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Sunday, March 04, 2012
Billy Connolly helped Noel Gallagher kick drug habit
Noel Gallagher has revealed how comic legend Billy Connolly helped him kick the £1million cocaine habit threatening to wreck his life.
The former Oasis star turned to The Big Yin when he went cold turkey in a last-ditch bid to quit drugs.
He had become pals with the funnyman after a chance meeting while shopping in Harrods in London.
Noel, 44, said: “I’ve only ever really been star-struck twice.
“One was Neil Young and the other was Billy Connolly. I don’t know why. I met him in Harrods. He went, ‘Awright, ma wee brother’. I was like, ‘F***, it’s Billy Connolly’.
“I’d seen him live and watched his DVDs. He makes me laugh till it hurts.
“When I decided I was going to kick drugs, I spent a lot of time lying on the couch, eating soup and watching his DVDs.
“They say laughter is the best medicine. I assure you it is. I love the guy. He’s great.
“I met him recently at the premiere of the George Harrison movie Living In The Material World in London. A top man.”
Noel was in Glasgow last week playing a sell-out gig at the 10,000-capacity SECC followed by a secret show for 300 fans at The Grand Ole Opry, the city’s famous country music club.
The singer returns to Scotland on July 7 to play the Main Stage at T In The Park alongside his music heroes The Stone Roses.
He will also headline Edinburgh Castle 10 days later. And he might be measuring for curtains because he wants to buy the castle for his wife Sara MacDonald, who is from Edinburgh.
Noel said: “I’ve been up to the castle with the wife but never gone inside. If it’s for sale, I’ll be putting in a bid. I’ll buy it for the missus as a weekend gaff.”
He married long-term girlfriend Sara last summer in a private ceremony in New Forrest National Park and comedian Russell Brand was his best man.
The couple have two sons, Donovan Rory, four, and Sonny Patrick, two. Noel also has a daughter, Anais, 12, from his previous marriage to Meg Mathews, which ended in divorce in 2001.
Noel claims to have ditched his wild party lifestyle since meeting Sara at the Space club in Ibiza in 2000.
He was so smitten with the PR girl, he wrote Waiting For The Rapture, a track on Oasis’s 2008 album Dig Out Your Soul, for her.
She also helped straighten him out at a time when he was blowing £1million on drugs as Oasis ruled Britpop.
Noel even claims to have snorted coke in a Downing Street toilet reserved for the Queen after being invited to No.10 by Prime Minister Tony Blair in 1997.
Noel once said: “Doing drugs is the most beautiful thing about being in a rock band. Up until 1998, I must have spent £1million on drugs. Then I stopped because it is bad for your health, brain, life and for people around you.”
After 18 years as an addict, he reached a crossroads when he woke up in his plush London home after an all-night party and found the place full of hangers-on who he didn’t recognise.
He said: “I got up one morning in 1998 during the World Cup when Germany were playing Italy. There was a load of people in my house – I didn’t know any of them – who were carrying on the party from the night before.
“The first thing I did was walk to the fridge and get a beer and got back on it. But then I thought, ‘This weekend will end with me speaking to a stranger about the Pyramids’.
“I changed my life. It sounds pretty corny but I kissed drugs goodbye. I was depressed and felt weak. When I talked to a doctor, he gave me simple but sound advice – ‘kick the drugs’. I did and don’t really miss it.”
Noel jumped at the chance to appear on the Main Stage at T In The Park for one good reason – he wants to see The Stone Roses, who have reunited after a 15-year split.
He turned down an offer from T boss Geoff Ellis to headline the King Tut’s Tent because he didn’t want to go head-to-head with them.
Noel said: “I’m a huge fan. The first time I saw them was in 1985 at the International 1 in Manchester when Sally Cinnamon first came out and they were selling the 12-inchers at the merchandising stall. I remember it like it was yesterday.
“I’m glad I’m playing with them at T because I’m not going to get the chance to see any of their other reunion gigs. They tried to put me on in the tent at the same time they were on the Main Stage.
“There’s f****** no way that’s going to happen. I want to see them. I’m made up I’m gonna to do my thing, then they are gonna do theirs.”
Noel’s solo career with his latest project, the High Flying Birds, has given him a new creative lease of life since quitting Oasis in 2009 after one bust-up too many with brother Liam.
He has scored hits with singles AKA…What A Life!, The Death Of You And Me and Dream On from his debut album.
The singer is estimated in The Sunday Times Rich List to have a personal fortune of more than £52million but he says he’s not motivated by money.
Noel said: “It depends what you’re driven by. If you’re driven by money and you end up with lots of it, I suppose you might think, ‘I’ve got money now’.
“In the early days I was driven by the need to make a mark or leave a footprint. Now I’m not as driven but enjoy it more.
“I was saying to some young people at The Brits the other week, ‘You’re all living someone else’s dream. Don’t let me catch you moaning because there’s a kid in a council estate somewhere with a guitar watching this and all he wants is what you’ve got. So if you complain, step aside. There are plenty more who will take your place’.”
Via L4E source: dailyrecord.co.uk
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