Noel Gallagher likes to talk. The Oasis de facto leader has usually got the most to say, and isn’t afraid to say it.
He’s just completed what’s undoubtedly the best Oasis album in a decade, and yet there are none of the usual “It’s our best since ‘Definitely Maybe’” declarations, or below-the-belt jibes at his peers designed to deflect attention away from the artistic merit of his latest long-player. Because there is no need. ‘Dig Out Your Soul’ is what Oasis, after a fourteen-year career, needed to do: cut out the bullshit and nail some proper cracking tunes. And Noel knows this. He is clearly satisfied with it, recharged with inspiration and understandably eager to shout to the world of their achievement.
Now forty-one and a devoted father, Noel has instilled in his new album the inquisitiveness that surely arises somewhere between the post-carnage comedown and the onset of middle age – keeping any demons at bay with a well-aimed guitar to the skull. His search for answers here leads him to question religion, but invariably leads to redemption through love – “If you won’t save me please don’t waste my time,” he sings in ‘Falling Down’.
Conversation with Noel is as enlightening as expected. He’s more forthcoming than his little brother, but shares a brutal honesty that is often as funny as it is vicious. At one point, his publicist signals that it’s almost time to wrap up – “No, I’m fine,” he announces, and proceeds to talk on for a further fifteen minutes, sending her schedule into wild disarray. You can’t stop Noel Gallagher in full flow and God help anyone who tries.
The new album is cracking.
You like it?
You’re not just saying that though are you?
Owen Morris was credited with production but he was really an engineer and I was kind of doing it. Owen was mental; it was like he was in the band but he couldn’t play an instrument.
No, seriously. When I first heard ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ there were some songs where I’d think, ‘Well, I’ll grow to like it…” With this one, I liked it straight off the mark. It was immediate.
Wow. That’s funny… I don’t think it’s very immediate to be honest. I keep telling people you need to give it at least two or three listens. Every time they send a journalist down here, they go, “I’ve only heard it once”. It’s like, fucking hell, what’s the point of playing it to somebody once?
Well for me it was immediate. The single, ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’? I fucking love it. The breakdown is great; the drums.
The drum solo? Yeah, there’s not been one of them on a tune for ages has there?
You must have been feeling generous that day!
That’s just the way that song kinda panned out. I wrote that and ‘Falling Down’ together over the same weekend – we had a weekend off – and both of them never had those breakdowns in. I had building work going on at my house next door, and there was real loud fuckin’ pounding – boom boom boom. I got up one morning and I was like, ‘I’m gonna put a breakdown in those songs’. The one in ‘Falling Down’ was actually a bit psychedelic; I think we might have done that one first. So we put a drum solo in the other one – we just couldn’t think of anything else! He fuckin’ sweated that day, Zak, let me tell you! (Laughs) But yeah, it’s turned out pretty good. For a song that was written without really thinking about singles or… If somebody would have said during the recording ‘We haven’t got a first single. Go away at the weekend and write one’, fuck knows what I would have come up with. We thought we had the album done. I kinda wrote that and ‘Falling Down’ and another two that he [Liam] didn’t get time to sing which didn’t make it. So I was just writing for the fuckin’ sake of it to be honest. I didn’t really think about the words or what they meant or anything like that. I was just kinda writing and I was like, ‘Fuck, I’ve got two songs’, then everyone’s going, “Are they any good?” I said, “I think they’re fuckin’ brilliant. I couldn’t tell you where they came from…”
The new drummer is gonna have his work cut out for him – the drums and rhythms on this album are so diverse and really up front.
