Not old mate Noel, though. Possibly because of the fact that — as he tells us — he doesn’t “surf the internet” or “read the newspapers”, or perhaps because he’s been elevated to the untouchable status of ‘Godlike Genius’ (and has an award to prove it), the High Flying Birds frontman still retains a zero per cent capacity for bullshit, and DNGAF about the repercussions of his straight-shooting word bombs.
So, needless to say, getting the chance to sit down for a pow-wow with the Brit-pop icon was as refreshing as it was insightful as it was deadset farking hilarious.
And despite this interviewer’s initial jitters about what to expect from going toe-to-toe with one of the most shamelessly egomaniacal and loose-lipped slaggers in rock n’ roll, please note that he was also a genuinely lovely guy to boot.
In the midst of chatting to Music Feeds about the High Flying Birds’ freshly landed ‘cosmic pop’ album Who Built The Moon? and plans to bring the ‘Birds back down under with their newly-appointed scissors player (whom, Noel relays, we must henceforth refer to as the ‘Scissor Queen’) the frontman got in some absolutely classic sledges on his brother Liam, Guns N’ Roses, Australia’s own The Amity Affliction and more, and even spoke candidly about his past and (seemingly non-existent) future with Oasis (for the record, he went there before we did).
But possibly most notable of all, Noel also shared a fiery condemnation of the kind of disturbingly rampant sexual misconduct we’ve seen come to light in the entertainment industry of late, along with the men who perpetrate it.
Catch our full chat, in all of it’s F-bomb-riddled glory, below.
Music Feeds: G’day Noel. I heard you’ve been a bit unwell, are you feeling any better?
Noel Gallagher: Ummmmm… Nah, I’ve had a stomach bug for a while. It’s just goin’ round. You know how it is when you get to my age, these little things fuckin’ annoy you for a while but nah, I’m alright.
MF: Well it’s good you’re on the mend. I have to ask, when you get sick, do you just pop down to your local GP like the rest of us?
NG: Oh yeah, I go see the doctor [laughs]. Yeah, I go like everybody else and sit in a waiting room with lots of fuckin’ other people, quietly shuffling around. And then someone comes up and says, [whispers] ‘Mr. Gallagher, the doctor will see you now.’ And I say ‘thank you’. And then I sit there and he says, ‘What seems to be the problem?’ And I tell him what the problem is, and he’ll just say to me, ‘Hmm… have you been, uh, shall we say… in a period of… consumption… lately, Mr. Gallagher?’ And I say, ‘Well… yes. I have been consuming.’ And then he’ll say, ‘Well I suggest you go home and have a fuckin’ lie down and stop wasting my time.’
MF: One thing I wanted to ask you straight out the gate was whether you saw that an Aussie band called The Amity Affliction put you on one of their T-shirts recently?
NG: No. Unless I see somebody wearing it outside my front door it’s never liable to reach me because I don’t surf the internet. I have no idea who they are or what indeed you’re talking about.
MF: Basically they’re a band selling shirts with a picture of you on the front and a quote from a review you gave one of their songs — “sounds like a dead turd” I believe it says.
NG: ‘Sounds like a dead turd’? Sounds like the kind of thing I may have said. Who knows? Who knows? Who cares? [Laughs] Are they any good? What are they called?
MF: The Amity Affliction.
NG: What is it, metal?
MF: Well sort of, yeah.
NG: Clearly bound to be shit then.
MF: Now I read you’re not a huge fan of the Australian band DMA’s either, but I wanted to ask… are there any Aussie groups you are actually vibing on at the moment?
NG: Groups? No, but my favourite group is a band called Jungle, and they’ve disappeared off the face of the fuckin’ earth. But I’m more into tunes than artists if you know what I mean?
MF: What’s on your playlist at the moment, then?
NG: Well I bought a volume of albums the other day that has all of these early ’70s glam singles, like from around ‘74–’75. Other than that I can’t tell you, I listen to everything, apart from that band you just mentioned, apart from them, jazz and, like, modern pop music.
MF: Yeah it’s interesting that you mention the early ’70s because it feels like the new High Flying Birds record has a bit more of that early ’70s kind of psychedelic rock flavour to it.
NG: Please don’t call it psychedelic because ‘psychedelic’ conjures up images of moustaches and wizards hats and flared ladies’ trousers. Can you refer to it as ‘cosmic pop’?
MF: Uh, sure, that’s one I haven’t heard before!
NG: Well I’m inventing new genres as I go along, it’s fucking unbelievable. When you get to my age and you’re still inventing musical genres! I mean, crikey.
