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Noel & Liam Gallagher - Q Magazine - May 2002
Written by: Michael Odell
Photos by: Rankin
(includes questions not published in the magazine itself)

 

Sometimes - when the ex-wives and lost weekends get too much - a brother needs to let off steam. Q joins Oasis's Noel and Liam Gallagher for a heated debate. Cue: dubious marriage counselling, "that miserable dwarf" Thom Yorke and how they've just  made "the second best album" of their career. "What do you want from us?" they ask Michael Odell...

It's a wet Tuesday morning, yet the bar staff at a north London pub are bracing themselves for an imminent surge in business. The basement bar has been cleared for the proprietors ofnext door's Big Brother Records. But, as the celebrity drinkers arrive, it's clear the takings of Balcombe Street's Hobgoblin will be dented by a new sobriety, a more considered approach to what one big cheese guest will later call "getting spazzed off
me fucking tits."

"Bit early for me," declares The Chief, aka Noel Gallagher. "Me too," mumbles Liam Gallagher. "Just two teas should do it."

In moments, the younger Gallagher will use centrifugal force to keep the hot beverages in their cups as he gibbon-walks to Q's table. And with charming brotherly accord, Noel will lend Liam change with which to ransack the fag machine. Noel Gallagher, sitting bolt upright in blue canvas jacket and pudding bowl haircut with a Dickie Davis-style grey flourish now emerging, is affability itself. On his wedding finger a Claddagh ring set with a gobstopper-sized ruby hints at the rewards of 36 million albums sold. But there's something else too, a physical postscript to the old life perhaps. Yes, there it is again: the constant, involuntary quiver in his hands, as though a steady voltage were passing through them.

Liam, slouched in flared pocket-less j eans, a red T-shirt, jacket and Burberry scarf, offers a feral stare from behind his tinted shades. Over the next two hours he will be surly (he asks if Q's bicycle helmet is "for when it all kicks off"), friendly, funny and occasionally subversive (he hails passing bar staff to order "a hammock").

He will also swear a lot and test libel laws to their limit. All the while his older brother will either laugh out loud, slump head-in-hands onto the table, or sometimes forget his newly cultivated sensible demeanour and join in. It's over two years since the release of their last album, Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants: original band members, guitarist Paul "Bonehead" Arthurs and bassist Paul McGuigan, are long gone - replacements Gem Archer and Andy Bell (formerly of Heavy Stereo and Ride/Hurricane #1 respectively) are no longer new boys. Both Gallagher marriages have collapsed - Noel's to London party promoter Meg Mathews; Liam's to actress Patsy Kensit - and, at one point, their own sibling bust-ups threatened to bring the Oasis saga to an ignominious end. Noel has moved from the city to the country and back again, from drugs to bookish abstemiousness (reading material inspired by Bono). Even the recording of the new album, Heathen Chemistry (titular inspiration: a T-shirt Noel bought in a secondhand shop near his Ibiza home bearing the slogan "The Society Of Heathen Chemists") has been shrouded in controversy. The single, The Hindu Times, was ready in October 2001, then pulled because "it wasn't good enough". All this despite big changes in band dynamics. Liam Gallagher has written three tracks for the new record, while Gem Archer penned Hung In A Bad Place. This is Oasis Mk II.

"A jet," says Noel Gallagher. "With four engines instead of one." So far, Heathen Chemistry has only been tested on select Brit-rock peers. According to the Gallaghers, Paul Weller has pronounced it "rockin"'. A few nights ago, Liam took a tape to the home of Travis guitarist Andy Dunlop, where he "nailed his fucking ear to the speaker and made him and Dougie [Payne, Travis bassistl listen to it from 10pm 'til 5am." They thought it was "good". Hardly surprising since the younger Gallagher opted against strict rules of impartiality, warning them he "would drag'em outside and run them over" if they didn't like it.



