“Squire’s a dude and I’m a dude” – Liam Gallagher and John Squire on joining forces and any hopes of an Oasis reunion

As two of Manchester’s most famous musical sons join forces, HUNGER sits down with Liam Gallagher and John Squire to discuss their new album, tasselled moccasins and tricky former bands.
  • PhotographerCharlie Cummings
  • WriterDevinder Bains

“I love Bowie, but I’m not wearing a pair of fucking knickers on stage and fucking jumpsuits and painting one of my eyes with a red fucking star!” Liam Gallagher is one minute 45 seconds into the interview and the profanities that he’s famous for are in full flow. “That was for a different time. I just want to get on stage in my fucking cagoule, my jeans and me trainers. I don’t want to be having costume changes.”

We’re talking about acceptable on-stage attire as part of a chat about Gallagher’s new project with the former Stone Roses guitarist and fellow Mancunian John Squire: a ten-track self-titled album of blues meets Britpop meets The Beatles that the pair have just released, and the accompanying tour, which reportedly sold out in 30 seconds. Gallagher is understandably excited to be collaborating with one of his musical heroes. “Stone Roses were the band for me, still are. When I heard the first album and then saw them in Manchester, it just made me sort of realise who I was, even though I was still 16,” says the former Oasis front man. “Me mam and dad had split, it was fucking shit, so listening to the Roses just put a spring in my step and Manchester didn’t seem so gloomy.” Gallagher credits the five-year wait for a second Stone Roses album to materialise as “the reason we started Oasis. I’d quite happily have fucking followed them around, but they were taking ages, so we were like, ‘Shall we just do it ourselves?’”

Liam wears coat by MACKINTOSH. John wears coat by THE REAL MCCOY’S.

At the time, Gallagher listened to Stone Roses interviews and put together a record collection based on what had influenced Squire and front man Ian Brown, but what sealed the deal was the idea of wearing that cagoule on stage. “I realised that you don’t have to have hair like the geezer out of The Cure or wear all black clothes to be in a band. The Roses were dressed kind of the way me and my older brothers were dressed, so I thought, ‘I can do this band stuff,’” he recalls. “I just didn’t wanna be walking outside in a leather jacket and fucking cowboy boots and thinking I’m in The Clash.”

John wears coat by STONE ISLAND.
Liam wears coat by PAUL SMITH.

Now, Gallagher gets to be in a band with the man who gave his cagoule-wearing the green light. In fact, it appears both men are still experts in the outerwear staple: during the HUNGER shoot they personally pick out the jackets that best suit them, making sure that they complement each other’s look. There’s mutual respect there and similarities in personality that aren’t immediately apparent. While Gallagher answers questions with a quick and brazen honesty, Squire is calm and considered, but neither minces their words. Gallagher’s humour centres on clever quips filled with expletives and wild comparisons, while Squire’s comedy timing is a silent assassin. On set they’re equally likeable, Gallagher for his awe-inducing, omnipotent presence, while Squire has a warmth that makes the whole team fall in love with him. Gallagher sums up their charm: “Squire’s a dude and I’m a dude.”

Liam wears coat by MACKINTOSH. John wears coat by STONE ISLAND.

Squire, who regularly polls as one of the greatest guitarists of all time, found fame after The Stone Roses formed in 1983. Their debut self-titled album received critical acclaim thanks to the indie anthems he co-wrote on that record, and the follow-up album, Second Coming, went on to inspire generations of guitar bands, as well as being scratched into the hearts of music lovers in Manchester and far beyond. But the fractious relationship between the band members led to them calling it a day in 1996. Reunion tours, a few singles and a documentary followed before a final disbanding in 2019. Squire also formed The Seahorses – a brilliant one-album band – released two solo albums and is a well-respected artist and sculptor.

The paths of Squire and Gallagher crossed frequently due to similar musical circles, but the guitarist admits that he initially swerved listening to Oasis’ debut album, Definitely Maybe. “I didn’t want to listen to them because I’d heard the name bandied about quite a bit already and I’m quite phobic to trends. I’ve always tried to discover things on my own,” Squire says, but when he did hear it, “I was really impressed. I expected it to trail off and be top heavy with the good tunes and then with a load of filler, but I thought it was really strong. And when I saw them on Top of the Pops, I realised they were going to be a big deal.”

Liam wears jacket by SAGE NATION.

Indeed they were. Oasis released some of the biggest- selling singles and albums in UK history, enjoyed global success, including three platinum albums in the US and two Grammy nominations, and became the embodiment of Nineties lad culture and hedonism. Their personal lives, and the fall-outs that would eventually lead to the band’s demise in 2009, at times grabbed more headlines than their musical prowess. The band’s two epic performances at Knebworth Park in Hertfordshire in 1996, to an audience total of 250,000, are still some of the biggest seen in Britain – a staggering 2.6 million people tried to get tickets. The gigs would also be where Gallagher first collaborated with Squire, who joined Oasis on stage to play guitar on the encore track “Champagne Supernova”. Fast forward 26 years, through a mediocre second band called Beady Eye, a two-year hiatus and three critically acclaimed solo No. 1 albums, and Gallagher was ready to return to Knebworth to play two giant shows in June 2022, where he was once again joined on stage by Squire, for the same track.

