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The Wit and Wisdom of Noel Gallagher

Michael Leonard
|
05.29.2014
noel gallagher

Noel Gallagher turns 47 on May 29. 2014 has seen the 20th anniversary of Oasis’s debut Definitely Maybe reissued in an expanded Chasing the Sun edition, adding demos and live cuts. It reminds fans how the Manchester band shook-up the U.K. rock scene. Gallagher is currently working on his second solo/High Flying Birds album.

Apart from being a more-than-able songwriter and guitarist, Gallagher has always been one of the most quotable and funniest music interviewees of the last 20 years.

Here is a selection of two decades of his smartest/silliest soundbites on a host of topics…

Noel Gallagher on brother Liam Gallagher and the Oasis glory years…

“All I ever wanted to do was make a record. Here’s what you do: you pick up your guitar, you rip a few people’s tunes off, you swap them round a bit, get your brother in the band, punch his head in every now and again, and it sells. I’m a lucky *******. I’m probably the single most lucky man in the world - apart from our Liam.”

“Liam is rude, arrogant, intimidating and lazy. He’s the angriest man you’ll ever meet. He’s like a man with a fork in a world of soup.”

“Sure I love Liam. But not as much as I love Pot Noodles.”

“We’re not arrogant, we just believe we’re the best band in the world.”

“We dragged English guitar music out of the gutter.”

“Oasis were the last great, traditional rock ’n’ roll band. We came along before the Internet so, if you wanted to see us, you had to be there. It makes me feel like a righteous old man.”

“I was a superhero in the ‘90s. I said so at the time. McCartney, Weller, Townshend, Richards… my first album’s better than all their first albums. Even they’d admit that.”

“I still tell people that the Be Here Now album is the best advertisement against taking cocaine. It goes on too long, it’s smothered by its sense of self-importance - the same as coke users are.”

“I don’t much like “Wonderwall,” but the effect that song has on people, I can’t deny it.”

“Rock ‘n’ roll is about music. Music. Music. Music. It’s not about you, it’s not about me, it’s not about Oasis. It’s about the tunes.”

On fellow artists…

“Nothing bothers me more than when groups like Pearl Jam and Nirvana whine and moan and complain about life and being famous. Let me tell you, being famous is great!”

“Twenty years from now, will we listen to Lady Gaga? No. She might think she is making a stand for the freaks and the weirdos. But they’re not going to have any decent music to play are they?”

“Solo artists are generally totally insane. Elton John? Slightly eccentric. George Michael? He’s mad as custard.”

“I’ve never been asked to do a collaboration. I guess I just don’t give off that come-and-get-me vibe. I wouldn’t be adverse to doing one with Coldplay or U2 - anyone who sells 50 million albums.”

“I love The Bee Gees, but only the pre-disco stuff. From ‘64 to ‘69, I’ve got all their albums.”

“I’ve never understood musicians who don’t enjoy doing promotional interviews. I just can’t believe it. I always think, ‘Your life must have been so brilliant before you were in a band.’”

Noel Gallagher on himself and writing songs…

“I wasn’t put on this earth to amass money or personal wealth. I was put on this earth to play guitar and write songs.”

“I’m a great songwriter, but I’m not the most talented musician.”

“I’ve grown to love California: It’s the dream of every English musician to come here and work in the sunshine. To walk up Sunset Boulevard, knowing you’re going to make music - that’s it!”

“I’m not interested in making money. It’s just that with my talent, I’m cursed with it.”

“If I were in The Beatles, I’d be a good George Harrison.”

“With every song that I write, I compare it to The Beatles. The thing is, they only got there before me. If I’d been born at the same time as John Lennon, I’d have been up there.”

“When a lot of musicians change styles, their songwriting suffers because they want to be different.”

“You can’t really write a full album about your missus. She’ll start getting the wrong idea and start thinking I like her.”

“Great music is in the ear of the beholder.”

“I’m not like John Lennon, who thought he was the great Almighty. I just think I’m John Lennon.”

“I’m a songwriter because I’m no good at anything else and it pays well.”

“I write the first line and the end word, “Supersonic”, it’s like, “Well, what rhymes with that?” And you start off with ‘A’ and you go, ‘Atomic. Bionic.’ Then you go...Gin & Tonic. Alright, that’ll do.’ It’s no big deal. You just write it down, and people go “Wow! Feeling Supersonic...Give me Gin and Tonic. Wow!’ Basically, ‘cos it rhymes!”

Noel Gallagher on guitars, recording and being a frontman…

“I don’t have the genetic make-up of a frontman, but I’m learning how to do it.”

“I’m looking forward to every show. I thought that I would be lost in the middle of the stage, but I’m liking it. I can see a long open road in front of me. It turns out that I’ve grossly underestimated myself.”

“I tend not to play a lot of major chords. I think I drop the major notes and play fifths, you know what I mean? Again, it’s nothing I spend a lot of time on. I try to play like myself, and I think I do. But I don’t dwell on the whole aspect of guitar technique and stuff. I’m a songwriter.”

“I’m a much better rhythm guitarist than a lead guitarist.”

“I’ve always been into guitars... we want to put keyboards on, but keyboard players don’t look cool onstage, they just keep their heads down. There has never been a cool keyboard player, apart from Elton John.”

“I just pick my 1960’s Gibson 355 – that’s the basis for everything. I’ve got so many guitars, and people just throw things at me. It depends. If I’ve got a definite idea for something and I cannot be swayed, then that’s the end of it.”

“I’ve got my own style on the guitar, sure, and I play rhythm in a certain way, and I use certain inflections. People have said that to me, and I understand it.”

“Producers like to record all the drums first, then they do the bass, then all the guitars, so you’re constantly moving from one song to another. I can’t stand that. I’d rather just do a song, finish it and go on to another.”

Agree or disagree, Gallagher knows how to deliver a quote.

(Source quotes from: Q, Mojo, NME, MusicRadar, Esquire, Shortlist, The Guitar Magazine, Guitar World, ITV, the BBC, The Face, and Oasis’s own film documentaries.)

More Noel Gallagher

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Noel Gallagher’s Gibson and Epiphone Guitars

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