According to you, Be Here Now was the work of "two gobshites with a bag of charlie",Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants was "a false start". Is Heathen Chemistry goingto tell us what's really being going on?
Noel: Apart from She Is Love there's nothing on this album that's personal. I wouldn't like anyone to listen to this and flatter themselves that I've written a song about them. She Is Love is about waking up on a sunny Sunday morning and the woman you love saying, Do you want a cup of tea? That song is about being 30-odd years of age and thinking that life is good and my missus is cool. With her, there's no hassle. There's no, You have to be like this or where were you 'til
5am? None of that fucking shit.
Liam: I'm the singer and the only personal lyrics of his I'm singing is I've got a 12-inch cock, d'ya want some? I don't mind singing that. I've got to be able to put my own emotions into it or else I won't touch it.

What about the lyrics to Force Of Nature? "You're smoking all my stash/You're burningall mycash/ It's all overtown/The sun's going down/On your easy life." That sounds like a dig at Meg Mathews.
Noel: Well, you're wrong. That was left over from Standing... It was written for the film Love, Honour & Obey, for a scene where Jonny Lee Miller has nicked all the drugs. Check the date. 1998. I was happily married then.

Do you still have faith in marriage?
Liam: No such thing as happily married. If you wanna see the opposite sex sprout four heads, then exchange a couple of rings. You walk to the altar with a woman with one head and you walk back up with a fucking monster. I'd much rather live with someone and have them as a girlfriend.

Did you both have problems with commitment?
Noel: Marriage is a ridiculous concept. I hate people who say, Oh I've found my soulmate. That's bullshit. There's only one soulmate and that's the man upstairs. I don't even know why I bothered getting married in the first place - a moment of fucking weakness, as well as an amazing tax fiddle. You can save loads of money from the taxman, but you end up paying it back in spades at the other end of the marriage.
Liam: I was forced into it. No, it wasn't an arranged marriage [to Kensit] more a deranged marriage.

Were you good husbands?
Noel: I get unfairly singled out about marriage. No one asks Thom Yorke about his marriage.
Liam: She's probably a miserable bastard like him. The miserable ginger dwarf and his miserable wife. Who wants to know about them?

What's different about this set of relationships? Does it help thatyour new girlfriends, Sara [MacDonald, PR] and Nicole [
Appleton, ex All Saints singer] get on?
Liam: Yeah, we can go out together and the food goes down better. Instead of having to spit it at them saying, Shut your fucking mouth. Those two can talk to each other while we talk about football.

Liam, when did you realise that you'd found someone special?
Liam: I fancied Nicole when I first saw her, which was in France. Then, when I hung out with her I thought, You're fun. We could get pissed together. She was like a mate. Nic likes a drink, she likes the pub. My ex-missus never saw the inside of a pub in her life. She thought she was fucking Elizabeth Taylor. I'd say You coming down the pub? She'd turn her nose up and go, The pub? Pubs are shit! Well, they're great in my world. That's the diference. Nic's like a little scally bird. She doesn't walk around in fucking Gucci every fucking minute of the day... At the end of the day they all stink and fart when you're next to 'em in bed in the morning.
Noel: The difference is Nic's not a professional Oasis girlfriend.

Does it make it hard seeing each other now that there are children involved?
Liam: I don't have to deal with her. I see my son every week, I'll tell her what's going on. And I have to make sure she gets her money which pisses me off but that's life.

Noel, you and your ex-wife seemed OK when you gave up drugs in 1998. You even said you were getting to know each other again.What happened?
Noel: It was a lot of things. I don't really want to talk about whether it was me coining off drugs or not. But for the record I got divorced cos it was the right thing for me then and it is now. There's no big fucking sinister conspiracy. I'm not getting into a slagging match. I don't hate anybody. I haven't got any bad blood towards my ex. I am not turning into fucking Robbie Williams, OK? I've had a great life. Really I have. I'm grateful. It's just it got to the point when there was nothing more for me to say to her, nothing more for her to say to me, so I said, I'm off. We only speak when it's to do with Anais [their two-year-old daughter]. That's it. Other than that, it's gone.

You haven't performed Wonderwall, the song you wrote about Meg, for awhile...
Noel: Do you know what? We could never get it right anyway. It was either too slow or too fast. Now we play the record at the end of gigs. But we're not not performing it cos it's about my ex.

