Time Out Rio de Janeiro

Liam Gallagher interview

The former Oasis frontman talks to Time Out ahead of his new band Beady Eye's gig at the Queremos Festival in Circo Voador

On 7 May 2009, Oasis took to the stage at Barra da Tijuca's Citibank Hall with Liam and Noel Gallagher clearly far from being the closest of siblings but still able to put on the kind of consummate rock 'n' roll show that by this stage of the band's career they could do in their sleep. A European festival tour and handful of gigs in Asia later, and by the end of the summer the band had split, Noel walking out saying he 'simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.'

Neither brother has exactly taken it easy since, both, it would appear, eager to prove their abilities on their own via side projects that have met with varying levels of success. First came Liam's Beady Eye and the album Different Gear Still Speeding, hitting number three in the UK charts and spawning a handful of singles, none of which came close to the kind of sales enjoyed by Oasis. In the aftermath of Noel's more recent (and UK number one) High Flying Birds album, Beady Eye arrive in Rio to play the Queremos crew's debut festival in Lapa with a point to prove, so we caught up with Liam to find out where his head is at.

What did you make of the press’ response to the debut album? Did it have the effect you hoped it would?

Gem Archer: For us it’s really done the business, because for us that’s our first set. Regardless of whether it’s an album, it’s all we’ve got, so it’s done us proud man.

And is a new album still on the cards for later this year?
Liam Gallagher: Without a doubt, mate. That’s what we joined the band for, to keep making music. Without a fucking doubt mate. Without a doubt. And it’ll be a beauty.

Any new influences?
Gem: We’re getting the ideas together at the minute. We’ll see how it sounds when we get into the studio, but we’re not listening to anything out of the ordinary. It’s not gonna be a reggae album. And it certainly aint gonna be a dance record. It’s just gonna be great crafted rock ‘n’ roll. It’s gonna be another great rock ‘n’ roll album.

Any bands around at the moment that you’re taking inspiration from?
Liam: Not really to be quite honest. I like Miles Kane, I think he’s doing a good job. He’s a young lad and I think he’s gonna be mega. But to be brutally honest, and I’m not being a bitch about this, but there isn’t anyone really. And if there was believe you me I’d be shouting it from the rooftops, but there isn’t.

Gem: There’s no one really setting the world on fire, no one's got any identity. You look at a band and you turn round and go ‘right yeah, they’re cool, they’ve got some great music.’ But the minute you start getting into them, they start changing their whole bloody identity, you know what I mean? And that’s not what it’s about. Everyone’s just moving too fast, man.

What do you make of these '90s bands that are getting back together after years apart?
Gem: It’s hard man. Initially I thought, ‘good for them’. I suppose it’s when it all becomes not about the music and it’s all about quick fuckin’, smash-and-grab stuff.

Liam: It’s all about fuckin’ paying the bills and it’s taking the magic out of the music and what you joined the band for. They fucking shouldn’t have split up in the first place. I know people don’t get on and all that, but getting back together because one of them’s fuckin’ skint and one of them’s a DJ, it’s like giving fuckin’ music a bad fuckin’ name. Splitting up to get back together to make some fuckin’ money, it’s like fuckin’ sort it out man. It’s all bollocks in my book.

Gem: All very Machiavellian.

Have you heard Noel’s new single, ‘The Death of You and Me’?
Liam: Heard it? I’ve fuckin’ sang on it. Not actually on that one, but on most of them. Noel Gallagher’s a great songwriter, there’s no questioning that he’s gonna make a great album and people will like it. Some people won’t like it. Same thing with us, you know what I mean. But I’d rather he’d make music than not make music. It’s good that he’s out there and doing his thing.

Would you be worried releasing an album alongside Noel?
Liam: Listen mate, The Beatles get back to-fuckin’-gether tomorrow and I wouldn’t be worried. And Led Zeppelin. I know Beady Eye’s potential. Talk is cheap and all that bollocks, you know what I mean, but I wouldn’t be here and Gem wouldn’t be here... we know what we’ve got up our fuckin’ sleeves man. I wouldn’t put an album out if I didn’t think we could stand up against any cunt, let alone Noel Gallagher. So yeah, I’ll go toe-to-toe with anyone. Musically, physically, mentically... uh y’know... mentally – anything. Without a doubt yeah, fuckin’ right.

Glad to hear you’ve still got the confidence...
Liam: Yeah that’s right, I’ve got the confidence. And it’s not arrogance, it’s confidence. I’m glad you picked up on that. It’s not really even about confidence, it’s about passion. All we’ve gotta do is look after what we’re doing and like I said. I’ll go toe-to-toe with John Lennon, Elvis Presley, any of the cunts, know what I mean? We’re just as passionate as what they are. And if you are, then no one can touch you, can they?

