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    Today's Top Stories

    Sunday, September 23, 2012

      Noel Gallagher on Oasis, Beady Eye and more

    So there we were, sitting in a meeting room at the lovely Four Seasons hotel, talking to Noel Gallagher, the man who gave us anthems such as Wonderwall, Don’t Look Back In Anger, Live Forever, The Importance Of Being Idle, Lyla, The Hindu Times, Go Let It Out, Stand By Me, Shock Of The Lightning and many others.

    He’s in town for this year’s Grand Prix, and even though he wasn’t feeling well, still consented to give us time for an interview. And here’s what he had to say, in all it’s uncut* glory.

    (*Well, a little bit was cut. For fear of offending people who get offended by expletives, we’ve replaced the expletives with the word “bunny”.) ‘Nuff said. Let’s hop to it…

    On whether being solo is freeing…
    I’ve not really had the chance to analyse it yet, but when I was making the album I didn’t feel like I was entering a new phase. I feel like that now, because I’ve been on the road and it’s gone well after a year. I don’t sit down and think about such things, if I did that I’d never get anything done. If I thought I was into a Neil Young phase, I’d listen to all his records and then say, “Well I can’t be as good as that, so I’ll bunny retire”.

    On knowing success…
    But you don’t know that. Nobody can predict that, what’s going to happen. I think that the songs there are up there with the best collection of songs that I’ve written, but it doesn’t matter what I think. People might not have thought that. I was thinking, “I know I can do this, but are people going to be interested enough to watch me sing for one-and-a-half hours”? I don’t do much else.

    On Oasis not being a “jump around” band…
    That’s what I used to say, but other people in the group thought it was something else. As a songwriter, I have to believe it’s the power of the songs really. And everything else is just a bonus. I think every songwriter will tell you that.

    On whether Be Here Now was a good album…
    I don’t give a bunny what anybody says. You opinion is… I know that I just made it up as I went along. They’re not the greatest set of lyrics I’ve ever written. I don’t like it. It’s like how people go mad for Wonderwall. Stand by me; I’m not so sure about. But Don’t Go Away, yeah. But as an album I don’t like the sound of it, I don’t like the words – which are bunny – but I just think at the time, I could have done a lot better. I don’t really… I feel like I’ve given all my best songs to the B-sides for all the singles, from Definitely Maybe onwards. I feel like I’ve wasted two albums worth of songs. They came out as The Masterplan, but really, that should have been the third album.

    On being nervous about going solo…
    I wasn’t nervous about playing. I don’t get stage fright at all. You can’t expect people who’ve pay however much to come and see you and watch a guy who’s scared of being there. That’s bunny all. I was a bit curious and anxious as to what people would think of my thing. I’m rooted to the spot. I can’t balance a tambourine on my head, I don’t wear ludicrous parkas and I don’t have a funny haircut. And there’s a healthy section of my audience that dug that kind of thing. I’ve been vindicated in a way, because my whole thing was “Bunny it”. All I’ve got to give people are the songs, and if people want the razzmatazz and the wacky lights and all that, then they’re going to be disappointed. But I was pleasantly surprised that all the gigs – apart from the first one, which is always the weird one – have been pretty euphoric.

    On judging success because Beady Eye put their album out earlier…
    After Beady Eye put their record out. At that point we were managed by the same people and I thought, Well, there’s at least that. Because all the people who’ve bought the Beady Eye album are not going to not buy mine. But you can’t predict. For instance, I was listening to their record and I thought I would have put millions on it if I can have a big track off the album, as it turned out it’s been What A Life. So you don’t really know. I’m not going to be arrogant and say this is the bollocks. But you know, the Beady Eye record, they’re lads and they’ve got a great vibe and all that. But sadly, the one thing they don’t got is the songs, you know? And I’ve spent a decade or more trying to convince people that it is – bunny the vibe, if you want the vibe, go to a disco. Ultimately, I think I’ve been proved right.

