BROTHERLY LOVE “Me and Noel can’t get on with each other,” says Liam (right). “He thinks he’s fucking God, I think I’m God — it doesn’t work.”
"It's not about getting beaten and 'See you later.' It's about getting beat, getting up, dusting yourself off, and smashing the fuck out of the next person you see in front of you."
Liam Gallagher is talking about the possible return to the ring of his good friend the boxer Ricky Hatton, but he might as well be referring to his own reaction to the spate of backhanded compliments for his first post-Oasis record. His new band, Beady Eye, whose line-up includes all remaining members of Oasis except for his brother Noel, were written off by many critics and fans long before a single note had been released.
"I'm surprised that people were surprised that we'd make good music without Noel Gallagher," he tells me, indignant, from a hotel room in Paris. "I'm surprised and a bit disappointed that people think Noel Gallagher is the brains behind everything."
Last month's release of Different Gear, Still Speeding (Beady Eye Records) marks a new era for Gallagher and former Oasis members Gem Archer, Andy Bell, and Chris Sharrock. Some critics are backpedaling from their preliminary conclusions and conceding that the album is not half bad. Diehard Oasis fans compare it favorably to the band's work in the 2000s. "I've been doing this for 18 years; Gem's been doing it longer. They know how to write music - and I certainly know how to sing. We know how to put on a gig and we know how to write a tune."
Noel's bailing on Oasis just 18 months ago - on the heels of another legendary altercation between the siblings prior to a gig in France - has done nothing to stymie Liam's musical cocktail of Kinks, early Stones, and of course, Beatles influences. Beady Eye certainly keep alive the Oasis tradition of eschewing the reinvention of the wheel in favor of throwing new rims on a road-tested rig of melodies.
"Our musical journey doesn't stop because Noel Gallagher jumped ship," Liam says. "We've got to get back on track, and I was never nervous about it, really. I loved Oasis, but to split Oasis up was out of my hands. I'd have carried on doing Oasis, but you've got to do what you got to do."
Comparisons with the 'Sis are inevitable, though by now irrelevant. After 1995's masterful (What's the Story) Morning Glory? - the second half to one of the most successful one-two album punches in pop-music history - you had to dig to find any sonic gems in the sawdust of the five albums that followed. It's no secret that Noel ran the show as songwriter, but Different Gear, Still Speeding is perhaps more consistent than any recent Oasis release, in part because Liam was invested in it from the outset. "Normally, Noel would do all the guide vocals, so I'd be listening to his voice pretty much all the way through the bloody album, and then I'd sing at the end. I think the playing would sort of go around Noel's voice, and as much as he's great and all that, he's not rock and roll, is he?"