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Noel Gallagher On Age, Lyrics And More

In this month’s Q cover feature, Oasis’s Noel Gallagher holds forth on subjects many and varied. So much did the great man say, we didn’t have room for it all in the magazine. Here, then, are further words of wisdom – and inevitable Liam abuse – from The Chief.

Noel on .... the cancellation of Oasis's planned first visit to China …
“I got a phone call saying we couldn’t go because I’d done that New York thing in 1997. For a good 15 minutes, I had no idea what they were talking about… I had no recollection of doing it. It was U2, Radiohead, Beastie Boys, a Tibetan concert in America. Sounds like a good gig! Anyway, I’d done some interviews on the day and the People’s Ministry Of Cultural Affairs had got hold of it… And they think now that I’m some kind of Tibetan trouble causer. F***ing outrageous. It’s a f***er for all the people who’ve bought tickets for the gigs, because how are they gonna their money back? It’s staggering, though. Those Communists have got long memories. You don’t f*** with ’em.”

Noel on ... being a rock star
“I do enjoy it, yeah, it’s good. It’s important that the rock star thing, whatever that is, it gives kids that are starting off… It still gives them that, That’s what I wanna do. When you’re 13, you don’t want to be playing your guitar and looking at Sid Vicious. Who wants to be Sid Vicious? Who the fuck wants to be that fucked up on smack. Even the Stone Roses, they were a bit intense about it. They never really looked like they were having a laugh.

Now, the Mondays looked like they were having a good time. I’m glad we made it look like the best gig in the world, because it is. The guys from Kasabian… They told me that all that really kept them going at school was reading the papers, and seeing that Liam had been arrested or I’d said this or that. They said, We used to see you falling out of nightclubs and it was like, That’s it – that’s where we’ve got to be. It’s amazing to think, when we did those gigs in 1997 at Earl’s Court with The Verve, Tom and Serge were in the crowd. Their Mom and Dad had driven them to London and dropped them off. It blew my mind – it happened for them.”

Noel on ... the rest of the band
“Gem and Andy came late, but fuck me, it was like the cavalry riding over the hill. Gem’s like me, he works backwards from the band. Me and him, I guess more than Liam and Andy, would drive it along at all costs because we know how to do it; we know how to find drummers when we need one, we know how to rehearse the band. Liam… He’s constantly thinking about what shoes to buy. Or developing new techniques of how to balance that f***ing tambourine on his head. Great, off you go.

“Andy? Don’t know. I think he sees himself as a bit of a Bill Wyman character. Sometimes I look at him onstage and think, He’s actually doing less than Duffy does. If I didn’t actually hear a sound coming out of the bass, I’d think that one of Kraftwerk had put one of their robots there. Is he actually moving? I’ll walk across the stage to him and he’ll go, What a gig! F***ing hell, man, you need a rocket up your arse.”

Noel on ... popular culture now
Do you know when people say you’re a product of your parents? I think that’s true to a certain extent, but you’re also a product of the times. The times shape so much. The times now are a bit weird because of the internet and all that – there doesn’t seem to be one prevailing thing. Back in the ’70s and ’80s, there were three channels on the telly, so you had all these shared experiences. There was a massive shared experience of Fawlty Towers, or Are You Being Served?, and everything was available to everbody else. There was no Sky, no laptops or any of that shit. There was radio, TV and the news.

“Who watches the news now? I do, I watch it a lot. But kids don’t, because there’s other things to be doing – like trying to f*** that goblin up the arse with a laser beam on that game your Mam bought you. You can switch off now and become so desensitised to everything. You can choose to put the TV on and escape into Jamie Oliver’s f***ing kitchen, where he skins a midget chicken and makes the best risotto that has ever been. So f***ing what?

“On the face of it, it’s probably for the best, because now everybody seems to live a better life – they can afford a plasma screen, an iPod, a car on credit, which is why we’ve got into the mess we’re in now.”

Noel on ... his fondness for Speaker's Corner
“I only live round the corner from it, go there all the time. It’s f***ing mental. It’s almost like a freakshow. When I first came to London, it was one of the first places I went to, because I’d read about it at school. It was where they denounced communism and fascism, f***ing brilliant. Now, it’s idiots up there talking about… And this is true, there was a guy trying to stop people birdwatching because it’s infringing on birds’ rights. Birds rights! And there was a group of people of stood round giving this guy the time of day.”

Noel on ... his lyrics
“I’d love to be like Morrissey… But who wants to listen to a song about how sad you are? Who wants to listen to a song about how much you love your girlfriend? I look at the big picture. If I can write great lyrics, brilliant, but it’s not something that I ever worry about.

“The words are just part of the ingredients. They don’t fall out of the sky easily for me, I must say. They’re a real pain in the arse for me. If I were a lyric writer, like Elliott Smith, f*** me, I’d have had 28 albums out by now. I can write music and melody and arrangements for fun, but the words always slow everything down.”

Noel on ... what he still wants to achieve
“We’re not a band that sets ourselves goals, or I’m not. In hindsight, it would have been nice to have had a Number One in America, so people would stop f***ing going on about us not cracking America. I’d still like to be here in five years' time. Stay vaguely slim.”

Noel on ... getting older
“When you have your photograph taken as much as one does, and you see… Like, there was a picture of me on The Sunday Times cover recently that was taken five years ago, and you just look older. It is a cliché and all that, but I’m 42 this year, my bones already feel like they’re 52, but upstairs I’m at ease. I can’t really wait to get to the f***ing end of it. I don’t mean dead, I’m in it for the long run… But I look at Neil Young and think, I can’t f***ing wait to be you. That f***er blows me away every time I see him.

“But I’m lucky in a way. Even if it was all to end in a bizarre gardening accident tomorrow, I’ve lived. So I’m not getting older thinking that my time is slipping away. I will look back on my life at some point, I’ll be forced to, and fucking hell man, what a gig. So I’m really cool with it… I’m not here cos of my startling good looks, d’you know what I mean? That kind of thing doesn’t mean anything to me.

“Saying that, I’m the oldest person I know who’s yet to start dyeing his hair. Virtually everybody that I know gets the old Grecian 2000 out. So I’m doing alright. And anyway, I think of it in these terms – I’ll never be as old as Paul Weller. As long as he’s going, you can’t touch me.”


Noel's TCT gig 'The Dreams We Have As Children (Live For Teenage Cancer Trust)’ is available to download now, click here for more details.

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