Ask Noel Gallagher how the material from his excellent new album Council Skies is going over live so far on his U.S. tour with Garbage, and you’ll get an answer only he would dare to give: “Terrible,” he says, blaming crowds who haven’t absorbed the album yet (like all of his post-Oasis work, it’s credited to Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds). “I’m starting off with five new ones. People should have bought the fucking album, then, shouldn’t they? So they’re gonna stand there with their mouths open thinking, ‘What the fuck is this?’ I should advise them to go to their preferred streaming service.”
That’s how Gallagher’s interview in the new episode of Rolling Stone Music Now begins, and he keeps up the same level of frankness and hilarity throughout. Some highlights follow; for the whole episode, go here to the podcast provider of your choice, listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify, or just press play above.
He wants fans to accept that he’s not a kid anymore.
“I would assume Oasis fans would like me to rewrite Definitely Maybe forevermore, but you are not really stretching yourself as an artist then,” he says. “I’d give one of my children to rewrite that album and have it be as good and as vital and as relevant. But it’s not gonna fucking happen. And thank God it happened once … I’m 56, right? Let me be 56. You know, I’m not fucking 27 anymore. I was 27 once and I fucking changed people’s lives! You can’t carry on doing it.”
He says his brother, Liam Gallagher, isn’t being honest when he claims to want to reform Oasis — and hasn’t made the call he recently dared him to make.
“I’ve accepted now that this is never gonna go away.” Noel says. “I’ve put it out there that if Liam really wants to do it, he should fucking call me, and he hasn’t called me, so I’m just assuming that he doesn’t want it either. Well, I know for a fact he doesn’t want it either, but he likes to paint this picture of, you know, this little fucking guy who’s sitting with his suitcase packed by the door, you know, like the little fucking cat from fucking Shrek, you know, the little fucking Spanish cat with these big fucking teary eyes. ‘I’m [gonna] go and do it now for you fans. I love you’. It’s like, well, fucking call me then. And he hasn’t called me. And until he does, it’s fucking going nowhere.”
He says the new song “Easy Now” is one of the most Oasis-like songs he’s written since the band’s breakup.
“I’ve only persevered with this one because it was so good,” he says, explaining that he usually avoids songs that remind him of his old band. “All the rest of them that I’ve kind of shied away from, as soon as I hit a chorus, I just go, ‘Nah, there’s no point in me putting it out and then a load of people going, well, just sounds like shit Oasis.’ When I was writing this song and I got to the chorus, I was like, oh, actually, this one’s pretty good.”
Gallagher is intensely, perhaps irrationally, opposed to the use of co-writers.
“I never loved the Beach Boys,” he says. “I was watching a documentary once and I was like, hang on a minute. Who the fuck’s this Van Dyke Parks? Oh, he’s the lyricist? It’s like, what? Brian Wilson didn’t even write the lyrics? Well, what the fuck? Why is he revered as a great songwriter? And, um, Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran and all the rest of them, I’m sorry. Once you employ outside people … they’re solo artists. How can he be a solo artist if there’s someone else [co-]writing the fucking songs for you?” But how is it different than collaborating with a bandmate? “If you are writing songs with a guy, be in a band with that fucking guy!”
That said, he has, um, co-written three songs with the Black Keys for their next album.
“We did a week in the studio in London and wrote three songs,” he says. “And I’ve gotta tell you, they’re fucking amazing.”
He jokes that his war of words with the 1975’s Matty Healy is responsible for Healy’s recent reported breakup with Taylor Swift.
“Taylor has obviously said, ‘Now look, keep your fucking nose out of that Gallagher business, or we are fucking through,’” he says. “And he couldn’t help it. And Swifty, God bless her, said, ‘I can’t deal with this shit because once he’s done with you, he is gonna come after me and I’m not fucking having it. So, I’m sorry, Matty, you gotta go.’”
He wrote enough music for two more albums during the pandemic.
“There is an acoustic album as well, which is very, very stripped back, and which I started recording recently,” he says. “And then there’s, a very heavily guitar-based, stadium-rock album.”
Listen to the full interview for much, much more, including the inspirations behind Council Skies, a look back at the cocaine madness of Be Here Now, and the writing of “Wonderwall.”
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From Rolling Stone US