Mancunian rockstar rest assured the fire in his heart isn’t out and neither is the acid in his tongue.Reached in London as he prepared for a North American tour with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds that’s Toronto-bound on July 10, Gallagher was ever the rollicking conversationalist seemingly able to generate caustic quotables on virtually any topic.
Nothing is out of the firing range of his corrosive candour, from U.S. politics, to his fractious family relations, to his own golden-age output. “There was clearly a bit from ’93 to ’97 where every song I wrote was f—ing amazing,” he offers, “then a bit from ’97 to 2000 where they were f—ing awful.” Well, minutes before he planned to ambush Neil Young with a question of his own during a function at Young’s office — specifically, Gallagher wanted to ask why Young hired guitar prodigy Nils Lofgren for After the Gold Rush then had him play piano — the Oasis troublemaker agreed to answer some of ours.
You’re in the U.S. soon. Are you following the election?
I checked out Donald Trump’s bets bits on YouTube. It’s him and Clinton, innit? Which pretty much means America’s f—ed. ’Cause they’ve got enough s— on Clinton, haven’t they? Aren’t those two in it up to their armpits? Then you’ve got the comedic genius that is Donald Trump. Is Canada preparing for an influx of refugees?
We’re building a wall.
I don’t really take much notice of American politics. I resent the way you have to know about it. Who gives a s— who the president of America is? And I hate the way they say “leader of the free world,” just because they’ve got the most rockets.
What did you think of the upcoming Oasis documentary (Supersonic)?
Somewhat predictably, it’s quite funny. I come out of it like a bit of a soothsayer really. I was saying we’d be the last of a dying breed; so it came to pass. The dawn of the digital age really put an end to rock stardom. (We treated) our position at the time — the biggest band in the world — with a great deal of contempt. That doesn’t happen now. Now, everybody’s really grateful. To their audience, they’re like: “You guys! If it wasn’t for you . . . ” F— you guys. You didn’t even buy any f—ing records! Stop texting your ex-girlfriend. Enjoy “Wonderwall.” You’re not our saviour. Buy a T-shirt and go home. That was the way we operated.
Artists worry more about self-promotion now.
I’m 50 next year. I grew up mythologizing Led Zeppelin and (wondering) what they might be up to. Whereas now everybody knows what Kasabian are up to right now. There’s probably a live blog going on somewhere. Everybody knows what Chris Martin had for breakfast. And if they don’t know, they could find out.
I’m guessing you don’t use a streaming service?
I don’t stream music. If I want it, I’ll buy it. I don’t need access to 3 billion s— tunes. Someone tried to sell me Spotify once and I was like, “Why would I want the entire f—ing catalogue of the Kaiser Chiefs? Why would I want access to that? Why would I want a load of f—ing live gigs by the Foo Fighters?” I wouldn’t have it in the house, so why would I want it on my phone?
You joked recently that your next record would be “properly ignored” in America.
Well, I put records out in America and I go there, and it’s like, seriously, did it get f—ing released? I just hope one day I get nominated for a Grammy just out of sympathy. Someone will say: “Remember that guy who used to be in Oasis? Should we nominate him? We don’t have to give him one. Just let him come to the ceremony with his wife.” I met a guy from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in America and he asked if I had any stuff they could (exhibit). Are you f—ing kidding me? It would probably be the f—ing least observed exhibit of all time. Listen, barely anyone in New York is interested in Oasis. In wherever they are? Cincinnati? Pittsburgh?
Cleveland! I guarantee you nobody gives a f— about Oasis or me. This record, honestly, it’ll probably be over by the time the press release has been written. That’s good though. That means I don’t have to spend six months a year (in the U.S.) getting fat. If you’re in any way weak-willed, you’re just going to come back a fat, drunk drug addict.
Your brother (Liam) recently ranted angrily about you on Twitter. What caused that?
That’s so unlike him. I guess it was about him staying relevant. If you’re him, what else is there to tweet about? How his spring/summer collections are doing for his clothing firm? I’m not sure that warrants a tweet. Should he ever climb out of the “where are they now” basket and grant you an interview, ask him. I’m sure you’ll get a typically f—ing surreal answer.
So you’re not speaking?
We’ve not been on speaking terms since 1996. I tolerated him up until he stopped being able to sing. When singing becomes shouting — I switched off then. I was just amassing money.
So when you toured together since, you didn’t have anything to do with each other?
No, not at all. I’ve always been a loner anyway, even as a child. I prefer my own company. I’m literally the only person who can put up with me.
What about your wife?
She’s not too keen. She blows hot and cold. She’s like: “Look, get nominated for a Grammy then come and see me.”