With over 70 million records sold, eight number one albums in the UK and more NME and BRIT Awards than they could even carry, Oasis was perhaps the largest, most consistently successful English rock band since the 70's. And like any great rock band, they hated each other's guts.
After 18 years of tumult, a brotherly rivalry between guitarist Noel Gallagher and trip-wire combustable Liam, amplified for the whole world to hear, the band finally called it quits in August, 2009. It came after a massive explosion of tempers in their dressing room at the V Festival in Paris, France, leading to their canceling of their set moments before they were supposed to go on stage.
Soon after, Noel posted a message on the group's site, reading, "It's with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight. People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer... Apologies to all the people who bought tickets for the shows in Paris, Konstanz and Milan."
Now, nearly two years later, at a press conference to promote his two new solo projects, including his new band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, Noel has opened up about that fateful night, detailing the argument leading up to the row, the violence involved and even admitting regret over the situation.
The fight, he said, started over fashion, not music.
"I've never had enough of Oasis. Our own relationship was never as bad as people made out, but it wasn't, we weren't like milli Vanilli... what that means, I don't know. It kind of all started to unravel, if I'm being honest, when he started his clothing label, and demanded that in the Oasis tour program, that he be allowed to advertise it, which I was against. I didn't think that it was right for him to be flogging his gear to our fans, and there was a massive row about that. And it kind of went back and forth for a bit, as I remember it, and I said alright, and if you want to advertise in the program, how much? And he couldn't get his head around that..."
Then, the ultimate incident.
"It slowly went downhill from there. The night in Paris, he didn't turn up to the V Festival gig, because he had a hangover. He claimed he had laryngitis, but whatever. There was a lot of bad press around that, and in his head, he thinks I'm some sort of f*cking puppet master who controls the media in England. So we get to Paris and he starts saying, he's reeling off journalists names, and some of you are in this room, and it's all manner of people I have never met, you f*cking tell Johnny Bowles Mustache I want to kick his f*cking head in, and I'm like I dont know what you're going on about. And Elvis Costello, and he's just f*cking off his head. And it kind of went, it was a bit like that.
And it wasn't just a verbal altercation -- fruit was involved.
"And he was quite violent. At that point there hadn't been any physical violence, but it was kind of, it was a bit like WWE Wrestling, and he was like the Macho Man Randy Savage, and he was like oh yeah and had that going on, and it's like f*cking hell. And I'll never forget, and I'm looking at Andy who is sitting there, constantly how many shoe hes got on, not saying a word, and I'm like f*cking hell you know what I mean, and Liam kindly does the f*ck you and f*ck you and f*ck you and he kind of storms out of the dressing room. And I'm glad it never ended like this. And on the way out he picked up a plum and he threw it across the dressing room and it smashed against the wall. Part of me wishes it did end like that, that would have been a great headline."
Of course, fruit was just the beginning.
"Then he kind of leaves, he goes out the dressing room, for whatever reason he went to his own dressing room and he came back with a guitar and he started wielding it like an axe and I'm not f*cking kidding. And I'm making light of it because it's kind of what I do, but it was a real unnecessary violent act, and he's swinging this guitar around, he nearly took my face off with it. And it ended up on the floor and I put it out of its misery. And then I said, well look, I mean, there were people who were in the band, looking the other way, it wasn't even a big dressing room. And I was like, you know what? I'm f*cking out of here. And at that point someone came in and said, five minutes!... I kind of got in the car and I sat there for five minutes and I just said f*ck it, I can't do it anymore."
But despite his new freedom, and the opportunity to do solo projects, Gallagher says he still regrets the way things went down -- even if he, ultimately, knew they had to be that way.
"And I regret it really, because we only had two gigs left. If I had my time again I would have gone back and done the gigs -- that gig would have been dreadful because he was out of his mind -- I would have done that gig and done the next gig and we would have all gone away and we could have probably discussed what we were going to do. We may never have split up, we may have just taken a hiatus and we could have all gone and done our things. LIam always said he would bring down armageddon in the end, thats the way he kind of likes things to be. And there you go. And it's a shame, because I was comfortable in that band. I perfected that role of that guy who just stood on the right who played the lead guitar and sang backing vocals and sang the occasional, it took me 18 years and I was brilliant at that... at the end of the day, he doesn't like me. He doesn't like me in a violent way. I don't get on with him, but he kind of takes it to a level of, for me, there's no point in being in a band with people you fight with. What's the point? Just go on to do more tours and make more f*cking money, it's just always the arguing about nonsense. I did everyone a favor when I left."
But as the brothers once so famously said...