Flying solo, but a little reluctantly, Noel takes centre stage
Noel Gallagher’s new material might be going down a storm but, as Andy Welch discovers, the Oasis star never wanted to go it alone.
IT’S virtually impossible to prepare for an interview with Noel Gallagher.
The former Oasis songwriter’s tack-sharp mind can veer between seemingly disconnected topics in a second. It’s best to sit there and do your best to keep up.
During an hour with the man known to those who work with him as ‘The Chief’, he discusses his new album, his friend David Walliams, his recent Radio 2 show, his plans for a new gameshow, The Beatles, Manchester City and last, but definitely not least, his beloved brew.
“If I’d known you didn’t drink Yorkshire Tea, I’d never have agreed to this interview,” he says with mock horror. “As any tea-maker knows, it’s the only bag.”
Gallagher’s debut solo album, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, was released earlier this week. The story behind the title? “So I wouldn’t freak out when I saw it written down. The High Flying Birds don’t exist, but I couldn’t just be ‘Noel Gallagher’,” he explains, adding he took the name from a song by Sixties psychedelic rockers Jefferson Airplane.
A tour begins this week, but the 44-year-old isn’t really looking forward to it.
“I wouldn’t say I was excited. I’m not excited about anything, really, except the Manchester derby, which is the same day as the tour starts,” he says, referring to Manchester City’s forthcoming clash with red rivals United. “I’m ready for what’s about to happen, which is a level down from excited. If excited is green, then I’m definitely amber, Gallagher Snr walked out and it signalled the end of a band that had sold more than 70 million records. Whatever the state of his relationship with Liam, Noel says some sweet things about his mouthy sibling today.
“I need him more than he needs me,” he admits at one point, later referring to him as the best rock ‘n’ roll singer the UK has ever seen. “I never wanted to be a solo artist. I loved being in Oasis, and if the band had stayed together, I would’ve been the happiest pig in the nicest pigpen.”