    On George Martin calling Noel the greatest songwriter of his era…
    Honestly, it’s great when you see it in print and all that. I sat in a room with him and he asked me to show him how I wrote Wonderwall and he said, it’s great, you know, in his old upper class manner. But I don’t dwell on things like that. It’s great. And if anyone would know about great songwriters, it’d be him, having worked with the two best of all time. But I don’t think that. Otherwise I’d have retired after that. What else would you go after that? I’d have packed my things and gone bunny it. George Martin thinks I really should have been the fifth Beatles, so bunny everybody else. It’s all right if you think that. But if you think that, then you’re not the person to be producing my next album, because you’ve got to go into that with a clean slate. When I was at that NME Awards for that genius award and they showed that clip of George Martin saying that and I’d forgotten about it, but it is a kind of wow moment. You can’t just sit there and think, that’s bunny. Well, I do, sometimes.

    On there being no more rock star bands like Oasis…
    Oasis was the last of that kind of group. There’s no way, that a band like that – a street band – will go and sell 60 or 70 million albums. It will never happen again. Because the times have changed. People may sell more records, but it won’t just explode from the gutter from nothing. The music business in 1993, when we started, was great. Now it’s just a business and the consumer is king. And for most part, the consumer is an idiot. It won’t happen again. Bands won’t have that attitude any more.

    On still performing as a band when he’s old…
    I don’t see the nobility or dignity of being in a band and trying to sell that Last Gang In Town thing, when you’re at 103 or however old Mick Jagger is. That doesn’t appeal to me. When I left Oasis and people asked what I was going to do, there was only one real option. I can’t form another band, wear leather jackets and pretend like, “Yeah, we’re a band, man”. It’s just a bunch of grumpy old men, you know?
    Me neither. I get asked about it and it annoys the life out of me. My attitude is: Why? Why would we do it? For money? Nobody in the group needs the money. To remind people of how good we were? We split up two years ago. If you didn’t see us, tough bunny. We were going for 20 years and if you didn’t see us, if you were too young, then… come and see me. I’m equally as good! I’ll be dictated to by what I writing. If I carry on writing the way I am, I’ll be compelled to put out album. What else can I do? I don’t see me doing long gruelling world tours like this. That’s a young man’s game. But McCartney’s still going. Neil Young is still going. We’ll see how far McCartney and Neil and Bob Dylan take it, and that’ll be the benchmark. And I go and see McCartney and I think, bunny hell, he’s amazing. But as long as I keep writing the stuff that I like, then I’ll be compelled to go into the studio. But the great thing about this is, if I don’t want to make an album for 10 years. I won’t do it. I’m just going to sit at home and – I don’t know what I’ll do – bunny get on my wife’s nerves. Which I quite enjoy. It depends on what enthusiasm I have for writing. That shows no signs of letting up. I start a million songs a week. Finish one a year! But I still like to write. It’s what I do.

    On writing political songs…
    I’m never going to write Blowin’ In The Wind. Let’s just say that. But there are lines in songs that sum up life. I know that. But it’ll be hidden in a song. I’ve got a song that I just finished, Dying In The Light – you can probably look it up on the Internet if somebody’s bootlegged it at soundcheck. But I finished it and I thought, yeah, I still can do it. Cigarettes And Alcohol is social commentary. It’s just that if a protest singer wrote it, he’d come and beat you around the head with it. You have to let people discover these things. I’m not one for saying my songs are one thing or another, but they’re just true to me, I guess.

    On inspiring other people to do something about their lives…
    That makes me incredibly proud. I know that and I’m aware of it. But I don’t sit on a throne and think I’m Caesar. Others might – let’s call them wankers. Paul Weller had the same effect on me. And I know Paul. He’s my neighbour – he lives right across the street from me. And a more down-to-earth, level headed guy, you’ll never meet in your live. The Jam was the Oasis of their day. They defined a generation both in the way they looked and what they thought about and their music still stands up today. He’s a great inspiration. I’m aware that things changed after Definitely Maybe and I know some people were inspired, to write books, form a band or whatever. I know that and it’s great. It means my funeral will be extremely well-attended. But I never sit there and think I’m the bunny bunny.