So is your relationship as brothers better now?
Liam: We had to touch the bottom for it to get better. It had to be fucking totally shit first. Plus, we had to give you lot something to write about or you'd be stuck with Travis and Coldplay and people who want a long prosperous career by being nice. That ain't real. Fighting and arguing and fucking people off is real.
Noel: I can handle Liam now cos I'm more tolerant. I used to think, I'm the boss, so fuck off. Also, I do really mean it when I say he'll be the best songwriter in this country in five years time. People thought I was being ironic. I wasn't, his new songs are great.
Liam: I'll be the best songwriter in the fucking world, never mind the country.

But didn't you think Oasis MkI with Bonehead and Paul McGuigan -Tony McCarroll even-were the greatest band ever, at the beginning?
Noel: No.
Liam: No. This is the band now.

Have you spoken to any of them?
Liam: I've had a couple of pissed-up calls from Bonehead at three in the morning, which is fine.
Noel: I haven't exchanged a single word with him. I think it's a conspiracy. I think Bonehead and Guigsy and McCarroll plus this cunt and the other two are going to turn round to me and say We've formed a seven-piece j azz outfit. You can fuck off

Did you sack Bonehead?
Noel: He left. I can't kick people out of this band. This is his (points to Liam] band. I was last to join. Bonehead was in the band before me. We had a row in
France because he was being a pissed idiot and acted like a child. Basically, we were trying to keep him (points to Liam again) off the booze for three months so he could sing properly.
Liam: Which I did!
Noel: OK, but Bonehead was taking the piss, waving bottles of wine in his face. We'd agreed to be clean and dry while we recorded and here's this cunt booting people's bedroom doors open at five in the morning, pouring wine on their faces while they were asleep. It came to a head cos there was an engineer working on the album and Bonehead was doing it to him. I didn't know any of this and finally this engineer says to me, "It's happening every night, he's getting on me tits." So the next night I kicked Bonehead's door down in the middle of the night, dragged him out of bed and said, "Right, how do you like it?" He got up the next day and said I was out of order. I said, "You can do that to the band, but this engineer is working for us. He's on a wage and doesn't need a cunt like you pouring beer on his head at five in the morning." So Bonehead decided to go. I think he might have thought we'd turn around and say, "Please stay!" But I said, "I'll call you a taxi. " And I haven't spoken a word to him since. And the way this band works is, once you're out, you're out.

Liam, did you regret saying you were going to play golf off of George Harrison's head after he slagged off Oasis?
Liam: Not one bit. At the time he pissed me off. He doesn't know me. And when the time comes, I'll go upstairs and have a word with him. But it doesn't detract from the fact he was one of the best songwriters in the world and I love his music dearly. He's a fucking geezer.
Noel: I met him at a Bonfire Night party in Henley once. This long-haired geezer in a denim jacket sat down next to me with two cans of Heineken and said, "Do you wanna beer?" I turn round and it's George Harrison. We chatted about guitars for half an hour. He was charming as fuck and then he gets up and says, "Nice talking to you, gotta go."
Liam: I had a dream about him last night as it goes...
Noel: What happened?
Liam: I was playing golf off his fucking head!


Two days later Q's nostrils flare with the tang of horse shit. Deep in rural Buckinghamshire, signs at every farm track offer fresh eggs orpotatoes. But at Huckingdon Farm livestock have long been shooed into the embrace of rotating knives and the yokels moved on. In their place the farmyard is strewn with upscale cars: here a Porsche, there a Mercedes. In the converted barn, the local produce is, in the words of Q's host, "cock-swinging rock'n'roll". Oasis have leased Huckingdon Farm for the past six months. While the place is owned by Alvin Lee, once guitarist with chootling'70s rockers Ten Years After, Oasis think of it as "home". "I fucking love this gaff," observes Liam Gallagher. "You've got London down the road but here you don't get mithered, you don't get in scrapes." Fortunately for him the nearest fight is only commuting distance away. Last week the Gallagher dukes were reportedly raised after he drunkenly approached ex-Spandau Ballet singer Tony Hadley at a Travis aftershow party in London, and serenaded him with, "You're too shy-yyy!/Hush hush, aye-do-aye!" (Liam: "Yeah, I know it was the wrong song! ") Last night he was involved in a scrap at The Met Bar in
London. After beers with Nicole Appleton and an "exchange of words" with the bouncers, today's papers feature paparazzi shots of Gallagher's badly tousled feathercut and eagerly windmilling fists. He's not been to sleep since the incident. Even so he jauntily administers a hangover therapy to himself- cola in a brandy glass - and mouths surreal bonkersness.

