If you think Simon and Garfunkel, Axl Rose and Slash, or Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had notorious feuds, then let me tell you that they pale in comparison with the Oasis brothers. When it comes to rock battles, the intensity and longevity of the Oasis brothers’ beef make the other ones seem almost irrelevant. Liam and Noel Gallagher’s longstanding beef stretches back to their childhood (there’s nothing like sibling rivalry, after all), which is as much a part of the band’s mythology as their music.
Oasis may have broken up in 2009, following years of threats by and against each brother, but their feud continues to this day (they’re 48 and 53). The estranged brothers seem to love to trash the other in the press and on social media (Liam said in 2011, “I’d rather eat my own s**t than be in a band with him again”). So, for those of you who have heard about these two but find yourself wondering ‘just what the heck are they so angry for?’, well, then you’re in the right place.
This is the full history of the brothers’ bad blood (which is at times both hilarious and sobering).
The Gallagher brothers have admitted that they’ve been at each other’s throats pretty much since Liam was born. Noel (born in 1967) and Liam (in 1972) can be put in the “typical sibling rivalry” category (which its a subsection of “egos”), but these brothers have taken it to a whole other level.
Noel and Liam have an older brother, too, named Paul. The brothers were born in Manchester to Irish Catholic parents. The boys didn’t have an ideal childhood, far from it, actually. If anything, it was, sadly, quite cliché. They were often beaten by their father, who was an alcoholic, but Liam didn’t get it as badly as his older brothers. As a result, Noel grew isolated, and Liam called him “the weirdo in the family.”
Both Liam and Paul developed a stutter as a result of their unease around their father. While Paul was given his own room, Noel and Liam were forced to share a room. By 1976, when Noel was 10 and Liam five, their parents divorced, and she took her three sons with her.
The brothers were troubled in their youth; the two were often getting in trouble with the police. Liam stole bicycles from local shops, Noel robbed a corner store, and both would frequently skip school. Noel was expelled from school for throwing a bag of flour over a teacher. As for Liam, he was suspended for three months at the age of 16 for fighting.
Liam said the early abuse affected him deeply and inspiring him to become an artist. As a teen, he suffered a blow to the head from a hammer by a student at a rival school – something he credits with changing his attitude towards music. After that incident, Liam said he became infatuated with the idea of joining a band.
He recognized his ability to sing, so he started listening to bands like the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Jam, and T. Rex. He became obsessed with John Lennon, later sarcastically claiming to be Lennon reincarnated (after his assassination in 1980).
For Noel, it was during his period of probation (after robbing the store) that he first began to teach himself to play the guitar which his mother gave him as a gift. He would play his favorite songs on the radio. Ever since he heard the Smiths’ debut on Top of the Pops in 1983, he said from that day on, he “wanted to be Johnny Marr.”
Both brothers worked in construction in their teens, during which Noel sustained an injury of his own, freeing up more time for him to practice the guitar and write songs. He wrote at least three of the songs on Definitely Maybe (Oasis’ debut album) in this time period.
Much of the late ‘80s found Noel unemployed and living in an apartment where he spent his time using recreational drugs, writing songs, and playing the guitar. As teenagers, the brothers maintained limited contact with their father, and their issues with him were never resolved.
During the height of their future Oasis fame, while drinking at a pub after one of their shows in Ireland, Liam noticed his father across the room and had to be held back by Noel. Later on, a leaked phone call revealed that after that incident, Liam called his father to threaten him that he would “break his legs” if he ever saw him again.
Oasis actually evolved from an earlier group called The Rain (with Paul McGuigan, Paul Arthurs, Tony McCarroll, and Chris Hutton). Unsatisfied with Hutton on vocals, Arthurs asked his friend Liam Gallagher to audition as a replacement. Liam then suggested that the band change their name to Oasis.
Why Oasis? It was inspired by an Inspiral Carpets (an English rock band) tour poster in the Gallagher brothers’ bedroom. It listed the Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon as the venue. Oasis’ first gig was on August 18th, 1991. Meanwhile, Noel was a roadie for Inspiral Carpets and went with the band to watch his younger brother play with his new band.
