Noel Gallagher - Select - Spring 1991/April 1997
'IT'S GOOD THAT BLUR ARE IN THE CHARTS', so said an Inspiral Carpets roadie in 1991, speaking - in the absence of his employers - into a journalist's tape recorder. We present, with no little fanfare, the Great Lost Noel Gallagher Interview...
'He was dead chuffed because he'd never been interviewed before.' Freelance writer Stella Blackburn isn't speaking of your average no-hoper. She's recalling the time she interviewed Noel Gallagher, in a Swindon venue sppokily called The Oasis, during his time roadie-ing with Inspiral Carpets.
'It was in the spring of 1991,' she remembers, speaking down a phone line from Bolton. 'I wanted to interview the Inspirals with a view to getting published in 'Spiral Scratch' [now extinct collector's meta-zine], so I sorted it out with their manager and went down to find out that they'd changed their minds. So I thought I might as well interview the roadie, Noel.'
Among the expletive-laced tirades against Chesney Hawkes, Noel was equally dismissive about his own particular talents.
'When,' she recalls, 'he told me a year later that him and his kid had got this band called Oasis, I just thought it was hilarious.'
The chat proceeded as follows...
What do you think of the British Music industry at the moment?
'Current charts? Chesney Hawkes - bag of shit, right, but Gary Clail and that, Inspirals, Happy Mondays, Ride, Blur and all them lot, it's good that they're all in the charts. Very, very, very healthy. Indeed.'
You've always been a fan, but how did you end up working with the Inspirals?
'When Stephen Oat [first singer] left, they said to me, "Do you want to do a bit of the singing cos, like, you know all the songs and that", and I said, 'Yeah'. So I auditioned, couldn't sing a fucking note but they said, "Be a roadie" and I said 'I'll be a roadie, that'll do me.'
I've been accused of trying to get an Inspirals interview in an underhand way...
'All I can say to that is, they are the way they are. Y'know if I was in the band I'd do an interview with any c**t.'
What do you think of the Happy Mondays playing stadiums?
'The Mondays are trying it now but they'll find out that it'll be half full - 35,000 people...It's a lot of fucking people, man. It's like saying that everyone that's ever bought one of your records is gonna come to your gig. It doesn't happen like that. I mean, like Spike Island. It was hyped in the press as being 40,000 sold out, there's no way there was more than 20,000. Y'know, I've seen gigs. I can judge how many people are in a fucking field. So there's no point in putting on massive great big gigs outdoors on the fucking side of a hill and being shit - you can't get the sound right, the facilities are shit, you can't get the right support bands...'
I think you should get rid of Tom Hingley (Inspirals second singer after Oat). New year's resolution: get rid of Tom.
'You'd be justified in saying that, and the rest of the band would, if he wasn't such a good singer. This band don't need a Shaun Ryder at the front of the stage, I'd be stood there, it's as simple as that.
Tom's a good singer. Maybe he's a knobhead, maybe he pisses people off like you. That's the way it is. All I'm concerned with is what comes out of them speakers at the end of the fucking night, and what goes on to records. What it's all about is the songs, anyway, innit? And from the crew point of view, it's all about taking loads of drugs and having a good time!
Tom's a top singer, that's all he's paid for, being a singer in a band. He's not paid to be a spokesman for the youth, that's Shaun Ryder, who's not a singer. You see that in Happy Mondays interviews and Stone Roses interviews - do they ever mention the songs? Never, They mention how many drugs they've taken the night before or how they grew up.
With Inspiral Carpets there's none of that bullshit about them. If it's about image and being hard and all that you might as well set a big stage up and have five guys sat round taking drugs and charge a few thousand people ten pounds each to watch five guys taking drugs.'
I can't see what kick Martyn (Walsh, bass) gets out of the band...
'Well, all I can say is, it's like, say you're in Chesney Hawkes's backing band, right? You might think the music's total shit, you might hate everyone you're with but someone says "I'll give you a grand a week." What would you say? I know what I'd do. I'd be in Rod Stewart's backing abdn for a thousand pounds a week [laughs]. Wouldn't you? I would.'
So are you going to stay with the Inspirals then?
'Nah...I'm going to shoot off. Gonna work for the World Of Twist. They're a top band. Fucking mega mega mega band. No one could do what the World Of Twist do, except the World Of Twist. They are top me, one of the fucking bestest bands in Manchester.'
Do you not like working for the Inspirals anymore?
'I like it more now. I get paid more. I used to get a fiver a night when we started, now I get 350 quid a week, and as many crisps as I can eat, which is plenty. (Noel leans into the microphone) Cunnilinus fellatio contact, Noel-y Gallagher in the area.'
We could sample that and get Adrian Sherwood (On-U Sound Producer) to make a remix with it. Would the Inspirals be into being produced by someone like Adrian Sherwood?
'They'd, like, try anything. Because the way I see it, right, is, their album today sits at number five in the charts. We're all going to have a fucking gold disc on the mantelpiece. It wouldn't matter if that fucking fat bastard there in the green overall had produced it, because the songs would have been the same.
And that's what the people vibe off, I could have produced it, it would have been the same, cos that's what people vibe off, a good song. It doesn't matter how it's produced. Classic records, that's what it's all about. Producers. jack shit! They get paid too much. They just sit there. What they do is, there's an engineer, who knows all the mathematical, geographical, fucking religious terms, like PFL, and the producer just sits there, has a spliff and says, "I want to get it to sound like that." I could do it, man. It's about the songs.'
'"Mermaid" (Inspirals album track, from 'The Beast Inside'). "Mermaid" is shit. Fucking lesbian tune: 'Skipping an a twirling'. Who the fuck goes round fucking skipping and twirling? Except Lesbians? You know what I mean? Never twirled in my life! Never do ant skipping, unless I'm down the Hacienda and Mike Pickering's on and I've had two and a half E's. Bit of skipping going on them.'