In lockdown I had a burst of activity. If you are creative you shouldn’t be bored...
All hail Noel Gallagher! The Oasis and High Flying Birds singer-songwriter tells MARION McMULLEN if he ruled the world, things would be a lot different
Anything that’s lasted 10 years should be celebrated.
“YOU know I’ve always fancied sitting at the United Nations or the League of Nations,” says Noel Gallagher. “I could see them asking ‘Mr Gallagher what do you think?’ and I would say ‘You’re a bunch of **** s. I’m taking over.’”
He sighs: “You do live in hope that at some point everything will right itself.”
While Covid closed venues and brought touring to a halt, Noel headed to the recording studio.
“Creatively it’s not been a hindrance,” he says. “I think if anything the first three months I kind of had a burst of activity otherwise I would have been sitting around doing nothing.
“I’m currently making a new record. If you are a creative person or artistic you really shouldn’t be bored.” He laughs: “I found that difficult to explain to my wife (Scottish publicist Sara MacDonald).
“I’m probably further on with the new album than I would have been because of lockdown.”
But he says if he was offered a deal to sacrifice all his lockdown songs so that Covid never happened he would take it like a shot.
“The only hobbies I have are music, football and my family,” he says. “It’s almost like the pandemic was designed to f*** my life up. If I can’t go to the football, play music , go shopping and travel to see my mum, that’s it. You know you just take everything away.
“You can’t even watch TV without someone saying ‘deaths are up but cases are down’ and then the guy next to them says no deaths are down and cases are up. Every 30 seconds it’s different.”
Noel also had to get to grips with home schooling during lockdowns and laughingly admits he is unlikely to get a gold star for his teaching skills.
“My home schooling – brutal. I’ve two lads looking at the computer screen going ‘why the f***?’. None of them have learned anything. I do worry what all this has done to children. What scars they will have.
“Life goes on and you can now go to the shops and everything, but there’s no spontaneity. If you want to go to a restaurant or bar you’ve got to book a table in advance just to have a drink.
“There have been pandemics in the past, but there was no internet in the past and that has made the situation worst. The neurosis of the world have been driven by the internet. Really it comes down to if you feel ill stay home and when you feel better go out.
“We were not prepared during the first wave. Nothing like it had ever happened in our lifetime.
“Then they were talking about a second wave and did nothing to prepare for it. They sleep walked into it and we went back into lockdown and that was brutal.”
Noel, who turned 54 last month, says he has no plans to tour until 2023.
“I had been on the road so long. I had done five world tours back to back.”
He laughs: “You go away on tour, and these tours last two years, and I’ve got two young boys and I come back and they’ve both got moustaches and are calling me Bruv and wearing jewellery.
“I don’t want to miss my family growing up so I’ve given myself to 2023. There’s no rush to get out there. I’m fine just being in the studio and doing new things then next year ramp I’ll it up a bit and then 2023.”
Meanwhile, Noel is celebrating the first decade of his post-Oasis band High Flying Birds with the first volume of a best of album called Back The Way We Came.
“The last 10 years have gone by like the speed of light, he says, “although nothing much has changed, it feels like everything has changed in 10 years. And anything that has lasted 10 years should be celebrated – 10 years of marriage, 10 years in prison, 10 years with a football club, anything.
“I decided to do something in the middle of the first lockdown, something to focus on, and this was the right thing.”
The 18-track album features two new songs and Noel says: “The title just came to me one afternoon at the kitchen table. It’s a saying isn’t it, ‘Back the way we came’.
“I actually thought it was a great title. Which is why it’s got Vol 1 because if there’s another one, I’m not coming up with another title!” He and his brother Liam are also to executive produce a documentary about Oasis’s most famous shows – two
nights at Knebworth in 1996.
Noel says: “I’m glad I lived through punk, acid house, festivals, laughing and joking and shouting and being a bit mad.
“Our generation had more than our parents, but I think this generation will be the first in history to have less than their parents – less travelling, less spontaneity, less of everything and that is really, really sad when you think your kids are not going to be able to experience what we have had.”
He finishes with a laugh: “Mind you, young people are idiots. I should know, I’ve got three.”
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds celebrate their first decade with new best of album, Back The Way We Came: Vol 1 (2011-2021) released on Sour Mash Records. Go to noelgallagher.com for more details