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Sunday, February 22, 1998 Published at 15:02 GMT

World: Asia-Pacific

Gabby Gallagher courts controversy in Hong Kong
image: [ Noel Gallagher: never one to mince his words ]
Noel Gallagher: never one to mince his words

Noel Gallagher, mainstay of Britpop rock group Oasis, has once again been doing what he does best.... apart from being a rock star that is......talking his way into more controversy.

He warmed up for the band's first appearance in Hong Kong on Sunday by renewing his war of words with ex-Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and taking pot shots at current pop sensations the Spice Girls.

[ image: Noel Gallagher: all music is theft]
Noel Gallagher: all music is theft
Gallagher, with the band on their "Be Here Now" world tour, rebuffed accusations of plagiarism by saying that everybody, even the Beatles, had "ripped off" their predecessors.

"Everything's been done before by every band, a million times," he said.

"Rock and roll started and finished with Elvis Presley, right, and everybody since them has been ripping off everybody else and I'm ripping off people who have come before me and I'm sure in 10 years' time people will be ripping off me and that's the way it is."

Noel Gallagher, the group's songwriter and guitarist, was joined at the press conference by bass player Paul "Guigsy" McGuigan .

Lead singer and Noel's younger brother Liam was "probably shopping or in bed."

The band will play to thousands of fans in Hong Kong's cavernous Convention Centre, which was the venue for the territory's official handover celebrations last July.


Noel Gallagher, who has penned all the band's hits including "Wonderwall" and "Champagne Supernova," has admitted to being a big Beatles fan and not beyond a little imitation.

"It's called theft," he explained.

Riled by recent comments by McCartney that Oasis are "derivative and they think too much of themselves," Gallagher ripped into pop music's elder statesman.

"When they started, the establishment of their day, and the jazz musicians, were dismissing the Beatles as a flash in the pan, derivative and meant nothing to anybody except 14-year-olds," he told reporters.

Gallagher played down comments he made last month that he was "bored with being a rock star."

"I was fed up. I was probably in a bad mood that day."

No break-up

McGuigan was also eager to scotch any rumours of the demise of Oasis.

"We're not fed up of being in the band and we are not splitting up either," he stressed in a rare foray to the microphone.

Gallagher also downplayed his comments that the internationally-popular band were now "bigger than god."

"He's five foot six and I'm five foot eight," he countered. "When I said that, I was completely drunk. They ask me these questions knowing that I have to answer them because I'm a big mouth."

Spiced-up words

Fellow British pop sensations the Spice Girls received qualified respect.

[ image: Noel Gallagher wished the Spice Girls good luck with their diets]
Noel Gallagher wished the Spice Girls good luck with their diets
"They are in the same business as we are and they are trying to make a living and I respect that and I wish them the best of luck with their diets."

Gallagher saved his strongest words for the assembled press corps, with whom he has always had a rocky relationship.

"I hope you all die in a pool of your own vomit," he told reporters.

Asked about the band's achievements he replied: "We brought swearing back to live television."

The band's world tour will finish in Mexico next month. On Monday they will leave for concerts in Australia.

After the tour "we'll be taking the rest of the year off and watching the World Cup," Gallagher said.

And after the Hong Kong gig? "The usual: trash the hotel, beat people up, set fire to things."

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