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Saturday, November 05, 2011
Noel Gallagher's Rock N Roll Rebirth
On a rooftop patio looking out over Manhattan’s bright lights, Noel Gallagher is clutching a glass of white wine and making small talk with people he doesn’t know. Though the booze may be flowing at the launch party for his debut solo effort, High Flying Birds, there’s little sign of the legendary rock ’n’ roll hedonism that fuelled the early, swaggering Oasis albums. Gallagher proclaims confidence about Manchester City, the once-scrappy, now-nouveau riche football team he supports, and he admits he has sketchy recollections of growing up a few miles from its grounds: “too many drugs” in the interim.
Such substances are in the past, as is Oasis — more or less. Lounging on a sofa at a boutique hotel in the Bowery the next day, the singer and guitarist is somewhat subdued. He looks lean and fighting fit, but he’s still getting the hang of a solo career that began, effectively, in August 2009, when he quit Oasis after a bust-up with his brother Liam, the band’s lead singer.
The rooftop party, he says, made him slightly uncomfortable. “It’s quite strange on your own. … The focus is on you. It would have been nice to have been in a band last night.”
In his Oasis days, he was happy at the side of the stage — in control, as the primary songwriter, but out of the spotlight. Does he still feel this way?
“Oh yeah. I’d much rather be in a band,” he says, then stops short. “Let me rephrase that. Initially, when I started this, I was like: ‘This is a f–king pain in the arse; I don’t need this at my age’” — Gallagher is 44 — “being a frontman. And I might eventually grow into it. Each time I rehearse, I find it easier. I’m inching forward day by day.”
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