Noel Gallagher - Toronto Sun - March 2006
Even Oasis guitarist-singer Noel Gallagher is impressed at the wealth of British rock bands in T.O. this week.
Oasis played the Air Canada Centre on Monday night with the Arctic Monkeys opening. The Arctic Monkeys headlined their own show at the Phoenix last night. And ex-Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft opens for Coldplay at the ACC tonight and tomorrow night.
"Oh, well, f--kin' hell, good week for Toronto, eh?" Gallagher told the Sun during a Canadian newspaper exclusive interview on Monday night at the ACC. "It doesn't really get any better than that, does it?"
Gallagher says this particular confluence of artists would never happen in his native country.
"Promoters wouldn't put Coldplay and Oasis in the same city in the same week. I'm sure the bands wouldn't give a f--k. I'm sure they'd (sell) but I'm not sure whether (promoters) would be prepared to take the risk of whether they would or not." Gallagher said he was unable to stick around Toronto to see any of the gigs by his fellow British rock stars as Oasis was flying down to Milwaukee last night for a gig as they finish off their last two weeks of a world tour that began in March 2005.
Gallagher, who doesn't write on the road and is planning on taking the summer off, doesn't expect the band to be back in the studio until at least the fall with "no serious work" until next year.
"I don't sit down and write words 'cause I think that's not a very noble thing to do on the road," he said. "I think on the road, you should drink and f--kin' live the life. Working and touring doesn't mix for me. I'll write when I get home."
Oasis last album, Don't Believe The Truth, was largely seen as a return to form with Gallagher sharing more songwriting duties than ever before with brother-singer Liam and other members of the band. But Gallagher was wary of the theory that increased competition will only make his songwriting better the next time out.
"I don't know. Every time we have a successful album, we always f--k the next one up," he only half-joked.
More seriously, Noel said he doesn't consider Liam a songwriting competitor nor vice-versa.
"Liam doesn't look at it like that either," he said. "It's not a case of competition really. I couldn't write a song called The Meaning Of Soul, lyrics like that, 'cause I'm almost 20 years into being a songwriter. Liam couldn't write a song like The Importance Of Being Idle, 'cause it's just not in him yet. Liam's songwriting is very youthful. Like Love Like A Bomb and The Meaning Of Soul is kind of very youthful songwriting. I've had that with Rock 'N' Roll Star from a long, long, long time ago."
Ultimately, Gallagher said, their sound will never change drastically from record to record.
"We're really pleased with what we sound like," he said. "We're really pleased with what we are. The identity we've carved out over the best part of 15 years. That's not something that we're about to toss up in the air and become a space-reggae f--kin' band, because I'm not just into that. I don't want to challenge my audience because they're friends of mine. I don't want to be like f--kin' saying to them, 'Well, I'm on a musical journey come along if you want but it might go a bit jazzy.' It's like we make Oasis music man and you all know what it sounds like."
Judging from Oasis' longevity, Gallagher may be on to something.
"The songs are not tied to any particular era or the lyrics don't deal with any ... you know we've never had our George Bush era," he said. "Or our 'Let's save the world, famine-in-Africa, album,' or our weirdy-beardy album. The songs are timeless. The lyrics, they're either profound or it's nonsense. That always lasts forever."
Liam Gallagher gave whole new meaning to the term "Top Of The Morning" this past St. Patrick's Day.
Brother Noel Gallagher told the Sun in a Canadian newspaper exclusive this week in Toronto that his sibling hit the green beer early that day in New York City.
"I've got to say that Liam did it for all of us," said Gallagher. "I bumped into him in Soho, it would have been about mid-day and he'd been drinking since half-nine that morning. I was with my girlfriend so we were kind of furniture shopping 'cause we're moving house (in London), but I'm glad Liam was doing it for the lads."
When it's suggested that Noel, 38, has finally grown up, he responds: "I find drinking at half-nine in the morning is a bit excessive. I can kind of start drinking at half-nine at night -- do you know what I mean? -- and I can kind of go on drinking 'til half-nine in the morning. I wouldn't start at half-nine in the morning. I'd be in bed by mid-day."
Unbelievably, Gallagher experienced his first-ever St. Patrick's Day in The Big Apple. "They do take it very seriously don't they?" said Gallagher. "I've seen Chinese people with green bowler hats on and I'm not sure the Chinese people knew what the f--k was going on, to be honest. To see them walking around the streets, as if someone's just stuck this green bowler hat on them (and said) 'Smile!' "
Oasis braintrust Noel Gallagher doesn't think success has come too fast or too soon for the Arctic Monkeys, the latest Next Big Thing export from England.
The Sheffield band's first CD, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, broke first-week record sales for a debut disc in England when it was released earlier this year.
But fellow Mancunian Morrissey was recently critical, saying the Arctic Monkeys -- all aged 19 or 20 -- haven't earned their success.
"It happens when it happens, man, and I would say thank God that it does happen," Gallagher told the Sun yesterday in a print exclusive interview in the bowels of the Air Canada Centre, just hours before the Arctic Monkeys opened Oasis' sold-out show.