"I'm not having it anymore, they're not having it, I'm not even having meselfl" Later, though, through highly flammable breath, he says rather forlornly: "People make a big deal of fighting." "Let me show you round," offers an upbeat Noel Gallagher who has been awake since 5am with Anais, making the most of his weekly custody. "I want you to get the vibe of this place." He leads us to the mixing room which is lined with the original posters for the '69 Isle Of Wight festival, Swinging London and The Who - all of which Gallagher bought for 60,000 at Sothebys.
"Sounds a lot, but some American geezer offered me 150,000 for them," he says proudly. There are yellow submarines glued to the wall, a Never Mind The Bollocks wall clock. On a shelf, a joke-shop Gallagher wig takes pride of place. "You can get Stones or Beatles wigs too, but ours are the most expensive," beams Liam. Pieces of recording paraphernalia are cryptically name tagged "Mr Gallagher?" On the mixing desk sits The Guardian, the Mirror and, bafflingly, Crochet Monthly, featuring hot granny knitwear for the coming season.


Is Oasis Mk I I really a democratic band? For example, did Gem and Andy tell you when your stuff was no good?
Liam: What do you think? 'Course they fucking wouldn't.
Noel: I don't think they would join the band and say, "I'll join for a bit but I don't like all the stuff you do." By Liam saying that it don't mean they haven't got opinions.
Liam: I don't feel as though we're that much of a real band at the moment. We're getting there.
Noel: We're all writing and if one ofus has something and they truly believe in it then we'll work on it. But they have to come with the song, the arrangement and they have to produce it. Don't look to me for inspiration.

Who has the final say?
Liam: Noel does.
Noel: The old mongrel always gets his nose in the bowl first. That's the way it works. The little poncey poodles have to wait 'til he's finished.

Liam, in your new song Better Man, the lyrics: "I wanna love you/Wanna be a better man/Don't wanna hurt you/just wanna see what's in your hands,' are striking. Have you changed your lifestyle and outlook?
Liam: I'm still a crackhead... No, after a couple of kids I've changed. For the first three albums I didn't want to write songs. I wanted to sing and get off my tits and get up everyone's noses and piss people off- and I've done that. I'm 30 in September. I don't want my kids to see their pissed up madhead dad down the pub. I've got responsibilities, but occasionally I wanna rock with the best of them.

Have you given up drugs?
Liam: No. I've calmed down a bit. I don't do them every day and night. And I don't do them around people who aren't interested. The days I do them I wake up and look in the nurror and think, You dick! It fucks up my routine which is: Get up at
7am, bed at 10pm. If I'm still shit-faced when I come round at 10 in the morning I think, You twat!

Noel,you say Alan White has never taken drugs, and Gem and Andy are clean. Do you ever feel the need to spread the word to Liam?
Noel: Don't need to. We don't have family discussions about anything. I stopped doing drugs and people slowly noticed-there was no big meeting. We're not a bunch of Christians. I didn't start dressing in orange net curtains and shaving my head and banging a tambourine. I stopped because doing coke with seven other geezers on a tour bus over several months is bad for the soul. You say things you don't mean and some of the things you say are so outrageous you can never take them back.
Liam: I did a few lines Saturday night. I put a rocket up everyone. Shooting my big gob off: I've got a lot of making up to do.

The jury is out on America. You sold 6 million albums there but have you really cracked it?
Liam: "Listen, I went to America I had a good time. But if I don't like something, I'm on the fucking plane. We're not U2. With them cunts, it's all about money. We're not money orientated. Some cunt fucks me off, I'm going home. Member of my family's dying, I go home. At the end of the day it's only music. And I don't do fucking American tours so some fat yank cunt can make a load of money and I get a few quid in my back pocket. Sorry. And if you won't have me back next time, then go and suck your cock!
Noel: "We were top five and we went home. Careerists would have stayed. But we were fucked. We should have had a year off."
Liam: "You should always have a year off. Even when you're already having a year off, you should have a year off. Two years off, you cunt."

