- 18 Oct 17
"I don’t think me and Roy Keane would get on too well," he said of Mancunian footballing rivalries...
Responsible dad or not, Liam Gallagher is still capable of some serious rock’n’roll hellraising and giving good quote. Roy Keane, Patsy Kensit, Nicole Appleton, Yoko Ono, Bono and magic mushrooms are all on the agenda as the Oasis singer shoots from the hip. Getting the beers in: Olaf Tyaransen
As he approaches his thirtieth birthday, Mr. Liam Gallagher is looking a hell of a lot better than you’d expect any man who’s spent the last decade living the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle at supersonic, gin ‘n’ tonic speed to look. Sitting in the beer garden of a fashionable North London pub, just down the road from his new home, the Oasis singer positively radiates good health and vitality (ignoring the pint of Carlsberg and Benson & Hedges, that is).
Impeccably dressed and lightly tanned from a recent tour of Japan, he looks every inch the successful rock star – cool, calm, collected and confident. Not a hair out of place, nor a worry on his face.
“I’m pretty chilled out at the moment,” he admits. “I’m a bit jacked, like, from Japan and all, but the head’s good. It’s fucking great actually!”
In stark contrast, your sweaty, shaky HOTPRESS scribe is feeling more stressed than the postal service at Christmas, thanks mainly to the Aer Lingus strike, the horrors of the London tube and the fact that I’ve just been told that I’ve only got twenty minutes in the orbit of Liam’s lips. Twenty minutes! In fairness, there’s not too much I want to ask him about the forthcoming album (it’s called Heathen Chemistry and if you like Oasis then it won’t disappoint) but, Liam being Liam, there’s plenty of other salacious stuff on my list of questions. Fortunately, my nationality appears to work in my favour.
“It’ll be alright, man,” he reassures me, when I express my serious doubts that twenty minutes will be enough time. “There’s a few fucking German journalists I’ve gotta talk to after you. I’ll fucking let ‘em wait for a fucking while.”
Much to the chagrin of both his press handler and said German journalists, he eventually gives me the best part of an hour. Even with the time pressure on, though, the first question on everybody’s lips (well, mine) has to be…
OLAF TYARANSEN: So what’s your take on the whole Roy Keane affair?
LIAM GALLAGHER: I think he’s got every fucking right to do what he did. He’s the captain, and a captain has a say. I went on a flight with Nigeria, right. They were on the same flight. And all the Nigerian players, all 6 foot tall, they’re in economy and we’re in first class – and their manager was in first class. And I was thinking, there’s Kanu at the back, and these fuckers are 6 foot and sitting there like that on a 13-hour flight – and they’re expected to train a couple of days later! And I can understand it, if the training facilities are bollocks, and some guy’s up there flying first class and the rest of the team aren’t, I can understand it. If he ain’t gonna say it, who is? I think there’s more to it. I think Mick McCarthy’s a bit of a knob and all.
In fairness though, Keane called him a ‘cunt’ and a ‘crap manager’ in front of the whole squad . . .
Well, they’re fucking both grown men. If you can’t call someone a cunt and let it go under… (shakes head disgustedly). You know, a ‘cunt’ is not the end of the world. Passion brings out words like that. McCarthy should have said, ‘Right, I’m a cunt, but chill out man, I’m the fucking manager’. That’s what it should have been. I think Keane’s alright, man. He stood his ground. He’s going ‘I want to walk round Cork and hold me head up high’. He’s got balls, man.
There are some parallels there with Oasis, really, aren’t there? People screaming abuse at each other and storming off!
I think so. Passion brings up these words. I’ve called our kid (that’s Noel – Ed) ‘cunt’ plenty of times, and he’s called me a cunt.
And yet the band are still together! Maybe they should get you in to sort it all out…
Nah, I don’t think so. I don’t think me and Roy Keane would get on too well.
I just see a red shirt with ‘Man United’ wrote across it. That’s it. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy, but I’m a Man City supporter!
Are you happy with the new album?
Yeah, I’m well happy with it. I’m happy just to make another record and have it out. Obviously I want everyone to fucking buy it but, if they don’t, I’m not really bothered, ’cos I’m over all that fucking being No.1 shit. And I’m over all that selling millions of records. OK, it’s nice, you know what I mean, if you do it, but I don’t worry about it any more. Them things happen when you’re young – you want to fucking get in there and fucking take over the world and you want to do everything. But you get older, you get over it.
