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Thursday, June 7, 2012

Noel Gallagher

Noel Thomas David Gallagher, born 29 May 1967 is an English musician and singer-songwriter, formerly the lead guitarist, occasional lead singer and principal songwriter of the rock band Oasis. He is currently fronting his solo project, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Raised in Burnage, Manchester with Liam, Noel began learning guitar at the age of thirteen. After a series of odd jobs in construction, he worked for local Manchester band Inspiral Carpets as a roadie and technician in 1988. Whilst touring with them, he learned that Liam had formed a band of his own, known as The Rain, which eventually took on the name Oasis. After Gallagher returned to England, he was invited by his brother to join Oasis as songwriter and guitarist.

Oasis' debut album, Definitely Maybe (1994), marked the beginning of the band's rise to fame as head of the Britpop movement. Oasis' second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, reached the top of the album charts in many countries and their third studio album, Be Here Now, became the fastest-selling album in UK chart history. Britpop eventually declined in popularity and Oasis' next two albums failed to revive it. However, the band's final two albums, Don't Believe the Truth (2005) and Dig Out Your Soul (2008), were hailed as its best efforts in over a decade and found renewed success. On 28 August 2009, following an altercation with Liam prior to a gig in Paris, Gallagher announced his departure from Oasis and on 23 October 2009, he confirmed he would embark on a solo career.

Gallagher's run with Oasis was marked by turbulence, especially during the peak of Britpop, during which he was involved in several disputes with Liam, and the brothers' fights and wild lifestyles regularly made headlines in British tabloid newspapers. Gallagher (along with Oasis) also shared a personal rivalry with fellow Britpop band Blur. However, Gallagher was often regarded as the spear-head of the Britpop movement, and at one point of time, NME termed a number of Britpop bands (including Kula Shaker, Ocean Colour Scene and Cast) as "Noelrock", citing Gallagher's influence on their success. Many have praised Gallagher's songwriting, with George Martin claiming Noel to be 'the finest songwriter of his generation'.

Personal life

At the age of 18, Gallagher became engaged to his then-girlfriend Diane, but they never married and eventually separated. In 1988, he moved out of his family home to live with Louise Jones, whom he described as his "soulmate" and for whom he wrote "Slide Away". They had an on-again, off-again relationship before finally separating in June 1994, with Gallagher stating, "I don’t think I’ll ever get over it.

In June 1997, Gallagher married Meg Mathews in Las Vegas, Nevada. He had met her in 1994 through her roommate, MTV presenter Rebecca de Ruvo, whom he was dating at the time and whom he left for Mathews. Mathews gave birth to a daughter, Anaïs Gallagher, on 27 January 2000. Gallagher and Mathews divorced in January 2001 on grounds of his adultery with Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald. After the divorce was finalised, Gallagher admitted he had only claimed to have cheated in order to speed up the divorce process and that he had never actually been unfaithful.

Since his separation from Mathews, Gallagher has been in a relationship with MacDonald, whom he met at club Space on Ibiza in June 2000. He wrote "Waiting for the Rapture" about their meeting. They have two sons, Donovan Rory MacDonald Gallagher (born 22 September 2007) and Sonny Patrick MacDonald Gallagher (born 1 October 2010). Gallagher and MacDonald were married on 18 June 2011 in a private ceremony at the Lime Wood Hotel in the New Forest National Park. Gallagher's best friend Russell Brand was best man at the wedding.

He was a frequent guest on The Russell Brand Show on BBC Radio 2, appearing on almost every show, leading Brand to dub him an unofficial "Co presenter". He is also a regular on the digital radio sports show, "TalkSPORT" Other notable friends of his are, Mani of Primal Scream, Richard Ashcroft of The Verve – for whom he dedicated a song, "Cast No Shadow", the band members of the Chemical Brothers, - Sex Pistols members John Lydon and Steve Jones the members of the rock band Kasabian, Andy Nicholson, boxer Ricky Hatton, Paul McCartney, Liverpool F.C footballer Jamie Carragher, Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland,Johnny Marr, Paul Weller, Ian Brown, John Squire, Lee Mavers, Jack Dee, Craig Cash, Kelly Jones and Johnny Depp (who played slide guitar on the Oasis song Fade In-Out). He was also good friends with Kate Moss who used to stay with him when she was visiting London. In 2001 he was reported to have an estimated personal fortune of £25 million. In 2009 The Sunday Times Rich List estimated Noel and Liam's combined personal fortune at £52 million.

