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Monday, November 14, 2011
Noel Gallagher Grossly Underestimated his Abilities as a Solo Performer
Interview: Noel Gallagher talks guitars, gear and High Flying Birds
Plus songwriting, production, upcoming "psychedelic" record
His songs and performances are filled with grace and easy charm – a deceptively casual style that never calls attention to craft. Turns out, the Noel Gallagher one encounters during an interview is very much like the Noel Gallagher on record.
Never once during our conversation - taking place just two hours before he's to appear on stage in Philadelphia with his new band High Flying Birds - does it appear as though the singer-songwriter and guitarist is on auto-script, tossing out pre-planned, well-rehearsed answers. By turns direct, fresh, surprising (even to him, sometimes) and remarkably funny, Gallagher is, as ever, the real deal.
Clearly in a good mood, he admits that he's having a great time on this, his maiden tour as a solo artist. "I'm really enjoying it," he says. "I'm looking forward to every show. I thought that I would be lost in the middle of the stage, but I'm liking it. I can see a long open road in front of me. It turns out that I've grossly underestimated myself."
So far, his solo shows have met with the same glowing enthusiasm as his new album, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and considering that the disc is one of 2011's best releases - a 10-song, first-listen winner that matches the highest highs of Oasis' Definitely Maybe and (What's The Story) Morning Glory? - that's saying something. Tracks like If I Had A Gun and (I Wanna Live In A Dream In My) Record Machine already play like classics, and the best kind of classics, too: alive, open-hearted, intelligent and endlessly transfixing.
Much has been made of Noel's split from Oasis and his fractured relationship with brother Liam (who now fronts the band Beady Eye) - too much, in fact - so in the following interview, MusicRadar decided to shift the focus to the things that matter most: musicianship, songwriting, production, guitars and gear.
There's something very distinctive about your guitar playing. All you have to do is strum the opening chords to If I Had A Gun or Wonderwall, and we know it's you.
"Really? Huh… Well, that's interesting! [laughs] To be honest, I don't consider myself a guitarist, so I don't sit around and think about the whole thing too much. I only try to think about the songs, you know? I've got my own style on the guitar, sure, and I play rhythm in a certain way, and I use certain inflections. People have said that to me, and I understand it. But I don't have any magic answers – I just do what I do.
"I tend not to play a lot of major chords. I think I drop the major notes and play fifths, you know what I mean? Again, it's nothing I spend a lot of time on. I try to play like myself, and I think I do. But I don't dwell on the whole aspect of guitar technique and stuff. I'm a songwriter."
You say you don't consider yourself a guitarist, but to many people you're more than that – you're a "guitar hero."
"Well, you know what? In Oasis, I was doing a completely different thing than what I'm doing now. I was playing lead guitar. And…I do miss that. I miss being at the end of the stage and just turning up my fucking amp as loud as possible and kissin' the sky. I do miss that, I have to say.
"What I'm doing now, yeah, it's different, so I have to rein in my natural urges to go for it. I'm part of the rhythm section now, so I've got to hold things down. I can't just go off on the guitar. But I'm enjoying that, really. I've got to say, I'm a much better rhythm guitarist than a lead guitarist."
read full article on MusicRadar.com
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