It was in the lead-up to these gigs that initial conversations for this new collaborative album started to form. “It grew out of a catch-up with my manager. I expected him to be wanting to sound me out about another Roses reunion, so it was almost like, ‘I better give him something else,’” says Squire, who makes it clear that a Stone Roses get-together is most definitely not on the cards. Squire palmed him off with the idea of making new music with a female vocalist, which fell away when the Knebworth gigs came up, and then, “My manager said, ‘What would you think about working with Liam on some songs?’” Squire, who had briefly collaborated with Gallagher on a song for The Seahorses’ 1997 album, didn’t hear anything else on the subject until he arrived at the first rehearsal for Knebworth. “Liam said something like, ‘How are ya? Nice jacket, where’s that from?’ We talked about shoes and then he said, ‘So, you’re interested in getting some tunes together?’” Squire says, laughing at this reminder of Gallagher’s penchant for a nice cagoule. “I said, ‘Yeah, definitely.’ It grew from that. On the train back we were texting and he offered me a couple of pairs of tasselled moccasins – that was kind of the contract, I think, for the gig and for the album.”

John wears jacket by CONNOLLY. Liam wears coat by PAUL SMITH.

Gallagher remembers being equally keen: “He sent some tunes and I liked them. They had John singing on them with just guitars. I thought these will be mega with drums and bass and then obviously be even better with me on it.” Squire was given full autonomy on songwriting. “He’s a better songwriter. I’m a part-time songwriter,” Gallagher says. “I’ve got to be in the fucking mood – I just find it a pain in the ass.”

Squire’s inspiration when writing hasn’t changed vastly over the past three or four decades: he reels off “Jimi Hendrix, The Byrds, The Beatles and Stones”, almost the same list of records Gallagher added to that first collection of his to imitate the Roses. “I’m not talented enough as a writer to choose what’s going to emerge. I just sit there with a guitar and hope for the best. I got lucky with this stretch of ten songs,” Squire says of the process. “I won the FA Cup when I heard Liam singing on the demo. So I could have got out at that point and had a happy life.” He adds that it’s the most excited he’s been about any music he’s made “since the Roses started”.

John wears coat by STONE ISLAND. OPPOSITE: Liam wears coat by PAUL SMITH.

The album’s release is in line with the comeback trend that has had Nineties bands like Blur and Pulp buoying original fans with new albums, tours and festival appearances, but also tapping into a market of new, much younger fans. “People always love music that’s been before and maybe that’s because it’s fucking shit right now,” Gallagher says about the uptake. His own solo success came before this latest Britpop iteration, so how did he crack the Gen Z market? “The solo stuff is produced more for radio, so it gets heard more,” he says frankly, going on to admit he’s even happy for his team to make tweaks to the tracks to make them more radio friendly (“as long as they’re not making it like fucking shitty pop”). He credits his team of songwriters for the success and then, of course, himself. “I’m a bit of a fucking daft cunt. I’m never gonna grow up and I’m always on social media and I think people get a little bit more of me. I put myself out there.”

It’s a formula that his brother Noel hasn’t quite cracked, keeping a steady older audience as his main base. “Because he’s a fucking little fuddy-duddy dude, isn’t he?” Gallagher offers, before clarifying… “He’s miserable. I mean, he’s funny and all that, but he’s just fucking miserable and he’s just stuck in his old fucking ways. He thinks just because he writes a song on a guitar everyone’s gonna fall at his feet, but you have to give a little bit if you want to stay relevant. And I think that’s what I do.”

Squire hopes the Nineties resurgence will “guide the record companies” to invest in emerging guitar music, although when asked to name any new bands he likes, his long pause is followed by a mischievous laugh. “I really tried to think of someone,” he insists, before acknowledging the challenges faced by those trying to make it in the music industry. “I think it can be frightening, but if you don’t stay in the game, you’re definitely gonna lose.” Maybe Squire’s own early days in The Stone Roses might inspire new contenders for his throne. “There was a period when we were all on the dole and trying to avoid this government scheme where they try and force you into a job that you didn’t want. We really believed in the band and wanted to be free to do that 24/7, so we had to keep dodging jobs and pay for everything with our meagre income, which was about £30 a fortnight or something.” The gamble paid off and now Squire, who hasn’t toured since 2017, is excited to get back on the road with another of Manchester’s musical success stories.

Liam wears jacket by MACKINTOSH.

Gallagher insists the shows will be a run-through of the album with some covers thrown in, but definitely no Oasis or Stone Roses. “The thought of slipping from this album to a Stone Roses song, which I ain’t fucking singing – they mean too much to me,” he shakes his head. “Even the thought of doing that and skipping to a fucking Oasis song, it’s just schizophrenic. I know people might like it but I’d come out of there pickled every night. The songs are great, and they’re gonna be even better live. When I’m on form, I’m the bollocks, and when John Squire’s on form he’s the bollocks – and that’s it.”

John wears jacket by CONNOLLY.

He’s not wrong, and as our chat about this new union comes to an end, I can’t help but ask about a reunion that Gallagher must be tired of talking about. He is a tour de force as a solo artist, has a masterful songwriter and guitarist in Squire – do we even need Oasis back? “I don’t think we need it, but I know people would like to see it,” says Gallagher, who is doing a solo Definitely Maybe tour this summer to celebrate the 30th anniversary of that album (a tour that Noel reportedly turned down). “Before a reunion, I think that me and our kid need to sort of be brothers again, because it’s been too long now.” But if the opportunity does arise, Gallagher is in. “I’m ready to go. I’m still cool, I can do the songs. I’ve proved to everyone that I’m not a fucking lazy arse and that was Noel’s thing [about me] – ‘Well, he’s lazy and he’s this and he’s that.’ I’m ready to go. So if it happens, it happens.” Oasis fans everywhere are waiting for the day it does happen, but until then this collaboration with Squire will definitely more than make do.

  • StylistMark Anthony Bradley
  • Art Director Kat Beckwith
  • GroomerNatalya Chew Using Givenchy
  • Photography Assistant Harrison Phillips
  • Styling AssistantFaye Carlon
  • ProducerAbby Rothwell