had to be done and I did need the peace and quiet of the countryside. I grew up in Manchester. It's the third biggest city in the UK and I moved into the biggest city we have in the country. After six years I was completely fed up with it and needed to get out.

    NYROCK:

Your wife didn't mind?

          NOEL:

Oh, first she really did. She lived in London for 15 or 16 years and the idea of leaving almost frightened her. But she realized how important it was for me and so she went along. I think at first Meg thought we'd be really isolated from civilization, like being stranded somewhere, but I told her we can always move back and explained how important it was for me, for my work and for us as a couple. Now, she really likes it here and who knows, maybe we're going to move back to London in a few years.

    NYROCK:

You and Liam are both fathers now. Did it change your relationship? Do you feel closer?

          NOEL:

We pretty much lead our own lives. I don't know much about his private life and he doesn't know much about mine. I think it's healthier this way. After all, we're both adults. We see each other during rehearsals and on tours but we don't need to be around each other's necks like millstones.

    NYROCK:

It seems to be a difficult task to combine a successful musical career and a successful family life. How do you manage?

          NOEL:

I can't see myself with a huge family. I think one kid is enough for me but who knows what the future may bring. My family, my wife Meg and my friends are pretty important to me and I think it changed my life. I'm not a party animal anymore. Of course, we have to tour to support the new album but in between I want to spend as much time as possible with my family.

I changed my life. It sounds pretty corny but I kissed drugs goodbye. They were just taking out too much. I was depressed and felt weak and when I talked to a doctor about it he gave me simple but sound advice: Kick the drugs. I did and I don't really miss it. I had a great time and I had some great parties but I can't spend my whole life being a party animal and I don't want to go on for the rest of my life and behave like I'm still 21. That's kind of ridiculous. There are enough musicians who do that and it's really pathetic.

I tried to imagine my future, ten years from now, and I don't want to be some drunken geezer who's stumbling around.

    NYROCK:

Do you think the media will respect that and give you a break?

          NOEL:

I don't think so, at least not in the UK. They want their headlines and the fact that I mellowed out won't make good headlines. But there's always Liam who's kind of bored if he isn't on the cover of magazines. So maybe he'll be good for some soap operas. I'm just tired of it. I'm interested in music and leading a good life, being happy and that sounds pretty trivial for headlines.

    NYROCK:

The new album seems a lot more personal. You write about panic attacks and such....

          NOEL:

You're talking about "Gas Panic." It was inspired by my rather colorful past. I used to have panic attacks. Now I'm not really surprised, if you consider the amount of booze and drugs I took. It was some sort of therapy. I woke up drenched in sweat and grabbed my guitar and just got it all out, got it off of my chest so to speak.


March 2000

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