When it comes to rock feuds, few are as entertaining as the one between Oasis‘ Liam and Noel Gallagher. The swaggering brothers’ longstanding beef – which stretches back to childhood – was as much a part of the band’s mythology as its devotion to the Beatles, or its fondness for alcohol-fueled antics. And even though Oasis broke up in 2009, following years of threats on the part of either Gallagher, the feud continues to this day, with the estranged brothers trading barbs in the press and on social media. (“I’d rather eat my own shit than be in a band with him again,” Liam said in 2011.) To truly understand the scope of the Gallagher brothers’ bad blood, read on for a history of their conflicts, from the laughably petty to the somewhat serious.
Sometime in the 1970s: The feud begins
By their own admission, the Gallagher brothers have been at each other’s throats basically since Liam was born. Chalk it up to the usual sibling-rivalry dynamics, or a potent combination of ambition and ego, which both brothers have in spades; but the antics for which they’d later become known started early on. One example: In the excellent Oasis documentary Supersonic, released in 2016, Liam reveals that during one of their fights, “One night I come in pissed and I couldn’t find the light switch so I pissed all over [Noel’s] new stereo. I think it basically boils down to that.”
1994: Noel quits Oasis’ first American tour
After the band’s debut, Definitely Maybe, was released in 1994 – and quickly vaulted to the top of the charts in the U.K. – they did what many British bands have done before them: tried to conquer America. But things didn’t go exactly as planned; during a gig at the Whisky a Go Go in Los Angeles in September, the band, allegedly high on crystal meth, muddled through a legendarily terrible set, which culminated in Liam hitting Noel with a tambourine and walking offstage before the show was over. Noel quit the tour the next day, though he eventually rejoined the group after a brief cooling-off period in Las Vegas.
1995: “Wibbling Rivalry” is released
The not-exactly-a-caricature of the perpetually squabbling Gallagher brothers was cemented in 1995, when the bootleg single “Wibbling Rivalry” was unleashed (cheekily, under the name Oas•s). All it consists of is an audio recording of an interview the brothers did with NME‘s John Harris in early 1994, before Definitely Maybe was released; basically, it’s 14 minutes of bickering and insult-flinging, with Noel comparing Liam to a football hooligan, and Liam telling Noel that “You can stick your thousand pounds right up your fuckin’ arse ’till it comes out your fuckin’ big toe.”
But for as funny as Wibbling Rivalry is – and truly, it’s a must-listen for any dedicated Oasis scholar – it also lays bare one of the central conflicts of Oasis’s rise to stardom: the tension between the band’s actual music and the hard-partying reputation the name “Oasis” would eventually become synonymous with. “You think it’s rock & roll to get thrown off a ferry,” Noel tells Liam at one point (referencing an incident in Amsterdam in which Liam did, in fact, get thrown off a ferry), “and it’s not.”
1996: The band’s fame threatens to tear them apart
Oasis hit the peak of its fame in 1996, a year after (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? vaulted the group to superstardom. It was the year that the group broke through in the U.S.; “Wonderwall” hit the Billboard Hot 100, and the band eventually performed “Champagne Supernova” at the MTV Video Music Awards. Back at home, Morning Glory was on its way to becoming one of the U.K.’s best-selling albums, and the band played Knebworth House in Hertfordshire, England, a gig that fully a quarter of the population of England tried to see.
But that level of success was calamitous for two people as cocky and volatile as Liam and Noel Gallagher. (All of the cocaine they were using, by their own admission, probably didn’t help.) After the Knebworth concerts, the band was due to record MTV Unplugged in London, but Liam – claiming a bout of laryngitis – didn’t perform, preferring instead to heckle Noel (who took on singing duties) from the balcony while chain-smoking and guzzling beer. Then, just as the band was due to embark on an American tour, Liam decided he didn’t want to come along (allegedly, due to his house hunt with then-fiancé Patsy Kensit), a move the Noel later says “killed [Oasis] stone dead in America.” Never one to be outdone by his kid brother, Noel himself said “fuck it” a few weeks later and returned to England in the middle of the 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.