"You'd be a bit of an idiot if you said, 'No, I'm too young for a record deal.' " Gallagher stressed that the famously enthusiastic British music press once again has gone a bit overboard with its coverage of the Arctic Monkeys.
"The way it's written up in Britain is not really reflective of how it is," he said. "They've not sold 50 million albums. They're not on the cover of Time/Life magazine. And they're not as big as The Beatles yet. But the way it's written in England is kind of (he roars)!' "
One comparison in the English music press is that the Arctic Monkeys' debut is the biggest thing to come out of England since, well, Oasis' 1994 debut Definitely Maybe.
"We used to sit and read things about us and think, 'Are they talking about the same band?' " Gallagher said. "'Cause we've sold a few records but we've not sold that many records, and we're not that popular.'
"But I would embrace success when it happens. Any level of it. Just f---ing get on with it. If the music didn't stand up ... but you've only got to listen to (their) tunes. They're unique to themselves. And they've got their own thing and I think it's great. It doesn't sound like anybody else and I like the way that they don't wear shirts and ties and blazers. You can always spot an English group by the amount of hats there is in the room. If you're in a room full of musicians, the Brits are always the one in the school uniform with a hat on. These kids seem to be pretty much like us. They kind of look like we do."
Gallagher says the Arctic Monkeys' unique quality comes from frontman Alex Turner's lyric-writing -- "the word play and all that."
"That hasn't happened for a while in England. A lot of music since Oasis started has all been very melodic and about the songs more than the words. I think with the Arctic Monkeys, a lot of it is about the world play. 'Cause they are quite stunning lyrics, to be honest."
Ironically, that could be their downfall as to whether they find the same monstrous success beyond England.
"The thing about the words, it's alright if you understand them. If you're South American and can't speak English, I don't know," Gallagher said. "But will it translate? The sound is quite rock 'n' roll, do you know what I mean? It's kind of funky in a way. Whether it will translate, I don't know.
"But I'm sure that the Arctic Monkey's couldn't really give a monkey's --- whether it translates to people in China or not. They're just doing their thing. And when this kind of thing happens in the first two years, people will dislike the Arctic Monkeys purely for all the hype that surrounds them but that's got nothin' to do with them. They're probably as embarrassed by it as people who don't like them, 'They don't f---in' deserve it.' They're probably as upset about it as Morrissey is, but there's nothing they can do about it. You've just got to f---in' get out there man and ride it out."
Gallagher said the Arctic Monkeys' opening slot for last night's Oasis show at the ACC came up because the Monkeys were already in town for their own sold-out show tonight at the Phoenix.
For the record, Noel Gallagher's favourite Arctic Monkeys' song is the first single, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.
Not that he's had much chance to listen to the rest of the record.
"To be quite honest, I bought the album and I listened to it once. My girlfriend took it upstairs and I hear it through the bathroom door regularly. She f---in' loves it."
Noel Gallagher, a.k.a. The Quote Machine, called Toronto his "home away from home, really," while speaking to the Sun this week at the Air Canada Centre in a Canadian newspaper exclusive before Oasis' sold-out show.
But he said he still has a hard time wrapping his head around the fans he sometimes encounters on the street.
"Fans can be a bit hysterical, the ones that I meet anyway," said Gallagher. "And what is it with the f---in' camera? I don't know why they're f---in' taking pictures. It's a f---in' insane obsession. Everybody wants a picture. I mean, f---in' hell, what are you going to do with it? Sit and look at it all day? (says enthusiastically) 'See there's me and Noel Gallagher -- in the same picture! I had my picture taken with him -- look!'
"Great. So what?," he shrugs.
SON OF RINGO: Meanwhile, drummer Zak Starkey, who has been out on the road with Oasis, is expected to tour with The Who this year, but Noel Gallagher hope's he'll return to the fold.
"He's definitely, definitely, definitely going to record on the next (Oasis) record and definitely going to be out on the road, if he wants to," said Gallagher of Starkey. So will the son of Ringo Starr become a permanent member of the Beatles-loving Oasis lineup?
"We always said that we'd sit down and talk about that at the end of the tour," Gallagher said.
"There's no point in getting in business discussions while you're soundchecking. It just doesn't work. If he came to me tomorrow and said, 'I want to leave The Who and join you lot permanently,' I'd say, 'Brilliant. Get me your dad's autograph and you're in.' "
Gallagher met Ringo when he came to see an Oasis gig in England last year.
MARDY WHAT? Noel Gallager attempted to clear up the meaning of Mardy Bum, the title of a song by the superhot British band Arctic Monkeys -- who opened for Oasis at the ACC -- for those of us who don't live in Northern England.
"It means p---y," said Gallagher, confusing us even more given the number of meanings that particular word has.
"And it's funny because in Manchester that's called 'mardy ass,' " he continued. "But if you go over the hills to Sheffield, it's called mardy bum."
Gallagher, of course, hails from Manchester while the Monkeys are from Sheffield.
And I'm still confused.