Noel didn’t think Oasis was anything special, but he started to consider the possibility of using Liam’s group as an outlet for a series of songs that he had been writing for several years. Noel approached Oasis about joining them, but on the condition that he would become the band’s sole songwriter and front man.
He also specified that they would need to commit to a pursuit of commercial success. “He had loads of stuff written,” Arthurs recalled. “When he walked in, we were a band making a racket with four tunes. All of a sudden, there were loads of ideas.”
Now that big brother Noel was in the lead, Arthurs and McGuigan were restricted to playing barre chords and root bass notes, McCarroll played only basic rhythms, and their amplifiers were turned up to create distortion. As a result, Oasis created a sound “so devoid of finesse and complexity that it came out sounding pretty much unstoppable,” as Arthurs put it.
All this happened between 1991 and 1993. By 1994, Noel had already quit the band. He came back, of course, but we can say that it was the beginning of the brothers’ professional feud, only adding more layers – and fuel – to their preexisting problems.
In 1994, after Oasis’ debut album Definitely Maybe was released and quickly jumped to the top of the charts in the UK, they did what most British bands have done before them: They tried to take their fame to America. But things didn’t go as planned…
During a gig at L.A.’s Whisky a Go Go in September that year, the band (allegedly high on meth) scrambled through a terrible set. It ended with Liam hitting Noel with a tambourine and storming offstage before the show was even over. The next day, Noel quit the tour. He did, however, rejoin the group after a brief cooling-off period in Las Vegas.
Let this following anecdote serve as a picture of what their rivalry would become throughout their years together. In the Oasis documentary, Supersonic (released in 2016), Liam said that during one of their fights, he came in “pissed” and couldn’t find the light switch in the room.
So, he “pissed all over [Noel’s] new stereo. I think it basically boils down to that.” The brothers seemed to have been quarreling from their early days, but their hatred for each other was pretty much cemented in 1995, a year after they debuted.
When the bootleg single Wibbling Rivalry was unleashed in 1995 (under the name “Oas•s”), the world got a glimpse of what these siblings were fighting about. The single consists of an audio recording of an interview Liam and Noel did with NME‘s John Harris in early 1994.
In the 14-minute long tape, you can hear bickering brothers insulting each other. Noel compared Liam to a football hooligan, and Liam told Noel that “You can stick your thousand pounds right up your f***in’ arse ’till it comes out your f***in’ big toe.”
As funny as Wibbling Rivalry is, it also reveals one of the central conflicts underlying Oasis’s rise to stardom: the tension between their music and the hard-partying reputation they eventually become synonymous with. At one point in the interview, Noel said to Liam, “You think it’s rock & roll to get thrown off a ferry… and it’s not.”
(Liam did, in fact, get thrown off a ferry in Amsterdam). A year after that F-bomb-filled tape was released, the band was in the midst of their international fame. And it was threatening to tear them apart.
During a recording session of the second Oasis album, (What’s The Story) Morning Glory, in Wales, Liam brought a group of people with him to the studio. But Noel was trying to work. Disturbed by Liam’s noise and clear disregard for him, Noel forced the group to leave, causing Liam to “lose it.”
He then attacked Noel and his guitars, and Noel retaliated by hitting his brother over the head with a cricket bat. That very bat was then taken from the studio by writer Paolo Hewitt, who later sold it at an auction. Hewitt wrote the authorized biography of Oasis, called Getting High: The Adventures of Oasis.
Oasis hit the peak of their fame in 1996, one year after the album (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? launched the group to superstardom. It was also the year they broke ground in the U.S., with Wonderwall hitting the Billboard Hot 100. The band performed Champagne Supernova at the MTV Video Music Awards.
In the UK, Morning Glory was becoming one of the nation’s best-selling albums. Oasis played at the Knebworth House in England, which was a gig that a quarter of the population of the country tried to attend. It was the kind of success that proves disastrous for two hard-headed people – worse, brothers – as arrogant and volatile as Liam and Noel Gallagher.
Let’s remember that the drugs they were using during these years (by their own admission) weren’t helping. After the coveted Knebworth concerts, the band was set to record MTV Unplugged in London, but Liam didn’t perform.
