When we last checked in with temperamental Oasis person Noel Gallagher, he was being sued by his brother, blaming the London riots on video games and trashing other bands along with his own fans. Now he’s given an interview to Chuck Klosterman of Grantland that was one of the more enjoyable things I’ve read in a long time.
Of course, Gallagher showed up ridiculously late to the interview — OF COURSE he did — and then proceeded to, well, you’ll see.
When I finally meet Gallagher (he’d been having a long lunch with his wife), he seems tired. He looks healthy but grouchy. My suspicion is that he’s probably spent his morning talking to other people like me, most of whom have either asked him leading questions about Liam or tried to goad him into insulting other bands at random (as this is something he does not mind doing). He slouches on a couch while we navigate 10 minutes of small talk. We chat about the weather2 and about why he finally married his girlfriend3 after dating for 11 years. For no clear reason, he’s wearing a garish class ring from a high school in Louisiana, purchased in a Japanese pawnshop 21 years ago. He briefly imagines the backstory of the ring: “I reckon the previous owner was a G.I. who was stationed in Tokyo and pawned this ring for prostitutes.”
Ha! I lost my class ring years ago so there’s a part of me that is right now fantasizing that my ring somehow made it to Japan and that Noel Gallagher is wearing it right now. Anyway, Noel was just getting warmed up.
Here’s what he said about doing interviews…
“I’ve never understood musicians who don’t enjoy doing promotional interviews,” he says. “I just can’t believe it. I always think, ‘Your life must have been so brilliant before you were in a band.’ Because my life was sh*t, and this is great. Even after all these years, at 44 years of age, whenever the label asks if I want to go to New York to do promos, I always say yes immediately. And the label is always like, ‘Are you sure? It’s going to require a lot of interviews?’ And I’m like — I don’t give a f*ck. You’re gonna f*cking fly me first class to New York and put me in this amazing hotel? And my wife can go f*cking shopping four hours a day? What is not to like about that? I f*cking love doing press conferences. I don’t want to suggest it’s all a joke, but come on — the president holds f*cking press conferences. Why am I here? Why not enjoy it? I’ve never felt like I had anything important to say. I can tell a few jokes and we can talk irreverently about fame and success and sport and bullsh*t and all the crazy people you meet.”
I also enjoyed his description of his blissfully worry-free life prior to joining a band, being a roadie for other musicians, getting to travel the world and party…
“I was living in the center of Manchester, so I was always in clubs and at shows and kind of living on the periphery of the music business,” he says. “The people at the center of the music scene would have seen me as an outsider. The people who were further outside than me, though, would have thought I was some kind of insider. But I just believed I was at where I would always be. It never occurred to me to be in a band or write songs, even though I played guitar. I’d always thought I might be in the music business, because I loved collecting records and reading about records and all of that. But just being in a road crew, I thought, ‘This is f*cking great.’ I was making $700 a week to plug in some other guy’s guitar. I loved it. I never felt like I needed to be onstage. I liked being behind the f*cking amplifiers. I had no ambitions. I got to travel the world — drugs, women. Nobody knew who I was after I left town. I didn’t have to be anywhere or do anything. But then Liam said, `You should join my band, because you know how to write songs.’ So I went down there on a few Sundays to jam, and it was the first time I’d ever heard other people play my songs. It was amazing to have that happen. And there was another pivotal moment about two years in, before we’d done anything or anyone knew us: I wrote the song ‘Columbia.’ And the next song I wrote immediately after that was ‘Up in the Sky.’ And then right after that, I wrote ‘Live Forever.’ All of this happened in a row, very easily. And I just thought, ‘These songs are f*cking great.’ Especially ‘Live Forever.’ I remember thinking, ‘I know enough about music to know that this is a good song.’ So I took it to the band and we played it, and I instantly knew that I had written a bona fide classic song, even though nobody knew who the f*ck we were. So that’s when I started to take things quite seriously.”
Seriously, go read the whole thing. It’s great. The man is a quote machine, obviously…
I want more like this!
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