When Rolling Stone last caught up with Noel Gallagher, he was in a jovial mood. “I remain fucking totally awesome,” Gallagher told RS earlier this year. “In 2016, I’m as awesome as I was in the back end of 2015. My hair is impeccable. … I’m fuckin’ thriving.” We checked in with the ex-Oasis singer-songwriter again recently to get his thoughts on selfies, custom cars and his “fucking gorgeous” wife.
What’s your favorite city?
I have four. London, because I’ve lived there for 23 years. Then New York. I think the terrorist attacks in 2001 shook the world so much because everybody who’s been there falls in love with it. Buenos Aires, because the people are unbelievable, and my best shows have happened there. And then Manchester, because it’s where I’m from, and it still feels like home – plus, I’ll get my throat cut next time I’m back there if I don’t mention it.
What’s the most Manchester thing about you?
My accent. It was the first thing that Americans ever noticed about me when I came to the U.S. I was subtitled on MTV, which I found highly amusing. I’m so proud to be a Mancunian. If I was from Buckinghamshire, I don’t even think I’d be in a band. Manchester gave me a great musical education: New Order, the Smiths, Happy Mondays, Joy Division and the Stone Roses were all from there – great bands that gave me something to aspire to.
What are the most important rules that you live by?
Know who you are. Be proud of who you are and fucking own it. A happy wife is a happy house, and a happy house equals a happy life. Always tell your children, and I do this regularly, “You know you’re a fucking young guy, you’re great and handsome, but you’ll never be as fucking cool as me, ever. So get out on your fucking skateboard or go play fucking football with your brother.”
What do they say when you say that?
They go, “We fucking know, Oasis, blah-blah whatever.” So just be yourself, never take any of the good parts about what you do for granted, and stay focused on your work. If your work is good, then you don’t have to be. I don’t have to be nice to people because they dig my music – that’s where the relationship ends.
So what do you tell people when they ask you for selfies?
I just tell them to go fuck themselves. I’m not beholden to anybody with a camera phone. I don’t give a fuck if they think I’m an asshole, either. I say, “I’m fucking busy here buying underwear.” Some people get offended, but I don’t live my life to have my picture taken by fans. I’m not asking them to buy records. They buy them because they like them.
What do you do to relax?
My life is wrapped up in touring, writing, watching football and my family. To relax, I play guitar. But the older I’ve got, I’ve realized it’s great to go away on a holiday with my family to some far-flung place and not bring a guitar, and lie on a beach and just listen to the fucking waves crashing.
What’s the most indulgent purchase you’ve ever made?
I had a car made once, a custom 1967 Jaguar convertible. It cost me £110,000. I got it built to my specifications. The fucking driver’s seat only fits me. At the time, I couldn’t drive, but I thought, “By the time they finish this fucking car, I will easily have learned to drive. It’s going to take two years.”
Two years after I paid for it, the car turns up at my house and I had completely forgotten about the driving lessons, and to this day I cannot drive. If anybody would like to buy it, I will gladly sell it to them.
What are your favorite books?
On the Road. The speed and the rhythm of the writing is unbelievable. It’s got that slightly hipster, rappy thing Bob Dylan did on “Subterranean Homesick Blues.” I first read it because Dylan was going on about it. The last book I read was about the British spy Kim Philby, who defected to the Russians during the Cold War. I love all the Second World War and Cold War stuff. I find that period of the then-superpowers maneuvering for world domination fascinating – and how close the world came to somebody pushing the button.
Who are your heroes?
Musically, the Beatles. You can still be in the bathroom and “Strawberry Fields” will come on, and something will hit you like you’re listening to it for the first time. There’s Paul Weller [of the Jam], who’s become a really good friend and a neighbor. U2 have also become friends and neighbors of mine. Growing up, The Joshua Tree was really inspiring because it was such simple songwriting.
My personal heroes are my wife, because she’s fucking gorgeous. Through some mad trick of fate I ended up marrying her after meeting in a nightclub, and we have two kids. My teenage daughter is a hero because she’s overcome adversity and she’s cool as fuck. My mum, because she brought Liam Gallagher up. I mean, fuck me.
How often do you get asked about an Oasis reunion?
Every day of the week. People say, “You’ll definitely re-form – you will,” and I’m just like, “That’s so fucking rude.” They try to Jedi-mind-trick me.
There are rumors that Liam is trying to re-form the band without you.
I’d fucking pay to see that. That’d be fucking interesting. We should start a rumor that I’m going to do it without Liam and I’m gonna use a hologram like they did with Tupac at Coachella. Look, to be honest, I don’t need the money.
Let’s say they come to you in 10 years and offer you $50 million.
Oh, I’m in. I’m fucking in.
The epic rise of Oasis is on display in the first trailer for ‘Supersonic,’ an upcoming documentary about the British band. Watch here.