Noel Gallagher is 52. He’s not touched cocaine in over 20 years, he cycles every morning near his country pile in Hampshire and he describes himself as “pretty much a vegetarian”. His taste has changed as much as his lifestyle. His new EP, Blue Moon Rising, is an experimental dip into electronica that reflects the fact that, these days, he’s more likely to listen to Eighties pop for inspiration than The Beatles or The Kinks. “In the Nineties I wouldn’t have the balls to say that Safety Dance by Men Without Hats is really fucking good,” he says. “I don’t give a fuck any more.”
But some things don’t change: like his state-of-the-nation commentaries, which he’s been delivering since the mid-Nineties with a uniquely profane eloquence. When we meet in a London hotel on a wet October afternoon, he covers Extinction Rebellion: “It’s a noble cause but stay out of Canning Town or you’re gonna get knifed!” Brexit: “A border in the Irish Sea? How’s that gonna work? A little bloke in a fucking rowing boat?” Jeremy Corbyn: “A fucking disgrace.” And Boris Johnson: “Fuck that cunt.”
And that’s before he’s got on to his brother Liam – whom we had pre-agreed not to talk about but, as it turns out, is a subject impossible to avoid. “I was out last night with my wife and a posh old man came up to me at the bar and asked if I was Liam Gallagher,” he says. “I said ‘No, I’m the other one.’ And he goes: ‘Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise there was another one.’ My wife was pissing herself.”
Blue Moon Rising is the third EP you’ve done this year. What happened to albums?
EPs take less time to record and you can be a bit more experimental with them. I’ve tried out this slightly electronic sound, which on a whole album would sound like a bit of a bold artistic statement. Like I was making a big change in musical direction. But as it is, it’s just an EP. They come and they go. Maybe it’ll just turn out to be a phase.
How has your songwriting changed since the Nineties?
I stopped doing mountains of fucking coke in 1998. I lost my way musically for a while after that but I did eventually realise it was about the songs and not my role in them. I think that’s the main difference between me and Liam actually. Liam takes himself incredibly seriously but he doesn’t take ‘the thing’ seriously at all. I take ‘the thing’ incredibly seriously but I don’t take myself seriously at all. There lies the fucking problem. If you’re relying on the singer for the thing and he’s not taking it seriously you’re gonna try and glass the cunt, right?
Are you happy that his solo career is going well?
Yeah, it’s made him pull his finger out and work for a living at last. He’s selling more records and way more tickets than me so good luck to him, ride it until the wheels come off. Although I find it ironic that he doesn’t perform any of the Oasis songs that he wrote. And yet he would spend fucking hours in the studio going on about how one of his songs was as good as Live Forever.
So you can see yourself making up one day?
I just wish he’d fucking calm down with insulting my family. There’s a lot of misogyny towards both my wife and daughter on the internet from his fans. And [it’s because] he likes to purport this myth that Oasis would be getting back together but my wife won’t let me. Now, a lot of his fans actually believe that. And [Noel’s wife] Sara has had direct messages, death threats and all that kind of thing. And I can laugh it off because I will knock any of those cunts out. Either collectively or one at a time. They all know where I live. Any day of the week. They wanna pull me outside a gig any day of the week and it’s on – you spotty little cunts. But the girls don’t deserve that. It’s nothing to do with them. But he just can’t help himself.
Do you think he might just crave his big brother’s attention?
Everyone is an amateur fucking psychologist. People are always telling me it’s because he loves me. Well I love my wife very deeply but it never manifests itself by me telling her she’s a cunt. It’s not from a place of love, it’s from a place of hate is what it is. Just stop the abuse of Sara, that’s all I care about. It’s strange behaviour for someone who is gagging for me to pick up the phone and say let’s do it. He’d put his whole life on hold to get Oasis back together. But every tweet he sends out its another nail in the coffin of that idea. If you think for one minute I am going to share a stage with you after what you’ve said you are fucking more of a moron than you look.
Could it happen if he apologised and stopped stirring things up?
Well it could. Of course it could. But there would have to be an extraordinary set of circumstances . But I don’t think he ever will stop. The modern image of him is defined by the angry guy on Twitter. I left the band 10 years ago. I think I’ve seen him twice in 10 years and both times we nearly ended up in a fight for no reason. I can’t envisage the morning I wake up and think I’d like to spend two years on the road, arguing all around the world with Liam.
You’re moving into the fourth decade of your career. What rock star veterans do you look to for inspiration?
Whether you like his music or not, you have to admire [Paul] Weller. Just for his instinct to always look forward. He’s the most intense bloke. He’ll pop into my house sometimes and sit at the kitchen table and have the most intense conversation you’ve ever had in your life about some fucking badge he’s just found. [Adopts heavy cockney Weller impersonation] “Noel, I’ve found this fucking Who badge, I haven’t seen it since I was fucking 17! You’ve got to take a look at it!” I’m like, calm down mate. He is forever sending me playlists to listen to, it’s a weekly thing. He’s forever pushing forward.
He doesn’t drink any more. Ever thought about knocking booze
on the head?
Well, I’ve never had a drink problem. But Weller, in the drinking years, you’d go out with him and, I’m not kidding, it was a fucking test of your mettle. You’d always get involved in a fight at the bar with some random cunt. You’d have no idea what time you were getting home. I mean, it was great. But it was tricky. Since he’s given up drinking – it suits him better. I think he was on quite a destructive path. He was picking fights for no reason. You might think I’m joking here but I am the opposite when I’ve had a drink. My missus is always telling me to have a drink to lighten up a bit. If I go out a bit flat, once I’ve had a drink I liven up.
