Friday 24 November 2017

Liam Gallagher - 'Noel's got to realise he's not that good without me’

Liam Gallagher. Photo: Getty Images
Liam Gallagher. Photo: Getty Images

As Liam Gallagher prepares for a tour with his new band, he’s pretty confident that Oasis will reform one day

The militaristic debriefings that journalists are often given before encountering Liam Gallagher are known to be almost absurdly stringent. Don't mention his kids, don't mention Patsy – one colleague of mine even got told to not mention his teeth during an interview which took place shortly after the singer had a number of them knocked out by Italian gangsters in a German bar in 2002.

So as I prepare to meet the one-man whirlwind, it's to my great surprise that Gallagher's business partner and security man Steve Allen actually encourages me to bring up the subject of Oasis, despite the fact Gallagher himself has been keen to concentrate on his new projects of late. It feels distinctly like I'm being in led into an ambush but, as it turns out, it only takes the slightest of probing to find that Oasis have indeed been on his mind.

"I'm sure we're gonna get back together," he explains matter-of-factly as he sits in the bar of Robert De Niro's hotel in the TriBeCa district of Manhattan. "Noel's got to do his solo thing – and realise he's not that good without his younger brother. And then, 2015, the Morning Glory 20th anniversary tour. It was him that started the idea and now he's saying he's not up for it, but I am. If the people want it, then the people will get it." At first, it seems odd that Gallagher is already thinking of retreading old ground so quickly after Oasis split on that now infamous night in Paris back in 2009 when the tempestuous duo exchanged projectiles for the last time. But in the two years since, the singer has used the personal and creative freedom of life without Noel to rapidly develop into a renaissance man of sorts.

First came Beady Eye – formed with ex-Oasis members Chris Sharrock (drums) Gem Archer (guitar) and Andy Bell (bass) – who were playing their first shows just a few months after Oasis ended. Their debut album Different Gear, Still Speeding may not have set the world alight, but it was a far more robust and enjoyable rock'n'roll album than many people had expected, and put paid to the idea that Noel was the only member of Oasis who could write a tune.

"I was surprised that people were surprised," he offers. "The idea that we wouldn't be able to make a decent album between us is stupid. I know what I'm doing, Gem and Andy have been writing great songs for years so they know what they're doing. Why wouldn't it be good? It wasn't life-changing, but the next album... that'll be life-changing. It'll be a much more grander affair too, with strings. I'm really into All Things Must Pass by George Harrison at the moment, so I think we'll be going down that road a bit more. A bit Phil Spector-ish. I want it to be big-sounding. But there will be some rock'n'roll too. You've always got to have a bit of rock'n'roll."

The Pretty Green fashion line has also seen Gallagher harnessing his energy into what is turning out to be a very productive outlet. He freely admits that it's a vanity project (how can a fashion line be about anything else?), but one which he is fully committed too. After suffering a setback when the company's Manchester store was looted causing damages to the tune of a quarter of a million pounds, Pretty Green is about to open its eighth location, and has also been warmly received by the often-snooty fashion world.

Gallagher has also begun getting his feet wet in the film world. A script has been approved for The Longest Cocktail Party, which will be produced by Gallagher's company In 1 Productions with Michael Winterbottom tipped to direct. The film revolves around The Beatles' late publicist Derek Taylor.

"He's an unsung hero," beams Gallagher, "and I want to give him a chance to shine." He stops short of envisioning himself as a fully-fledged movie-mogul and seems nonplussed when I pitch him a vision of Liam Gallagher doing the rounds in Hollywood. But he is more than open to the idea of future projects – one of which people may find especially tantalising.

"Sometimes, when we've had a few drinks, we sit about telling stories and talk about putting them in an Oasis film," he reveals. "I'd be up for that. It'd be a long film but it'd be a film worth watching, believe me. It'd be a funny film and all. But I'd start it with Paris. I wouldn't want it to end on such a bummer. I'd start at the end and work my way backwards."

And so, despite my best efforts to concentrate on non-Oasis subjects, Gallagher brings the conversation back round to the band that defined him for so long and yet, given Noel's notoriously tight grip on the band's creative dynamic, left the younger Gallagher constantly playing second fiddle. The armchair psychologists of the world may cite this imbalance as being a major cause of Gallagher's confrontational tendencies in years gone by, but the civil and charming chap holding court today appears to be basking in the knowledge that he can make it without his older brother. And that, more than anything, seems to make the prospect of going back a much more palatable one.

"I've always had it in me to do Pretty Green and all the rest of it, but I think I may have been under Noel's cloud a little bit too much," he admits. "I've always wanted to do more than just sing other people's songs. If we get back together, it'll be a great trip down memory lane. But it's not the only road that's open to me anymore."

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