IT’S BEEN A TOUGH FEW YEARS FOR THE OASIS SINGER–BATTLING THE BREAK–UP OF HIS MARRIAGE AND FORMER BAND, WITH AN UNEXPECTED LOVE CHILD THROWN IN FOR GOOD MEASURE. THE MANCUNIAN WHO CAME TO DEFINE ‘90s SWAGGER AND IS, HIS WORDS, ‘THE GREATEST FRONTMAN OF OU
GQ: It must feel good to be talking about music and being creative, instead of the shit that’s been swirling the past few years.
Liam Gallagher: Oh, yeah, without a doubt. I mean, they’re always gonna talk about the shit, because the shit sells – so there’s always gonna be a bit of that. And I don’t actually mind that, either, you know what I mean? ’Cause it can’t all be music, music, music – some fuckin’ muso, going, ‘Oh, yeah, man, the album is great’, you know, being a fucking dork and doing interviews like Sting, talking about how ‘This fucking song’s saved my life’. It’s like, ‘Fuck off, mate’.
GQ: Yeah, ‘get back to your tantric meditation’ and all that.
LG: Exactly. So, yeah, I don’t mind a bit of the drama. Because it’s real life, you know what I mean? But I’m definitely glad to have the music alongside of it.
GQ: Well, you’re back where you belong, behind the mic. Tell us about the past three years and where you’ve been – because we heard something about moving to Majorca?
LG: After we knocked it on the head with Beady Eye, I was going through a divorce and all the other stuff [court cases relating to his fathering of a love child with journalist Liza Ghorbani] – it was just dealing with lawyers on a daily basis until I fucking went to sleep at night. I was thinking, ‘Fuck this shit’ and I planned to get out of England for a bit. So I went to Majorca for a holiday, had a really nice time and thought, ‘I could fucking live here’. But I didn’t. I came back, shook my head a bit, and I thought, ‘It’s time to make some tunes’.
GQ: We’re glad – as we can’t imagine you wandering about in thongs and shorts full-time.
LG: Me neither, I suppose. I mean, I could do it, but I gotta put lunch on that fork. But what made me want to get away from England was just the fucking constant bullshit all the time. Which I made for myself, I guess. It was my own doing. But still, I thought, ‘You know what? I need a bit of sunshine, healthy food, get fit and fucking make a plan.’
GQ: So it was simply arriving at a point where you needed to create again – to go solo.
LG: I just started out with a guitar, doing it in me room and that. And then I wrote a song called ‘Bold’. And then I wrote another one called ‘What I Need’. And I thought, ‘They’re pretty fucking cool’. And I played ’em to a few friends. They were going, ‘They’re fucking really good’. Then, I met this guy from Warner Bros and he said, ‘Let’s have a listen’. So I played him these tunes on the guitar and he was like, ‘Yeah, they’re really good’ and goes, ‘Do you want a record deal?’ And I said, ‘Well, yeah, go on then’.
GQ: Do a lot of the songs on the album reveal more about you than what we’ve heard before?
LG: Totally, man, without a doubt. But I’m not gonna do too much of that, I’ve given enough away. And you gotta keep a little bit back for yourself. But there are bits in there about Noel. There are bits in there about my mum. There’s bits in there about my kid... my girlfriend... my other brother... They’re all personal, but, you know, I haven’t sat down to write a song about ‘this’, or ‘that’, or ‘that person’ or ‘this person’. Everything just comes in, in a song. And suddenly, it goes back out, subconsciously.
GQ: It’s nice to have you back.
LG: It’s nice to be back – it’s nice to wake up in the morning and have something to do. ’Cause boredom will kill anyone and I’ve been bored out of my mind the past four years, and it’s been dreadful. And it’s not like I’m curing cancer, this is just a fucking good rock ‘n’ roll record – and there’s nothing else about like this at the moment.
GQ: Do you think a lot of rock ‘n’ roll frontmen have gone a bit soft?
LG: Oh, yeah, without a doubt. But I don’t think rock ’n’ roll has. It’s always there if you want it. It’s just people are choosing not to do it because apparently, it’s not trendy at the moment... There’s a lot of these rock ’n’ roll bands, or so-called rock ’n’ roll bands – they’ve got guitars and that but they’re wearing ’em like pieces of jewellery. Plug the fucking thing in and turn it up. The sounds are meant to be loud, and concerts are gonna be loud, you know what I mean? And some rock ’n’ roll bands are making dance records – they’re sitting on the fence with a foot in the dance world... It’s like, ‘Make your fucking mind up, man’.
GQ: Since you’re considered one of the greatest frontmen of our time… LG: Yeah. Without a doubt. Without a doubt! GQ: …well, what makes a good frontman – what are these frauds lacking?
LG: Life, man. Life experiences. No one seems to be getting in any trouble or getting ... I mean, I guess, it’s getting in trouble and getting out of it. They just seem to be doing a gig and going home. And that ain’t happening for me. Obviously, I’ve calmed down a lot from when I was 20 and 30 and that... Just these young bands today, man,
it’s like, they do the gig, they get it on and then they go fucking home. Everyone just seems to be very cautious of having a good time. It’s like, I don’t know, it’s just all a bit shit. English rock ’n’ roll at the moment is really fucking beige. And I’m here to shake IT UP.