MF: Well NME gave you their ‘Godlike Genius’ award five years ago, probably for that very reason. And I just saw Liam’s gotten it this year. How’d you react to that news?
NG: You know, like, when a team wins the Premiere League and they give the third choice goalkeeper a medal just for being there? It’s like, ‘You didn’t do fuck all, right? You’ve done nothin. But you just happened to be there in training, so have this medal.’ That’s what that’s like.
MF: [Laughing] Well let’s talk more about the High Flying Birds, because you were down here in Australia last year for Bluesfest. First of all how was that experience? I know you were initially a bit shocked at getting invited to play a blues festival.
NG: Well as I’m one of the world’s most prominent blues artists, I was honoured to go down there and [puts on Southern American accent] do some shreddin’ on the geetar. But as I remember it, it wasn’t too painful. I’m not sure what I remember of it, I remember thinkin’, ‘A blues festival? What? Is there another Noel Gallagher fuckin’ doin’ the rounds or somethin’? Possibly in a cowboy hat?’ But no, it was me.
MF: Well now that you’ve got the new record out, can we expect to see you back down here any time soon?
NG: I would have thought so, yeah. I mean, I’m not sure I’ll get there next year, probably the year after. Don’t quote me on that though, I mean, I’d be the fuckin’ last to know. I could well be goin’ there next week, who knows?
MF: Well if so, would you be bringing the illustrious scissors player?
NG: I’m afraid so. I’m afraid so, yes. The Scissors Queen, she’s not a scissors player. We’ll be referring to her from now on as the Scissor Queen. If we go to Australia, she’ll be coming, no doubt.
MF: Excellent. Although I fear the name ‘Scissor Queen’ might be a dangerous thing to type into Google…
NG: Well, one would hope.
MF: And adding the Scissors Queen to the mix isn’t the only experimental thing you’ve been doing recently, it definitely sounds like you’ve gone in a bit more of an adventurous direction with this new record, was that a deliberate choice?
NG: To be honest, the record does sound different to what I’ve become famous for, but it’s not different for different’s sake, you know what I mean? My attitude going into this wasn’t, ‘I want to make something that’s really different,’ I had no idea what record we were gonna make on the day that we started it, no fuckin’ idea. I hadn’t written any songs, it was just gonna happen in the studio. And it ended up sounding quite different because there were moments of inspiration in the studio when David [Holmes] my producer would point me in a completely different direction than the one I’d been used to going in.
MF: And do you always work that way? Heading into the studio with no material prepared and just seeing what comes out? As opposed to going in with a bunch of songs already written?
NG: Well no, ever since the day I first started to write songs I’ve always written songs at home and then gone into the studio and the producer would pick the best ones and we’d make a record and that’d be it. This is the first time I’ve ever, ever, ever gone into the studio with nothing. I found it really, really exciting because you don’t really know what it is you’re fucking doing until you’ve done it.
MF: Do you imagine you’ll end up doing the same thing for the next record?
NG: Well, I haven’t really thought that far ahead, my focus right now is just on touring. But I mean, I write at home. I’ve got so much fucking songs that I’ve written that I haven’t used. Me and Dave have spoken about making a follow-up to this record because there’s a lot of stuff left over that is of equal quality I think, so I think we’d be stupid not to try and make another record, but I’ll do whatever I feel is right at the time.
I certainly won’t be making a record for anybody else next time I go in, I’ll be there to please myself. You know what I mean? I’ve spent a lot of time and effort down the years being in Oasis, writing for the people. And I’ve done that. And I’m, you know, doing somethin’ else now.
MF: But do you ever write a song and think, ‘Actually, shit, this would make a pretty good Oasis track,’ or are you just not in that headspace at all?
NG: Wow [laughs]. No, I’m not there anymore, and I’ve not been there for nine years now. I’m only ever forced to think about Oasis when it’s brought up in an interview, or when we did that documentary because I guess there was a nostalgic thing going on, or when I’m on stage singing ‘Half The World Away’ or something, you know what I mean?
But no, I don’t think about that at all. I know that people will not fucking let it go, alright. I’m not saying you, I just mean people in general. I mean, it’s quite flattering in a way because it means that you did something of real worth. But you know, I did it. I’m done with it. It doesn’t enter my thoughts at all.
MF: What about when you see a band like Guns N’ Roses absolutely conquering the world after reuniting after so many years? It doesn’t tempt you at all with Oasis?
NG: Well, if Axl Rose or Slash or any of those guys were as good as me, they wouldn’t fuckin’ be in Guns N’ Roses.
MF: [Laughing] The quintessential Noel Gallagher response right there.
