Speaking to Rich Pelley for The Guardian, Liam Gallagher answer to some queries on Noel, parkas, God and more.
I am fascinated by your story of not feeling music until you were hit on the head with a hammer. What happened exactly?
Growing up, I wasn’t big into music. People say: “I was into the Beatles when I was four or five.” I was the opposite, always out playing football. Noel played the guitar, which I thought was a bit odd. I was 14, 15, having a cigarette with my mates, and a few lads came down from another school, hoods up, and one of them whacked me on the head with a hammer. Not a big, massive mallet – one of those little small ones. I ended up in hospital and, after that, I just started hearing music differently. My girlfriend at the time was really into Madonna. She’d play Like a Virgin and I’d say: “I’m not having this shit.” Then I got hit on the head with a hammer and thought: “This is actually a tune.” So whoever hit me, I’d like to meet and thank, else I’d still be on the dole.
Has your solo success surprised you?
Yes and no. I obviously love what I do, but I’ve got a lot of people that help me – the songwriters, Debbie [Gwyther, his fiance and manager], the record company – and obviously the fans are great. So I’ve surrounded myself with the right people. But playing Knebworth again at 50 I didn’t see coming. I didn’t think I’d be selling out big gigs like that again.
How does it feel to still not give a fuck approaching 50?
The thing is, I probably give way more of a fuck than a lot of other people. I give a fuck not to give a fuck, d’you know what I mean? I could have easily turned into a diva. I get invited to all these things, but I shy away from it all.
All I want is to do my gigs, sing my songs, have a couple of pints and go on holiday with my family and my missus. I haven’t fallen into the celebrity trap, and that’s hard. So I do give a fuck, immensely.
What are your memories of playing Knebworth with Oasis and how do you see it differing this time around?
I remember flying in on the helicopter, thinking: “Look at all those fields. How come there’s no one in them? Surely we could have played to 5 million people, not 250,000.” We’d been on tour and were match fit, so I wasn’t nervous. Now that I’m 25 years older, my nerves are more that you want it to go well and you want everyone to have a good time. But going on stage and being me is a doddle.
As someone who spent the 90s having anxiety, I’ve always admired your confidence. But do even you have moments of thinking: “Can I run away and hide in a darkened room?”
Oh, many, many times, for sure. On a daily basis. But that’s life; any fears, you have to hit head on. A lot of fears are illusions, so you just have to take a deep breath and think: “You know what? It’s not that bad actually.” We all have these feelings but, at the end of the day, you’ve just got to get up and deal with it.
What scares you?
Spiders. And mice. My cats – Sid and Nancy – are always bringing in mice, which I know is supposed to be a present, but I just can’t handle it. Things that go faster than me can do one. If I was on that jungle programme [I’m a Celebrity … Get Me Out of Here!], the ratings would go through the roof. I’m a proper big shitbag with things like that. I’d be a million times worse than Dean Gaffney.
If Noel’s life depended on a new kidney and you were the only donor match, would you give him one of yours?
Without a doubt. Of course I would. He’s my brother, man, and I love him. I’d give you one as well, mate.
Do I think he’d give me one of his? Yeah. He’s all bravado. He and all his celebrity mates just get up their own arses.
I’m sure they’re good people, but they’re very insecure.
Am I surprised I’ve ended up more successful? It depends what you judge by success.
I’m sure Noel’s very happy in his world. He wrote some great songs and I sang them. It’s the voice that people want to hear. I could get someone to play Noel’s guitar parts 10 a penny.
Noel can’t get anyone to sing like me. I work hard, give people what they want, and I’m not pretentious. You can’t go on stage, play your new album, one to 11, and expect people to come to your gigs. You put a few new songs in there, but you’ve got to play the hits.
Why do you put your hands behind your back when you sing?
I believe I get more power out my voice. When I’m tensed up, I sing a little bit more aggressively, and that’s what my style’s about. Obviously, when you’re singing ballads, you chill a bit, but with the rock’n’roll, punky stuff, I feel like I get more power.
Have you ever thought of asking for a shorter microphone stand so you don’t have to crane your neck?
