Barry Egan’s sprawling interview with Noel Gallagher for The Sunday Independent was crammed with revelations on everything from his childhood to his relationship with brother Liam to the secret to writing a classic.
Here are 10 things we learned:
He can’t party like Bono and that’s why he’ll never live in Dublin
Having supported U2 at Croke Park earlier this year Noel crashed at Bono’s for two days of hi jinx before flying to Paris to perform another show and, despite having had a humdinger couple of days on the lash, Noel, recovering in his hotel room, was stunned to see Bono on TV talking to the French Prime Minister about Africa.
“[His wife] Sara and I go over there, where Bono lives in Killiney. When I’m driving there, I go: ‘I could see myself living here’. And then, you think: ‘I would literally become an alcoholic!’”
He thinks his brother Liam is not ‘well’
They’ve locked horns many times over the years but ever since Liam dismissed Noel’s involvement with the We Are Manchester benefit concert held in response to the 22 concertgoers murdered there on May 22 as a ‘pr stunt’ and said Noel didn’t ‘give a f***’, things appear to have deteriorated to the point of no return.
“I will say this — and this is all I will say about it,” Noel says, “I don’t think that he [Liam] is well. I think it says more about him than it does about anything else. I honestly don’t think he is well.”
He’s warming to Radiohead
“Listen, they have done some great stuff,” he said before agreeing that they’re not a party band and that’s his issue with them.
“No. This is the one thing that I am always going to hold against them,” he said. “My wife has a physical reaction to them, when she hears them. It’s like: ‘No – can’t do it. Once he [Thom Yorke] starts singing. Can’t do it.’ No, they’re not a party band. But I’ve got some of their tunes on my phone. But I’m never in the Radiohead moment where I’m thinking, ‘Oh, a bit of modern angst will do her!.’”
He thinks Bob Geldof is a ‘dude’
“I love Bob Geldof. He is a dude, man,” he said.
He hit a creative wall towards the end of Oasis
“I was thinking about this recently. People think, or they might think, that it was the first time that I had hit a creative wall. But I didn’t know what that was, because it had never happened before,” he said, “In the same way that I didn’t know that Definitely Maybe was a peak because it had never happened before. I started to chase it and when you start to chase it, you start forcing it, and when you start forcing it, it is not natural.”
“When I listen back to Be Here Now, not that I listen back to it, I just think, it’s trying too hard. I should have f***ing taken another five years off! It comes back by letting it find you. The one piece of advice [Paul] Weller ever gave me was, ‘Don’t f***ing chase it. If it comes back, great’.”
How his upbringing affects his work
Noel’s childhood was scarred owing to the allleged abusiveness of his father, from whom he is estranged.
“They do say there’s something in it, your upbringing. So it must be. But I’ve got to say it has never made it into my songs. Like ‘my abusive childhood’. I suppose, if anything, it made me when I got the chance and I met Alan McGee [Creation Records boss] and we were going to get this record deal [in 1993], if anything my upbringing led me to realise that you only get one chance, and nobody is going to f*** it up for me.”
“And I am going to do all that I can not to go back and live on the dole. So maybe that. But the parental thing, not really…”
Why he walked out on Oasis in 2009
“I had had it. I sat in the car for five minutes. There was silence until my security guard’s walkie-talkie was crackling and he said, ‘Are we staying or going?’ And I said, ‘We’re going.’ Once I had said those words, I thought , ‘That’s it’. But , you know, I felt I had done enough. I felt that I, personally, had done enough. I felt that this was just going to go around in circles, forever. It is easy to sit there and pick up the cheque, travel in separate aeroplanes, separate dressing rooms, go onstage at opposite sides of the venue, and do the gig. 90pc of those big bands do it. U2 don’t do it because they are big f***ing mates.”
Why Oasis will never reform
Asked if he is “almost frightened of sullying the legacy of Oasis by recording another album?” he said, “No. If I ever… which I’m not, because Oasis is not going to get back together, I can predict with a 1000 per cent certainty that it is not going to happen. But I am not afraid of the legacy because it is [secured] with the first two Oasis albums.
“Listen, I read in the papers that ‘Oasis has got unfinished business’ And I’m thinking, ‘Well – whoever thinks that, I really f***ing pity them’, because I left it all in the studio, I left it all on the stage. I had nothing more to give. That was it. And if there is unfinished business, I have finished all my business there. I have no more business with him [Liam.] I play the [Oasis] songs because it is what people want to hear when I play live. And why wouldn’t I? I f***ing wrote all of them!”
Why the new album differs from Oasis
“It was great for [David Holmes] to throw me ideas all the time. Every day we would go in the studio and I would have written something in the hotel . He would go, ‘You know? It’s great…but it’s like Oasis!’ And then he would say, ‘And that’s great. But people would really like to hear you do something different.’ Now, you have to kind of open yourself up to that and just go: ‘OK, I can do it.’”
“It was a case of him pointing me in a different direction virtually every day. I would be working on a track and bits of it would be good, and he would say, ‘When you get to that bit, stop that and lets move on to the next track.’ You’d think he doesn’t like where it’s going and then you come back to it and your outlook on it would be different. He would do a bit of work on it when you weren’t there and you would come back and think, ‘God. This is cool. It sounds like Blondie now. I’m going to have to rethink this.’”
He can’t get his head around God
“I just can’t get my head around God. I definitely believe in destiny. But religious people say, this is God guiding you. When really in the modern age you are looking at the religious Armageddon that we have in the world and you think: ‘Well, if God is a real f***ing thing, wouldn’t now be the right time for you to show yourself… not through f***ing nonsense like a banana shaped like the Hail Mary?’ On the other hand, I absolutely kind of envy people who have the faith.”
Read Barry Egan’s full interview with Noel Gallagher here: ‘I’m going straight to rehab, this is too much for me’ – Noel Gallagher on partying at Bono’s, his childhood, fatherhood, and the secrets of writing a classic
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