NG: Well I’ve conquered the world enough, I’ve got enough money. In fact I’ve got too much fuckin’ money. Do you want some? I’ll send you some. How much do you want? I don’t need any more glory, I don’t need to be a stadium rocker anymore, I did it when I was in my 20s and 30s and 40s and I was good at it. I don’t particularly want to be a stadium rocker when I’m 50, I think it’s undignified.
MF: Well Noel, while I’ve got you I actually wanted to ask your opinion on all of this sexual misconduct stuff that’s been happening right across the music and entertainment industry at the moment—
NG: [Stern voice] Now listen! I don’t know what people have been saying, I don’t know what people have been fuckin’ sayin’, but those animals — those dogs and cats that I fiddled with — they deserved it! They were there, we were all drunk, things happened, none of us are proud of it, can we just move on?
MF: [Laughing pretty much uncontrollably] Mate, well as long as it was consensual! You know, once this goes to print that quote’s probably going to be plastered on headlines all over the internet, right?
NG: Oh, I don’t give a fuck. What about sexual misconduct? I haven’t done any, have I? Please tell me not.
MF: Oh god [laughing] well, not that I know of!
NG: Great, so I’ve managed to get away with it so far [laughs].
MF: I actually just wanted to hear your thoughts on everything that’s kind of happened since the whole Harvey Weinstein bombshell.
NG: To be honest, I don’t really read the newspapers. I know what’s going on, but I don’t know the details of it, or the ins and outs. I’m aware of the Kevin Spacey thing, and the Harvey Weinstein thing. But I will say this: men in power who take advantage of women are the fucking lowest of the low. And they can’t really be considered to be men, do you know what I mean?
You have to question these guys, how they were fuckin’ brought up. It’s difficult to comment on because if you’re not in that way of thinking… I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand it. I mean, I don’t understand men at the best of times, men that objectify women and take advantage of women like that is so alien to me. They’re not men, you know what I mean? They’re boys, really, they’re just like little boys who are somehow unfulfilled. I don’t get it.
MF: Have you ever heard any troubling stories from your female peers in the music industry?
NG: I haven’t heard of anything, I haven’t heard of anything. I guess in the film industry, a lot of the time the females need the male bosses to get them further up the ladder, you know what I mean? Whereas in the music industry, if a girl writes a great song, it’s still a great song. It seems to me to be a bit more… equal, in the music industry?
Now, I’m aware that girl… Keisha? Kesha? What’s her name? Something went on there. But from where I’m looking at it, I know Rita Ora very well, let’s just take her for one. She’s fucking amazing, and I’ve been at festivals with her when we’re around record company executives and she’s treated — and I would imagine people like her are treated — with the same reverence as their male counterparts. Whereas in Hollywood, that would not seem to be the case.
MF: Well it’s definitely heartening to hear that your experience of the industry has been so positive, as far as women are concerned.
NG: Well look, I’ve got three girls in my band, who are going to be on tour with me for the next however many years –
MF: Including the Scissor Queen!
NG: Yeah, you know, you can’t afford to be a misogynist in the music business. I mean, I write songs about the glory of women all the fuckin’ time, you know what I mean? I’ve gotten my fuckin’ career out of that. I love being around women, and not to objectify them, they’re funnier than most men half the time.
And in any case, if my fuckin’ wife… You know what, I’ll tell you a little something for instance, this is my wife, right? She was having some of her friends around one night, and they’re all downstairs in the kitchen – you’ve been in this scenario many many times, I’m sure, when they’re all pissed around the kitchen table cacklin’ like fuckin’ insane nannas, right? And I’m kind of downstairs getting a drink and they’re having a conversation about feminism, right? And I’m kind of like, ‘Ha! Feminism? Whatever.’
NG: And then my wife listed about 12 reasons why I was a feminist. And I was like… stunned into silence. She was like, ‘You’re a feminist! Because of this and because of that,’ and I was like, ‘Oh… Well I suppose you’ve got a point there.’
MF: Yeah, I reckon I can get behind that statement. Unfortunately that word seems to have some negative connotations for a lot of people. But really, anyone who just respects women — and anyone who isn’t a misogynist — probably should consider themselves to be a feminist.
NG: Yeah, I’ve never understood misogyny. I was brought up by women, my dad was not very present at all, and that’s just been my life, you know? I’ve always had female tour managers up until very, very recently, I kinda trusted that they’re not gonna fuckin’ run off with all the money. I’m in my office here, right, in London, I’m in my office that runs my ship, I think there must be [starts counting] I think there’s a dozen people in here? Eight of them are girls. They’re amazing.
You still can’t get a fuckin’ decent cup o’ tea out of any of ‘em though. For fuck’s sake. Unbelievable.