Music

Liam Gallagher, As You Were – drinking soothers but still a rock'n'roll star

What did the music business come to that Liam Gallagher has to make his own cuppa these days? As the ex-Oasis icon goes solo, he remains a rageful delight

The most profound, witty and poetic statement yet on what it means to be a rock ‘n’ roll star in the second decade of this young century belongs to Liam Gallagher. No, not his debut solo album As You Were – c’mon, what were you expecting? Rather a short clip which surfaced online recently of him being forced to make his own fookin’ hot fookin’ drink backstage before a show.

Lifted from a BBC mini documentary, it’s so dense with peak Liam-isms it’s hard to know where to begin. I must have watched it two dozen times. It’s like a mesmerising performance art piece.

Marvel at the way the ex-Oasis frontman celebrates this tasty voice-salving vinegar, turmeric and honey tonic with the inexplicable anger of a chap once characterised by his big brother and arch nemesis Noel as “a man with a fork in a world of soup”. “It’s fookin’ good man,” he enthuses, with the incongruously rageful expression of a plumber 11 Stellas to the wind about to take his shirt off and start turning over bins up the high street.

“In the ’90s I had about four people doing it,” he goes on, waving his hands at the tea-making facilities, in a wider grumble about cutbacks in music now that nobody buys records. “Little geezer doing the kettle… our kid,” he gestures at the kettle, working in a bitchy aside to his estranged sibling. “Some other [beep] doing that,” he goes on (maybe the tea bags?) “And some other little fookin’ idiot doing that” (the milk?).

Did Liam ever truly quit the drugs, or did the drugs quit him because they just couldn’t keep up any more?

You’ve got to do it yourself these days, he reasons, because of “little smart-arses” who “download fookin’ tunes for nish”. And then the pièce de résistance: a forlorn pause, as a titan of British guitar music – a frontman who once held an audience of a quarter of a million in the palm of his hand at Knebworth – solemnly stirs his brew with a plastic spoon, scowling into the middle distance. “And they wonder why there’s no real rock ‘n’ roll stars around any more,” he muses, dead-eying the camera. “Fookers.”

Make what you will of As You Were – a serviceable blast of noisy sub-Oasis heard-it-all-befores, apt above all things to return Liam to arenas where he belongs: belting out Slide Away, Wonderwall and the rest to adoring masses. It’s wonderful to have him back.

As it does for everyone from American presidents to right-wing media trolls, Liam’s tweeting often proves an alarming window direct into his mind. Noel is frequently likened to a potato. U2 are “bingo and his naff band”. Elsewhere among gems of an exhaustingly long As You Were promo campaign is an interview where Liam recounts a mad tale of partying with Diego Maradona in Argentina, featuring the deliciously random aside: “Sting was at the bar, crying.”

Did Liam ever truly quit the drugs, or did the drugs quit him because they just couldn’t keep up any more? His poison of choice these days might be a gentle vinegar, turmeric and honey concoction, but by all appearances it has soothed his righteous indignation at nothing in particular none, and let’s hope it never does. Never mind that you have to stir your own brew these days Liam – you’re still a fookin’ star.

Liam Gallagher is the cover star of The Big Issue week beginning October 2, and talks to us about his new album, family life, the end of Oasis and the latest on his fued with Noel

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