You once said the only reason you weren’t crazy was that “it’s only solo artists who go mad.” Two years ago you left Oasis and just recently released “High Flying Birds,” your solo debut. Have you turned into a narcissistic lunatic?
Solo artists are generally totally insane. Elton John? Slightly eccentric. George Michael? He’s mad as custard. But George Michael and Robbie Williams don’t have kids, so it is all about them. Last night I had to leave to go to play a show in London, and I’m covered in spit from a 1-year- old boy. I don’t feel like Jimmy Page at that point.
Compared with Liam, you were considered the reasonable, sane Gallagher brother. Why did both of the other former Oasis members join your brother’s band, Beady Eye?
I never said to them, ‘‘I’m leaving, and if you want to come with me, come.’’ Liam being Liam bullied them into starting a band that night. It’s like Lyndon Johnson being sworn in on the airplane on the way back from Dallas before the body is even cold.
You have always been proud of Oasis. How many bands in history were better?
Quite a few I’d say. We’re definitely in the Top 20, though.
You once put yourself in the Top 10, just ahead of the Smiths.
That list was compiled under the influence of alcohol, and we had probably just done a really good gig that night. I think we were at 7.
But sober, you fall out of the Top 10?
I’d probably stay with 7. It would go: the Beatles, the Sex Pistols, the Rolling Stones, the Who. I can never remember 5. Maybe the Kinks. I can’t remember 6, then Oasis.
You’re touring America on your own, which isn’t so different from Oasis’s 1996 tour, which your brother, the lead singer, skipped.
Liam had actually made it to the airport in England, and as I’m getting on the plane he’s getting off because his wife called, saying, ‘‘We need to buy a house.’’ Now, what they were doing for the previous three months is anybody’s guess. Probably picking gnats out of each other’s hair like monkeys. The first gig was a 16,000-seat arena, and the singer’s not turned up. That killed us stone dead in America. We never recovered.
Liam has a reputation for being unpredictable.
This is rock ’n’ roll. Would Johnny Rotten have gotten a house on the eve of an American tour? Keith Richards? John Lennon? You either want it or you don’t, and I wholeheartedly blame him for us never becoming as big in America as we were in England. Admittedly he did buy a nice house.
You’ve said that Oasis’ famously fraught third album, “Be Here Now,” suffered because of the amount of cocaine you guys were doing at the time.
I was so focused on the partying and drug-taking that it was just a case of listening to it and going, Screw it. I should have gone off and done some living with the royalties from ‘‘Morning Glory,’’ yet there we were back in the studio messing around with bass drums. It was just a case of listening to it and going, That will do. At that moment, I needed a drug habit,a chimp, a Rolls-Royce and a top hat and cane.
Aerosmith’s Joe Perry once suggested that cocaine isn’t particularly expensive. What’s expensive are the decisions you make under its influence. Agree?
Oh, yes, yes indeed. I got a £110,000 supercar that was built for myself, and I didn’t even have a driving license. They said it would take about a year and a half to build, and I was thinking, Great, I’ll have easily learned to drive in a year and a half. Like a small dog,I completely forgot about it and started partying with supermodels, and about a year and a half later somebody delivered it to my house, and I had no idea what they were talking about.
You grew up poor. Are you doing anything to prevent your kids from becoming the idle rich?
I don’t give a [expletive] if they don’t have to work. If you didn’t have to work, would you? I’m hoping they’ll be happy.
The most miserable people I know are those who don’t have to work.
My son ain’t going to be miserable because he’s going to be the child of a rock star, the end.
INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED.
A version of this interview appeared in print on November 27, 2011, on page MM14 of the Sunday Magazine with the headline: NOEL GALLAGHER IS ON HIS OWN.
25 November 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011 stopcryingyourheartout.com 10 comments