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Interview: Oasis

2009-04-08 13:05

Fast forward to 2009, and my hands are slightly sweaty. Liam Gallagher has jetted into town to play at The Coke Zero fest and I am one of the lucky few who get to meet him in person. I must admit, the first thing that comes to mind is – I hope he doesn't punch me. He walks into the press conference lobby area and hundreds of little faces drop. Liam and Noel Gallagher's presence is like royalty, and people are stuck to them like beer stains on a bar table.

He walks like a yob, a lager lout, with a confidence that says "Don't come near me, I won't bite 'cos I just couldn't be bothered." He walks in, slightly bows, shakes my hand. Hi Liam, it's nice to meet you.  "Yeah, and you" he mumbles. We sit in silence for a second, then he urges me on. Literally. “Go on then" in his thick Mancunian accent that I can barely understand.

I ask him whether he thinks he has defined the term 'indie' music, and whether in doing that Oasis have written a path in history for themselves. you know, what with most bands these days sounding like a mixture of that old school 90s Brit pop we all loved so much, way back when.

"We've written our own history," he replies, "no one else's. We don't actually pay attention to what anyone else is doing. We're a good band, you know, and we mean it, people know what they're getting with Oasis. We're not bullshitters, and I'm happy with the way we are."

Known for his utter disregard of the current scene, and die hard love for The Beatles, The Stone Roses and the like, he answers my next question about what he thinks of today's right young things diplomatically, nevertheless. "There are lots of bands out there and stuff, and I'd rather that than boybands, but I don't think anyone is making any big noise. Kasabian are a good band, Arctic Monkeys, and Pete Doherty and all that nonsense – but every one is thinking small, no one is thinking big."

I interrupt and ask him whether he thinks any of these bands will ever reach legendary status. "I don't know, I really don't know, I hope so 'cos music has got to carry on."

I feel like I'm in a time zone, the air is thick around me. Liam's matter of fact personality, and one-syllable answers are not exactly what someone looking for a meaty story wants. He seems closed, cut off, uninterested – to the point of being cold. It's the odd glimmer of a smile I get from behind his John Lennon glasses that makes me think that somewhere deep inside there is someone who worries what people think, and who cares. But it would take a lot of digging beaneath his green parka to discover that.

"My favourite Oasis song has got to be 'Live Forever'", he tells me. I ask him why. "I just like the words, and the melody, you know...." he says. I see, this is as deep as we are going to get.

"I like all the Oasis albums, I don't think we have ever put out a shit record; we might put out something less good than the classics you know. I like the new one, I guess, 'cos it is the most current in my mind."

It's no secret that Liam and his brother Noel are not exactly buddy buddies, and have been estranged for quite some time. They spend little time together and refer to each other as band members instead of family, but when I ask him about Noel I can definitely tell there is a lifetime of love here, and no matter what the tabloids say – they're not enemies. Describe your brother to me in one sentence. 

"Strange…" he smiles. "Strange!"

"What were you expecting from South Africa?"

"I don't know. You're the first South African people I've met you know. I've met no kids, and I don't even know what you people dress like. My wife is flying out soon, so we are going to spend some time in Cape Town. My dentist is from Cape Town, you know", he tells me with a smile.

Okay. You're a big football fan. Any chance of coming down to SA for the World Cup? "Nah, I guess I haven’t even thought about it. I doubt it" he replies. Fine. With The Beatles being a massive influence on Oasis, if he had one day to spend with any member of the Beatles and why, who would it be?

"It's got to be John Lennon mum. His songs are amazing, his voice is amazing, and I just reckon he would be a good laugh." 'Mum?' Actually I kinda like being called 'Mum' by Liam Gallagher. There's something oddly homely about it.

Sort of surpising for band who's well known for their loutish and brutish behaviour in the past. So I want to know about his craziest tour ever. "It was our first trip to Australia, we just got really pissed on the flight and then when we arrived we just caused loads of trouble. But I’m kind of glad those days are done now, you know. I have a drink, but I don't dabble in the other stuff, I am bored of that now, although I’m not someone to tell you not to take drugs. So, yeah, I like a drink, but we don’t do too much of that now, you know, I’m getting old now."

Old? Liam Gallagher? That's like an antithesis in terms. By now my and his attention spans are dwindling. The interview room we are in has open doors and odd people keep peeping their heads in, which leaves both me and him slightly agitated. What is the future of Oasis? "I’m keen to bang out a few albums, and carry on, music has a way of finding you, and so what, if we end up like The Rolling Stones, that's ok with me. I love it, I love what I do." 

I snap a quick shot of him, and get ushered out of the room. Liam Gallagher is one of the last real super stars. I'd really like to have a beer with him and see the real guy, the one with a family and kids, and a personality that drips with cocky confidence. Oasis – Live Forever. It definitely seems that way.

It was back in 1994 when a group of Adidas clad friends and myself discovered a band called Oasis. They sounded unlike anything we had heard, and we felt like Hippies discovering acid for the first time. This was the beginning of Brit Pop and Indie – a genre of music which would go on to become one of the most prominent in the years to come.

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