You’re coming up to the big Three-O soon. Are you looking forward to your thirties?
I can’t wait, man. I don’t mind, man. 26, 27 was mental and I wouldn’t change any of it. I can’t remember much about 26, 27. But 29’s good, I’ve got me fucking blinkers off. 30 – as long as I don’t lose me hair, I’m fine, man. I’ve got no problem with being 30, 40 or 50.
Are you planning on still being a rock’n’roll star in your 30s and 40s? Or do you think it’s a younger man’s game?
I’m planning on being in the music business for as long as I want to be. As long as the music keeps coming. And it is coming. It’s the best it’s ever been. It’s getting better for me personally. I’ve got songs coming out of me arse, man. So we’ll see.
Do you enjoy your celebrity?
Yeah, of course. I enjoy people recognising that I’m a great fucking singer. I enjoy people recognising that I’m in a great band. I enjoy people recognising that I speak my mind and I’m not a fucking idiot. I enjoy that. I mean if people want an autograph, then fine. But I don’t enjoy all that, ‘I can put my camera in your face and you’d better fucking deal with it ’cos it’s your problem ’cos you’re a fucking celebrity’. I don’t go home and wank when someone asks me for my autograph.
Are there moments when you wish you weren’t famous?
Completely. Of course, man. There’s days I wish I could just fucking run around that park over there and play football with me mates.
You probably could though, couldn’t you? I mean, we’re sitting here now and nobody’s bothering us.
Yeah, but you’d probably have some cunt fucking taking pictures of you, you know what I mean? That stuff. I don’t like being… watched. But I’m not moaning about it. There’s other things to moan about.
Still, can’t be easy if you’re having a bad hair day or something…
It’s pretty shite when someone dies and you’ve got to go to the funeral and you’ve got some cunt fucking taking a picture of you. If people criticise the music or praise it, then fine. And if people take a picture of you shagging some bird when you’re not meant to be – or bloke for that matter – then that’s fine. But other than that, they should just fucking chill out and let you get on with what you’ve got to get on with.
Actually, it must be a bit of a downer, being a famous rock’n’roll star and having loads of women wanting to sleep with you – but you can’t because they might sell their stories to a tabloid!
I wouldn’t want to anyway ’cos they’re all fucking dogs!
Really? Do you find that the standard of groupies has fallen in recent years?
No, they’re still there. But we’ve never really been around that – like, I’ve never been to an after-show party in my entire life. What’s the point? After-show parties don’t entertain me. I do me gig and I’m knackered. I want to have a beer with me mates and not talk about the concert. I just want to talk about what happened last week or football or other things. It’s time to shut up shop after your gig, isn’t it?
Did you do anything for Noel’s birthday yesterday?
No, he’s been in court with his divorce thing, so he’s not in that birthday mood. I went around to his house for a cup of tea.
How are you getting on these days?
Good, man. We’ve always got on. We’re seeing a lot more of each other out of the band, which we never did before. You know, his wife and my wife didn’t get on. But we’re seeing each other more, and there’s no politics in it anymore.
How are the new recruits in the band working out?
Everything’s great, man. Really good, yeah.
I see that you’ve written three songs on Heathen Chemistry. Are you writing much these days?
Yeah, I’ve wrote a load of songs and I think they’re good. Noel thinks they’re good and the band think they’re good. But I’m still just starting. I’m still not a songwriter. I’m a singer – a rock’n’roll singer – and that’ll do me. If I write a couple of songs then great. But my main thing is being a fucking singer.
Do you think the band have progressed much musically?
I don’t think we’ve progressed because I don’t think we’re a progressing band. We’re into rock’n’roll music. We ain’t gonna write Sgt. Pepper’s. We ain’t gonna write fucking Kid A or whatever the fuck it was called. That’s not us. We just like to write 12 new songs and that’s it, you know. I don’t want people scratching their heads and going ‘fucking hell, how did they do that?’ We’re just simple rock’n’roll music for people who drink beer and who just fucking want to put their arms around each other and have a good time. They don’t want to go away going ‘Wow, that fucking blew my mind, man’. It’s like simple fun, get up or get down. It’s dead easy. If you don’t get it, you don’t get it. I don’t want to start going around (adopts asthmatic academic tone) ‘The fucking willows wept into fucking trees, and we’re all fucking tangerines’. Fuck off! That’s alright for some people, but not for us. We’re just a simple rock’n’roll outfit.
Does it bother you that Oasis have never really broken America?
