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Noel Gallagher announces new remix EP ‘Where The City Meets The Sky’
After wrapping up the first leg of his ‘Chasing Yesterday‘ cycle at Fuji Rock in Japan last week, Noel Gallagher will release a new High Flying Birds compilation EP on September 25th.
‘Where The City Meets The Sky: Chasing Yesterday: The Remixes‘ will bring together various remixes of tracks from his second solo record on double heavyweight vinyl, digital and limited edition pink/blue vinyl formats, including David Holmes‘ reworked version of ‘Girl With The X-Ray Eyes‘ and Massive Attack‘s 3D‘s take on ‘The Right Stuff‘.
It doesn’t take much to set Noel Gallagher off. We are sat in a backstage portacabin at London’s peculiarly ragbag Clapham Calling festival, and I’ve just mentioned to the former Oasis songwriter that “Chasing Yesterday,” the second solo album under his High Flying Birds banner, is the U.K.’s fastest selling of the year.
“Is that impressive? I’m not impressed by it! I’d rather be the biggest selling,” he says. “The fastest selling, what does it mean? It means that if you put my CD on a table with Muse’s and Florence’s, it would win in a race to the end of the table. I don’t know what it means. Let me tell you — I’d rather be the biggest selling.”
You’d expect nothing less from Gallagher, Manchester’s great motormouth and a man whose ambition, stretching back to Oasis’ fledgling days, was always to obliterate the competition, musically and verbally, into irrelevance. He told everyone who would listen — and especially those who wouldn’t — that Oasis, fronted by brother Liam, would be the biggest band in the world and he was right: In the hedonistic Britpop era, Oasis didn’t as much catch the zeitgeist as set fire to it, first with its fantastic 1994 debut “Definitely Maybe” and then with the 22 million-selling follow up “(What’s the Story) Morning Glory.” With his anthemic rock ‘n’ roll tunes, Gallagher mastered the trick of writing songs that ostensibly said nothing but meant everything, and his resolutely working-class Mancunian outlook of hope and camaraderie found a universal audience.
“I think we accidentally connected, somehow, through magic, with a whole generation of people all over the world,” he says.
The memory of just how huge Oasis was remains vivid even two decades later: every raucous gig, every outlandish interview, every brotherly argument, all events in themselves. The band’s pinnacle, playing to 250,000 people over two nights at the Knebworth Park Festival in August 1996, was a high (in all senses of the word) that Gallagher, in his more fanciful moments, wishes could have been a glorious finale.
“It would have been like the greatest thing of all time. But what would I have done?” he says. “I was in no way ready to be what I am now back then, no f—-ing way. I couldn’t sing then. I could barely do backing vocals. I was a drug addict. There was no way it could happen. We would have been cast to the wind.”
He leans back and smiles mischievously: “It would have been handy if somebody had died. We could have called it a day then.”
Nobody did, and the bloated, cocaine-ravaged mess that was the third album, “Be Here Now” (“it’s awful, I can’t listen to it”), came to exemplify the era’s garish excess. By 1998 Britpop had eaten itself, leaving Oasis to carry on regardless, ever popular yet with the magic intermittent, albums patchy and the friction between Noel and Liam increasing.
When Oasis finally imploded, it was spectacular. A still unspeakable altercation with Liam in a Paris dressing room in August 2009 was one fight too far, making rock’s great sibling rivalry untenable and bringing Oasis crashing to a halt. It always seemed inevitable the hostility between the pair — Noel the talented songsmith stage left, Liam the charismatic, handsome focal point with the thrilling Lydon-via-Lennon snarl — would lead to Oasis’ downfall. Wounds are far from healed.
“I don’t know anything about what he’s up to,” he says of Liam, now of no fixed musical abode following Beady Eye’s split. “I’m not his keeper anymore. Whatever he does now is his business. I really don’t give a f—-.”
Predictably, their relationship is invariably viewed through the prism of the band — Gallagher bemoans that he “answers questions about reforming Oasis every f—king day” — but given there’s no immediate chance of that happening, I am more interested in the personal aspect: Is there no part of Gallagher that feels sad at the very public, complete breakdown of his relationship with his younger brother?
