Noel Gallagher, the former lead guitarist and songwriter for British rock band Oasis, is infamous for being outspoken and controversial. Along with his brother Liam, Noel was responsible for some of the most outlandish statements in music throughout Oasis’s heyday in the 90s and early 2000s. Although frequent disputes with Liam caused Oasis to split in 2009, Noel has remained active, launching a solo act called Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, with his latest album, Chasing Yesterday, released in March. Whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that Noel has a way with words and a penchant for being endlessly quotable. Here are just a few of his most memorable quotes.
10. On Tidal: “Do These People Think They’re The F-ckin’ Avengers? They’re Going To Save The F-ckin’ [World].” I Was Speaking To Chris [Martin] The Day After, And I Said, “Are You After A Nobel Peace Prize? Is That What You’re After?” They Were Like, “We’re Going To F-ckin’ Save The Music Business.” And I’m Just Sitting There, Thinking, You Might Want To Write A Decent Chorus For A F-ckin’ Start.
Noel Gallagher hasn’t lost any of his bite in 2015, as he recently took the music streaming service Tidal and the musicians behind it to task in an interview with Rolling Stone. It’s a hilarious takedown of the expensive music service, but it’s still hard to shake the feeling that had Tidal come along 20 years ago, Oasis probably would have jumped on board. Still, no one’s really looking for logical consistancy from Noel Gallagher; controversial statements are more than enough!
9. “I Despise Hip Hop. Loathe It. Eminem Is An Idiot And I Find 50 Cent The Most Distasteful Character I Have Ever Crossed In My Life.”
Speaking to Observer Music Monthly in 2005, Noel made his opinion of the hip hop genre pretty clear, targeting the 2 most prominent figures in rap at the time for being complicit in rising youth violence in America. While this is an arguably off-base and simplistic assessment, it’s still pretty enjoyable hearing Noel not mince words when it comes to artists in other genres of music.
8. “Paul McCartney, One Of The Best Songwriters Of All Time, Has Only Produced Manure For The Past 25 Years.”
Noel has gone on record many times citing The Beatles as one of Oasis’s biggest musical influences, but it’s clear that he doesn’t see his heroes as infallible either. In a 2002 interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, Noel had some pretty cutting remarks for the former Beatle, going on to say that, “rock musicians over 30 only produce unimportant material.” Gallagher was 35 at the time, already past his own self-described point of rock relevancy. Still, there’s little doubt that Noel still had enormous respect for Paul and the music of The Beatles, referring to them as “the be-all, end-all” for Oasis.
7. “Liam Is… Rude, Arrogant, Intimidating And Lazy. He’s The Angriest Man You’ll Ever Meet. He’s Like A Man With A Fork In A World Of Soup.”
The sibling rivalry between Noel and his brother Liam is one of the greatest in music history, resulting in endless spats that made the brothers a fixture of the British tabloids in the 90s. Liam and Noel seem to have a barb reserved for one another in every interview they give, but Noel’s most memorable remark concerning his brother has to be this one from aQ magazine interview in 2009. Leaving no secret about his true opinion of his brother’s character, the best part of the quote has to be the “man with a fork” analogy, which honestly feels like it could apply to anyone who doesn’t seem to understand social interaction.
6. “I Had Built For Me A Customized 1967 Mark II Jaguar Convertible At A Cost Of £110,000, And I Haven’t Got A Driving License. It’s Useless To Me.”
Noel has never been shy about the fact that he embraces the excesses of fame and fortune, as they just come with the territory of being in one of the world’s most successful rock bands. This quote, from an interview he did with Blender in 2008, is the answer he gave when asked about the stupidest thing he bought when he first became rich. Considering the Gallaghers came from humble beginnings in working-class Manchester, buying an expensive car you can’t even drive as a status symbol is just par for the course when it comes to Noel’s unique form of logic.
5. “We’re Not Arrogant, We Just Believe We’re The Best Band In The World.”
A hilariously ironic quote that only proves how arrogant this man really is, it’s essentially Noel’s way of one-upping John Lennon’s classic bit of arrogance about The Beatles being bigger than Jesus. As easy as it is to disagree with Noel’s claim that Oasis were the best band in the world, a case could be made for them being the most confident, and that’s really part of what made them so appealing anyway.
4. “Just Because You Sell Lots Of Records, It Doesn’t Mean To Say You’re Any Good. Look At Phil Collins.”
Another famous example of Noel’s flippant attitude towards other musicians, both Liam and Noel have criticized the former Genesis drummer on multiple occasions, prompting Collins to respond in a 2011 interview with The Telegraph: “He [Noel] definitely seems to consider me the Anti-Christ of music. There’s nothing I can do to change that impression of me. I have, at times, been very down about it.” Many of Noel’s most memorable quotes are cheekily funny, but his targeting of Phil Collins perhaps went a little too far.
3. “All I Ever Wanted To Do Was Make A Record. Here’s What You Do: You Pick Up Your Guitar, You Rip A Few People’s Tunes Off, You Swap Them Round A Bit, Get Your Brother In The Band, Punch His Head In Every Now And Again, And It Sells. I’m A Lucky Bastard. I’m Probably The Single Most Lucky Man In The World — Apart From Our Liam.”
It’s hard to find a better philosophy for why Oasis achieved the success that it did than Noel’s hilariously to-the-point summation of the band’s initial process of making it big. From the acknowledgement that Oasis stole a lot of their riffs (listen to “Cigarettes and Alcohol” — the main guitar riff is almost identical to T-Rex’s “Bang a Gong”) to his humorous reference of the abuse he gave his brother Liam, this quote is pithy and revealing at the same time. He also gets in a trademark dig towards his brother at the end — what’s not to love?
2. “If I Ever Get To Go To The Moon, I’ll Probably Just Stand On The Moon And Go ‘Hmmm, Yeah…Fair Enough…Gotta Go Home Now.”
Noel has a notoriously deadpan sense of humor, which often gives the impression that nothing really impresses him, including travelling to the moon. In an example of one of his many flights of fancy, Noel imagines visiting the moon wouldn’t be much to write home about and would probably be pretty boring. The funny thing is that the man’s probably right — what’s there to do on the moon anyway?
1. “I Hate That Alex And Damon. I Hope They Catch AIDS And Die.”
In the mid 90s, the music press pitted Oasis and fellow Britpop sensations Blur against each other in an infamous feud dubbed “The Battle of Britpop”. Oasis and Blur were the biggest bands in Britain at the time and were very dissimilar. Oasis were working class heroes reaching for stardom, while Blur was more of a high-minded artistic group. This feud led to arguably the most controversial thing Noel Gallagher has ever said, publicly stating that he hoped Blur bass player Alex James and singer Damon Albarn would catch AIDS and die. Noel eventually backpedaled on his comments, and by all accounts, this silly feud was left back in the 90s. Noel not only performed onstage with Albarn and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon in 2013, but recently said during a Reddit AMA that Blur’s new album “sounds pretty good.” It seems that even Noel Gallagher can’t hold a grudge forever (Liam being the exception).