Nah. We’ve done too many tours in America as far as I’m concerned and I prefer to slow it down a bit. There’s no such thing as a rock’n’roll band there – it was all Limp Bizkit and fucking whoever. We were touring there when we shouldn’t have been touring there, I think. We just stand there and play our tunes, that’s it. And in America they don’t get that. It’s like, where’s the fucker swallowing the fucking fire and that shit, where’s the bitches on stage? But if people buy your records you’ve got to play there. If it’s 200 people or 2 million people, I reckon they deserve to see you.
When’s the last time you played in front of 200 people?
Probably a long time ago. I’ve played small gigs, like 1,000 and that. I’ll do anything. I’ll keep everyone happy. I’ll play to 1,000 people or 10,000 people. The big gigs are easy. People think it’s hard, but it’s easy. Smaller gigs are more hard because you think you’ve done a fucking proper day’s work, do you know what I mean? But they’re good too.
You said a moment ago that Oasis will never do a Sgt. Pepper’s. Would you even attempt it?
I’d love to man. But I just think it’s not right. You do mind-bending drugs when you’re 20, not when you’re 30, not when you’ve got two kids. I can’t be sitting at home doing acid and fucking thinking about Mr Kite and stuff like that. It’s not for me. I’ve got responsibilities, right. I done acid when I was 20. I should have probably wrote it then!
Ever done mushrooms?
I done mushrooms when I was 15. But I can’t be in that state of affairs now. I used to go picking them all the time. Me and Noel used to walk around Lime Park in Manchester. We’d do 250 at a time, man. We used to fucking go mental. About the time of Tizwas, me and my mates were playing chess in the garden one night. Me and my mate Darrell, his mum and dad had gone out and we’d done loads of mushrooms and they’d come in about four o’clock in the morning and we were out in the patio pushing these big giant chess pieces around – and there was nothing there! And his mum and dad were looking out the window going ‘Darrell come in, what are you doing?’ And I’d be pushing this fucking big pawn! We thought it was completely fucking there, man.
It was a… what do you call it? A stalemate.
Do you actually play chess?
Nah, I played it that night though. I was fucking great at it!
Are you still partying as hard as you used to party?
Not doing much of it these days. Nah, I’ve got two kids – chilling.
I thought you had three kids.
I’ve got two kids. I know what you’re saying, but I have two that I wish to speak about (in addition to his sons with Patsy Kensit and Nicole Appleton, Gallagher has a third child, Molly, with ex-singer Lisa Moorish).
Do you get to see them often?
I see Lennon every week and weekends, and I see Gene all the time.
Does it bother you that you don’t get to spend more time with Lennon?
Yeah, it bothers me. But that’s life, you know. That’s the way it happens. Of course it bothers me. It’s not the first broken marriage and it won’t be the last. As long as I’m there for him when he needs me to be there for him. When I do see him I spend all my time on him and that’s all that matters. The reason being is that I don’t want to be in a relationship with his mum – and vice versa – and I thought if we stay together just because of the kid then he’s going to end up in this marriage where everyone’s fucking shouting all the time and hating each other like what I was, and I thought, fuck it, we’re just ending it. If me and you ain’t big enough or grown up enough to sort out our differences, you know, he’s gonna be affected by it, so – see you later.
Are you still in touch with Patsy?
I’m not in touch. We’ve got nothing to say to each other.
Are you sad about it?
I’m sad about it, of course I am. But that’s life. Me and her are over. I’m so moved on. She’s fucking moved on and that’s it. He’s in the middle. He sees his mam. I hope she’s great to him. And I’m great to him. And that’s it.
Do you think you’ve found your true soulmate in Nicole?
Yeah. Well, I don’t know about soulmate. She’s just me best mate. I don’t know what a soulmate is. She’s cool and I don’t want to fuck it up with her – and that’s it.
Does she inspire you musically? Do you talk about songwriting together?
Not really. She buzzes off with her music and I buzz off mine. We inspire each other because we’ve both got passion for music. We both love it. She loves her music and I love mine. I love hers and she loves mine.
Are you raising your kids as Catholics?
Well, my kids are getting christened and that. My mam and all my aunties are still Catholics. Music’s my stuff. I’ve not got no views on it. My kids’ll go to Catholic school and be brought up that way and if one of ’em wants to be a priest, fucking fair play and if one of them wants to be a mad rock star, then fine. It’s up to them to decide, man. I decided at an early age it wasn’t for me.
