Noel Gallagher - Exclaim.ca - 2nd November 2006
What are your current fixations?
Well I’m really into the Kasabian album, but I’ve just got an album in New York by a guy called M. Ward, it’s called Post-War. Fookin’ hell man. I’ve never heard this guy before, and I was doing a photo shoot, as us rock stars generally do, and some guy was playing it in the background. I was like, “What’s that fookin’ music?” And he’s like, [adopts American accent] “Dude, it’s M. Ward.” One of the best albums I’ve ever heard actually.
Why do you live where you do?
Why do I live in London? Because it’s the centre of the universe, young man. I think it’s everybody’s right and duty, if they’re not gonna leave the country that they live in, is to at least live in the capital because it’s the biggest fookin’ city. That’s not strictly true, because you wouldn’t go live in Washington if you were in America. I wouldn’t anyways. London’s the capital of Europe — it’s one of the great six, seven cities of the world. I came for the weekend in 1994 and I’ve never been back to Manchester.
What has been your most memorable or inspirational gig and why?
Can I pick two that I’ve attended? One was in 1992 at a place called G-Mex in Manchester and it was U2, Public Enemy and Kraftwerk on the same bill. Fookin’ dig that. It was on U2’s Zoo TV tour and it was mind-blowing. I wasn’t even in a band at that point, but it was like, “When I get in a fookin’ band that’s how I’m fookin’ havin’ it.” The second gig was about three years ago when Neil Young was doing his solo acoustic tour of Greendale. It was just him, an acoustic guitar and his mouth organ at the Hammersmith Apollo in London and it was just fookin’ outrageous. He played the whole album from start to finish and you kind of sit there watching him and think, “Fookin’ hell man, I haven’t made it yet.” D’ya know what I mean? He’s the master. And then of course, true to form, you go out and buy the album and it’s absolute dog shit. [The movie] is fookin’ dreadful. I kind of like Neil Young just because he’s fookin’ punk rock, he and Dylan. Crazy old dudes man.
What have been your career highs and lows?
Career high, I guess, is playing at Maine Road in Manchester because it was the grounds of the football team I’ve supported since I was a child [Manchester City FC]. It was the first stadium we played and it was amazing. It was so inconceivable that a kid from around the corner from the football ground would get to play that. And a career low? I don’t know because they’re all part of the story, so they’ve added something in a weird kind of way.
What’s the meanest thing ever said to you before, during or after a gig?
During? I don’t fookin’ listen to what any of those idiots have got to say during a gig. But Lars Ulrich came to see us one night — we tune our own guitars up because we’re still capable of doing that — and he was like, [adopts perfect Ulrich accent] “F-Fuck, you know, you know you guys should really fuckin’ get one of your fuckin’ road crew to tune your guitars. The fuckin’ spaces in between the songs are too long.” And it’s just like, “Look man, I don’t know if anyone’s ever pointed this out to you before, but you’re the fookin’ drummer in Metallica. Now you fookin’ get on with that and leave the rest of it to us.”
What should everyone shut up about?
George Bush, I guess. That’s kind of a lame thing to say though. I mean he’s a scary idiot, everybody knows that, don’t they? So just let him get on with it. He’s not gonna be around in two years anyway, is he? Thank the lord.
What traits do you most like and most dislike about yourself?
What I most dislike about myself is the fact that I think I’m capable of achieving anything. If somebody came up to me and said, “We’re just having a bet over there and my mate reckons that you couldn’t swim the English Channel.” And I’d say, “Really? Gimme the fookin’ trunks!” Now I can’t swim, but I’d still give it a go. Plus, I also interrupt people a lot. That annoys me. I love the fact that I’ve managed to generate myself an extraordinary amount of cash. I really am very proud of that… because it allows me to interrupt people.
What advice should you have taken, but did not?
Don’t fookin’ join your brother’s band. And this is my advice to people: if you’re ever gonna join a band, don’t have any family members in it. It’s wrong. The Everly Brothers and the Kinks will tell you the same fookin’ thing. It always ends in tears. Always.
What would make you kick someone out of your band and/or bed, and have you?
Well, there’s been a healthy turnover of band members, as you probably know. It doesn’t take much to get you fired in Oasis. Not turning up for band meetings is an instant dismissal. And kick someone out of bed? I guess if I was hungry or not and I needed feeding. “Just get on with my fookin’ bacon sandwiches and shut up!” Although, I’ve never done that before in my entire life, you see. I guess any form of flatulence. That would be wrong.
What do you think of when you think of Canada?
I think of being absolutely freezing fookin’ cold. And I also think of this fookin’ weird, weird French influence. What’s that all about? What business have they got over there? Why French? I was in a Dunkin Donuts in Canada, and the menu was in French — the whole thing, right. And I asked the woman for a coffee, and she only spoke French. Now, I’ve taken a lot of drugs in my time mate, but I’ve got to say that the single most frightening experience of my life was thinking, “I could have swore I was fookin’ in Canada when I got off that tour bus. And now I’m in… am I? No. I don’t know.” And then I said to the woman, “You can speak English, can’t you?” And I think she was getting annoyed that I was being a bit rude by that point, because she was only speaking French. I was going, “I know you can speak English. We’re in Canada. And I know you understand what I’m saying.” I may have brought up something about the war and then left.