No, but I get what you’re saying.
How many parkas do you own? Doesn’t wearing a parka on stage mean you’re all sweaty? Do you wear them in bed, too?
I’ve got far too many parkas, far too many Clarks’, far too many everything. I like wearing them, so I tend to go for thin ones on stage. I sing like my life depends on it. If I sang bollock naked, I’d still be sweating, so I might as well look cool while I’m at it. And no: I wear my Superman outfit in bed.
If I were to randomly see you out and about, what would be the best way of expressing my regards?
Just a compliment. Just say: “Are you the one and only Liam Gallagher?” and approach me bowing. What’s the worst thing? Say: “Hello, Noel.” How many times do people come up to me a day? Well, I’ve just been out for my walk, and straight away I got asked how my hips were. I said: “They’re all right.” Another lady asked for a photo. Then I got asked do I want a line of cocaine, which was marvellous for half 10 in the morning. I said: “It’s a little bit too early for that, mate.” Then I got called a pussy for eating strawberries. I got told: “Why are you eating strawberries?” and I said: “Because if I eat a sausage sandwich, I’ll turn into a right cunt.” So that’s what’s happened to me already this morning.
Top three crisps?
Tayto’s, the Irish ones; cheese and onion or prawn cocktail. I had a pack of Monster Munch last night and I used to like the pickled onion ones, but I’ve gone back to the beef ones. What else do I like? Skips. Quavers. Ringos, the little onion rings. Frazzles. Space Raiders! Remember them? I think they still only cost about 10p. [30p these days – crisps ed].
Do you pluck your eyebrows?
No. I mean, if there’s a few wild Denis Healey ones knocking about, I’ll give them a pull. But I don’t do the ones in the middle like a lot of people think. Do I trim my ear and nasal hair? Yeah, but I don’t mind, man. I mean, you’ve got to trim yourself up when you need trimming, d’you know what I mean? I like being alive, so if being alive means getting older, then fuck it, so be it. And I don’t dye my hair, for all the dickheads who think that I do. I don’t mind the silver fox look, so when that happens, that happens. But I’m not having people going: “Oh, he dyes his hair.” I fucking don’t. And I don’t have Botox.
What will you say to God when you meet him? Which you will …
That’s a heavy question. I’m not sure if I believe in God, but if he’s meant to be the main guy and all that tackle, then maybe I’d give him a kick in the bollocks and say: “What the fuck are you doing, letting all these young kids get killed in all these wars and stuff?” I’d kick him in the bollocks then see where we go from there.
Would you rather be a rock’n’roll star or play for Man City?
I do like being a rock’n’roll dude or rock’n’roll star, whatever it is. I love it and it’s great. But scoring a hat-trick against United or sending Liverpool down would be fantastic. So I’d say: play for Man City.
Obviously you could have Robbie Williams in a fight, but I reckon Richard Ashcroft could have you. Do you agree?
Oh yeah, I reckon Richard Ashcroft would kill the lot of us. I reckon he’s a proper hard cunt. Have you seen him? He’s a lean machine, man. I reckon he’d dropkick the lot of us in one clean sweep.
When did you last cry?
Good question, man. Good question. Probably recently. I’m not going to sit here and go: “No, I never cry.” I cry quite a bit.
What will you have written on your gravestone?
I honestly can’t think of anything spectacular. I won’t be getting buried, anyway. I’m going to be mummified and put on display in a museum.
Noel Gallagher or Noel Edmonds?
Noel Edmonds. I love that dude, man. Growing up, Swap Shop was mega – swapping your toys for different toys. What a fucking great idea. They should bring it back. Would I like to host it? No. I’m no good on TV, man. I’m too aggy for TV; that’s why I don’t like doing chatshows, because I always think I come across a bit fucking lairy. Would I like to reform Oasis with Noel Edmonds instead of Noel Gallagher? Maybe! How does it feel being a certified national treasure? Amazing. I love the fans, I love the people, I love my job, I love my life, and I’ll just keep doing it until the lights go out.
Source: The Guardian