I’ve gotta say that a lot of the drums were not played live; they were kinda chopped up… For ‘Bag It Up’ for instance, we spent a good couple of hours, me and Zak, and I was trying to show him the parts – because there isn’t any drum part to it; it’s just like I was trying to get him to play like a fuckin’ wind-up monkey – but he had to throw in little bits here and there. But in the end it was just like, “You know what? Let’s just do it to a drum loop. You play it down, we’ll chop it up…” Then I played over the top of it. So that’s me and him playing drums on ‘Bag It Up’, and there’s me and him playing drums on ‘Waiting For The Rapture’. So that was a different approach. That’s the first time we’ve been in a studio and not played together in a room for ages. Usually we get in there and bash it out and, you know, all the songs are usually all… well, they’re British pop songs, you know what I mean? It’s kind of all very structured; there’s a start, a middle and an end. These [new songs] were kind of more on a groove thing, you know what I mean? So it was very difficult to get everybody to underplay it – particularly Zak cos he’s a fuckin’ showman. So it was a case of ‘Right, we’ll do the drums last’. Even with ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’, the drums might have been put on last you know, after all the fuckin’ instruments were put down. Yeah, funny.
Would there be an initial guide drum track?
No, Zak would do a loop – a basic kind of loop that would go all the way through the song – then I would put down electric guitar, sing the guide vocal, and then… The main thing to do when you do that is just to listen to it for a while, and then… Because I hadn’t done any demoes of them, it was just everybody saying, ‘What about this?’ and ‘What about that?’ I was just making notes to try it and see what happened. It just took shape over a couple of days. All pretty exciting.
What’s the meaning behind the album title, ‘Dig Out Your Soul’?
It’s a lyric in one of Gem’s songs. Now, depending on what part of the world you come from – the Japanese see it as very mystical – but it’s about DJing when you’re at a party. It’s about putting soul music on. But I guess it’s kind of got a dual meaning. And how that came about was, do you know the artist Ralph Steadman? He was gonna do the artwork for the album, and we didn’t have a title for it. We went to see him and he was saying he was gonna do one of his paintings, his mad Roald Dahl paintings, and he was saying, “What’s the album called?” And we’re saying, “Well it hasn’t really got a title.” And he was saying, “(Tuts) Well I kinda need a title so I can do this painting.” So we said, “Why don’t you come up with a few?” So we gave him the album, he listened to it and we gave him the lyrics, and he listed all these things that he thought he could do a painting about, and one of them was… I had no ideas about the album title – I was like, “As long as we don’t call it ‘Oasis’ I don’t give a fuck”. He came back with a list of titles and one of them was ‘Dig Out Your Soul’, and I was kinda like, ‘It’s as good as any I guess”. Of course, as soon as you fuckin’ put it on the finished artwork I’d think, ‘Oh no, that should have been the title. Why didn’t we call it…” We were gonna call it ‘Shock Of The Lightning’ but I don’t like naming albums after songs – I think that’s a bit pony; it would have meant changing the song titles. But it’s got a dual meaning I guess, cos the album’s got a lot of religious references in it…
Yeah, I was gonna ask about that.
That just happened. Well, for my own part, songs that I wrote… I mean, we don’t write together as a team, or none of us say, ‘What are you writing about?’ When everybody’s songs came back, I was listening to the words and they were all mentioning the light or the rapture or the Devil and God and fuckin’ this, that and the other, and I was a bit like, ‘Wow! It’s fuckin’ heavy, man!’ I’m always interested in the imagery of things in the Bible, and the guy who’s eventually ended up doing the artwork, when we gave it to him, he said, “There’s a lot of fuckin’ religious armageddon in the album,” and I was like, “What?” And he said, “Religious armageddon”. I was like, “I fuckin’ love it, man! That’s what we should have called the fuckin’ album!” But that’s all happened by accident. I don’t know where it fuckin’ came from. We must be subconsciously looking over our shoulders I guess.
One of your lines on the album said, “I tried to talk to God to no avail”. As a self-confessed atheist does that mean that you want to believe in something?