What is your vital daily ritual?
A cup of very strong tea and a Marlboro Light in the morning. Gotta have that. And at least two hours from the point of opening one’s eyes to the point of getting ready for one’s business. Gotta be two hours. I can’t be getting up and going straight to practice. That’s out of order.
What are your feelings on piracy, internet or otherwise?
See, I like pirates. That’d be a good occupation, wouldn’t it? I’d like to have been a pirate, if I wasn’t a rock star. Some might say pirates are earlier day rock stars. Of course, on the sea. Fook internet piracy. How boring’s that? I just don’t think I have an opinion on that. We’ll leave that to Lars Ulrich. Make an arse of yourself. Hey, if it’s out there for free and you can find it, then good for you. To be quite honest, between me and you, can I say this off the record? I’ve got enough money. I don’t need any more. Lars Ulrich has got enough money. He don’t need anymore. Keith Richards or Paul McCartney have got more money than sense — look at the way they dress. It’s blatantly evident. We’re well paid, us successful people.
What was your most memorable day job?
Being a roadie [for the Inspiral Carpets]. It’s almost up there with being a rock star. In fact, it’s less hassle than being a rock star, but you don’t get paid as much.
How do you spoil yourself?
I own a lot of guitars, and if I see one I’ll just buy it. I own lots of shoes. Shoes are important. Since I don’t take drugs anymore, I have a real weakness for guitars and sunglasses.
If I wasn’t playing music I would be...
I guess I’d still be a roadie. I’d be setting guitars up for playing music.
What makes you want to take it off and get it on?
What does that mean? Get naked and start fooking goblins? I dunno, Viagra?
What has been your strangest celebrity encounter?
Well, I’m one of the rare breed of rock’n’rollers who I actually does my own shopping. You can catch me at various supermarkets round the west end, buyin’ various household appliances and bits of food, stuff like that. So I kind of mix quite well with the general public, and I don’t mind rubbing shoulders with the mere mortals in the street. I don’t consider myself to be a celebrity. It doesn’t freak me out going to buy a pint of milk. Not like Elton John or Robbie Williams — I don’t lock myself way from society and then claim that people don’t understand me. But, have you met Lars Ulrich? Although he’s a fookin’ geezer and I do love him, he’s a strange character. A strange, strange man. I met William Shatner once, in a lift. He got in a lift we were in and we actually did resist the urge as he pushed the button to his floor, to say, you know what I’m gonna say, don’t you? I don’t need to say it. But we all burst out laughing because we all wanted to say it. You know he’s a midget, and he was kind of looking at us and said, [Adopting a Shatner accent] “Are you in some kind of band?” Well, what? What does that fookin’ mean? We’re in a band. And then he went, “You look like the Doors.” Which one of us exactly?! Who looks like fookin’ Jim Morrison? D’ya know what I mean? “I’m not being Ray Manzarek,” that’s what I said. “Fook that! And I’m certainly not being Robby fookin’ Krieger!”
Who would be your ideal dinner guest, living or dead, and what would you serve them?
Right. What would I serve them? How many can I have? Right, well let’s see, my dining table seats eight, so that’s me and my girlfriend, so that’s six guests. Bono, Bill Hicks, John Lennon… I reckon it’s gonna be a shit party this, innit? Well let’s just do lunch with five, and ham sandwiches I think. And if people didn’t eat meat, just fookin’ eat the salad.
What does or did your mom wish you were doing instead?
My mum? She’s fookin’ havin’ a laugh. My mum actually thought we’d amount to zero, so the fact that I’m a fookin’ major rock star makes her happy. Maybe the fact that I just bought her a new house has something to do with it.
Given the opportunity to choose, how would you like to die?
I’d like to die in my sleep, take a real coward’s way out. Or overdose, preferably on heroin.
Perhaps the most verbally colourful band of the last 25 years, Oasis — primarily songwriter/guitarist/occasional singer Noel and front-man Liam Gallagher — know how to give the right sound bite at the right time without any care. But beyond their big gobs is a collection of songs that took Britain — and a good portion of the world — by storm, in a way unlike any other British band since their heroes: the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. This month, Oasis celebrate their 15-year existence with Stop the Clocks, a collection of the best songs, according to the band. Heavy on selections from their two masterpieces, debut album Definitely Maybe and its follow-up (What’s the Story) Morning Glory, the compilation may throw some off with its unbalanced track listing — namely the complete write-off of their third album, the cocaine-fuelled circus Be Here Now. According to Noel, it’s just about honesty. “You can’t be sentimental about these things. It was just like, ‘If it’s that good, then why haven’t we played it for fookin’ six years?’ Subconsciously, in the back of all our minds, we’ve dismissed [Be Here Now]. Anyway, who’s gonna argue that my best work was done over the first two records, and it’s only recently come back to work over the last two records.” But it’s also about having a laugh too, something the band have done plenty of, even at their own expense over the years. “The middle two, well, not much inspiration going on there… not that anybody out there shouldn’t go out and buy them!”