GQ: A lot of people would say the same about what’s being produced in Australia.
LG: I don’t know much about Australian music – I know there’s that band DMAS, I went to see them a couple of weeks ago, and I like what I see. Man, they got some good tunes in there. But I think everyone seems to be goin’ to bed after the gig, you know what I mean? No one’s going out, fucking getting in shit. Maybe it’s to do with the drugs. Maybe the drugs are shit? And the beer’s watered down, and all... And it’s not just about the music for me – it’s about the look as well. People need to look cool, you know what I mean? Everyone just looks like fucking tramps these days. Or, they look like they’re off a fucking a kid’s TV program. No one looks fucking cool anymore. Don’t get me started. It’s far too early!
GQ: Good thing your fashion label, Pretty Green is still around then. So what would you realistically be doing if you hadn’t found rock ‘n’ roll?
LG: Well, I’d either be in prison, or I’d be dead. I’d be fucking off my tits on spice, this new drug that’s killing everyone in Manchester, this mad zombie weed. I certainly wouldn’t be working in fucking accounts or Mcdonald’s. So God knows. So that’s why I treat rock ’n’ roll with the utmost respect. It’s like, if you look after rock ’n’ roll, rock ’n’ roll will look after you. So I do believe there’s rock ’n’ roll angels up there, and they’re looking down on me, as stupid as it sounds, I do believe that.
GQ: You consider yourself spiritual?
LG: Without a doubt. I don’t pray at Buddha, and I don’t fucking pray at the Lord and all that. But I definitely just stand there. And I sort of take it all in. And I just fucking put it back out again. I believe in me, man, and I believe in me family, and I believe in me friends, and me missus, and I believe in real people. You know what I mean? I don’t have wind chimes on me fucking house and stuff. And I don’t have a yoga mat.
GQ: A divorce, alimony, a band break–up – this is tough for anyone let alone someone in the public eye. How did you get through it. No doubt you’re sick of lawyers?
LG: Oh, I’m fucking sick of them, mate. That was just every day. It was morning, noon and night. But you’ve just gotta fucking stay strong and stay focused. I came into this without money, I’ve come out of it without money. I don’t do it for money, you know what I mean? I’ve got a great life, I’ve got more than enough, more than what I need. So you’ve just gotta stay focused, and just go, ‘Listen, you ain’t gonna take what is not up for fucking grabs, and that is my spirit. Listen, it’ll pass. Don’t go jumping off the bridge, don’t go taking a bottle of pills, and don’t fucking start to put a fucking rope round your neck. It’ll pass. It’s just a little part of your life that you fucking got yourself in, and you’ve gotta navigate your way out of it.’ There was no doubt that I would go back to music. I knew, once I got my head straight, and all that, I’d definitely go and try and make some music.
GQ: Is it hard being a dad, when so much of your life – all the beefs and crazed times – is on public record?
LG: I guess, but I don’t really think about it. The people in the press don’t really know me. They’ve invented who they think they’ve invented. And the stuff that they write about me is, like, fucking ridiculous. I just go, ‘You’re way off the mark’. And my kids know me – they’re with me fucking, three, four times a day. Or four times a week. They know where I’m at. They know I’m still connected, I’m not some fucking fruitcake. I’ve still got my feet on the ground, you know what I mean? It don’t matter what them dicks write in the press, it’s not in my head.
GQ: So no concerns about your own mental health, given all you’ve consumed?
LG: No, no, no, no. I was mad before I joined the band. It’s just the fucking thing – you’ll never get me in fucking rehab. I had my drugs when I was 14. Chewing my face off in Manchester, on magic mushrooms and all that. It’s a piece of piss. People think that you join a band, and you go, ‘Right, I’m in a band. Let’s take drugs and drink alcohol.’ I was doing that when I was fucking 14. So my mind is very definitely psychedelic. It all comes to whatever’s going down. But I can definitely toe the line. And I can do normal. I get up and go for a run every day. I go and do me own groceries, and then I come back here and I sit and watch a bit of TV. But when nine o’clock comes, and there’s a microphone, it’s time to kick out the jams, as we say.
GQ: Are recreational drugs and booze still part of your life?
LG: I booze it – don’t really do much of the other stuff, no goodies anymore, not proper stuff... I certainly can’t drink before I go on stage or a night before. The voice don’t handle that anymore. I’m 44 now, so it’s like, get a good night’s kip, get out for a run in the morning. Get to the gig. Do the gig. Give the people what they want. And then, it’s my time. I’ll never be fucking sober. Well, I’ll be sober – I’ve been sober for six months once there before, and it’s fucked. Being sober drove me to drink.
GQ: This is what made you want to skip out on England – sobriety?
LG: Exactly, yeah. I’d been six months sober, I was going, ‘Fuck this shit. This is boring. Gimme a drink!’
