News The Gallaghers: Don’t Look Back In Anger? Unlikely.

Oh dear. What is it with brothers in bands? Hot on the heels of the Followills’ very public meltdown, the demise of Oasis rumbles on and has come to this. Not content with a public slagging match or the subtle, cock-waving exercise that is “My band is better than your band”, those cheeky Mancunians have taken their feud to the next level. Well, Liam has. Despite years of barbs, insults and digs flying in both directions, it seems that Little Brother has finally had enough, and announced today that he’s suing Noel over the latest batch of “lies”. And what, pray tell, has got his knickers in such a twist? Allegations that he was too hungover to perform, and wanted space for a free ad.

Now, there are several issues at play here, not least of which is ego. Like a jilted lover, Liam still seems bitter about his older brother’s relationship with the press, and he may well have a point: Noel’s recent return to music has been greeted with, so far, cover stories in Rolling Stone, Mojo, and NME, and he’s frequently accorded Rock Legend status. Reading such pieces, it’s hard not to notice that as an Elder Statesman, who Knows What He’s Talking About, he gets a fairly easy ride, and the space to pontificate about pretty much anything he wants, but then he knows how to play the game. Far from being some kind of “media manipulator”, he is simply courteous and gives good copy. Liam, on the other hand, has always had a tempestuous relationship with the Fourth Estate – no surprise when you go around punching photographers – barely concealing a snarling contempt for those who dare to pass judgement, most commonly after a bad review.

Trouble is, that’s all self-serving poppycock. When it came to launching Pretty Green, Liam was like a Labrador puppy, all sweetness to any and every journo sent to cover it. He didn’t have a great say over this, given that he’s hawking essentially plain tees, polos and the like for sixty quid and upwards. Ditto the rise of Beady Eye, which was his chance to finally step out of Noel’s shadow and prove there was more than one “talent” in the family – something yet to be demonstrated. He’s just as cunning at using the press as the next rock star, but that doesn’t really fit in with his rock’n’roll hellraiser, “I don’t give a fuck” swagger. The kids don’t croon about politeness, do they?

So, what of his main beefs? Perhaps he did want a free ad, perhaps he didn’t. The point is, Oasis have long been a brand, and a very valuable one at that. No doubt Noel, along with their management, knew the worth of a full page spread, and were loathe to just hand it over. Nobody ever got rich but giving stuff away, right, so why should the singer get special treatment? It might even have been exactly the sort of thing calculated to send Noel over the edge, to cause ever-greater divisions on a tour already racked with tension, although that suggests a level of cunning I’m not sure Liam possesses. As for the claims over his V Festival non-appearance, I had to laugh that this “went way beyond rock’n’roll banter and…questioned my professionalism”. Yes, this coming from the man who walked out on a US tour because he wanted to move house, turned up wasted for a live, televised concert, and heckled Noel throughout their MTV Unplugged gig despite “having no voice”. Um, right. OK. How dare anyone call into question his professionalism! He had a doctors note and everything!

We’ve all pulled a sickie, no shame in admitting that, but I can’t help wonder that Liam is the boy who cried wolf; maybe he truly was ill that day, but after doing it umpteen times before, are we liable to believe him? As a ‘bona fide’ rock star, it can’t be that hard to find a doc willing to sign his name to any diagnosis, and although Andy, Gem, et al have been quick to back him up, you’d expect them to toe the party line as they’re only currently employed thanks to his largesse. Never bite the hand that feeds, eh? What’s really pathetic is that, after all they’ve said and done in the past, all the punch ups and rants (most notoriously, Liam questioning the paternity of Noel’s first daughter), they’re going to court over this. And all for a simple apology. It would be hilarious if it weren’t so sad. It’ll be interesting to see how Noel responds, but he could do worse than challenge Liam to a real life Celebrity Death Match. It seems the only way to settle their differences and put them, and us, out of our misery.

Tags: Oasis, Features

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