    On his legacy…
    My legacy? The music, thank god, will be there forever. It has a timeless quality to it. My legacy as an artiste – for want of a better word – is that I was somebody who inspired other working class people. But I don’t know if that’s true. I only go by what other people say. And the sad thing is I won’t be around to see what my legacy is. That’ll be a shame. I don’t know. Just a bunny good songwriter.

    On the way the next Paul Weller or Noel won’t be the same…
    I think the gap between Paul leaving the biggest band in England and going on to have an equally successful career as a solo artiste, the gap between him and me is 18 or 20 years from him going solo and me going solo. The gap between me and the next guy, don’t even think about it, it’ll be 50 years. People have side projects now. Nobody actually says, bunny it, I’m done, I’m going for it. They have side projects. People asked me if I had Alex Turner’s solo album and I didn’t even bunny know he had one out. It’s called Submarine or something. But why is he not shouting it from the rooftops? They’ve got a different mentality. It’s a shame, but bunny ‘em, I say.

    On not performing at the Olympics…
    I thought I was going to be in it. Of course, they asked me to sing Wonderwall. I went quite a far way down the road with it. And leading up to the beginning of the dress rehearsals. They kind of said, “You know, nobody’s playing live”. And I said, “Why?” and they said, “It’s kind of a big gig”. They sang live, they didn’t play live. They wanted me to do acoustic, so I would have to sing live but mime (the playing). And then someone said, “We’d like to do a new string arrangement for it” and I’m like, “Yeah, okay, alright – you know what, I’m going to pass on this” because I don’t like miming and singing live. And I thought, this is going to be too much bunny trouble, so I passed. And then they called up and said, “We’re going to ask Liam” and I said “great – just don’t bunny ask Keane or anybody like that”. I would have been up for doing it, had they bunny let me do it live. But there you go. It’s no big deal. I thought the whole thing was pretty good. Beady Eye? Yeah, they did it justice. They recorded it bunny note for note. I thought it was a difficult thing to sing live while the band is miming. It’s difficult. But I thought it went down pretty well. What can I say?

    On whether there’ll be another High Flying Birds album…
    I don’t know if that name will exist any more after this. Not for any other reason than I’ve made no plans after this. I’ve got a lot of songs. I’ve still got the other album that I scrapped, the songs off that. And I’ve got other songs leftover and I’m writing some. But I’m not thinking too far ahead. I finish this tour on Nov 12, and then I’ve got a TV thing to do on Nov 22. And after that … I don’t make plans. It’s like when I left Oasis, I didn’t have any plans. People asked and I said I’m not going to do anything. I’m not retired but I have made any plans. I went to bed one night, not thinking of music, I was thinking of what I was going to have for breakfast. And the next morning I woke up and I thought, I have to go back into the studio. I don’t know why that is. At the end of this tour, I’ll sit back and think, well that was great or that was bunny, and just wait for the call.

    On the need to continue writing songs…
    Financially, there’s no need to travel the world and do this. But you need to do it for yourself. When you’re a writer, there’s a need to get it out there because you gotta make space for more stuff. I’m a slave to it. I have this fear that – I’ve got loads of demos – and I have this fear that I’ll bizarrely die and I’d have left them all to my kids in the will and they’ll get all the glory. The older the get – I mean I’m not in any rush to do anything. I still feel time is one my side. And I don’t want to overplay it. I don’t think people want another album from me next year or the year after. Because that means I’ll have to go on tour and I think people have seen enough of me. So I’d want to go back into my other life. Just blend into the background and sample normal life. I don’t live to work. I work so I can live. I’ve got three young kids. No, they’re not on tour with me, they’ve got school.

