Seventy-two minutes. Twelve tracks. No co-credits. Noel Gallagher talks Phil Sutcliffe through Oasis's third magnum opus, Be Here Now.D'You Know What I Mean?
"I was going to make up some profound statement in the chorus but I couldn't
come up with anything that fitted. then I just thought "All my people right
here, right now. D'You Know What I Mean? Yeah, Yeah" Very vague, very
ambiguous, that'll do. Look in the mirror and wink while you're singing it and
it's quite saucy. And I fucking love that line, 'Coming in a mess, going out
in style'. We were a bunch of scruffs from Manchester and we're going out in a
"The morse code in the background was inspired by Strawberry Fields. We got
hold of a code book and tried to tap out 'Bugger All' to follow that line
'Don't look back cos you know what you might see'. But if anyone can tell me
what we really said, please let me know. Profound lagerisms..."My Big Mouth
"'Into my big mouth you could fly a plane': even I'm not interested in what
I've got to say half the time. But, 'I ain't never spoke to God/I ain't never
been to heaven', that's about fans who think you're on the phone to John
Lennon and you have all the answers. I understand where it comes from, people
meeting their heroes, they talk to you without thinking because they only have
a minute. They go bang about something happening in their lives and you go
(open mouthed, blank-faced gawp)."Magic Pie
"I sang this one. Of course, me and Liam had a row about it. 'Why can't I sing
that?' 'OK, I'll do Fade In/Out then.' 'No, you won't.' But it's his favourite
track now. The first line, 'An extraordinary guy/Can never have an ordinary
day', comes from him asking me, 'How come you never get into any of the
situations I get into?' And i borrowed something from Tony Blair's speech at
the Labour Party conference last autumn ("There are but a thousand days
preparing for a thousand years").
"The vocal harmonies are quite psychedelic. The jazzy bit at the end is played
on a Mellotron which was made for the The Beatles' Abbey Road sessions. All I
did was run my elbows across the keys and this mad jazz came out and everyone
"The magic pie happened when I was pissedand looking in a rhyming dictionary
for a word with an 'i' ending. I saw 'magpie', but I read it as 'magic pie'. I
thought, That conjures up a few things."
Why wasn't Stay Young on the album? Noel says "Well..we recorded the B-sides
and then it was a choice between Magic Pie or Stay Young on the album. I sing
Magic Pie so thats why!"Stand By Me
"It starts, "Made a meal and threw it up on Sunday'. When I first moved to
London my mam kept on ringing up and asking was I eating properly. Yes, man.
So I tried to cook a Sunday roast and puked up for two days with food
poisoning. It was back to Pot Noodles after that.
"It's a bit like Live Forever, I suppose, with a touch of All The Young Dudes
in the background -- though I made sure I changed the chords."I Hope, I Think, I Know
"The only reason it's on the album is for balance because it's quite fast. I
liked the demo, but it's too pop for me now. I'm slowing down. I'm getting
into my voodoo tao stage. It reminds me of the Buzzcocks, but I think it's
going to be like Hey Now on Morning Glory -- the one that nobody mentions."The Girl In The Dirty Shirt
"You guessed it. Meg is the girl in the dirty shirt. We were doing a gig in
Brighton (December 29, 1994, probably), just before Meg and me were going out.
She was at the hotel ironing a dirty shirt because she hadn't brought enough
clothes with her. I know it sounds a bit soft. Liam will read this and say,
You fucking wanker! Because he thinks all the songs are about him. He even
thinks Wonderwall is about him. So he'll be telling me it's a geezer in a
dirty shirt really, except I couldn't say that because it would look bad.
"The chord structure came straight from (The Beatles) Cry Baby Cry, but I
think it's a bit like The Small Faces with the Wurlitzer at the end."Fade In-Out
The first part of the song is from the Mustique demo with Johnny Depp playing
slide guitar. I like it because it's the first blues song I've done and Liam
does the best singing I've ever heard from him. I pushed him to the limit on
that. I said, Pretend you're a black man from Memphis. He's not got vert good
rhythm and we made him stamp his foot all through it. He couldn't sing for a
"The scream near the end was the last bit we did. Me and Meg went back to
Mustique over Christmas and I took the rough mix with me. It needed something
and it was bugging me. Meg woke up one morning and there I was in bed with the
Walkman on, screaming. She thought I'd gone into my drug psychotic phase --
'Oh, sorry, I'm just filling in a bit of the record...'
"So I don't think 14-year-old girls will be skipping about to this one.
(Cockney) 'Ere Shelle, wind that one on will yer!' Until they find out Johnny
Depp's on it. It's going to be weird how that's perceived, having a Hollywood
star on the album. But I'm glad it happened. If he hadn't been around, we'd
have had to get some fat old geezer who'd be telling us about how he played
with Clapton in '76 and did a slide solo that lasted for fucking months."Don't Go Away
"It's a very sad song about not wanting to lose someone you're close to. The
middle eight I made up on the spot -- I never had that lyric until the day we
recorded it: 'Me and you, what's going on?/ All we seem to know is how to
show/ The feelings that are wrong.' It's after a row. Quite bleak.
"We put Burt Bacharach horns on because he was the master of break-up songs. I
did all the string arrangements. I tried to keep them as simple as possible. I
like the way Marc Bolan used them on Children Of The Revolution. People do
remember string parts as separate hooklines, you know. You just don't want to
use them slushily."Be Here Now
"In Mustique Johnny Depp and Kate Moss stayed at Mick Jagger's house. We were
down on the beach and there was this toy plastic piano that belonged to one of
Jagger's kids. The opening's played on that, slowed down. I was pressing that
one key for about two hours, Meg going, 'Will you f*****g shut up!' Anyway, I
nicked it - me from Burnage. I can't help it. Mick can have it back if he
Then, back home, I was talking about drum loops with Owen Morris and he said
one of the greatest was the opening to Honky Tonk Woman. We played it and it
was in the same time signature as that piano. So I wrote the song from there.
I liked the Stones involvement at the start and the finish of writing it."All Around The World
"I wrote this one ages ago, before Whatever. It was twelve minutes long then.
It was a matter of being able to afford to record it. But now we can get away
with the 36-piece orchestra. And the longer the better as far as I'm
concerned. If it's good. I can see what people are going to say, but f*** 'em,
The lyrics are teeny-poppy. But there are three key changes towards the end.
Imagine how much better Hey Jude would have been with three key changes
towards the end. I like the ambition of it, all that time ago. What was all
that about when we didn't even have our first single out? Gin and tonics, eh?"It's Getting Better (Man!!)
"I actually wrote this jamming on stage with the band during the last American
tour. A really happy tune even though there was a lot of shit going down.
Because we got connected with The Beatles all the time I thought I'd write a
Rolling Stones song instead. You can almost see Keith and Ronnie with fags in
their mouths, giving it some..."All Around The World (Reprise)
"I was running out of guitar lines so I decided to fade it in with backwards
guitars. The feet clumping out at the end belong to Brain Cannon, the sleeve
designer. And the door slamming, that's never been done before, of course. We
got a Penny Lane piccolo trumnpet in there because a guy in the brass section
stood up and said, 'You should have a piccolo trumpet on that - and I've got
one.' So we sent him home in a taxi to fetch it. They'll all be using them
Labels: noel interview q be here now