Liam Gallagher on pissing off Noel
LIAM Gallagher talks life as a solo artist, building bridges with Coldplay and Robbie Williams and why he enjoying pissing his brother Noel off by playing multiple Oasis songs in his live shows.
You just ended your solo British tour playing Oasis songs with former Oasis member Bonehead joining you on stage. That would have been pretty cool for fans.
Yeah. Bonehead is cool. He's a lot cooler stood beside me as well.
You've been playing Wonderwall in the US and UK, you know it's one of the biggest anthems of the last few decades in Australia yeah?
I heard that, it topped some Triple J poll didn't it? But it's a big song everywhere around the world. A lot of people give it a bit of stick, they say they've heard it a million times but as soon as you play it people lose their sh-- over it and they're all f---ing buzzing. The way I see it there's a new generation of people coming to see me or (brother) Noel (Gallagher) and they want to hear it. They've paid money so who am I not to play it? I don't mind playing it. I love it. We play it with a cello and an acoustic guitar now, I think that's how it should be done. We'll be playing it in Australia, don't worry.
You were planning to bring your sons Lennon and Gene to Australia...
They're still in school. I'm kinda in trouble at the moment for bringing them out of school on tour. I did offer to bring them out, but I think travelling to Australia is just a little bit too far for their little brains. They'll regret it man.
What do they do now?
Lennon does a bit of modelling for whoever, he does stuff in New York, Gene's still in sixth form but he's desperate to be in a band. He plays guitar and drums, he's on the look out for band members.
What's his voice like?
I've not heard him sing, but he's got the attitude and the look for sure. He's a good little guitar player, he's better than me. I mean, I can't play, but he's good.
Paul McCartney was just here still playing live aged 75. Is that the plan for you?
They're the pioneers, them and the Stones. You've still got to want to do it and be able to do it and have the songs, you know what I mean? As great as all the songs you've done before may be you don't just want to be going out and playing all your old stuff. You want to have some new stuff to add to it, whether it's as good or not. Sometimes your new stuff gets judged against songs that have been around for 20 years. To go out and tour without a new album is a bit of a cop out.
Your solo album As You Were has sold incredibly well in the UK, that must have been a relief?
Massively. If it had bombed or people didn't like it that would have been me f---ed. I wouldn't have been able to go on the road. And I like going on the road, I like playing Oasis songs. So I'm well lucky it's been successful.
The solo songs seem to fit well with the Oasis songs you do in the live shows...
Well there's some good songs on the album. I wrote them with some very talented people. There's some of my songs that have just got something about them. Not every song has to have a big f---ing chorus or be one where people put their lighters up. There's got to be some that are just rock and roll numbers.
You only did one or two Oasis songs live towards the end of Beady Eye's lifespan. Is it nice giving people what they want and playing Oasis songs in your solo set?
The reason I didn't do any Oasis songs in Beady Eye is because Andy (Bell) and Gem (Archer) and the rest of them thought we should go out on our own. I get that. But I thought we'd come unstuck because people are working their arses off and paying money to see us. The reason people were coming through the door at Beady Eye shows was not to see Gem and Andy, I'm not being a big headed c--t, but they were coming to see me, they're coming to see what the foundations that Beady Eye was built on which was Oasis. To not play Oasis songs in Beady Eye was a stupid move to be fair, so I'm glad we've got back to doing them.
How do you pick which Oasis songs to play in the solo shows? You're doing one of yours, I'm Outta Time, as well as a lot of hits Noel wrote...
I love I'm Outta Time. Obviously we do Rock and Roll Star and Morning Glory, they're the ones that get the party started. You know how the night's going to be. Then we delve into some of As You Were and bring it back with Slide Away, Rockin' Chair, Some Might Say, Supersonic. Be Here Now I love doing, I've always loved that song. Obviously Cigarettes and Alcohol, Live Forever, Wonderwall. They pick themselves really. They're classic songs and I love singing them. It'd be hard not to do them.
People focus on the eternal war of words between you and Noel, but playing so many songs he wrote in your solo career is surely a nice way of paying respect to his songwriting talent?
It's paying respect to a great band. Noel's in the paper saying 'Liam's doing my songs'. Last time I looked Oasis was a band. It's not like I'm going out there singing his f---ing solo songs. He wrote them while he was in Oasis, he wrote them for Oasis, it just so happens - whether he likes it or not - that I was the frontman of Oasis. And I sang them f---ing songs. So I'll do them forever. I'm glad it pisses him off. He was saying I had to sign a release form to sing them. I'll sign nish mate. He's just being a dickhead. As long as it's pissing him off that'll do me.
Hearing those songs again sung by the guy who sang them makes people happy - especially as it looks increasingly unlikely Oasis will reform according to Noel.
It does make people happy. I like them. I sang on them. They were a massive part of my life. I don't sing them because the crowd likes them, but it's a good thing they do want to hear them, but even if they didn't I'd f---ing play them. It makes the whole show better.
Your former mate Robbie Williams said your solo song For What It's Worth is the best song either you or Noel have written in 20 years.
I think maybe he's coming to his senses. It's a good song. He said it was universal, and it is, it's timeless.