“Yeah yeah yeah, oh f—- yeah. In a way, yeah,” he says, for once seemingly unsure of what to say. “But let’s not forget — he is a c—-. He’s not a very nice lad. And that is the basis of it. It’s not like he’s the perfect gentlemen and unfortunately we haven’t been talking. It’s not like that. For that band not to be together, the band that we all love and that we started, something f—-ing serious happened. I’m not going to go into it.” He puffs out his cheeks, exasperated. “But I don’t care anymore. I’m too far gone into this now to care about what he’s up to or what he’s doing.”
That’s not to say Gallagher doesn’t occasionally think about what he has lost.
“I do miss just being a guitarist and standing on that side of the stage being at an Oasis gig with the crowd, because I was observing it going on as well. It might be nice to be in a band one day. But let me stress,” he says, leaning forward and pointing, “it won’t f—-ing begin with the letter ‘O.’ “
Gallagher can afford to be so dismissive. His unfailingly forthright tongue might suggest otherwise — “Who wants to listen to a world radio station? Who cares what some f—-ing lunatic is listening to in Korea?” is his take on Apple’s new streaming service — but at 48, he doesn’t need the hassle (or the money) that would come with an Oasis reunion. Besides, the High Flying Birds have taken off: The eponymous debut sold 2.5 million copies, over 70,000 of which were accounted for in Japan.
With “Chasing Yesterday,” he even provides a riposte to critics who say his music remains unnecessarily conservative. Oasis-style rock anthems are present and correct, but there are also hints of prog, saxophone and on one song, “The Right Stuff,” Gallagher even dabbles in “space jazz.” It’s a song he wouldn’t — or perhaps couldn’t — have written 20 years ago.
“Oh for sure,” he says. “If you were to put ‘The Right Stuff’ on a compilation of my songs straight after (1994’s) ‘Supersonic,’ you’d think it doesn’t sound like the same songwriter. I would never have got to write that song when I was in Oasis. We were a rock ‘n’ roll band, we were very aware of what we were and there wasn’t really any room. Imagine playing ‘The Right Stuff’ at Wembley Stadium in front of a bunch of fat skinheads? I don’t f—-ing think so.”
There is a sense that Gallagher should make such musical exploration a habit. ‘The Right Stuff’ was a result of his much-discussed, controversially abandoned project with pioneering dance producers Amorphous Androgynous — “I’ve destroyed the masters, it wasn’t good enough, that’s it” — yet the track is undoubtedly one of Gallagher’s best in years. Perhaps he’s taken note: after a rumor he inadvertently started himself during an interview on Dutch radio last month, he admits interest in collaborating with Jamie xx.
“I do actually own a couple of his singles and I would work with him,” he says. “But he most probably thinks I’m s—t, so we’ll leave it at that.”
The immediate future is Gallagher’s closing set at this weekend’s Fuji Rock Festival. The musician has played at Fuji Rock four times, including a headline slot for Oasis in 2009 when the band was just three shows and one month away from collapse: A world away from Oasis’ first trip to Japan in September 1994, the month after “Definitely Maybe” was released.
“I remember it being the first experience of the mania,” he recalls. “We were the hot s—- in England at the time, we went to Japan and there were thousands of kids outside the hotels and you couldn’t move, you couldn’t go shopping, couldn’t do anything. We were there for two weeks and we experienced this Japanese mania and by the time we got back it had caught on in England. And then for a good few years it was like that everywhere we went. But I remember the Japanese were the first to go truly mad and it was great.”
As the packed field at Clapham Common later proves, people are still going mad for it: the Oasis songs that pepper Gallagher’s show are bellowed back with life-depends-on-it commitment, often by those not even born when “Wonderwall” was inescapable and Gallagher was fulfilling his rock ‘n’ roll dream. It’s a source of great pleasure for him.
“What surprises me now is that after all these years I can do a gig and play six Oasis songs, only one of which was a single, and people know them all over the world. I don’t know another living band, apart from The Beatles and maybe the Stones, that can play a b-side unannounced in the middle of wherever and it be treated like a huge song. So that makes me feel proud. And people still love it. They still love the songs.
“Which is handy for me,” he says, “because I f—-ing wrote them all.”ng,” he says.
Liam Gallagher features in new Hacienda nightclub documentary
Photo Gary Mather/Live4ever Media
It was once at the centre of a genuine youth phenomenon, but by November 2000 Manchester’s Hacienda nightclub was being auctioned off piece-by-piece.
And one of the lucky 69 bidders to get his hands on a piece of memorabilia back then – a £5 dancefloor plank no less – has produced a new documentary telling the story of those people, like him, who now own a small piece of British cultural history.