He claimed that he was suffering from a bout of laryngitis and preferred instead to heckle Noel (who took on vocals) from the balcony while chain-smoking and chugging beer. Then, as Oasis was due to start another American tour, Liam decided that he wasn’t going to come along. Apparently, it was because he was house hunting with his then-fiancé Patsy Kensit.
Noel later said that his brother’s decision not to join that tour was the move that “killed [Oasis] stone dead in America.” As someone who would never allow himself to be outdone by his little brother, Noel also gave up, and a few weeks later, he returned to England in the middle of their tour.
The press had a field day with rumors of Oasis’s imminent demise, but the brothers managed to patch things up – for a little while, anyway. If Liam’s move was, as Noel says, what killed the band, then it was a slow death because the group only officially broke up in 2009. Until then, it would be a series of break ups and reunions, like one of those on-and-off couples.
It comes as no surprise that Liam and Noel ended up as the subjects on MTV’s claymation battle show, Celebrity Deathmatch. After all, they gave the showrunners plenty of material to work with. In the battle, viewers saw the booze-soaked brothers kick, punch, and basically beat the crap out of each other in ways they probably dreamed of in real life.
“It looks like this one could go all night,” said one of the hosts. Then, Gallagher (the watermelon-smashing prop comic) joined the fight and showed Liam and Noel what a real battle looks like.
During Oasis’ 2000 world tour, the brothers got into another fight. But this one was so bad that Noel abruptly quit the tour. In their fight, Liam allegedly questioned the legitimacy of Noel’s daughter. Later, Noel told the British music magazine Q that he’s “never forgiven him because he’s never apologized.”
He rejoined the band later that year for UK tour dates, but the damage was already done a long, long time ago. Oasis would continue recording albums and touring, but the relationship between the two was strained. After their 2002 album Heathen Chemistry came out, the band went on another world tour, filled with even more incidents, including a car accident.
In the summer of 2002, while Oasis was on tour in the U.S., Noel, bass player Andy Bell and touring keyboardist Jay Darlington were involved in a car accident in Indianapolis. None of them sustained any major injuries, but some shows were cancelled as a result.
In December 2002, the German leg of the tour had to be postponed after Liam, drummer Alan White and three other members of the entourage were arrested after a violent fight at a Munich nightclub. Liam kicked a police officer in the ribs and even lost two of his front teeth. Liam was fined around $50,000.
The brothers tended to take to the press to air out their dirty laundry and whine about each other. One of the most amusing instances was during a Spin interview in 2005 when Noel confessed that he had to resort to mental manipulation in order to get Liam to do what he wanted.
“I’ve kind of learnt that instead of arguing stuff out with him and ending up in a fight, I work on his psychology, and he’s completely freaked out by me now,” Noel said. “I can read him and I can f***ing play him like a slightly disused arcade game.” (Noel revealed that he used to mess with Liam, who’s afraid of ghosts, by moving furniture around and making him think ghosts did it).
It all came to a boiling point in 2009, after nearly two decades of conflict when Noel quit Oasis for the last time after a gig in Paris. As they prepared to go onstage at the Rock En Seine festival, an argument broke out.
Liam threw Noel’s guitar around “like an axe,” which was the last straw for Noel. The show was subsequently canceled, along with the rest of the tour. “It’s with some sadness and a great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight,” he said in a statement. His reason? Just take a guess…
“People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer.” He added that his brother is “like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” A few days later, he wrote in another statement, titled “Tales from the Middle of Nowhere,” that “the details are not important and of too great a number to list.”
He continued: “You have the right to know that the level of verbal and violent intimidation towards me, my family, friends, and comrades has become intolerable.” Liam later sued his big brother over what he said was Noel’s “false” account of the events.
Oasis was already a thing of the past, but the band was still awarded its last honor: the Brits’ best album of the past 30 years for (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? What came as a surprise, though, was the fact that Liam showed up to accept the award.
He first thanked the other band members and then “the best f***ing fans in the world” before throwing the trophy into the audience. The one person he didn’t thank was his brother. Liam later explained the snub, saying, “I’m sick of it all being about Noel and me.”
Just when you though the beef was over – with the end of the band – the rivalry entered the digital age. It all started (or rather continued) once Liam discovered Twitter in 2011. While some celebrities use Twitter to connect with their fans, others, like Noel Gallagher, use it to promote their tours or albums… or diss their brothers.
