Noel Gallagher about ‘Live Forever’: “I knew enough about music to know that it was a fucking great song”

Noel Gallagher is Esquire’s December cover star, and he had a long, open-hearted talk about the highs and lows of Oasis, marriage, midlife crises, fame, fatherhood, going solo and life…


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2 |  “This music can’t not be heard”

I’m going to say I was maybe 12 or 13. I used to get grounded a lot because I was always bunking off school and getting caught smoking and fucking glue-sniffing and all the usual Seventies, Eighties gear. And there was this guitar that was behind the back door – no one knows how it got there – and I used to play one string and then it kind of just went from there. It wasn’t an instant thing and I never used to stand in front of the mirror with a tennis racket. I never thought I would become a rock star. It was just something to do while I waited for these two bozo parents downstairs to relent and let me out to get some mushrooms.

We didn’t make plans, back then. There’s probably a careers channel on Sky, now: Sky School Leavers. But I always felt somewhere right in the back room of my mind: music. I used to go to gigs and love it and then I met one of the guys from Inspiral Carpets, who offered me a job as a roadie and I thought, “Well, that’s it! My instincts were right.” And I was fucking thrilled with that. And then I got fired for some reason, probably being a cunt or taking drugs.

You know what was the weirdest thing about doing my first ever gig? I’d never played guitar standing up, in my life. I’d always just played it sitting on the end of the bed. So I had to get a strap. I remember the week leading up to the gig thinking, ‘What am I going to fucking do?’ I just stood still. And that’s where the art of Stillism came from, which Oasis mastered.

The first couple of years in Oasis I thought, “This is just a laugh.” Then one night, I was in my flat in India House on Whitworth Street in Manchester, and I wrote “Live Forever”. I knew enough about music to know that it was a fucking great song. I knew it! I remember taking it down to the rehearsal room and playing it on the guitar and Bonehead going, “You’ve not just written that song. No fucking way.” He was adamant. He was going, “No, no, no, no, no, you’re fucking blagging,” And then when it got to the solo there was a look around the room of like, “Fucking hell, that’s great.”

It was just a case of waiting for people to come to us. Liam said, “Why haven’t you sent any fucking demos out?” I’d say, “Listen, this kind of music can’t not be heard by the world. It’s just fucking impossible.”

Once I’d got the record deal my whole MO was: I’m going to London and I’m going to get involved. There’s this place called Camden and I’m going there and I’m getting involved in all manner of shit. And I was just up for it. I got on the train with a holdall and I never went back. I never, ever went back. I was like, “Give it to me, I fucking want it.” I didn’t make it until I was 27, so I was old in rock’n’roll terms. I was very prepared to have a fucking great time.

Source: Esquire