Liam, intensive comparative study of the photo files and tabloids suggests your behaviour gets worse, the more hairy you are. True?
Liam: "I like that. That's the best bit of myth I've heard for ages. I'm getting it cut."
Noel: "It's the ale not the fucking hair. You've done the wrong study."

Noel, at the Wembley Stadium shows [in 2000] Liam blew the gigand the live telecast to 70 million people by telling everyone in a drunken tirade that Patsy had walked out and left him "with a tea bag". Did that feel like the end?
Noal: That was my own personal nightmare. That'll stay with me for a long time.
Liam: I'd had a shitty year. Just come off a tour. Missus had left. I ain't fucking Superman. I came home,
she's fucked off and left me with a tea bag. I went on the piss. End of story. I was only half as pissed as half the people in the crowd.

But people paid good money to see you...
Liam: We're not U2, INXS or Simple Minds! Those cunts are so in it for the money they'll carry on whatever. With me, if I've got something better do, something more important, I'm fucking doing it. If you want your money back I'll personally give it you back.
Noel: Can I just say, for legal reasons, there will be no refunds.

Talk about the Oasis near-split and the rumoured Noel solo album.
Noel: "It was like you have an argument with your girlfriend and you kick her out the fucking house and say, Fuck off, I don't wanna speak to you. And then you say sorry. I threatened to do a solo album in the press just to wind him up. And he bought it. He was so fucking pissed all the time he'd ring up saying, What's this about fucking going solo? But we didn't come close, because if Liam went to prison and everyone else died in a plane crash I can't think of 5 other blokes I want to be in a band with. And believe me, I know lots of people in bands."

So how close did you come to splitting?
Noel: We didn't. We sat down and I said, "Listen, I love you and you love me, what's the most important thing? One: the music. Two: the singer. Three: the cunt who writes the songs." So we got rid of the fucking entourage of 450 cunts hanging around us, he cut down on his drinking and wrote some fantastic songs, we got working with two great musicians and here we are.

Who's the competition these days?
Noel: All the new bands like The Strokes and Travis and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - we were doing all that when they were at school. Writing guitar pop anthem music. Nobody's doing anything in this country which makes me go, "Ooooh, that's new!"

What about Will Young and that Pop Idol crowd?
Noel: I just want to know what were those fuckers hoping to achieve out of this? What was that twat Dr Fox and those other cunts doing? Did they really think they'd find the new Elvis? They've made a mockery of singing, of selling a million records. Will Young's in the Guinness Book Of Records for fuck's sake! But so what? So is a bloke who jumps off the Eiffel Tower and lands in a fucking tea cup. Did he write Strawberry Fields Forever? No, so fuck off, you fuck.

Did you sue Hear'Say because Pure And Simple sounded like All Around The World?
Noel: The Sun's Dominic Mohan rang and said it sounds like All Around The World and then went on to engineer a campaign that we would sue them. Come on mate, us? Are we really gonna sue a band for making a record that sounds like someone else's?! I don't think so.

Did you like the last Travis album?
Noel: (Smiles broadly) I like Travis.

Come on, did you like the last Travis album?
Noel: They're fucking really nice guys...
Liam: I liked it. Nothing blew me away. But listen, ifyou like The Beatles, Sex Pistols, Pink Floyd or Neil Young- that's it. You're away. You don't need to listen to anything else ever.
Noel: I honestly believe not one British band has made an album better than Definitely Maybe.

Radiohead aren't bad though, are they?
Noel: No! Radiohead don't want anyone else involved in that little thing they've got going on. Their thing is: Don't look at us. Don't photo us. Don't interview us. In fact, don't listen to our music. Where does it end? It ends with Thom Yorke saying I've written the most fantastic piece of classical music ever but the only way you can hear it is by jamming a jack plug into my ear.
Liam: They're a band of Morris dancers.
Noel: They seem so pissed off being in a band. That doesn't inspire kids to pick up guitars. They're moaning about the marketing, the videos. If I was 15 I'd think, I'll get a job down the car wash. Whereas us, we love it. It's the best job in the world. Granted, some of the stuff on Amnesiac is brilliant. The Bends is the bollocks. Karma Police is mega. But they don't want people like me to like their music so they can go and fuck themselves.