Since 2011, Liam has used Twitter to post song lyrics, cheer on his beloved team Manchester City, leak details of his solo record, and start a never-ending series of jabs at his estranged brother.
There was a time when Noel and Russell Brand had a short-lived comedy radio show, and Liam tweeted about it: “what a pair of old housewife’s [sic].” From then on, Liam went on a making-fun-of-Noel rampage, poking fun at Noel’s new band, The High Flying Birds.
He called his big brother “Noel Katie Hopkins Gallagher” and “beige” (repeatedly). He even ripped on his own former band, tweeting “F*** OASIS.” What did Noel have to say in all this? Well, Noel hasn’t responded much on Twitter. But when he did, he really hit home.
On May 24th, 2016, Liam took his Twitter rants to another level when he sent out a picture of Noel with the caption “POTATO.” The post was as simple as that, but it ended up taking on epic proportions. He tweeted more and more about Noel being a potato for at least half a dozen more times over the next year.
Of course, it’s petty and childish. But it’s also pretty darn funny. Liam said to an interviewer that, “Lots of people say I need to chill out about Noel. Not until they stop Twitter. That c**t will always get it from me.” Noel’s response: “I guess it was about him staying relevant. If you’re him, what else is there to tweet about?”
Liam’s jabs at his older brother took on a more serious tone in the wake of the terrorist attack that occurred during an Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena. At the swiftly organized One Love Manchester benefit concert on June 4th, Liam made a surprise appearance to perform a few Oasis songs. He also sang a version of Live Forever with Coldplay’s Chris Martin.
But the day after the event, he once again took to Twitter to scold Noel for not showing up to support Manchester, calling him a “sad f***.” The concert organizers actually defended Noel, saying that “Neither Noel nor Oasis were ever going to perform. Let’s keep the positivity, please.”
While Liam has been taunting Noel for years, Noel has mostly stayed out of the constant tussles. Noel doesn’t have much of a social-media presence, other than the occasional Instagram post. He only started pushing back when he was in the midst of the ongoing press tour for his latest album, Who Built the Moon?
In an interview with The Sunday Times, Noel said that Liam “needs to see a psychiatrist,” after the whole concert ordeal… “Young music fans were slaughtered, and [Liam], twice, takes it somewhere to be about him. He needs to see somebody.”
Noel’s Who Built the Moon? the album is a bit of a contrast from his normally straightforward rock & roll sound. It obviously didn’t go unnoticed by his kid brother, who said that David Hasselhoff is more psychedelic than Noel. But things got strange at the beginning of November.
Noel performed on Later… With Jools Holland with the High-Flying Birds. One of its members had a very odd job: playing the scissors. (Noel’s explanation was that “she’s French and she’s eccentric.”) Liam took to Twitter to say that he would recruit a fan to peel a potato onstage during a performance. Believe it or not, a fan did bring a potato, and a peeler to a London show the next night.
Noel hit back in an interview with iD, saying, “I think at the beginning, from this side of the fence, there was a lot of good will… But that’s all gone now because it got personal. So it’s like, f*** what he does. As long as he keeps promoting my record, there’s a good boy.”
Liam’s obsessive tweeting was brought to light during an interview with Noel on BBC4’s Front Row. Noel said Liam should stop Tweeting because of the “ugly” things that are being thrown at his wife and children via their social media accounts. “People come after them, and … it’s not very nice,” Noel said.
As of late, Liam and Noel have reportedly been on speaking terms thanks to their children, who encouraged them to bury the hatchet. The Gallagher children – Noel’s daughter Anais, 19, and Liam’s children Molly, 21, Lennon, 20, and Gene, 18 – are all hoping their dad/uncle team will stop fighting already.
A source said: “All the kids would love nothing more than to see their dad and uncle being friends again.” And it’s not just the kids; their friends and family also said they hope the two will both pay their mother Peggy a visit as she has been devastated by their rift.
News of the brothers potentially putting aside their differences came after Liam basically teased Oasis by suggesting the iconic band could potentially reunite in 2022. Liam hinted that he and Noel might join forces again and put an end to their longstanding feud.