What if Lennon, at 15 or 16, starts doing bagloads of drugs, the way you did?
Well I’ll have a word with him, man. No doubt he will do it. It is a problem. But then it isn’t. If he does drugs and they don’t do him, then, fine, he can have a great time. I’m not here to go ‘drugs are bad’. Drugs are fucking great. Being off your tits is great. Taking acid is great. The best times of my life. But if he just wants to sit about and do drugs all the time, then he’ll get a slap. But if he wants to do drugs and do something else with it, then fine. Obviously I’d prefer if he didn’t. But then again what kind of person would he be? I think drugs opened my eyes to things. I wouldn’t want him to be a fucking straighthead either. Then again, he’s my son and I don’t want him to get hurt. And I don’t want him to be a priest.
Are you drinking much these days?
I can drink like a fucking fish, man. I choose not to. I drink two days a week. Monday to Friday, Friday to Sunday. I can do whatever I want, when I want. I enjoy going out and I enjoy staying in.
What’s your idea of a perfect evening?
I get up at six in the morning with the kid. I have a kip round about 12, chill in front of the TV, do a bit of shopping, go to Tescos, do me bits, just being chilled. Because every time I go out into London it seems to be, like, headline news. And I can’t be doing with it. I get into a lot of trouble and it costs a lot of money.
You’re quite famously short-tempered, aren’t you?
I have a temper, yeah. But only when I’m provoked. I don’t walk into anywhere and go ‘fucking right, let’s have it’. When there’s someone fucking doing me head in, then yeah, I stick up for what’s right, within me. Just because I’m famous, I still will not allow myself to be spoken to by some fucking idiot, if someone goes ‘you’re that dick out of Oasis’. I’m that guy out of Oasis. ‘Well, what are you gonna do about it?’ I’m not doing anything about it and he’s like ‘alright then’. But if I’m provoked – yeah.
When’s the last time you had a physical fight?
All the time with the press, man. Every time I go out I get into trouble with some dick with a camera. I always have some fucking run-in with someone and I always come out pretty good. I prefer not to have a fucking fight. I just want to be left alone. But if someone’s giving me shit and calling me missus a fucking silly cow, or putting their hands on me missus, then I’m going to fucking go mental, just like you would.
Have you ever had a near-death experience?
When I was about six. I can’t swim – the only water I get into is in the bath. I was six and my brothers were walking down some fucking river in Manchester called Redrock and I was following them and I slipped in off the green side of the embankment and went under the water and me mates jumped in and saved me. I remember all the fucking bubbles coming up and that’s it. I think that was pretty near death.
Ever pushed out the boat in terms of hard drinking and hard drugging?
Nah, I’ve never had any overdoses or anything like that. I’ve just had nasty hangovers.
There’s a story currently doing the rounds saying that you’re broke. Are you?
To be perfectly honest with you, I ain’t got as much money as I used to have, i.e. through fucking divorce, through living good, being a proper rock star and when money comes in spending it and having a good time. But I ain’t broke. I’m far from fucking broke. But I think that came out because I just signed a publishing deal yesterday with Universal. So then you get people going ‘Oh, he’s asking for publishing’. But that’s just the next step, that’s what you do if you write fucking songs and the songs are on the album, you get a publishing deal. I don’t need it. It’s nice to have it. It’s the obvious step that you do and it’s one of the best publishing deals ever done. So I’m happy with it.
What do you think of the new Ronan Keating single (playing in the background)?
I’m not having him. He’s thinks he’s fucking Bono, him, Ronan Keating. I’ve not got anything against him or against Boyzone. They’re not in my world, so it would be daft for me to say anything. But boybands in general make me puke – because you can guarantee ten years down the line someone’ll want to be in a rock’n’roll band. It’s like ‘make your fucking mind up’. Like Ronan Keating, I get a vibe that he thinks he’s fucking Bono now.
How do you get on with Bono yourself?
I get on alright with him. We shoot the breeze. I’m not in awe of him. Like a lot of people sit there and go fucking ‘Bono, Bono’. I know what he is, he’s just a fucking geezer in a fucking band who’s got views on certain things. We get on alright.
You’re looking a little restless there, Liam…
I’m not restless. I just like to see what’s going on. If I sat here and went like that all the time (pulls intense face), you’d think I was depressed. If I stared you out, you’d think I fancied you.
Er… right. Any ambitions outside of music? Would you ever act, for instance?
