There's sibling rivalry, and then there's the Liam and Noel Gallagher feud. One of these things is just not quite like the other – insofar as one of these things (the former) usually connotes implicitly competing against a sibling for interfamilial superlatives – like parental love – and the other connotes smashing instruments, routinely fistfighting, and accusing one another of having illegitimate children.
The Gallagher brothers, as the best-known members of the Britpop band Oasis, made music together for almost 20 years, and Oasis albums routinely set records in the UK. The British rockers rose to international fame as the "next Beatles" and, as one of the most popular bands in the 1990s and 2000s, they put on a good show. Definitely Maybe and (What's the Story) Morning Glory? sold millions of copies in 1994 and 1995, respectively, and despite some temporary splits, the Gallagher brothers always gravitated back to each other.
Unfortunately, the back-stage antics of the Gallaghers rivaled those of some craziest rockers and rock bands to have ever lived. The siblings bickered, insulted one another, and physically fought, and audiences the world 'round ate up the Mancunian drama – some might say the anger in the Liam and Noel Gallagher relationship got the better of them, breaking up Oasis in 2009.
After they skyrocketed to fame in Britain with their debut album Definitely Maybe, Oasis turned its attention to the US. They started their first US tour in 1994. At a show in LA in September, they played what has been called one of the worst gigs in music history. In the 2016 documentary Oasis: Supersonic, Liam admitted that the band had been doing, "big f*cking lines" of crystal meth backstage because they, "thought it was coke."
That night at Whisky a Go Go, the audience waited for the band to appear – which was itself a bad sign – as the band had been involved in a fight at the Viper Room and had the police called on them the night before. But they did eventually show, and when they did, Liam announced that the rest of the band wasn't coming, but they did. Onstage, the Gallagher brothers provoked one another with dirty looks, made inappropriate gestures, and sang incorrect lyrics. At one point, everyone in the band started playing a different song. Then, it got physical.
According to one observer at the time:
Noel glares at him [Liam] and Liam lurches across, puts his face about an inch from his brother’s and tells him to go fuck himself. Noel shrugs him off. Liam paces a fast full circle round the stage like a caged animal and returns for some more. There’s much pushing and shoving. Liam twats Noel around the back of the head with a tambourine.
The next day, Noel quit the band, and the tour was canceled.
In 1994, Liam and Noel gave an interview to British-based magazine NME (New Music Express) that has since become the stuff of legend. Now known as "Wibbling Rivalry," the Gallaghers argue loudly and pettily about what it means to be "rock n' roll." Liam had recently gotten arrested on a ferry while the band was on its way to a gig and was pretty proud of himself; that for Liam was pretty rock n' roll. Noel, on the other hand, was furious about his brother's behavior and spent the majority of the interview repeatedly berating him for it, like this:
Noel: The thing about getting thrown off ferries — blah, blah, blah — and getting deported is summat that I’m not proud about because ...
Liam: Well I am.
Noel: Yeah, alright. Well if you’re, right, well if you’re, right, well if, if you’re proud about getting thrown off ferries, then why don’t you go and support West Ham and get the f*ck out of my band and go and be a football hooligan, right? Coz we’re musicians, right? We’re not football hooligans.
Like their music, Oasis's Wibbling Rivalry interview topped the charts.
For a long time, the Gallagher brothers' tensions ebbed and flowed. And they experienced a wave of peace until their 2000 European tour. While the band was in Spain, Liam not so subtly hinted that Noel's daughter with his former wife Meg Matthews might not be his. In the wake of the insult, Noel punched Liam in the face several times, splitting open his lip. Noel then quit the band but eventually returned for some UK tour dates.
Even Noel and Liam's children have gotten into the squabbles. In 2017, Liam's son Gene insulted Noel's daughter, Anais, after she appeared in a fashion show, saying she looked "like her dad in a blond wig," among other jabs.
According to both Liam and Noel, they've been fighting since they were kids. Liam told a reporter in 2016 that he was drunk one night – he was 15 at the time, and Noel was 19 – and couldn't find the light in their shared bedroom or the way to the toilet. So he peed in the corner of the room, unfortunately right where Noel had put his new stereo. When Noel got upset, Liam told him "Listen mate, it could have been worse. It could have been in your mouth."
In the documentary Oasis: Supersonic, the boys' mom, Peggy Gallagher, says the feud began five years after Noel was born – when Liam was born and stole the spotlight.