It’s almost a shame when bandmates get along. Conflict is built into rock ‘n’ roll music, and over the years fans have come to expect that conflict to rear its ugly head. The Beatles, The Sex Pistols, Oasis, The Libertines: all of them were plagued by internal rivalries. Sometimes those conflicts led to astonishing creative feats – as with The Libertines ‘Can’t Stand Me Now’ – but they also destroyed those groups. Still, there’s something exciting about bands that fight. Whether we’re willing to admit it or not, we’re thrilled by the sense that everything could fall apart with a single word. As musicians who faced their own band conflicts, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and The Rolling Stones’ Kieth Richards know a thing or two about harsh words.
During an interview on Absolute Radio, Noel Gallagher regaled listeners with a story about the first time he met Keith Richards at a New Year’s Eve party. “I’ve actually spent New Year’s Eve at Keith Richards’ [house] about four years ago,” he began. “It was actually funny. I know all the Stones’ kids, and I’ve known them – because they were all Oasis fans – for a long time. So we happened to be in this hotel, I’m gonna say it was in the Bahamas somewhere, and one of ’em said ‘oh Keiths here’. I’m like ‘gah I’ve never met Keith Richards’. And he said, oh,’ come up to the bar for a drink tonight’.”
Even while telling the story, Gallagher seemed astonished by the offer: “So we go to the bar and there is Keith Richards looking exactly like you would imagine, like, scarf and a hat. And his son, Marlon, said ‘Dad’ and he suddenly turned around and said, ‘Oh, you’re still around are ya.’ And his second line was, ‘There’s something I’ve always wanted to ask you: whose singer is a bigger c***, yours or mine?'”
Clearly thrilled at being allowed to slag off his brother, Noel thought for a moment and then said: “‘As your singer wrote some of the greatest lyrics of all time, I’m gonna say mine actually’. And he was like: ‘Yeah your band were quite interesting there for a while, and I was like ‘I could actually say the same to you.’ But he was great – such a dude. It kinda reaffirms your faith in all your heroes when you meet Keith because he is the man, but Mick’s…Mick’s great.'”