No. No interest. I’d rather some actor act. It never crossed my mind. People have offered us parts in films and I say ‘what’s the fucking point? I’m not an actor’ and I don’t want my fingers in too many pies. I’m quite happy being a fucking great rock’n’roll singer.
What’s been the high point of the last ten years?
Getting a deal to play your records that people can hear. Or getting in the studio with a recording deal, making music the way you want to make it, playing it to people, hoping they’ll like it and then they’ll buy it. And that’s it. And doing your gigs. They’re the high points. Obviously the other high ones are like playing Knebworth and stuff. But the highest thing was, like, having someone believe that we could take it from a fucking club and put it on a record. And that is the ultimate thing, that someone believed in us to give us a record deal. That’s the highest point… and obviously me kids as well.
What advice would you give to a young guy who wants to make it as a rock’n’roll star?
Just fucking believe man, believe big-time and always try and look fucking cool and go for it. You have to want to be as big as The Beatles. You have to aspire to that and no matter what comes with it, go for it and talk like you’re the best fucking fighter in town, man. It’s like having a mortgage these days, being in a band – it’s like ‘I’ve got one’. Where’s your fucking dream? I wanted to be The Beatles. Obviously they’re huge. And people in Ireland should want to be U2. If you don’t, you’ll be in some fucking little diddy band. There’s loads of little diddy bands but there’s not so many fucking great big bands and we’re one of them. And I’m quite happy like that.
What’s the last book you read?
The only book I read, Living On Borrowed Time by Frederick Seaman. He was John Lennon’s main mate in New York. He used to hang out with him when Yoko was being a smartarse and that. I think it’s pretty much near enough to the point.
Have you ever met Yoko?
Yeah, I’ve been in the house, the Dakota Building. Great day. I had tea and biscuits with her. Fucking great. She showed me pictures of Lennon and that. She gave me some paintings. She was cool. All that shit about her splitting up The Beatles? The Beatles split The Beatles up. No woman could ever split a fucking band up unless you were letting her take the piss. None of my girlfriends… I wouldn’t have any girl split my band up. She’s alright. She was his wife and leave it at that.
Do you ever get any scarily obsessive fans?
I have had some. But they don’t know where I live at the moment, so… You get obsessive fans, yeah. But I can understand it. If they’ve got nothing else in their life and they’re hearing something from you, I can understand it.
Were you ever like that yourself when you were younger? Have you ever been obsessive about anybody? Lennon, perhaps?
No, not really, no. I like Lennon, but I’m not obsessed by him. I like The Beatles, but I’m not obsessed by them. I appreciate them and I get lots from them. They make me feel good. They make me feel sad, angry, fucking sommat else, you know what I mean? I’m not an autograph hunter for a start. I understand people wanting it, but I don’t hang on anyone’s words.
Have you changed much over the years?
I am the exact same person I was in Manchester ten years ago, except I have a bit more money, and people have this perception of me. But other than that, you know, I’m just…
Were you always a bit famous – in school or whatever?
I was always pretty popular. But I’ve got mates up there in Manchester who work in fucking butchers, who are bigger rock stars than me, it’s just that the light never shined on them, know what I mean?
Do you feel blessed?
Yeah, I do actually. But I’ve worked hard and I believed in myself. If there’s someone up there and he’s a God and he’s going ‘well I believe in you’, therefore that means I believe in me, then, fine, I’m lucky. But it took a lot of fucking sitting down and working it out in my head going ‘what do I want to do? Do I want to do heroin or be in a fucking band? I either want to fucking not have a job – or have a job. I either want to be someone – or I don’t want to be no-one. So that was in my head. When everyone was doing Es in the Haçienda, I was in a fucking basement writing stupid rock’n’roll music or that’s what they thought it was. They were going ‘come on, come to The Haçienda’. And I said ‘I’m not fucking going to the Haçienda, I don’t like dance music, I’m gonna do me rock & roll thing’. And at that time in Manchester rock’n’roll was like, ‘you’re off your fucking head!’. I’m into John Lennon and Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles and they’re ‘are you mad?’
You’ve done the rock star thing. What’s your ambition in life now?
What do I wanna be remembered for, kind of thing? Being a fucking great singer, being an extremely good-looking bastard, being a top mate, rubbish husband – I’ll admit that – top mate, top boyfriend, mega-fucking dad and a good laugh – and if anyone’s got any problems come and see me and I’ll have a chat with them about it. I’m a good listener.
Do you have a motto?
Always wear a condom!