See, I don’t know what I am. If I was an atheist I’d just write songs about not believing in God – but I don’t know what I am. I can be convinced by any argument. I’ve listened to all the conspiracy theories about 9/11, and I buy them all. I think it was Al Qaeda and sixteen terrorists on planes, but then when someone says, ‘Oh no, they blew the towers up’, I go, ‘Yeah! They fuckin’ blew the towers up, the bastards.’ I can be convinced about anything. I certainly don’t believe in religion, although I find it fascinating that it’s become so powerful in the world and it’s kind of dictated morals down through societies for thousands of years, but I don’t see the hand of God at work in the world anywhere.
So given the right argument you could turn into a Buddhist tomorrow?
Buddhism just sounds like a lot of common sense to me. You know, what you give is what you get and all that. That sounds like common sense to me, but I wouldn’t say I was a Buddhist.
You’ve worked with producer Dave Sardy again on this album. How do you get on with him?
What part does he play in the process?
Well, we’d never used a producer – ever – not until Dave. I know Owen Morris was credited with production but he was really an engineer and I was kind of doing it. Owen was mental; it was like he was in the band but he couldn’t play an instrument. So it came to the point at ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ where I was like, ‘Do you know what? I can’t be fuckin’ bothered with this any more. All our records sound the same because I’m always producing it, and I think my fuckin’ one trick that I had has run its course’. So when it came to ‘Don’t Believe The Truth’ and we were looking for a producer, we were kind of sitting around going, ‘Right, what fuckin’ modern records do we like?’ We didn’t like any. Not fuckin’ one single record. It was always too tinny or too American. And then we happened upon… Somebody said, “What about the Jet record?” And we were like, ‘Yeah, they’re a fuckin’ rock band, we’re a rock band’ – they’re slightly more American than we are; they wear cowboy boots and flares and cowboy hats, but it’s kind of in the same ballpark. So we went to meet Dave, and we didn’t really talk music; it’s obvious he knows what he’s fuckin’ doing – I don’t know any of his other stuff apart from Jet to be honest. He’s got a great sense of humour for a Yank; he liked us, we liked him… That’s all there needs to be. As long as the guy behind the desk understands everybody else’s personality and he’s not a control freak – you know, producers running off with the tapes and all that; you can’t do that with Oasis cos someone will get knocked out. But he’s cool. He’s got very strong opinions about things, but if I really believe in something, it’s happening my way and that’s the fuckin’ end of it, but if I throw it open to everybody he’s really good for that. He’s brilliant at getting sounds…
Yeah, there are a lot of ambient, atmospheric sounds on the album.
Well it’s a proper album; I think it’s a listening album. I see the last album as a collection of great songs, you know what I mean? I don’t know where this sits in modern music though, in the age of little fuckin’ spotty idiots going, ‘Well I’ll download that one and that one and that one, but I don’t want that one’, because the album in itself is a little bit of a trip, you know what I mean? So I feel sorry for the posh kids that are gonna just download six songs; they’re not really gonna get it. But so what.
Is production something you might like to do for other bands?
If they wanna sound like Oasis, yeah! (Laughs) I’d love to. I’d love to produce the bands that I like, but obviously nobody’s gonna… The bands that I like are my peers, you know what I mean? It’d be like, fuckin’…what would be the equivalent? It’d be like Bono saying, ‘I’ll produce your next album’. I’d be like, ‘(Sniggers) I don’t fuckin’ think so!’ But yeah, I could do it, but there’s nothing that really fires me up that I go, ‘Oh man, I could fuckin’…’ Like, Bernard Butler has become this cool producer with Duffy and all that. He’s kinda pushing himself as that because he ain’t got a band to play in. I suppose if I didn’t have a band to play in and I wanted to be a producer I could easily do some stuff, but I’ve got all this going on so I’m really fuckin’ busy, you know?
In ‘Waiting For The Rapture’, you sing “Come get me off the merry-go-round”. Is that the madness of life in Oasis or are you referring to what you get up to in your time off?
That song is a story about meeting somebody in Ibiza in 2000 in Space. When I met them I was like, ‘Fuckin’ hell’. It was the person I’ve spent the last eight years with, and it was kind of… I guess it’s a very poetic way of saying ‘will you go out with me’. But don’t spoil that for the kids who read the magazine. Let’s say it’s about an angel!