1998: The brothers’ battles are immortalized on Celebrity Deathmatch
Of course Liam and Noel ended up as the subjects of an episode of MTV’s claymation brawler; they’d given the writers plenty to work with, after all. In the battle, the booze-soaked brothers – you can tell which is which because Liam has a unibrow (until Noel rips it off, anyway) – kick, punch, and generally beat the shit out of each other in ways that they’ve probably only dreamed of in real life. “It looks like this one could go all night,” says one of the hosts – until Gallagher (as in the watermelon-smashing prop comic), shows up and shows Liam and Noel the business end of his Sledge-o-Matic.
2000: Noel quits again after fracas with Liam
Allegedly, in the middle of the band’s 2000 world tour, the Gallaghers got into a fight so bad (in which younger bro was said to have questioned the legitimacy of his older brother’s daughter) that Noel abruptly quit the tour. Later, Noel would tell British music magazine Q that “I’ve never forgiven him because he’s never apologized.” He would eventually rejoin the band later that year for U.K. tour dates, but the damage was done.
2005: Noel claims that Liam is “frightened to death” of him
Though Oasis were still recording albums and touring at this point, the relationship between the Gallaghers was definitely frayed. They often took to the press to air their grievances or share petty beefs, and one of the most amusing instances came during a Spin interview in 2005, when Noel admitted that he was resorting to mental manipulation 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,” the elder Gallagher told the interviewer. “I can read him and I can fucking play him like a slightly disused arcade game.” (Later, Noel would reveal that he used to mess with Liam, who is apparently afraid of ghosts, by moving furniture around and making him think spirits did it. Classic.)
2009: Noel quits Oasis for good
Finally, after nearly two decades of conflict, Noel quits Oasis for good. “It’s with some sadness and great relief to tell you that I quit Oasis tonight,” he said in a statement at the time. “People will write and say what they like, but I simply could not go on working with Liam a day longer. “He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.” Allegedly, a fight between the brothers led to Liam getting physical – eventually smashing one of Noel’s guitars – and the elder Gallagher snapped. Liam later sued Noel over what he said was the latter’s “false” account of the events.
2010: Liam snubs Noel at the Brit Awards
Oasis were no stranger to the Brit Awards, but the band was awarded its last honor – the Brits’ best album of the past 30 years for (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? – in 2010, after they’d split for good. But surprise! Liam showed up to accept the award, thanking the other band members and “the best fucking fans in the world” before throwing the award into the audience. He did, however, leave one person out: Noel. Liam later explained that “I’m sick of it all being about me and Noel,” hence the shout-out to the fans and the other band members. (That kind of backfired, huh?)
2011: The feud enters the digital age as Liam discovers Twitter
Some celebrities use Twitter to connect with their fans; some, like Noel, use it to promote their latest tour or new album. And since 2011, Liam has used Twitter for a number of things – posting song lyrics, cheering on his beloved Manchester City, leaking details of his solo record – and, yes, sending forth a seemingly never-ending series of catty jabs at his estranged brother.
It all started in 2009, when Liam tweeted “what a pair of old housewife’s [sic]” about Noel and Russell Brand’s short-lived comedy radio show. From there, little bro went on make fun of Noel’s new band, call him “Noel Katie Hopkins Gallagher” and “beige” (repeatedly), and tweet, simply, “FUCK OASIS” last year. Noel, for his part, hasn’t responded on Twitter (much, but we’ll get to that).
2016: Liam’s now-famous “Potato” tweets begin
On May 24th, 2016, Liam took the feud to another level of boffo by tweeting out a picture of Noel with the caption “POTATO.” There’s nothing more to it than that, but he went on to tweet about Noel being a potato at least half a dozen more times over the next year. It was childish, sure, but also pretty damn funny. He also told an interviewer that, “Lots of people say I need to chill out about Noel. Not until they stop Twitter. That cunt will always get it from me.”