You don't play much from Be Here Now or Standing... live these days. Why?
Noel: I never felt we had anything strong enough to put the past to bed. This time, don't come to the gigs expecting to hear anything from ...Morning Glory or Definitely Maybe. Well, maybe a couple -but the seven songs we're doing off this album piss all over anything we've done for four or five years . ...Morning Glory cast such a shadow over us. That's gone now. We've got proper musicians. He's singing better than ever. The pressure's not just on me.

You made somevery lukewarm comments about the last album before it was released.You say the new album is the "second best" album ever. Why?
Noel: It's my prerogative.
Liam: I love the last album. He always does everything down. People who buy our records are big enough to make up their minds.
Noel: If you've written Live Forever, Rock'N'Roll Star, Some Might Say, Champagne Supernova, Cast No Shadow, The Masterplan and someone says to you, "What's the new stuff like?" I won't lie. Half the stuff on Standing... doesn't even stand up to the old stuff. Same with Be Here Now. Compared to the first album. If people want it, great, go and buy it. It's under "O" next to the fucking Osmonds. But my personal opinion - because I'm not a bullshitter-is the new album is the second best album we've ever made.
Liam: I thought Be Here Now kicked arse and . . . Morning Glory was a bag of shite.
Noel: No,... Morning Glory was grossly over-rated and Be Here Now I find grossly offensive. I listened to it about six months ago and I had a pillow over my ears. I won't bullshit you, we'd fucked everything up by then and we blew it.

About the new album, Heathen Chemistry
Noel: "The songs are more instant this time. Standing On The Shoulders was a wee bit of a false start. This is better, because in the past Id write six or seven really good songs and then the rest I'd use little bits that weren't really finished. This time we had 18 songs, because Liam wrote five and we chose the three best. Gem wrote one. Everyone's best is getting used. I can afford to let my shit ones get binned off."

Liam explains Song Bird, from the new album
Liam: "I wrote it in France under a tree while we were doing Standing On The Shoulders. It's about a bird who sings. Took ten minutes. Only two chords. Not much going on. What's it about? What do you think it's fucking about? It's about me playing me fuckin guitar..."
(Later, it transpires Liam doesn't play guitar. He hummed the melody to Andy who played back the chords.)
Noel: "It's not important what it's about, it's about but what it evokes. It's like who's Dr Robert... Who's Dr Robert? Who cares? It limits the possibilities to the listener."

The album title Heathen Chemistry
Noel: "We had to have a row about it first. Liam thought it was too religious."
Liam: "I thought it was spelt H-e-a-v-a-n Chemistry and he was getting all religious and I wasn't fucking having it."
Noel: "It comes from a t shirt I bought in Ibiza. Wish I'd thought of it myself. I've got a photographic memory and stuff I see stays with me. That's how I got The Hindu Times and Standing On The Shoulder Of Giants, which is nearly what it says on the side of the two pound coin. I fucked it up a bit, cos I wrote it down when I was pissed."

Do you need this new album to be successful?
Noel: "If this album sells 200 copies and Sony say, Fuck off, then we'll make another one. It's in our bones. We're not careerists. I don't care if we don't get played on Radio KYLCQD Butt Fuck in Ohio or Radio One."

But presumably you're so wealthy now it doesn't matter financially? Does having money jade creativity?
Liam: "It's nice to have a couple of quid in your back pocket"
Noel: "I don't throw it around. I've got my daughter to think about."
Liam: "I wouldn't want to be in that bracket of having 100 million. People say I've got 15 million and I can tell you right now, I've never seen 15 million quid. And I'd hate to walk down the street knowing I've got 20 million in the bank and it's never gonna change. It's not good for you. You'd end up being a fucking cunt."
Noel: (whispering into Q's microphone) "He's in the Sunday Times Rich List. He's fucking minted."