What was it like when you had to deal with him and Liam when they were both drinking?
I’ve been in bars where one of them has said something a bit wrong to the other. And they are both Jedi masters at taking things the wrong way. They’d take it to the next level. One would say: “I heard your new album last night, the first four tracks were fucking amazing.” “Oh yeah, what’s wrong with the other seven?” “Well I’m not saying there was anything wrong with them.” “Have you listened to them?” “Yeah.” “Well why do you like the first four better then?” It’d go back and forth like that. I would try to laugh it off. Your brother rowing with your mate is an awkward situation. Because really you want to side with your mate but you can’t.
Do you think Brexit will actually happen?
It’s going to be fascinating to see how it works. I mean, they talk about a border down the middle of the Irish Sea. How is that going to work? Is there going to be a little bloke sitting in a fucking rowing boat? I don’t think we should be leaving but now we’ve had the vote I think we have
to leave. Because you have to let democracy take its course.
And do you think the country will be able to move on?
No. I think all of this protest and people on the street isn’t ever gonna end. I think the country is divided, split down the fucking middle. And when Brexit eventually happens I don’t think that will heal it. I don’t think it’s ever gonna get any better. I think we’re forever divided.
There are currently around 1,450 Big Issue sellers working hard on the streets each week.
Would you ever leave the country?
Have you got an Irish passport?
Yes. I applied immediately after the vote. I got it to make my life easier touring around Europe. But I’d always planned on getting one at some point. Could I see myself living in Ireland one day? Maybe. I’ll live fucking anywhere really. But I’ve got no plans to leave the country, we’ve only just moved out to Hampshire.
What do you make of Extinction Rebellion?
It’s a noble cause and its worth getting interested in but don’t stop people going about their fucking business. The guy that actually signs the piece of paper to make shit happen – go outside his house and stop him going to work. Go and blow up a load of fucking private jets at private fucking airfields. Don’t get on a Tube at Canning Town because you will get fucking knifed! I couldn’t believe it! Canning Town! Don’t start pissing people off in Canning Town, that’s bandit country mate!
Isn’t it inspiring to see young people taking politics to the streets?
Well I’ll tell you a story. On that Tuesday night [of the Extinction Rebellion protests in London] I’m on that train going back out to Hampshire. As the train is pulling off a girl gets on and sits opposite me. She’s got a baseball cap on with all the badges on, one of which says ‘Eat The Rich’. She sits down and starts texting with an iPhone 11. She’s got a bandana on. She’s obviously been wearing some sort of fucking mask. And I’m staring at her thinking, you fucking entitled little middle-class prick. And this wouldn’t be so bad if we weren’t both sat in first class! Then someone else came on to sit next to her and she had to move her bag which was a freshly wrapped Louis Vuitton. She’s been to the shop while she was in town. I felt like actually grabbing her by the lapels and asking her, did you go there before or after the protest?
So you don’t think the kids can save the world then?
I don’t think the world is gonna change until it is at the absolute brink of disaster and then we will pull back. And in any case, our generation invented the internet. That generation should invent something that saves the fucking world. D’you know what I mean? They’re the first generation, actually, who have grown up with gadgets, driven round in 4x4s and had fucking air conditioning all their lives. So actually if it’s anybody’s fault it’s their fucking fault. In our day we walked everywhere.
Would you ever get back involved in party politics?
Nowadays you’ve got an extremist leader of the Labour Party and an extremist leader of the Conservative Party and the people in the middle – nobody gives a fuck. So there’s no moderate.
Like Tony Blair?
Funnily enough I was out about two months ago and I happened to bump into Tony Blair in the foyer of a hotel. And I said: “I bet you’re glad you’re out of it now, aren’t you mate?” And he said: “Actually I’m not, I wish I was fucking back in it because it is fucked.” Still to me he’s the only person when I hear him talking that makes any sense.
Would you like to see him return to politics?
I know there are plenty of people who don’t like him. But why? I’ve got friends from all different walks of life – artists, people in fashion, people in music. And they will always go on at me, oh your mate Tony Blair. And I’ll say, what’s your problem with him? And they’ll say, Oh he’s got too many teeth. That’s not good enough. Or, he took us to war in Iraq. Well that’s not good enough either because we are tied to America no fucking matter what so it’s happening whoever is in power. They say, I don’t like his wife. That’s not good enough. If you take away the war in Iraq and the too-many teeth – I mean I’ve never counted them, I don’t know if he has too many teeth – you actually can’t build a case of why people don’t like Tony Blair so much.
How do you think we drifted into extremism?
The internet has got a lot to answer for. If I say anything in interviews like “Jeremy Corbyn is a fucking disgrace” people come online and call me a fucking Tory cunt. Whereas if I say, “Boris Johnson is a fucking entitled fucking Bullingdon fucking… fuck that cunt” suddenly I’m called a communist. And I’m like, hang on a minute, neither of those people represent me. And I think the biggest disgrace of all in this is the Labour Party. What they should fucking do is back the Brexit deal and then wait for the next election to come around [This interview took place a week before the December election was called]. And then they say, fine, you voted to leave, so we left, but now we are going to fight the election on a policy of going back in. And that’s it then, done. A final decision. I should be in fucking politics!
Wandering Star, from Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ forthcoming EP Blue Moon Rising, is out now