He said he'd like to collaborate with you. Has enough time passed to be friends again?
God no. Not likely. We're from different corners of the universe man.
You had Coldplay as your backing band this year, playing Live Forever at the Manchester One Love tribute concert...you'd said some not so nice things about them in the past...
You've got to put all that stuff aside when it comes down to these kind of things. Chris (Martin) rang me up and said would you be interested in doing it? Too f---ing right. That's my home town. I'm there. I've met Chris Martin loads of times, and the other guy. It's only been banter. I don't wish them any harm. I actually apologised to them, I said 'I'm only winding you up, let's get on with what we're here for' and off we went.
Do you rate Coldplay?
I tell you what, I had a bit of a party at my house the other night and a guy on a guitar who is a massive Coldplay fan was there. I let him sing the first two Coldplay albums on an acoustic guitar. The first two albums are mega. Those albums have some good songs. I'm not a fan of their new stuff. It's all gone a bit dancey now. Guitar music now doesn't have enough guitars in it, it's gone pop, they've taken the guitars off and made dance music. That's why I think my album stuck out like a sore thumb and people liked it. It was doing exactly what it said on the tin.
You'd never written songs with people who weren't your bandmates until this solo album. Now you've worked with people like Andrew Wyatt and Greg Kurstin are you getting more songwriters calling you up for the second album?
I've had loads of offers. There's people I went in with and it just didn't work. As much as it opens up a new world (of songwriting) you've got to be really careful. I'm a rock and roll singer. I can sing rock and roll ballads as well, but I don't want to be cheesy songs with drum machines. You've got to still sound your ground. It has to be classic guitar music. Once I get on it I'll rough it up a bit.
Noel has slammed you for working with professional songwriters, but do people really care if the song is good?
Noel thinks everything that comes out of his mouth will convince people he's right. Those days are over, it's not the 90s. What he said, and what we all said in the 90s, a lot of people bought it. The world's changed. No one gives a f--- what a 51 year old man says. People want to hear me sing. If I'm not singing well then it's over. I don't think they care who wrote the songs. Noel does. And his mate Paul Weller. And all them f---ing people who haven't had a big hit in years. They care because that's all they've got. So they have a little moan.
Do you care about being seen as a singer/songwriter?
I'm not a singer/songwriter, I'm just a singer. I've always had someone write songs for me. I was never going to come out with an album where I'd written it all on my own. That's not who I am. The proof is in the pudding, especially in England. We're selling sh--loads of albums and tickets. People don't give a f---. Noel seems to think music is all about a guitar and a songwriter. It isn't, it's about a f---ing frontman as well. He's going to make himself ill if he just thinks it's about a guy with a guitar and a voice. Some people want the attitude as well. Just because he hasn't got it and he can't do it doesn't mean to say it's not pure. I get up on stage and I stand there and sing those f---ing tunes and the kids go apesh--.
Have you heard the new Noel experimental album?
I've heard the one with the person playing f---ing scissors on it. There's not many songs on it, it's loads of interludes. But I've not sat down and listened to his record, I'm not that desperate, but I've heard what I've heard, it's not for me. I preferred his other two solo records with songs.
Do you enjoy using Twitter?
I love it. The people in the naughty magazines can write what they like but with Twitter you've got a direct line to the truth. I enjoy winding him (Noel) up, he's kept his mouth shut for a bit, but if he wants to go again I'll get on his case. I'm not a big chatter at gigs, when I'm not doing interviews I like to let people know where I'm at and what I'm feeling so Twitter is a good direct line.
Does it get you in Trouble?
A few times. Maybe. Life's all about getting in trouble isn't it?
Ed Sheeran is the man of the year. Your thoughts?
He's not for me. I'm sure he's very talented, but it's not my style of music. He's obviously doing something right.
Are you thinking about the next record yet?
I'm going into the studio with Greg Kurstin in April. I haven't really thought about it. They (the record company) might have thought about it but I'm in-deep with As You Were. I don't plan things. I let things happen. I'm not one of them that worries about it. I'm more worried about getting down to Australia and smashing it and doing some great shows.
Have you heard any new Australian bands?
I know there's a lot on the Falls Festival so I'll try to catch some. I've hung out with those lads in the DMAs a few times in London, they're good. Good songs man.
Can you hear the influence you've had on them?
Definitely. He's got a good voice that Tommy (O'Dell) dude.
And a bit of Liam attitude?
He'll have to work on a bit more of that. I'll teach him. Another Australian band I like are Holy Holy. My girlfriend Debbie has does a bit of press for them, I went to see them, they've got some good tunes man.
What have you got planned for Australia if you get some time off?
Firstly I need some sun on me bones. Then we'll be getting the gigs done properly. I won't be ripping it up like I used to, I'm getting older now, I've got to sing them songs don't I?
As You Were (Warner) out now. Liam Gallagher, Falls Festival Lorne December 30 (sold out), Falls Festival Marion Bay December 31, Falls Festival Byron Bay January 2 (sold out), Enmore Theatre Sydney January 4 (sold out), Festival Hall January 5, Falls Festival Fremantle January 7.