Despite Liam Gallagher's claims to the contrary, Oasis will be touring America this fall because his big brother and bandleader, Noel, said so.
"We're coming back in August," the elder Gallagher asserted, contradicting comments his predictably unpredictable brother made to the British press. "Liam's invited. If he wants to come, he'll come, if not, we'll do it without him."
The group's tour, which kicks off August 2 in Pompano Beach, Florida, is in support of the forthcoming Heathen Chemistry, Oasis' first studio album in over two years.
"Liam's always you know what he's like," Noel said, smiling. "I think what Liam's doing is ... he's thinking, 'Well, if we don't sell any records in America, what I'll say is that we're not gonna go anyway.' We're coming in August. And he's coming. And if he doesn't come, then I'll f---ing do it."
Even considering Oasis' history of performing without one Gallagher or the other, Noel is confident that Liam will be along. He even had positive things to say about Liam's emerging songwriting talent. Excepting Liam's one-track contribution to 2000's Standing on the Shoulder of Giants, Heathen Chemistry will be the first Oasis record that wasn't created entirely under Noel's direction (see "Oasis Turn To Heathens, Hedonism For Inspiration On New LP").
"I can't be the only person in my family to be musical," Noel reasoned. "Sooner or later, being in a band for that long and surrounded by musicians, you're gonna pick up things. [Liam]'s got a good sense of melody. He's a fantastic lyricist. He's a better lyricist than a lot of people will ever give him credit for. He's got it in him, definitely, to be a very, very, very, very, very well respected songwriter. It just depends on if he wants it. He could well get bored with songwriting this time next year and go back to being Ozzy Osbourne.
"Liam would like to have you believe that he's this rock monster with shades and the black leather jacket and the long hair and the funny walk and the swearing. You read his lyrics, and you get an insight into where his head's at. He's a pussycat."
Noel is confident that Heathen Chemistry is the band's "second-best record" to date second only, in his mind, to their 1994 debut, Definitely Maybe. That album launched what the press dubbed "Britpop," while their 1995 LP, (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, solidified their status with massive Stateside success courtesy "Champagne Supernova" and the inescapable "Wonderwall."
The group's profile slipped in the States over the course of their two subsequent records as the American rock landscape adopted a more aggressive visage and the band's tours became increasingly plagued by intra-band squabbling. Though Oasis' presence atop the pop charts persists overseas, Standing on the Shoulder of Giants sold just under 193,000 copies in the U.S. to date, according to SoundScan, compared to Morning Glory's 3.51 million.
"I think that if we take Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and the Strokes out of the equation," Noel said, "American rock music is as bad as it's ever been, really. There's a lot of unshaven grown men in shorts with skateboard trainers singing about the blackness of the future. ... I find it has no soul. They should all have a shave and they should all put on trousers and they should all take their masks off and they should all go and listen to the Beatles and then they should come back and make some proper music.
"We ain't changing for nobody," he promised. "If we suddenly went hip-hop and stuff like that, people would just my fans, I couldn't even look them in the face again. After me banging on about the Beatles for 10 years and the Rolling Stones. ... We believe in rock and roll! Not in the Kiss sense, you know, not in a clichéd sense. We believe in the power of guitars and amplifiers. That might sound a bit cheesy to people.
"People say, 'Well, [Oasis] won't progress.' Yeah, well, then if you want progression, go listen to Radiohead. But if you want to actually feel your f---ing pants flapping, go and see an Oasis show. We believe in it, man, because we're not fakers. We weren't faking it in '94, and we're not faking it now."
Noel believes that Heathen Chemistry stands on the strength of its songs the punked-up "Hung in a Bad Place," Liam's sentimental love-ballad "Songbird," the Noel-led "She Is Love" and the album's lead single, "The Hindu Times." Despite the widely assumed arrogance that surrounds the band, Noel had no problem placing the blame for the disappointing sales of Be Here Now and Standing on the Shoulder of Giants on his own, er, shoulders.
"It's all about songs," he said. "The songs have suffered because of whatever reason. And now I think that unnamable thing is back. But it's not something that really bugs us, either, you know? We don't desperately try and chase our American career around like a chicken. 'Where is it? Let's get it back!' It doesn't work like that at all. What keeps us going is the fact I can look at myself in the mirror every morning and think, 'I ain't faking it, man.'
"I'm always suit and a boot to rock and roll," Noel promised. "I'm not putting on me f---ing baggy trousers and me baseball cap backwards, giving you all 'that,' 'cause that ain't me. And that ain't Liam. It's eternally 1969 in our heads."
North American fans can see Oasis' real-deal rock and roll show on the following dates, according to the band's official Web site:
- 8/2 - Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphitheatre
- 8/4 - Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
- 8/5 - Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
- 8/7 - Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theatre
- 8/9 - Upper Darby, PA @ Tower Theatre
- 8/10 - Boston, MA @ FleetBoston Pavilion
- 8/13 - New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
- 8/14 - New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
- 8/16 - Montreal, QC @ Molson Centre
- 8/17 - Toronto, ON @ Molson Amphitheatre
- 8/20 - Chicago, IL @ Chicago Theatre
- 8/21 - Detroit, MI @ Fox Theatre