How much, if any, do you think you’ve mellowed over the years?
I have in some ways and I’ve got worse in others, you know? I don’t stay up for two or three days on end, fuckin’ talking shit about aliens and the pyramids, but I’m becoming more of a belligerent old man, you know what I mean? It’s the usual. When you get to a certain age you find that other people’s opinions don’t really matter anymore, and you get kind of uncomfortable with your place in modern life. I love the kids and what they get up to and kids in general. Kids these days look fuckin’ great – they look better than they did when I was their age. There’s a lot of glamour in youth these days. But you meet them and you just think, ‘You fuckin’ idiot. Little idiot’. And then, the other night I was thinking, ‘What was I doing when I was fourteen?’ I was into The Sex Pistols, and I know youth culture moves on and all that, but you’re not fuckin’ telling me that somebody that’s into The fuckin’ Wombats is feeling the same thing as I was when I was into the Pistols? I’m not fuckin’ having that. But each generation to their own, and you kinda get the scenes you deserve, I think. Kids don’t say much these days, do they?
There’s nothing to rebel against any more. When you were fourteen I bet that your mum hated the Pistols. But kids today, their parents probably own the record.
I know what you mean, but that’s just one medium; that’s just music, you know? There used to be a time when a generation would come in and anybody over a certain age, that was it, you’re finished – fuckin’ gone, you know what I mean? I think it’s appalling that I’m still making music at fuckin’ forty.
You’re not supposed to agree there! (Laughs)
Well you don’t wanna be doing it at sixty?
I tell you who’s going to struggle with it though: Johnny Borrell. He wants to be in that league of big hitters with Bono and Chris Martin. He won’t have a clue what to do.
Oh no, we’ve become institutionalized now, I think. I wouldn’t know what else to do if it all ended tomorrow. Obviously I’d fuckin’ go off and find somewhere to make me happy, but sitting down with the world as one’s oyster and thinking, ‘What would I do?’ I have no fuckin’ idea what I would do. I would have a shitload of time off and I’d probably get fat bat…
Take up gardening?
Well no, I’m a songwriter and I write songs on a regular basis and I would eventually get back on stage doing it because that’s what I do but… I mean, I still always look at Neil Young and [Paul] Weller and think, ‘Well as long as they’re still going it’s alright’. Once Weller retires then I’ve got ten years left on him, cos he’s ten years older than me, so he legitimizes what I do.
What if he gets to a point where you think he should stop?
I don’t think I’d ever think that. If you look at what he’s just done with that record [‘22 Dreams’]… I was involved in the making of that and I was down at his studio. He was making a record, and I was saying to him, “It’s incredible that you’ve got this far in music and you’re making a record in the style of someone that’s never made a record before. It’s like you literally don’t know what you’re fuckin’ doing.” And he’s like, “[Cockney accent] It’s fakkin great!” And it’s totally inspiring to think that all your heroes from the Sixties, when they got to their fifties, were fuckin’ shit. When was the last time McCartney or the Stones or… Apart from Neil Young who I just think is just fuckin’…[exhales] When was the last time anybody could truly say that Dylan truly made a great album? And I know all these fuckin’ cocksuckers will just go, ‘Ah but what about ‘Thunder In The Mountains’’ or whatever it’s called. It’s just like, let’s be serious about this, you know? But I find him [Weller] and what he gets up to very inspiring! (Laughs) You know he actually called me the other day. We’ve just had a week off – the Bee Gees [the rest of the band] went on holiday to get suntans – and he called me. He turned up here [the rehearsal studio], he’d come to see us rehearse, and he’s going, “Where are you?” I’m like, “I’m at home.” He says, “What are you doing?” I went, “Fuck knows. I’m watching fuckin’ kids television with my son.” He says, “Why aren’t you rehearsing?” I go, “We’ve got a week off”. And he’s shouting, “A WEEK OFF? You’re fuckin’ going on a world tour in two weeks!” And I’m like, “Yeah, I know.” And he said, “You’ve got a fuckin’ week off? Fuckin’ hell man, I can’t fuckin’ believe this! A fuckin’ week off?” And I was like, “Fuckin’ hell, the lads have gone on holiday”. “Fuckin’ hell, I can’t believe that.” So anyway, about six hours later I get a text from him and he’s obviously pissed up. The first gig we do is with him in Toronto at a festival. He texted me back: “I’ll fuckin’ see you lot in Toronto. You better be well rehearsed cos I will be!” He rehearses in the middle of his tours; that’s how fuckin’ seriously he takes it. I was a bit like, ‘Fuckin’ hell, man. Have a day off!’
