Noel is refusing to look back in anger

Noel Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
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LET’S get this out of the way early...

Oasis aren’t reforming any time soon.

Noel Gallagher

Noel Gallagher

And Noel Gallagher’s suitably-named High Flying Birds isn’t even a band, let alone ‘The New Oasis’.

“It’s not a band, it’s never been a band. It never will be a band,” he says ahead of their Motorpoint Arena début on February 19.

“This is the name of my act at the moment. The guys who I am on stage with, most of them didn’t play on the record. None of them play on the next record. We’re a band when we’re on stage.

“Apart from the guitarist the other three lads I’ve known for a long time, but it’s not a band. No, no, no.

“I’d been in a band, which was more democratic than people make out, for the last 18 years. I’ve had enough of that. I miss that kind of camaraderie in the dressing room afterwards, drinking Guinness until five in the morning. But the band dynamic... I don’t miss that.

“It’s like, the band thing you were in business class and this is first class now.

“I get to do what I want at my own pace and I wouldn’t go back to business class for all the money in the world, because you’ve got to go back to making compromises and I’m not sure I’d be comfortable with doing that now.

“I really miss playing all those great songs to stadiums. That’s not me saying I want to go back to doing it, it just makes me want to write more songs like that.

“I probably never will, but at least I’ve got the memories of doing it. Some people never really do it.”

Some of the Oasis classics will travel with Noel on tour, however, and in the likes of HFB tunes If I Had A Gun and The Death Of You And Me, he’s clearly got more rabble-rousers left in the tank.

“I’m glad I did it (Oasis), but I’m also glad that I’m here doing what I’m doing now because this is different.

“It’s not as big and exciting, because bands are always more exciting than solo artists. And it doesn’t generate that kind of tribal thing that Oasis had. It’s like Oasis was a sports car, one of those super cars Jeremy Clarkson’s always driving, and this is a Bentley. They’re great cars, but they’re different.”

So, while people may still speculate about an Oasis reunion, not least with the 20th anniversary of (What’s The Story) Morning Glory – “it does make me laugh...we might be dead four years from now” – Noel is keen to focus on the now.

“I don’t live my life planning for what I’m gonna be doing four years from now. I know what I’m gonna be doing four weeks from now, I’m going to be in Australia. Four months from now I’m gonna be in America. That’s it. I’m not interested in anything outside of 2012 now. I don’t even think about it.

“And, like I say, I wouldn’t go back to a band dynamic because it wouldn’t suit me.”

Although Noel’s not keen to re-open Oasis wounds – he’s gone on record as saying he regrets walking out the day the band were due to play one of their final tour shows in Paris – it is fair to say his songwriting maybe flourished away from the set-up.

Then if Noel ever anticipated one of his final acts in Oasis would be dodging a plum thrown by his brother in a dressing room showdown, the idea of Noel making music featuring the tapping of wine glasses or a kettle instead of a guitar solo was arguably more unlikely.

“I never thought of that,” he confirms, “particularly in the early days, I wasn’t into experimentation at all. I wasn’t into listening to what anybody else had to say, because I wrote all the songs.

“But the older you get the more all the ideas you had...you kind of run out of those ideas; they become boring or people get used to them and they don’t have the effect any more.

“You look to other people for inspiration and ideas. If you’d told me 15 years ago I’d be standing with a guy playing the saw, I’d have said ‘so I’m still doing acid then – so there’s a lot of drugs involved?’ – which there isn’t by the way.”

While Oasis were judged against explosive début album Definitely Maybe and the world-conquering Morning Glory before evolving into what ultimately became Beady Eye, Noel has arguably peaked again.

His eponymous solo début puts enough stylistic breathing space between his former musical life while exhibiting a knack for reaching people.

“If I could sit and write albums like Morning Glory and Definitely Maybe, Don’t Believe The Truth and the High Flying Birds album all the time it’d be amazing, but it’s not that easy. You happen upon them by chance.

“I’m not one for jumping between styles. I pretty much stick to what I’m good at, which is writing songs on the guitar. To get 10/11 songs that are all great on one album...for me it doesn’t happen very often. You’ve just got to be kind of on it when you’re on it and realise the next time I put a record out – well, not the next one because it’s already done – the one after that probably won’t be as good as this one.

“I understand that and it’s something that I don’t chase. You just try to do the best you can and bubble along and by accident it happens.”

So where a fledgling Oasis appeared to be in a hurry, Noel’s HFB is built for comfort, not for speed.

“Absolutely. You’d be a bit of an idiot if you were the same person you were 15 years ago. You’re supposed to get life experience and change, that’s what you do as a person.

“You may look vaguely similar but surely your brain has to change. The more you learn equates to as much as you’ve forgotten and so you become a different person. That’s what day-to-day life is all about, isn’t it.”