Gallagher is a fan of football, being a life-long supporter of Manchester City F.C. (Gallagher admitting he 'cried like a baby' when City won the Premier League title) and Celtic F.C  He is a friend of former City midfielder Joey Barton, as well as Celtic manager Neil Lennon[83] and Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero, who described Gallagher as Italy's "lucky mascot" during the 2006 FIFA World Cup,[84] and appears in the Oasis video "Lord Don't Slow Me Down". Gallagher was an official ambassador for England's bid to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Gallagher stated in a 2006 radio interview with Russell Brand that he does not believe in God or "an all-guiding force. Despite this assertion, throughout his career, many of his songs have mentioned God ("Carry Us All," "Gas Panic!," "The Hindu Times," "Little by Little," to name four), and all the tracks he had contributed to Dig Out Your Soul, as well as the other bandmates' songs, have lyrics and references to God and other biblical terms. Dig Out Your Soul has been described by Noel as a "religious Armageddon". But in recent interviews for Dig Out Your Soul regarding religion, Noel stated "See, I don't know what I am. If I was an atheist I'd just write songs about not believing in God – but I don't know what I am.

In 2008 it was announced that Gallagher would sell his home in Ibiza located near fellow musician James Blunt's, saying while in Los Angeles on the Russell Brand BBC Radio 2 show that he "Can't stand living there in the knowledge that Blunt is nearby making terrible music.

Gallagher along with Matt Morgan (who was co-host on The Russell Brand Show) sat in for Dermot O'Leary's Saturday show on BBC Radio 2 on 10 September 2011.

Gallagher was reportedly asked by Simon Cowell to be a judge on The X Factor after Dannii Minogue, Cheryl Cole and Cowell himself declined to participate in series 8, which Gallagher subsequently declined as well.

Career with Oasis

In 1991, Noel returned from an American tour with the Inspiral Carpets to find that his brother Liam had become a singer with a local band called "The Rain". Noel attended one of their concerts at Manchester's Boardwalk, but was unimpressed by the group's act. After rejecting an offer from Liam to be the band's manager, he agreed to join the band, on the condition that he take creative control of the group and become its sole songwriter. According to another source, Noel Gallagher told Liam and the rest of the group after having heard them play for the first time: "Let me write your songs and I'll take you to superstardom, or else you'll rot here in Manchester". His control over the band in its early years earned him the nickname "The Chief".

In May 1993, the band heard that a record executive from Creation Records would be scouting for talent at King Tut's in Glasgow. Together, they found the money to hire a van and make the six-hour journey. When they arrived, they were refused entry to the club because no one notified the venue that Oasis had been added to the bill. The band eventually secured the opening slot and played a four-song set that impressed Creation founder Alan McGee.McGee then took the Live Demonstration tape to Sony America and invited Oasis to meet with him a week later in London, at which point they were signed to a six-album contract. Gallagher has since claimed that he only had six songs written at the time, and has put his success in the interview down to "bullshitting". However, McGee believes that when they met, Gallagher had fifty or so songs written, and merely lied about how prolific he had been following the contract. Richard Ashcroft was so impressed with Oasis during the time, that he invited them to tour with his band The Verve as an opening act.

Gallagher claimed to have written Oasis' first single, "Supersonic", in "the time it takes to play the song. "Supersonic" was released in early 1994 and peaked at No.31 on the official UK charts. The single was later followed by Oasis' debut album Definitely Maybe, which was released in August 1994 and was a critical and commercial success. It became the fastest-selling debut album in British history at the time, and entered the UK Charts at #1. Despite their rapidly growing popularity, Noel briefly left Oasis in 1994 during their first American tour. The conditions were poor, and he felt the American audience—still preoccupied with grunge and metal—did not understand the band. Noel stated that his early songs, especially "Live Forever", were written to refute grunge's pessimism. Tensions mounted between him and Liam, culminating in a fight after a disastrous L.A. gig. Having effectively decided to quit the music industry, he flew to San Francisco without telling the band, management or the crew. It was during this time that Noel wrote "Talk Tonight" as a "thank you" for the girl he stayed with, who "talked him from off the ledge". He was tracked down by Creation's Tim Abbot and during a trip by the pair to Las Vegas, Noel decided to continue with the band. He reconciled with his brother and the tour resumed in Minneapolis.
Britpop and the height of fame

Gallagher followed up the debut in 1995 with Oasis' first UK No.1 single in "Some Might Say". This preceded their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, released later that year. Though it suffered initial critical apathy, the album became the second fastest-selling album ever in the UK, entering the UK album charts at No.1 and peaking at No.4 on the Billboard 200 chart.