Now that Oasis has a group songwriting effort, if the other guys each brought in four amazing songs each that you would stand back and let them have an album?
No, it would be a double. Or a long album.
Oasis have never released a double album.
Well fuckin’ ‘Be Here Now’ was the length of a triple album! (Laughs) And it only cost a tenner! Yeah, but say for instance for the next record there’s twelve really great songs before I even fuckin’ get involved then there could be two single albums on the same day, I dunno. Who knows? Hypothetically we’d all be like, ‘Yeah, let’s do a double album’, but somebody who holds the purse strings somewhere will talk you out of it. I was amazed that they never talked Weller out of that double album [‘22 Dreams’]. I was saying to him, “They’ll never let you release it’, and he was going, “They fuckin’ will,” and I was going, “They’ll never let you release it as a double album because it costs too much to make.” And he said, “Well it’s either coming out as a double album or it’s not coming out.” I think the compromise was it’s not actually a double album, it’s a single album with twenty-two tracks on it. But, um, I don’t know, we’ll see if that day ever comes.
It must be so hard to afford to market a double album these days…
I just think the whole thing [the music industry] is in a state of flux at the minute. I don’t think the pieces have landed yet.
Would you ever consider following Radiohead’s example?
Everyone says about Radiohead giving their album away for free. Now I’ve got a shit memory, but the last I fuckin’ remember is it wasn’t free.
People could pay what they wanted.
Right, well that’s not free, is it? That’s like me saying, ‘You can have that can of orange juice. You can give me what you want but you’re not having it for fuck all.’ What was the least amount of money you could pay for it? It was something ridiculous, wasn’t it? Let’s say it was fuckin’ £1.50. I bet you that was their royalty rate from EMI. So, to me – and I’m not digging Radiohead out here, cos I like ’em – but to me it was a brilliant marketing ploy. ‘We’ve got an album, we haven’t got a record label, how the fuck do we get it out there and make a big fuckin’ stink about it?’ Good for them. I’m not giving my records away for free. If nobody fuckin” buys them then… They’re not going out for free. No chance. I mean, there was all this fuckin’ hoo-ha in the fuckin’ press about ‘It’s now said that Oasis, U2 and Coldplay will follow suit’, but you’ve gotta understand the fuckin’ broadsheets have got fuck all better to write about. Those fuckin’ middle class joyless cunts, they’re fuckin’ sitting there, ‘This is the death of the music business’. What the fuck would they know, you know what I mean? I’m of the opinion that if I’m in the most expensive studio in England with a fuckin’ producer that costs and arm and a leg, and I’ve gotta go then to L.A. to mix it, then I’ve gotta fuckin’ pay an expensive graphic designer to put it in a fuckin’ sleeve, and you think you’re getting that for nothing? You’re fuckin’ tripping. Don’t fuckin” buy it if you can’t afford it. Don’t buy it. Another thing with giving records away for free is the [gig] ticket prices go up. Now, you can get a Radiohead album for £1.45, but what does it cost you to see them? It’s fifty quid. You go figure that out. To me it’s giving something with one hand and taking it back with another. It looks good when you see it written in papers – ‘Wow, they’re giving their album away!’ I tell you who’s going to struggle with it though: Johnny Borrell. He wants to be in that league of big hitters with Bono and Chris Martin. He won’t have a clue what to do. He won’t know whether to shrink-wrap himself and put a tiny bit of himself inside fuckin’ Razorlight CDs… He’s gonna struggle with that. He’s gonna give everything away for free: his flat, his dog… But anyway, I think it’s fuckin’ patronising to people; ‘You can have this for nothing. You can have this for nothing. I will give this to you for nothing.’ It’s like flicking tenners at the homeless, innit? To me, anyway. It’s like, look, this record cost £600,000 to make. Fuckin’ some cunt is paying for it cos I’m not! (Laughs)
You’re starting your world tour in the States. How much importance do you put on the American market?