Does the madness of Britpop and the Blur feud now seem distantand faintly ridiculous to you?
Liam: The Blur/Oasis thing was very silly but it was fun. I meant every word I said. They're still a bunch of goons but...
N: The thing that still pisses me off to this day is that cuntfuck said we engineered the battle with his bunch of wankers. Oasis don't need to compete with a bunch of cunts who did A-level music. They're fakers.
Liam: That Gorillaz album - fucking rubbish.
Noel: All that, "I'm happy, feeling glad/Got sunshine in a bag?... " That was beyond comedy. That cunt is like, "Is there a bandwagon passing? Park it outside my house." He'll be in a heavy metal band next year when it's fashionable. He's nothing. And it's fitting that he ended up as a cartoon. He always was a cartoon.

You're both fathers now. Are you enjoying it?
L: Love it. Really good at it. Wait 'til you see my two kids at 20, they're going to be causing chaos, man. You have to dig deep. You have to teach them things you never learnt yourself I'm always saying, Fucking get out of there! And then I tell myself, Why can't you talk to yourself like this from time to time? That would keep me out of scrapes.
Noel: The day Anais turns round to me and says, Drugs is like having a cup of tea in the morning, I'll have to deal with it. What will I do? Lock her in her room for six months? No. You say Life is like this. You make your choices. And love them. That's all you can do.

Will you have anymore children?
Liam: No, it's my cock and I'm in charge. Nic probably wants some but I've got two and... I want to concentrate on what I've got for now. [At this point Nicole Appleton rings on Liam Gallagher's mobile. He greets her thus: "Listen, are you pregnant?"]
Noel: Who knows? If it happens, it happens.
Liam: I'm not a fucking baby machine, though we're mega at it. She might want some and who knows?
Five years down the line maybe, but deffo not at the moment.

Noel, are you planning to educate Anais privately?
Noel: I don't wanna be a tight cunt. She'll have the best education money can buy. I don't want her turning round at 16 and saying, Oi you cunt, I've just read the press cuttings. You're minted! Why did you send me to a comprehensive in Lambeth, you tight bastard? I want her to be Prime Minister. And you have to go to a posh school for that.

You've made it clear you're unimpressed with the current state of rock music. Is the new album going to shake things up?
Noel: We don't need to prove anything to anyone. At the end of the day you can go to a Radiohead show and stroke your fucking beard and watch the miserable cunt complaining, or come see us, put your arm round your best mate and have it.
Liam: What do you want, for fuck's sake? Tell me what you want from us. Progress?
Noel: Is anyone making mind-bending music anymore? We're a rock'n'roll group. We're not fucking Blur.
Liam: We're not fucking wizards. We're four blokes from Manchester who happen to be the best band in the world.

By their own admission Oasis Mk II is by no means a normal, democratic ' band. But the "old mongrel's dictatorship, which began a decade ago when he walked into a rehearsal of his brother's band, Rain, and assumed control, is over. Oasis is now more a benign junta, with Gallagher Sr still at the helm but tiring of the leader's yoke and finding himself challenged by better musicians. It means that the four tracks from Heathen Chemistry that Q is allowed to hear are infused with a powerful new spirit. Archer's Hung In A Bad Place is a lowdown dirty blues with Liam 's filthiest vocal ever. It seems hardly credible that the lovely, though slight Song Bird came from the same person who gave us the wincingly trite Little James. But there are ominous signs too. Force Of Nature, sung by Noel, is the sort of blustering pub rock dirge which they really should've grown out of by now.

But who shall guide them as they try to make it work one last time? Last year, a familiar, cassocked figure stepped out of the shadows and pointed the way. Noel Gallagher may have been "a drunk bastard" backstage at U2's Manchester show, but the beatific gaze of rock's honorary vicar Bono could not be diverted...

N: I was a bit pissed so I went up to him and said, You've made 150 million this year, but you still believe in God. How's that? He said he wouldn't explain, but he gave me a couple of books. And it boils down to you either believe or you don't. And I don't believe there's a God who says, Ifyou drink, do drugs and swear and rob houses you're not sitting on my cloud. It's all cock. It's all fanny. The amount of times I've gone out in me back garden and shouted up to the sky Come on then, fucking show me! Give me a sign!
Liam: Hit me baby one more time!
Noel: We're all heathens. Few of us practise a faith but we're after something. I'm after something. I'll say no more than that in case I start to sound like Thom Yorke.
Liam: And that, my friend, is the day this band is over.