The success of Oasis and his newfound fame and fortune were not lost on Gallagher, and both he and his brother became famous for their "rock and roll lifestyle". They drank heavily, abused drugs, fought fans, critics, peers, and each other, and made celebrity friends such as Ian Brown, Paul Weller, Mani, Mick Jagger, Craig Cash, Kate Moss and Johnny Depp. Noel Gallagher spent extravagantly, buying various cars and a swimming pool, despite the fact he can neither drive, nor swim. He named his house in Belsize Park in London "Supernova Heights" (after the song "Champagne Supernova"), and his two cats "Benson" and "Hedges" after his favourite brand of cigarettes.

Oasis went on to have greater success with their next two singles, "Wonderwall" and "Don't Look Back in Anger" charting at No.2 and No.1 respectively; the former becoming their sole top 10 hit in the US. Originally, Noel had wanted to take lead vocals on "Wonderwall", but Liam insisted on singing it. As compensation, Noel decided he would sing lead vocals on "Don't Look Back in Anger". 1995 also saw Gallagher play two songs for the charity album Help! : "Fade Away", accompanied by friend and Oasis fan Johnny Depp and Depp's then-girlfriend Kate Moss; and The Beatles' 1969 hit "Come Together", along with Paul Weller, Paul McCartney and others in a supergroup called Smokin' Mojo Filters. Noel has also collaborated with the Chemical Brothers, Ian Brown, The Stands, The Prodigy and Weller, amongst others. Gallagher became so influential that a June 1996 NME article argued that "If Noel Gallagher, the most successful songwriter of his generation, champions a group, then said group are guaranteed more mainstream kudos and, quite possibly, more sales. And since Noel has taken to championing only five or six groups, then it's a powerful cabal he's promoting. The NME article grouped the bands Gallagher praised, including The Boo Radleys, Ocean Colour Scene, and Cast, under the banner of "Noelrock". John Harris typified these bands, and Gallagher, of sharing "a dewy-eyed love of the 1960s, a spurning of much beyond rock's most basic ingredients, and a belief in the supremacy of 'real music'".

In March 1996, Noel and Liam Gallagher met their father again when the News of the World paid him to go to their hotel during a tour. Noel left for his room, later commenting "as far as I'm concerned, I haven't got a father. He's not a father to me, y'know? I don't respect him in any way whatsoever". Also in 1996, Oasis sold out two nights at Knebworth, playing to over 250,000 fans. Following the worldwide success of Morning Glory?, Be Here Now (1997) became Oasis' most eagerly anticipated album to date. As with the previous two albums, all the tracks were written by Noel. After an initial blaze of publicity, positive critical reviews, and commercial success, the album failed to live up to long-term expectations, and public goodwill towards Be Here Now was short-lived. The album was ultimately regarded by many as a bloated, over-indulgent version of Oasis, which Gallagher has since blamed on the drug-addicted state and indifference of the band at the time.

Gallagher began to suffer drug-induced panic attacks during this period. His Depression and paranoid well-being inspired the song "Gas Panic!", subsequently included on the 2000 album Standing on the Shoulder of Giants. Gallagher claimed to have quit using illicit drugs on 5 June 1998. He stated in 2001, "I liked drugs, I was good at them. But I'd had panic attacks for about a year and I stopped because I wanted to. After you make the decision, it is quite easy." Between 1993 and 1998, he claims, "I can hardly remember a thing.


