Noel Gallagher: 'I'm Not Technically Proficient Enough to Attempt All Kinds of Music'

Former Oasis guitarist has new album, tour in the works

August 8, 2011 12:35 PM ET
Noel Gallagher london
Noel Gallagher in London.
Dave Hogan/Getty Images

Noel Gallagher's new project Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds came together in large part because he was bored. "I was in a band, right?" the former Oasis guitarist says. "And I left. And then I wrote some songs. I had a lot of songs left over from the band. And then I wrote some other songs. And after a couple of years sitting 'round the house, I had a baby. Moved house. My wife decided it was time for me to do something because I was annoying her."

The group's name was inspired by two 1960s rock bands. "I was listening to Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac and I was going 'Oh, Noel Gallagher's something,'" he says. "And then I was rooting through CDs one day and there it was - 'High Flying Bird' by the Jefferson Airplane. And I was like, 'Fucking hell, I'm a genius. I'm a fucking genius.'"

Gallagher recruited many of his longtime friends to join the High Flying Birds, including guitarist David McDonnell and bassist Russell Pritchard. He says that the recording of their self-titled album – in stores on November 8th – was more creatively fulfilling than his last few albums with Oasis. "To be in a band you have to accept that it's going to be a compromise," he says. "This time I didn't have to explain to anybody how it goes. I was sick to death of writing out lyrics for other people. It was a very serene, peaceful process of recording. I'm sure that's going to be offset by fucking utter chaos and frustration on the live side." 

The disc was produced by Dave Sardy, who produced the last two Oasis albums. Gallagher says he had little interest in making the album sound different than his work with Oasis. "I've got a certain style and I've got no control over what I write," he says. "I'm not technically proficient enough to attempt all kinds of music. I wish I could write a fucking record like Raw Power or Wish You Were Here, or have the ability of a musical chameleon. But fuck it, I'm not. I just write these songs because they're real to me and they're coming from a place of truth. And that's it. I don't give a shit about being different. I want to be the same. And that in itself makes me different."

As of now, only a brief British theater tour is on the books for late October – but Gallagher says that many more shows are coming, including an American run of dates in November. "I've been playing stadiums for the past 10 years," he says. "Only time I set foot in a theater is to go see a fucking play. So it's going to be a lot more smaller and I am kind of trepidatious about it. I've got to see it."

Many people – including this reporter – have unsuccessfully tried to convince Gallagher that it'll be a nice change of pace to play smaller venues where he can actually see the faces of the audience. "No, fuck off," he says. "No, I don't want to see anybody's face. I don't want anybody to fucking talk to me between the songs. I don't want to fucking sign anything for anybody. I'm used to people being a mile away. That suits me. It's more nerve-wracking playing in front of people who are two feet away from me."

This line of thought goes on for a while. "People keep saying, 'Oh, it'll be great to get out of your comfort zone.' " he says. "It's like, 'Fuck you!' Get out of your fucking comfort zone! It fucking took me 20 years to build a comfort zone. I have no fucking intention of stepping outside of mine. Not for no fucker. That's fucking gone! Fucking comfort zone bastard. I'm in the process of building another one and believe you me, I won't be stepping outside of this one."

The show will largely focus on Gallagher's new material, but he will play some tracks by Oasis. "I'm only playing songs that I've written," he says. "It's not like I'm Morrissey and I'm playing a song that somebody else wrote for me. I wrote all these songs with all those words. They're my songs. I'm not doing songs from the Oasis catalog that you associate with Liam. I can't sing like he sings. I'm not even doing that many Oasis songs, to be honest. Out of an hour and a half total, there'll be 10 minutes of Oasis. So maybe four songs. I don't ever see a day where I don't play Oasis songs. I've always thought most bands should play Oasis songs, anyway. The Foo Fighters should definitely do a couple. Green Day could do even more than one or two. Radiohead? I mean, let's face it. It'd be a better night out."

Beady Eye's Liam Gallagher and Andy Bell Say Everything Is Different Now
Photos: Oasis Live at the WaMu Theater, Seattle, WA

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