If you give even half a shit about Oasis, you need to be reading Noel Gallagher's tour blog over on his site. If you don't you need to turn around and get right the fuck off my internet. Sorry, those are the rules. It's not as if the stuff he's saying is even objectively funny, but when you think about him saying them, or, more likely, trying to explain them to whatever poor sod it is who actually writes the blog, it's pretty great.
So, said day started early... 6am early!!!! Had to be at that VH1 place at 8am to do some blimmin' live breakfast TV show. The interview was a little strange... one doesn't expect to be discussing one's pet cat's bollocks (or lack thereof!!! He's had them whipped off, see?) so early in the morning... and certainly not on live TV!
Nice punctuation, btw. Subtle as an Oasis pre-chorus.
We did meet Adam Sandler though - I say 'we' cause I was with my mate, and friend of the stars, "Scully", who does like a celebrity meet and greet. He (Adam Sandler) was cool as fuck. We have a mutual friend in Russell Brand, so the conversation went summat like this...And so he did.
"Yes Adam... You know Russell, innit?"
"Yes I do... He loves you, man!!"
I know this already cause he tells me... regularly.
Anyway, as we went our separate ways Adam Sandler left me with these words...
"You have fun, buddy"... Thanks Adam Sandler, I will!!!!
Our dressing room was next door to none other than the legendary comedian Steve Martin who, for some reason, wasn't on the show but was there anyway - never did get to the bottom of why. He only stuck his head round the door to say hello! What an honour!!! We talked banjo and he had a bit of banter with the lads. Top, top man. Funny as fuck!!As retard-strength level Oasis fan, that was simultaneously the most boring and entertaining thing I've read all day. It gets better though.
Steve Martin I am having you, la'.
As showtime approached we got a little visit from that fella Billy Gibbons from that band ZZ TOP. Another top little dude. Who's not having that tune "Sharp Dressed Man"? Squares... that's who!
Later on in the day Noel and company were backstage where they got strong-armed by Katie Holmes' Scientology goons. "We literally bumped into that top Scientologist Katie Holmes on the way into the studio," he writes. "We came out of the lift and BANG, there she was. Now at this point my mate, and friend of the stars, Scully was doing a bit of filming for my website and managed to capture the moment. She did look a bit miffed at the various North-West accents and some vigorous handshaking, but there was no need to send one of her people over to demand the video be deleted!!!! Un-fuckin'-believable. We didn't let it spoil the day though. And what a day. Loved it."
What does any of that mean? I don't know, but I love every word of it. Kind of like 75% of every Oasis song I've ever heard.
Last week Gallagher was in Boston. I spoke to him for the Phoenix before the show, but we had to condense the piece a lot for print space. Go check it over there, or see the long-form below.
“I wonder what this record would sound like without Liam?”
It's something every Oasis fan has wondered over the years. Ever since “Don't Look Back In Anger,” the infamous MTV Unplugged special, and the release of many of the band's best tracks, including old b-sides like “Angel Child”, and “The Masterplan” and more recent ones like “The Importance of Being Idle” brought about the realization that Noel might actually be the one with the better voice, many of us have been pining for a Liam free experience. So too has Noel himself, it seems.
Oasis' recent breakup has splintered the filial relationship into two distinct entities now with a record from Liam's Beady Eye, and the release of Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds last month. The latter is everything we've been waiting for, gorgeously romanic, and effortlessly melodic, even if it wasn't the ideal outcome for the songwriter himself.
“The fact that the record exists is because I was forced into making it. It wasn't something that I wanted to do,” Gallagher explained over the phone from the UK. “I don't want a solo career, I'd much rather be in a band. Unfortunately the band I was in I can't be in that band anymore. It was just fucked up. I have to see where this goes. I might start another band.”
Naturally, there was a brief controversy over the writing of the record, as their tends to be with these two involved, over whether or not the songs were meant for Oasis. “What, him saying he sang on half of them? He's just a crazy guy ineee?As you probably worked out,” Gallagher explained of his brother, with his characteristic dry sarcasm. “Liam can manage to convince himself of anything, so I can assure you if those songs would have had him singing on them they would've been on Oasis records. So there you go.”
