Oasis song-writing legend Noel Gallagher, currently on tour
after the release of the band's sixth album, thinks the only thing that might put an end to live performances by the chart-topping group is the health of younger brother Liam's hair.
"The masterstroke in this band was having a singer five years younger than anyone else. As long as he doesn't go bald, we'll be around for a bit," 38-year-old Noel said before a performance in Paris.
The surly Gallagher brothers, famed for their thick Manchester accents and bitter sibling rivalry, burst onto the British music scene more than a decade ago before going on to sell millions of records worldwide.
Their volatile relationship, fights, drug problems, celebrity relationships -- and their prodigious talent for producing catchy pop songs -- have filled thousands of news pages the world over.
But the fact that Noel is now joking about aging and baldness suggests that he may have come to terms with the end of his hell-raising days.
Despite a long and much-publicized history of fraternal friction, Noel says he hasn't had a proper fight with Liam "for a few years."
"All those stupid fights about fucking whose jacket was better than the other's have all gone," he says.
He admits though that seeing teenagers in the audience singing along to some of the band's early releases "freaks him out."
"There's kids singing along to Rock 'n' Roll Star and they would have been like six when it came out," he says. "That took me like two months [of the tour] to get used to. Before, I wouldn't look young people in the eye."
The latest album Don't Believe The Truth has been well received by fans and the return to public favor was cemented when Oasis picked up the best album award at Britain's prestigious Q music awards in early October.
The album is a return to a well-tested formula: Liam's strained, nasal vocals laid over powerful guitar chords, coupled with catchy choruses in both rock and ballad formats.
After six albums, it's clear Oasis are not about to re-invent themselves.
"I'm not going to develop anymore after 38. It's as simple as that," says Noel.
Does Noel have another Wonderwall or Live Forever in him, two of the band's most enduringly popular songs?
"I used to write five songs a day. But now you've got baggage and when you get older you've got things to do," he says. "I don't write as much as I used to but I write often enough to satisfy my interest."
Not the talk of someone who's still got things to prove. Fatherhood, for one thing, has sapped some of his energy, he says.
But the singer-songwriter has lost none of his cockiness or taste for feuding with fellow musicians. Nor has bringing up a daughter curbed his colorful language.
Noel dismisses, for example, the revival of guitar-based pop music -- called by some "Britpop II" after the Britpop of Oasis and Blur in the mid-1990s -- as "fucking Indie rubbish."
Noel has already publicly mocked British rivals Bloc Party, and he is no less scornful of bands such as Franz
Ferdinand and Maximo Park because they perform in modish suits and ties.
Attending the NME music magazine awards in Britain, he said, was like being in a school disco, where rigid jacket-and-tie dress codes are enforced.
"We were the only people sat there without shirts and ties on. Everyone else was in school uniform," he says. "The first thing we did when we got back from school was get that fucking tie off and get some casual clothes on."
Noel insists on leading a normal life and going to the shops near his home in West London because if not "you end up like Elton John, or fucking George Michael."
The sight of the Rolling Stones, still touring well into their 60s, is "fucking sad," he said.
Not to be neglected in Noel's litany of abuse was Oasis nemesis and British pop rival Robbie Williams.
"I wouldn't walk a mile in his shoes because he seems to be a very lonely, unhappy, very confused young man," he says.
More surprising is Noel's readiness to loosen his grip on the direction of the band, something over which he has always maintained absolute control.
Noel wrote only half the new album. Band members Andy Bell and Gem Archer wrote one song each, and Liam did three.
"Liam's only just started to write songs. He's like a fucking mad man," he says. "He's writing 10 songs a day. I was like that 20 years ago."
Noel on being a parent? "A fucking big responsibility," "one of life's greatest things," "a fucking pain in the arse."
"If I had any advice, between the ages of 15 and 30 just absolutely go for it like every day was your last. As soon as you hit 30, take your foot off the gas a bit," he says.
Oasis are on tour until next March and will visit Japan and Australia in November.
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