Where does the energy come from to play every show like it’s your last?

Liam: Viagra. You ought to try it some time. Apparently they’re all at it. You know all about it, you’ve been there ain’t ya?

Doesn’t the touring drain the energy a bit?
Gem: No way. It’s invigorating.

Liam: I tell you what you’re gonna see, you’re gonna see a bit of realism when you see Beady Eye. This is how we are, we don’t turn it on then become different people when we walk off the stage, this is how we are. No filler, straight in-yer-face rock ‘n’ roll music, no jumping around the stage like bitches, you know what I mean, it is what it is.

I’ve heard that you’ve given up booze...
Liam: Well I’ve definitely not been drinking as much as I er... would like to. I’ve not been drinking that much this year. I’ve not give it up, I just don’t fancy it at the moment. It’s not all about drinking.

How did you feel about the rioters in Manchester targeting the (Liam's clothing label) Pretty Green shop? Did you take it personally?
Liam: I don’t think it was personal, no. Everyone got hit, didn’t they. The main thing is that no one got hurt, that works for Pretty Green. The gaff didn’t get burnt down, we’re insured. They’re only clothes, know what I mean. I wouldn’t want it to be happening on a weekly basis, but yeah man, everything’s been taken care of.

You didn’t fancy trying to defend the place?
Liam: What, stand there with a baseball bat? I don’t think that would’ve been wise, would it? They only would’ve fucking pinched it anyway and ran off. It’s shit what happened, you know, but no one got hurt.

You played a benefit gig in London and released a Beatles cover for the Japanese Earthquake relief fund. Do you feel any sort of special connection with the country?
Liam: Yeah, love Japan, you know what I mean, I’ve always had a great time when I’ve gone there, the people are amazing, definitely made of the right stuff. And it’s not just because Oasis or Beady Eye have been successful over there, I just dig the people, know what I mean, everyone’s just cool. So being in a band when that stuff happened, we were ready to go and ready to help out, know what I mean. It was more than raising money, know what I mean, it was just showing people that we’re thinking of them, know what I mean. But that was one of the best nights, musically, for me, ever. I know it was under shit circumstances, but all the people there in that room. It was mega, man. Just a mega night and I’m glad I was there and witnessed it and felt it and it was top.

Lots of people are giving their music away for free these days, is this something Beady Eye would do?
Gem: People are just trying sooo many different avenues. I’m not being cynical here, but it’s all about the first column you get when your album’s unveiled, innit? Bjork’s new album, every song comes with an app, d’you get what I mean? The Radiohead thing was just them, on that album. But same with Bring the Light, we had to start somewhere because it wasn’t like it was an Oasis thing, it was a brand new band.

What are the main differences between playing a gig as Beady Eye as opposed to Oasis?
Liam: There is a different vibe, but I wouldn’t want to be pointing it out, know what I mean, that’s for other people to do. But we’re equally as into it as we were when we were Oasis. When I go on that stage with Beady Eye, I feel exactly the same as when I went on stage with Oasis, same for Gem. Difference is that now we feel like the underdogs and I like that, know what I mean? Whereas with Oasis it got to a stage when they were always the main fucking act. And now we’re the underdogs and it’s cool.

So you’re enjoying having something to prove?
Liam: Yep. Yyyep. Without a doubt. Without a doubt, I fuckin’ love it. If we could fuckin’ stay like that for the rest of my life I’d be fuckin’ happy as Larry man, know what I mean? But we move on, don’t we? So the new album will be better, it has to be and it will be, and I think we’ll move on and progress to be a headline act. Which will be great, but then all the fun goes out of it then, know what I mean? You have nowhere to go, know what I mean?

So you’re not looking forward to the success?
Gem: Well yeah we are, but I mean we still did small gigs with Oasis. It wasn’t always stadiums, you know? We haven’t got that yearning which a lot of bands have, for stadiums and arenas. It’s kind of like, we’ve done all that and we’re still here and it still we still get off on the same things.

Liam: We’re quite happy being here now, know what I mean?

Gem: It’s great, we’re getting in the right faces and up the wrong noses.

Liam: Headline acts in general, when you’re a headline act it doesn’t matter who you are, you’re the main fuckin’ talking point. But I’ve seen some support acts that have absolute fuckin’ ripped them to pieces, and hopefully that’s we’re doing.

Would you say festival crowds have changed over the last ten years?
Gem: Yeah, to tell you the truth. In so many ways. Even in America, in the past ten years. There seems to be a lot more chaos around. Obviously you don’t want any casualties or anything but people, generally, if you leave them alone, they know how to have fun in style. No one needs to be overtly policed. Generally I have faith that people aren’t gonna blow the place to smithereens.

Words by David Clack
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