Gallagher has spoken out about his political views on several occasions, most notably when he visited Tony Blair at No. 10 Downing Street in 1997. In an interview in 1997 when he was asked about why he visited Blair he replied, "I've taken a lot of flack for going to No. 10 Downing Street but the thing about that is, I never considered myself a rebel anyway. I wasn't going there representing the 'Indie community'. I wasn't representing anyone. I was going there for me. You have to understand that from when I went to school and from when I was born all we ever knew was conservative, Tory, right-wing government. What people don't mention is, they say 'He went to meet Tony Blair.' No. I went to meet the LABOUR prime minister. Our parents always drummed into us that the Labour Party was for the people and the Tory Party was not. I went to meet the Labour prime minister. Full stop.

In an interview in 2007 when asked about politics he said, "I'd been unemployed all my life. It was a big deal for me when he [Tony Blair] got in. Now David Cameron is no different than our Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is no different than our David Cameron. They're all cut from the same cloth and it annoys me that the biggest political icon in the last 30 years has been Margaret Thatcher, and she's a dick. Someone who tried to destroy the working class. It freaks me out. So I don't really think there's anything left to vote for. I believe that I, as a person, can only change things once every 5 years and that's by voting, and my point is that even casting that vote means that the same guy gets in, the only difference is one has a red tie and the other has a blue one. That's all it means, so I think that I should start the Gallagher Party.

He was open in his support for Barack Obama's successful bid for U.S. President, calling his acceptance speech to the 2008 Democratic National Convention "spellbinding.

In 1997 he played a 5 song set at the Tibetan Freedom Concert in NYC.[119] As a result Oasis have been deemed "unsuitable" by the Chinese government, forcing a planned tour of the country in 2009 to be cancelled.

He has also been very vocal about knife crime. He said to one journalist, "It all goes back to the Thatcher Years. I know it's a cliché to say it but that's where the rot set in. If you go up north to any city there are rows and rows and rows of derelict houses. They can't even afford to knock them down and build something new, and that's where it all starts, if kids haven't got anything what are they supposed to do?"

When the interviewer suggested it was for status he replied, "In my day status was about trying to be somebody, not trying to kill somebody, so how's that all changed?

Speaking out about the August 2011 riots that took place in England, Gallagher claimed that violent video games and violent television shows which children were being exposed to were partially to blame for social problems.

In October 2011 Gallagher told Newsnight he believes the Labour leader Ed Miliband is "utterly uninspiring and dull", and says he has no idea what he stands for.

In February 2012, he implied that the UK under the Premiership of Margaret Thatcher was a more fertile ground for dissent in the arts: "Under Thatcher, who ruled us with an iron rod, great art was made. Amazing designers and musicians. Acid house was born. Very colourful and progressive. Now, no one’s got anything to say. 'Write a song? No thanks, I’ll say it on Twitter'. It’s a sad state when more people retweet than buy records.

He also claimed that he was embarrassed by the 2011 London Riots. "Last August I was on tour in Europe and people were asking me about the riots. All over the world, Syria and Egypt, people were rioting for freedom. And these kids in England are rioting for tracksuits. It's embarrassing,
Musical equipment

Throughout his career Gallagher has used a wide range of different guitars, effect pedals and amplifers from his large collection. Most of it emerged from the Standing on the Shoulder of Giants sessions, where he decided to drop the equipment used in the three previous albums and instead buy "loads of really weird pedals, old guitars, and small amps", as the lack of deadline to deliver the album allowed Gallagher to "take quite a few days just messing around.

Electric guitars

    Epiphone Supernova – Gallagher's signature model combines features from Gallagher's most frequently used guitars over the years, including various Gibson and Epiphone semi acoustics. The Union Jack paintjob echoes his custom-painted Epiphone Sheraton that he used at Maine Road in 1996.
    Epiphone Riviera
    Epiphone Sheraton
    Fender Telecaster – Gallagher uses several, one of which, a 60s model, was given to Noel by Johnny Depp as a birthday present
    Epiphone Les Paul
    Gibson Les Paul
    Epiphone Casino

Effect pedals

In the early days of Oasis, Gallagher did not use pedals: "I used to just turn up the amps as full as I could get them".[125] Since then, he has begun using a large number of effects, but singled out the Ibanez Tube Screamer.

Gallagher has said that he used only 100-watt Marshalls early in his career. After Definitely Maybe, he began using smaller amps, singling out Fenders (Princeton and Bandmaster), and also a combo made by Clark Amplification, which builds amplifiers based on vintage Fender and Marshall amps.

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