First time filmmaker Chris Hughes has recruited contributors such as the Inspiral Carpets‘ Clint Boon, Peter Hook, Mike Pickering and former Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher for the film – despite Gallagher apparently not fulfilling all the relevant criteria.
“He doesn’t own a piece, but he did play there and you can’t turn Liam Gallagher down, can you,” Hughes has told the Manchester Evening News.
“I think I found more pieces of it than there were sold. Like anything to do with Factory, you don’t know what the truth is. I’ve met a few people who have got ‘the only mirror ball’.”
Do You Own The Dançefloor? will be screened at a charity fundraiser at the Royal Northern College Of Music on August 15th.
Liam Gallagher spokesperson denies Lee Mavers rumours
A spokesperson for Liam Gallagher has denied recent reports linking him to a new musical project with Lee Mavers of The La's.
Tabloid reports last week (July 13) suggested that Gallagher has spent the last two months writing and recording with Mavers after the pair were brought together by former Beady Eye and La's drummer Chris Sharrock.
"Despite all the madness and excitement that surrounds Liam's personal life, he has always been very serious about his music and doesn't want to be retired or left waiting for his brother to decide he wants to bring Oasis back," a source told The Sun.
"Liam and Lee share a lot of similar ideas about music and although Liam has had his fair share of success with his own self-penned songs, his voice and swagger combined with Lee's undoubted ear for a chorus could create something very special."
However, a spokesperson for Gallagher today (July 22) has confirmed that the reports are incorrect, saying "there isn't any truth in this."
Noel Gallagher premieres video for new single - 'Lock All The Doors'
Noel Gallagher has gone behind the scenes of his 2015 world tour on the official video for new single ‘Lock All The Doors‘.
The promo captures Gallagher onstage, backstage, meeting fans and visiting US chat shows during his stint on the road promoting second solo album ‘Chasing Yesterday‘, bringing a track whose origins go back to the earliest Oasis days bang up-to-date. Its b-side will be the brand new track ‘Here’s a Candle (For Your Birthday Cake)‘, and is to be released on coloured 7″ on August 28th.
“Indeed, with the best will in the world parts of ‘Chasing Yesterday’ beg for the past to be rediscovered – be it in the ‘Masterplan’ chimes of the sublime ‘Girl With The X-Ray Eyes’, or the familiar ‘Wonderwall’ strumming of ‘Riverman’, subtle and prudent in delivery to the extent that a roof-raising guitar solo arriving less than halfway in nevertheless knocks right on time,” our review reads.
“‘Lock All The Doors’, meanwhile, naturally recalls the hurricane gusts of ‘Headshrinker’, ‘Fade Away’ and ‘Bring It On Down’ given that it was borne of the same storm.”
When Beady Eye split up in October 2014, many Oasis fans hoped it would be the catalyst to bring the Gallagher brothers back together. Despite reports earlier in the year that Liam and Noel have patched things up, rumours that the iconic Manchester band are getting back together remain unconfirmed.
While Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds are currently on tour in support of second album Chasing Yesterday, recent public sightings of the youngest Gallagher brother have been restricted to an appearance at a charity football match in Italy and a performance of ‘My Generation’ on the 20th anniversary edition of TV show TFI Friday.
However, Gigslutz has heard a rumour that Gallagher is itching to return to music and is working with Lee Mavers of The La’s. According to a source close to the Liverpool band, the two frontmen are working together to write an album. We don’t have any details on what the music sounds like or what form it might take, but given Maver’s reticence when it comes to releasing new music, don’t expect the results to appear anytime soon…
Noel Gallagher has both the UK’s top selling album and single on the vinyl format so far this year, reports the Official Charts Company.
The OCC has been monitoring sales on the traditional format more closely this year in recognition of the significant vinyl boom since the launch of Record Store Day back in 2008, and began a dedicated Albums and Singles chart last April.
Now, the figures for 2015 up to July have been released, and put Noel Gallagher on top of both lists courtesy of ‘Chasing Yesterday‘ and ‘Riverman‘ respectively.
Gallagher also has the second and third spots on the Singles list with ‘Ballad Of The Mighty I‘ and ‘The Dying Of The Light‘, while Led Zeppelin have 2015’s second best selling album on vinyl thanks to the reissued classic ‘Physical Grafitti‘. Another classic – The Stone Roses‘ 1989 self-titled debut – is third.