He claimed that his brother has been “begging him” to start up Oasis again in two years’ time. He wrote: “I intend to retire as a solo artist after album No. 3 as I have just had a call from my brother begging me to start oasis again in 2022 if you believe in life after love c’mon you know LG x.”
It’s not even the first time Liam suggested such a reunion. He previously told fans on Twitter that he and his brother were planning to bring back the band. Noel suggested that he would be willing to reconcile with Liam – for the sake of their mother.
“Our family has never been close. I don’t know one person, one single person, in my life who is living in the perfect family. Not one,” Noel said, adding, “Reconciliation is a good thing.” This coming from the guy who said every tweet Liam posts about him is “another nail in the coffin” for Oasis getting back together.
Liam has recently revealed what his mother thinks about her sons bickering like fools in a public war of words for decades. When Liam was asked by a fan on Twitter what his mom thinks of Oasis making a comeback, he replied, saying she thinks they’re both “massive c****.”
A source close to the band thinks their family matriarch is the key to the band getting back together. In 2018, Paul “Bigun” Ashbee (credited with introducing Liam to Bonehead), said “It wouldn’t take much for them to get together. It would be a Christmas dinner or Peggy saying ‘come on boys, for your mum, for the people.'”
Over the last year (2020), Noel and Liam earned a whopping $6.6 million in royalties from Oasis‘ back catalogue. Keep in mind that the brothers haven’t played together since 2009. But thanks to their companies – Big Brother Recordings and Oasis Merchandising Ltd. – the band is still raking in the dough.
A source told The Sun that “it’s a testament to Oasis’s super band status.” In an age when people stream music for free, people are still willing to buy records – Oasis records. “They’ve got to be one of the most profitable duos that can’t stand to be in a room together.”
It looks as though Liam and Noel’s kids are not only genetically blessed but cooler than any of us were at their age. Molly, Lennon, Gene and Anaïs have either been charity ambassadors, editors at Tatler or kicked out of school. And all of them are under 22.
Liam’s children, Molly, Lennon, and Gene, have different mothers but they’re all very close, at least after Liam reunited with Molly in 2018. Their cousin, Anaïs, has been seen occasionally with Molly, but there’s allegedly a lot of beef between them.
Molly, currently 21, is the daughter of Liam and Lisa Moorish. Believe it or not, Molly only met her dad in 2018, after being estranged from him her whole life. In 1997, Liam married actress Patsy Kensit, but only two months later, he began an affair with singer Lisa Moorish.
Moorish then gave birth to Molly on March 26th, 1998. After finally meeting Molly in 2018, he expressed hope that he would have a continued presence in her life. His daughter then started using the last name Moorish-Gallagher on her social media profiles.
Lennon is 20 years old and the son of Liam and Patsy Kensit. Lennon was born on September 13th, 1999, and his parents divorced a year later, in 2000. Lennon grew up to be a model and has walked in fashion shows for YSL and Lanvin. He’s also been photographed for Vogue and GQ.
Lennon seems to be close to his half siblings and often shows up in photos with Molly and Gene. Lennon went to the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and, according to his dad, plays the guitar and “pretty chilled out music.” Liam is also, unsurprisingly, in his own band.
Gene is 18 and the son of Liam and singer Nicole Appleton. Gene was born on April 2nd, 2001. After being together for eight years, Liam and Appleton finally married on February 14th, 2008, at Marylebone Town Hall – the same venue where he had previously married Kensit.
Gene was on trial for an alleged late night fight with none other than Ringo Star’s grandson, Sonny Starkey. Gene and Sonny were charged with “affray, using or threatening unlawful violence towards another.” It happened after they tried to buy alcohol after 11 p.m. and got into a fight with the staff. The trial is only meant to be completed in 2021.
Anaïs is 20 and the daughter of Noel and Meg Matthews. In 1997, Noel married Meg Mathews in Las Vegas. Mathews then gave birth to Anaïs on January 27th, 2000. Noel and Mathews divorced the next year, in 2001, on the grounds of his adultery with the Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald (which he denied).
Anais became a fashion editor at Tatler and a student at the Camberwell College of Arts. She also modeled for Accessorize and was the face of Reebok at one point.