Outside headaches aside, making the record came a lot easier. “This record was absolutely plain sailing,” he says. “Records are only good as the material, and the material was great. I was in the studio on my own, I wasn't relying on anyone else. I get anxious about making records. Once you've finished it you've pretty much accepted whether it's good or not. If it wasn't any good you wouldn't put it out. Now I'm on my own as an independent artist, I paid for it, I can scrap it if I like.”
It's a good thing he didn't. While any one or two of the songs seem like they could fit as a pace-changer on an Oasis record, there's a more intimate quality here, less guitar soloing, little over-sized feedback. There's a heavier sadness to his already world-weary but determined voice.
“They're not stadium rock,” he says. “Just more direct and, I think, more human, a bit less animalistic. There's a bit more of a listening kind of thing,” like the the confident, blase brass pop of “The Death of You And Me” or the iconic “Wonderwall” style-chord structure of the first, wistful single “If I Had A Gun.”
“Stadium rock is big and loud in your face, you get drunk and shout. This is not that. I guess it's more romantic, a bit more love.”
The means less of a wall of sound to hide behind in the live setting, and one fewer frontmen to take the brunt of the attention, something he hasn't gotten accustomed to yet. “I'm just learning what to do when I'm on stage. I haven't got anything to say d'you know what I mean? I'm not sure what people are expecting. The music side of it is great. There's another thing that people want, I don't know what it is... I find myself being self conscious between songs, I wonder what these people want? I'm not used to people staring at me. Besides my children and my cat. The cat stares at me a lot.”
One wonders if he'd taken any mental notes over the years from friends and peers like Ian Brown and Richard Ashcroft, who themselves left their own seminal Brit Rock bands to go solo. “No, because, no matter what lives they've got, it's not relevant to you. Everybody is different themselves, everything is perceived different innit? Whatever Richard may have experience, it wont be pertinent to me, nor can it be. I'm not them. Ian said enjoy yourself. Which I have.”
It's hard to imagine someone of Gallagher's success and vaunted ego feeling insecure on stage. It's hard, really, to even think of him as a regular person, no matter how much evidence you have to the contrary that famous musicians are just people doing a weird job. Is he still a real human being?
“When I'm standing in queue at a supermarket or drug store... I'm not thinking I really should be wearing shades or a cape or carrying the little pet chimp. I don't think about it, I don't feel like a rock star ever until the lights go down. By the same rule, I'm not just an ordinary person, ordinary people don't do what I do.”
When the lights go down for the upcoming Boston date he'll be reaching back into the past for a few Oasis songs. Just don't call them that. “I don't think of them as Oasis songs anymore. They're Noel Gallagher songs. I wrote them. They're only Oasis songs when Oasis are playing them.”
Even ones he might occasionally be sick of playing “Sometimes I'm fucking sick of em all, even the new stuff,” he says. “But that's few and far between, that only comes when you've got a hangover. But I'm kind of keeping a lid on it this tour so far.” Not like times in the past he remembers from Boston dates. “Gotten drunk there many times, many many times. We may still be barred from the Best Western. There was some collateral damage.”
Those days are mostly in the past, which isn't just good news for hotels, but also the song-writing process. “The only mistakes I think I've ever made were when I was fucking high on drugs. Since I kind of gave up drugs I've kind of been alright. I know when things are good, the tricky thing is when you're not sure about something and you just put it out because other people might think it's great. That's the beauty d'you know what I mean? Your favorite song won't be song won't be mine. People say 'What's the best Oasis song?' 99% of people will say it's 'Wonderwall.' The 1% connoisseurs will say it's like 'Supersonic.' It's all subjective innit?”
That real work of touring hadn't begun yet when we spoke. Playing England isn't really touring, he says. His touring band are guys he's mostly known for years, so they're all past the getting to know one another phase. For now he's considering this a new start, so there's little over the top diva behavior going on. “No I don't have my own dressing room – not yet anyway,” he says. “Oh for fuck's sake if all goes according to plan they wont be allowed to look me in the eye in three years.”
Starting over can do great things for the creative spirit. But sometimes without having anyone to tell you when you're shit, a younger brother, for example, things can get indulgent. Does he have such an editor anymore? “Well, I haven't done anything shit yet,” he says, in the perfect mix of Gallagher-style bravado and ironic wit.
No, he hasn't. Not as a solo artist anyway, which is what he is now like it or not.