GQ: How much do you enjoy winding up your brother Noel – it feels like you have some fun with it.
LG: Oh, it’s my favourite thing to do. But there are some serious issues in there as well. I think he stitched me up with Oasis. We got to a point where he was like, ‘Look, we might not be selling as much as what we were, I could do with going solo’. A lot of people were pissing in his ear. And he basically fucking set up a couple of booby traps and I walked straight into ’em. Then he went off and did his solo career. And I was left with the fucking mess of ‘You split Oasis up’ – one of the nation’s favourite bands. I’m pissed off about that, and I always will be. We didn’t just split up over a fucking argument. There was some fucking dark activity at play there... That shit still hurts me. But he’s had four years of running amok. And now I’m back. I wanna shine a light on how fake he is. But all the fucking winding up and stuff, is pure fucking... yeah, I love it.
GQ: Because you know the public get off on it too, right?
LG: Yeah, I get off on it! And so be it, man. I don’t wish him any fucking harm, I just wanna let people know that he’s a fake and I’m not.
GQ: It appears that age has mellowed you a bit – all said and done.
LG: Definitely, man. But not to the point where fucking people pull the wool over me eyes. I still got me eye on people, you know what I mean? I’m watching what’s going down. I’ve definitely chilled out, though. Yeah, I have, but not too much.
GQ: It’s been a few years since you were in Australia. How do you look back on the times that you’ve been here?
LG: I like it, man. My mate lives out there. He lives in a place called Wagga Wagga or something like that?
GQ: Yeah, Wagga Wagga – so good they named it twice.
LG: It’s like the New York of Australia [laughs]. Every time I’ve been out there, it’s been cool. And we’re coming out there, doing the Falls Festival. So, we’re gonna be there for New Year’s Eve. So I can’t wait, man – I love it. It’s beautiful. I’m bringing me two boys out as well, they’re at the age now where they can come and travel. They’re mad for this stoner cartoon, The Big Lez Show. It’s like a fucking Australian Cheech and Chong. They love a bit of that Australian vibe.
GQ: What’s your take on the current influx of bands who are cashing in on this so– called ‘90s revival’?
LG: I don’t mind it. I’m all for a bit of nostalgia... Bring it on, you know what I mean? I don’t sit there and go, ‘Oh, they’re a bunch of cunts for getting back together’. If it’s gonna pay their bills, so be it, man.
GQ: Well, you know what we’re going to ask next, right?
LG: Yes, ma’am.
GQ: What would it take to get Oasis back together?
LG: We’ve been offered lots of money. But it’s not about the money – I don’t need it. And I’m sure Noel don’t need it, ’cause he keeps telling everyone how rich he is and that... To get Oasis back, it needs me and our kid to have a real sit-down and become friends again. And brothers, you know what I mean? And so, it’s not about how many notes we keep putting on. It’s irrelevant. Oasis was not about the money – it was about spirit and the honesty. And I mean, not fucking falling into them bullshit traps, and becoming a fucking U2, or whatever. Not becoming a part of the fucking system...
GQ: … so some brotherly love is needed?
LG: Once we do that, if we ever get to do that, then it’s on, but at the moment, it’s so not. If that happens, we start talking, start hanging out, and then, I think, it’d really be a natural thing. It’d be like, ‘Look, should we fucking have another crack at it? Should we fire up the chariots?’ Until that day happens, there’d be no point in me going onstage if I still hate Noel, and Noel still hates me, because people will see right through it. Listen, we get offered lots of things when we were Oasis, to do things for money. I got offered some fucking Calvin Klein adverts when I was 23. I turned it down. We got offered fucking Coca–cola adverts. We were like, ‘No, that’s not what we’re about, you know what I mean?’ ’Cause the minute you go into that zone, it’s very hard to get out of it. And that’s why I think people still have a real soft spot, because it was fucking real. It was super, super real. And towards the end, it just got, super fucking not real.
GQ: How do you feel about the music now? Do you get a twitch when you hear ‘Wonderwall’?
LG: I like all the songs. We did it the other night for the first time in ages, and people fucking loved it. So I’m not one of them people that are like, ‘I’m not gonna do it’ because I’ve had the hump with it. People pay their hard–earned cash to go to a gig... give them what they want. Send them home happy. People don’t play their hits anymore, because they’ve got an album out, and this is where they’re at in life. Fuck off, mate. Get over your fucking self. Play the fucking hits, and some of your new stuff as well.
GQ: Looking back, any regrets?
LG: I’ve got a few. But not too many. Obviously, I’ve fucked a few things up and that, personally, but everything happens for a reason. So, only personal ones. Musically, no regrets. Fashion sense, no regrets. It is what it is. I might have fucked a few things up on the way. But it’s all been dealt with, and it’s all been picked up, and apologised for.
GQ: With all the noise and bullshit aside, how would you like to be remembered?
LG: As a great rock ’n’ roll singer who did not give a fuck – who did exactly what it said on the tin. Liam Gallagher’s debut solo album, As You Were, is out October 6.
“it’s just all a bit shit... And I’m here to shake IT UP.”