    On whether Noel’s kids will get into music…
    Will they get into music? I don’t know. They love listening to music. Nobody forced me to do music. I think the key is just to have instruments in the house and if they’re inquisitive children they’ll eventually pick it up. I could sit my children in a row and say, “Right today we’re going to play bunny Let’s Dance by David Bowie” but then I’ll be like Michael Jackson’s dad. But that’s not fun is it? I think if you push you kids into any one direction, they start rebelling. So I wouldn’t even lead them. I wouldn’t force a guitar on them… anyway, there’s only room for one rock star in the house. Mum would go mad.

    On wishing Liam happy birthday…
    No, no, no. No, I didn’t call.

    On Noel interviewing Mario Balotelli…
    He’s a character. A real force of nature. Doesn’t give a bunny about anything. I went to see City train that the morning, from 9 to 11, and he was phenomenal in training. And he came in to do the interview and the story only broke that afternoon – the one where he was photographed outside a strip club and smoking at 5am – and he’s fascinated by why people are fascinated by him. He didn’t get it. I saw him a couple of weeks ago at the changing room before a game, and I was in the foyer and he was like, “Come down” and I’m like, “I don’t think so, the game’s kicking off in a bit”. And he was “Bunny it, come down”. He was acting like he was in his own room.

    On Manchester City winning the Premier League…
    We’ve not started like how we ended last season. Don’t be fooled by Man United. I think it’s going to be very close again. I think Chelsea will fall away. Arsenal look like they may be the dark horse, but I think they’ll finish third. I think it’ll go to the last week again. I think – over 38 games – we’ve got a better squad than they have. I don’t think Van Persie will see it through. And they’ve got dodgy goalkeepers. And we’ve got bunny midfield. We’re shipping goals and it’s unlike us. Vincent Kompany has had a terrible start. I think there’s been a hangover from last season. I think there’s still a lot of backslapping. I think the fans are really, we drove them onto the title last season. I think there’s a sense of “We’ve done it now”. But I think when we get into it, I can see us coming from behind to win it. I thought instantly, we start, and we’d be 11 points clear by Christmas and that would be bunny it. If you’ve seen against Real Madrid, when they snap out of it, and they’ve got their bunny together. I think once they get serious, if we fall 8 points behind and “Bunny it, Come on, what’s going on” we’ll be alright. I still think we’ll win it.

    On the best and worst thing about being Noel Gallagher…
    It’s hard to say. What’s the best thing that’s happened to me recently? I’ve got to meet lots of cool people. I can’t think of any that I’ve met recently but…! The worst thing? I don’t know. I don’t know about questions like that. Because I am me. Oh, in Bangkok? Oh yeah, listening to Adele’s album while being beaten by Real Madrid. That’s bunny bunny. Fan of Adele? Not in the slightest. She can sing? Can’t we all? We can all sing. Everybody can sing. I was singing songs since the first Oasis single, so I’ve been singing for a long time, but that was out of necessity because Liam either wouldn’t or couldn’t sing the song, so I’d sing it. But when I wrote the Importance Of Being Idle, I thought wow. That’s when I started to fancy it as a singer. Not as a front man. But I was confident of singing live. I enjoy that side of it now. I think it’s a great gift to be able to sing. Or rather, I should say, the confidence to sing. Everybody can sing.

    On his hair looking better now than when he was in Oasis…
    I was more interested in drugs than hair product back then. I don’t dye it. I’ll think I’ll grow gracefully grey. I think I’ll eventually become a silver fox. There’s nothing worse than – I’ve been in bands with men who were with the tea towel and you’d be going out to dinner and “Are you coming?” “No, I’ve got to send some emails” and the next day, their hair’s a different colour. Well, it’s the same colour, but it looks very brown now. “Sure, it wasn’t that colour?” I’m blessed with it. Comes from my mum’s side. They’ve all got great hair. My dad was bald as bunny.

    On watching Manchester’s City’s next gig during F1 weekend…
    I’m going straight off stage to watch it, and then watch this Grand Prix thing.

    Noel Gallagher will perform 23 Sept. Visit for more details.

    Via L4E source:

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