Not into jumping onto something that happened 20 years ago it was your idea you massive potato who you trying to kid mr showbizz
Noel’s response: “I guess it was about him staying relevant. If you’re him, what else is there to tweet about?”
June 2017: “You sad fuck”
Liam’s ribbing of his older brother took a more serious turn in the wake of a terrorist attack during an Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Liam made a surprise appearance at the quickly organized One Love Manchester benefit concert on June 4th, where he performed a few Oasis songs – including a poignant version of “Live Forever” with Coldplay’s Chris Martin – and showed his love for his hometown. But the day after the event, he took to Twitter to chastise Noel for not showing up to support Manchester, calling his brother a “sad fuck”:
For their part, the One Love concert organizers defended Noel, saying that “Neither Noel nor Oasis were ever going to perform. … Let’s keep the positivity please.”
October 2017: Noel recommends that Liam “see a psychiatrist”; Liam roasts Noel during a Reddit AMA
Even though Liam has been taunting Noel via Twitter for years, Noel has largely stayed out of the fray (and doesn’t even have much of a social-media presence, beyond the occasional Instagram post). But during the ongoing press tour for his latest album, Who Built the Moon?, Noel began punching back. In a lengthy interview with The Sunday Times, the elder Gallagher said that Liam “needs to see a psychiatrist” because of his Tweets after the May attack on the Manchester Arena. “Young Mancunians, young music fans, were slaughtered, and [Liam], twice, takes it somewhere to be about him,” Noel told the paper. “He needs to see somebody.”
Liam responded in kind:
And as for seeing somebody I bet you and the mrs have got a few on the go you pair of chameleons as you were Twitch blink LG x
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) October 8, 2017
Though it wasn’t the best part of Liam’s Reddit AMA – that’s a toss-up between the admission that he owns somewhere north of 1,500 tambourines, and the moment where he compared Robbie Williams to a Bud Light – he did manage to get in a dig at his older brother, because of course he did. One commenter asked, “Would you sing a song Noel wrote you if he offered it to you for your solo album?” – to which Liam replied: “I think he needs all the songs he can get himself these days.” It may not be his most creative burn, but it proves he’ll use literally any chance to roast Noel.
November 2017: “Must have own peeler as you were”; Noel accuses Liam of “legitimizing hate” against his family online
Noel’s psychedelia-inflected Who Built the Moon? is a bit of a left turn for the normally straightforward rock & roller – something that did not go unnoticed by his baby brother, who has said that David Hasselhoff is more psychedelic than Noel. (Yes, really.)
But the strangest turn happened in the first week of November. Noel performed on Later… With Jools Holland with his band, High-Flying Birds, and one of its members appeared to have one very odd job: playing the scissors. (His explanation is that “she’s French and she’s eccentric.”) Liam’s response: He Tweeted about recruiting a fan to peel a potato onstage during a performance – and while that didn’t happen, a fan did bring a potato and a peeler to a show in London the next night.
To the peeler who peeled his little heart out lastnight you my friend are truly out there psychedelic even as you were King Parka Monkey x
— Liam Gallagher (@liamgallagher) November 8, 2017
Meanwhile, Noel hit back at his brother in an interview with iD, telling the magazine that “I think at the beginning, from this side of the fence, there was a lot of good will as in, yeah, man, I fucking hope it works. It’s about time. But that’s all gone now because it got personal. So it’s like, fuck what he does. As long as he keeps promoting my record, there’s a good boy.”
The darker side of Liam’s obsessive tweeting about his brother was brought to light in an interview with Noel on BBC4’s Front Row. Noel said “maybe [Liam] should stop Tweeting [about me],” because of the “ugly” things that are thrown at his wife and children – about Oasis, or Liam – via their social media accounts. “People come after them, and … it’s not very nice,” Noel said. “It only heightens my resolve that I’ll never walk the stage with that band again for that reason.”