Look, that ‘cracking America’ thing is an utter fuckin’ myth. Unless you live there, or unless you’re U2 who’s got Bono, or Coldplay who’s got Chris Martin, you’re pissing in the fuckin’ wind out there, I’m telling you right now. You need that dude who will engage the fuckin’ crowd and talk about whales and hedgehogs and all that shit. If you’re just a band trying to fuckin’ make a living, what do you do? Do you think you’re gonna go over there for two weeks and play fuckin’ six shows and come back… And there’s all that bullshit in the papers going, ‘Hey man, The Kooks are doing really well in America because their single got played four times last week…’ It’s like, fuck me, I’m too long in the tooth for all this shit. We sold more records out there up until ‘Be Here Now’ than we did in England, right? And then we became… I’ll tell you what happened. Our record label out there, Epic, who’s used to dealing with Mariah Carey and Celine Dion and all that kind of gear, they stumbled upon this band who was given to them by Sony in England who were selling fuckin’ shitloads of records. So that initial fuckin’ thing – there’s always initially a buzz when you get to America. Once they found out that we were probably the most unprofessional band that had ever fuckin’ walked in their offices, they were like, ‘We’re not interested’. Up until we changed record labels just now, they used to come to our fuckin’ video shoots in England and tell us what to do and all that shit. We’d be like, ‘Now listen to me Skip, or whatever your fuckin’ name is, you’re not in New York now.’ They were nice people, but they could not understand our band who were, at the time, the biggest band in the world. We treated it with contempt really.
So it’s like an uphill struggle before you’ve even opened your mouth?
Out there, the music can’t speak for itself; there’s a lot of bullshit that goes with it. All the fuckin’ bollocks, all the arse licking and the MTV and fuckin’ this radio station and that radio station… We’re inherently lazy working class Mancunians, you know what I mean? We wanna be getting pissed half the time, and the other fuckin’ time we wanna be getting fuckin’ high. I’m not arsed about going to see some fat cunt and his fat kids and his fat record shop in fuckin’ Fatsville, USA. What the fuck do I care about him? As for the corporate American system, they’re like, ‘We can’t fathom that out so we’re just not working your records anymore’, and we’re like, ‘We don’t give a shit. We don’t fuckin’ live here anyway.’ So going over there this time, we play little arenas; between five and ten thousand a night anywhere – in the bigger cities it’s bigger obviously; we were in Madison Square Gardens [in New York] last time, and the Hollywood Bowl in L.A., so that will do me. If we never have a fuckin’ hit record again in America I don’t give a shit, because I know that what comes with that is just so much pretense and bullshit that I can fuckin’ do without that. I’ve already got a swimming pool and a Rolls Royce and a fuckin’ house in Ibiza, I don’t need anything else. I’m not greedy.
Do all the families head out when you go on tour?
Nah, do they fuck.
So just the lads?
Well, my missus comes along to the place that’s got the best shops. But my son is ten months old, he hasn’t got a clue what’s going on, and my daughter’s eight, she’s at school, so somebody has got to look after the kids. Unfortunately that’s not me.
