Two years after Oasis split for good, the Gallagher brothers are back, with Liam as frontman of Beady Eye (that’s Oasis without Noel) while Noel makes his solo debut with two new albums.
At a press conference to discuss Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, the songwriter talks about flying solo, Beady Eye and, inevitably, that split...
Have you been writing this album for a while?
Well I wrote five songs on every Oasis album for the last decade but I don’t really stockpile things. The way it worked was that I’d do half the songs and the other guys would do the rest. But I just write songs all the time on the bus, in the hotel and some are half finished and I go back to them and some I don’t.
What do the records sound like?
The first one, I guess, is what the fans want, but the second one is the furthest out I've ever been. It's good though. They are my songs and I wrote them all by myself. I'm proud of them and of what they mean to people. I'll never do a gig without playing them. They’re like drugs to me.
Are you better off without your brother?
We had a bet on when the first question would come that would mention my brother. I went in at eight minutes. How long’s it been? Two and a half? (laughter) Am I better off? I don't know. He’s better off without me because he's in charge now. Whether I am better off without him remains to be seen.
How about taking centre stage when performing live?
Probably not really. I never see myself as being a front man. I can see it’s a pain in the arse. Even the symbolic thing of standing in the middle of the stage is going to be weird. I spent years perfecting the guitarist bit to the left and I was good at it so it will be odd doing something different.
Had you had enough of Oasis?
No, I hadn't had enough of Oasis, I’d had enough of Liam.
When did the rot set in?
It started to unravel after Liam's no-show for the V Festival in 2009. He claimed he had laryngitis, but whatever. And then when he demanded that we started flogging his clothing label to our fans and advertising it in our programmes, it really went off. I didn’t think it was right that he should be flogging his gear to our fans and we had a massive fight about that. It slowly went downhill from there. (Liam has since denied Noel's account of the split – and later challenged his brother to a fight on stage at the T in the Park in Scotland)
Did it come to violence?
There wasn’t any physical violence but there was a lot of World Wrestling Federation stuff, he was like Randy Savage or something. One day he started going ‘fuck you and fuck you!’ And he stormed out. He then picked up a plum and threw it and it smashed against the dressing room wall. He went to his own dressing room and came back wielding a guitar like an axe and it nearly took my face off.
So I said: ‘You know what, I’m fucking out of here.’ I walked out.
Do you regret it?
I do regret it because we only had two gigs left. If I had my time again I’d have gone back and done the gigs and then we’d have all gone away and discussed it. We might have decided to go on hiatus. We might never have split up. It’s a shame. He was always the violent one. Liam doesn't like me. I don't get on with him but he doesn't like me in a very violent way. I did everyone a favour when I left.
It says in the notes that you have a guy playing the saw, double bass, wine glasses and electric kettle on the album...
He was just one of the guys operating the studio and he just casually piped up he could play double bass. Then we asked “What else can you play?’ And he pulled out the wine glasses and all that. The electric kettle is obviously a joke.
What’s the difference between making this album and an Oasis album?
It’s different because they were all my songs and I was singing on it so I didn’t have to explain to anybody what the delivery would be or what the direction is. Hopefully people just get the record and I’ll be able to pull it off.
How important is it for you to have commercial success?
I have no control over that. I can’t say how many people are going to buy it or like it. Commercial success is important in the sense that it validates what you do. I mean if 6 million people buy it, you think “wow!’.
Will Oasis fans like it?
I assume so. I guess I’ll go out on stage and play the first song and then I’ll know.
Are you going to tour?
I don’t think there’ll be a huge great big tour this year but I think we’re doing main cities like Dublin, Manchester, London and the usual places.
Did you push yourself creatively? Was this a bigger challenge to go deeper or is it the same song writing?
I’ll be honest: I love most of the songs. The songs are not Oasis songs. It’s not stadium rock. I’m not doing something different deliberately. And some of the songs were demoed during the last Oasis sessions and, I wasn’t planning on leaving them behind.
What do you think of Beady Eye?
I’ve read a few reviews. I’ve heard what I’ve seen on the telly and on the radio and I have respect for the friends that I’ve still got in Liam’s band. Good luck to them. (Shortly after Noel Gallagher's press conference, Liam Tweeted a one-word response: "SHITBAG")
Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds will be released on Sour Mash Records later this year.