Anthony McCarroll was born to Irish parents on 4 June 1971 in Levenshulme, Manchester, where he grew up. He has family in Ireland and spent a couple of years living there when he was younger due to his father's work. McCarroll got his first drum kit when he was six years old.
McCarroll had met Paul McGuigan while playing for the local football team at a young age. Together with McGuigan's friend Bonehead, they formed a band called The Rain and hired Chris Hutton as their singer, but he was sacked and replaced by Liam Gallagher not so long after, whom McCarroll had also known through childhood.
When Liam's brother Noel joined, the band changed their name to Oasis. McCarroll has stated in his book that he was closely involved in the creation of several of Oasis's songs, including Supersonic, despite Noel being given sole credit as songwriter.
Noel and McCarroll got on during childhood, but as Oasis gradually became famous, the relationship between the two faltered. Noel had repeatedly and publicly slammed McCarroll's drumming ability and said it wasn't good enough for a number one single.
The tension soon grew greatly between him and Noel: McCarroll had been angered by the "£1,000 incident", as the band called it, which occurred after Creation advanced them that sum to purchase new equipment and having already spent £600 of his own money on drums, McCarroll found that Noel refused to spend any of the cash on drum skins and instead bought a new guitar. Furthermore, he felt that Gallagher was intimidated by him and for his part, Gallagher made his feelings clear with his favoured trick of appearing to forget McCarroll's name during interviews. McCarroll was reportedly informed he was no longer in the band via a phone call by Marcus Russell at his mother's house, not from Noel or a band member, in 1995 after rumours of a punch-up with Liam, but McCarroll has since denied this and his last job with the band was their first performance of "Some Might Say" (the last Oasis song he played on) on Top of the Pops, on 22 May 1995.
On the last day of April 1995, McCarroll's departure was announced and soon the fight was abandoned as the main reason – instead, Oasis explained, his drumming just wasn't up to it. "I like Tony as a geezer but he wouldn't have been able to drum the new songs," explained Noel. McCarroll was replaced by Alan White, who remained until 2004.
Oasis producer Owen Morris said of McCarroll, "Tony was quiet and always polite to me, but seemed out of his depth…so I think Tony did well to survive as long as he did in Oasis." Morris described McCarroll's drumming style as "extremely basic", but with timing and tempo that were "almost autistically perfect".
In 1999 McCarroll hired a solicitor Jens Hills – who had won Pete Best £2m from The Beatles in 1995 – to sue Oasis for £18m. Arguing McCarroll was owed his part of the band's five-album deal with Creation, the case hoped to set a legal precedent, as McCarroll would have claimed compensation for two LPs on which he had not played. Eventually, he accepted an out-of-court settlement of £600,000 in March 1999, which effectively severed all links to the band, with McCarroll's legal fees reported at £250,000. The settlement provoked considerable reaction (one headline questioned "Is this the most stupid man in showbiz?". The reporter claimed "what Tony failed to realise was that he effectively held a lottery ticket which would mean he'd carry on winning every year.")
In an article building up to Oasis' seventh studio album Dig Out Your Soul in Q magazine in 2008, it was revealed that McCaroll was last seen in 2000 performing with the band Raika.
McCarroll's biography about his time in Oasis, entitled Oasis: The Truth, was released in October 2010.
McCarroll has two children, including a daughter called Gemma (born in 1989) with his first girlfriend Paula. He lives in Manchester and Ireland.