For some artists, having a new baby would mean an album of ballads…
Writing songs about babies? Yeah. It’s not me, man. I’m not wrapped up in my kids’ lives. I don’t project anything on to them. They’re kids. It’s the greatest thing in the world to think, ‘Wow, fuckin’ hell, we’re inventing human beings here’, you know what I mean? I don’t want to fuckin’ write about that. Leave that to Fran Healy. That’s not my fuckin’ bag at all. I’d rather write about fuckin’ getting high, man. It’s been written about so many times anyway, it’s like, what have you got to say about your kids? ‘They’re beautiful and they’re mine’. That’s it. It would be a very short song! (Laughs)
Would you be happy if they wanted to do what you do when they grow up?
I wouldn’t discourage them, but I’m not pushing them in any way. I’m not gonna teach anybody to play guitar, because I think kids have too much on a plate, you know what I mean? The reason why I love that fuckin’ guitar and what I do is because I had to save up to buy my first one for fifty pounds, right, and then I couldn’t play the thing because I didn’t have an amp, so I had to save up to buy that. I remember carrying it back from the town centre because I’d saved up that much money I didn’t have enough money to get the bus home. Now that’s dedication, man. If you wanna play the guitar, get a fuckin’ job, go and buy one, and learn yourself like I did. That will stand you in better stead instead of your dad learning you to play your guitar and then you get an amp and then you get a band and then you get somewhere because your dad’s in a band and then at twenty-two you pack it in because you can’t be arsed.
And you’ve got the money anyway.
Yeah. If you wanna do it, go and do it. Don’t fuckin’ expect me to do it for you.
What if your son joined a band and their music was shit?
I’ve gotta say it won’t be. He’s a Gallagher, what are you talking about? And even if it was shit, I’d fuckin’ fly him a few songs and I’d just say, “Here, you tell ’em you wrote that.”
Do you hope that every new Oasis album attracts a new audience of young kids, or are you happy to rely on the fanbase you’ve already got?
All you can try and do is sneak your new records into this new audience that regenerates itself for us; it seems once every five years that ‘Definitely Maybe’ gets passed down to a new generation. So every kind of second tour it seems to be… There won’t be on this one. On the tour after this, which will be in fuckin’ whenever it is, I dunno, there will be a new generation of kids who have discovered it again, so you’re kind of sneaking your new album into that lot and try to keep it going. But I don’t worry about things like that. That record’s got so many fuckin’ legs; it’s still doing the business, man. It’s amazing. It’s an amazing little album recorded entirely by people who didn’t have a clue what they were fuckin’ doing. It just blows me away, man.
Some of the things I’ve read you said in the press have nearly given me a hernia. When was the last time you pissed yourself laughing?
Me and Russell Brand are friends, and his sidekick Matt Morgan. They make me laugh a lot. And it’s nothing specific; they’re just two very, very, very funny people and I like their company a lot. It would have been last Saturday night probably, just talking shit.
What’s the best piece of advice you could give to somebody that wanted to break into the music industry?
It’s not a sprint. It’s not a race. You don’t have to achieve everything tomorrow. Getting a good manager is essential because it means that you don’t have to deal with any of the shit apart from taking drugs, shagging birds, getting pissed and writing songs. And you don’t have to be big on your first album, you don’t have to be big on your second album, you don’t have to be big when you’re twenty-one; I was twenty-seven before I had a fuckin’ hit single, so I’m living proof. Don’t try and be the hare, try and be the tortoise. And just keep at it – if at first you fail, keep fuckin’ going, man.
You once said that you wanted to put out a new single every three months like The Jam. What happened?
We did that up until ‘Morning Glory’, then it just got so big that you can’t be everywhere – they started going from British tours to World tours. What happens there is, if you’re in fuckin’ Vietnam and there’s a single coming out and you’ve gotta do the artwork – this is before fuckin’ emails and all that shit – it’s impossible. It’s absolutely impossible. I guess it’s possible now with the Internet, but I wouldn’t like to put out faceless plastic CDs that people download that’s got no artwork with it. That’s not what we’re about at all. I’m very old fashioned.