Details: Your first solo record, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, is about to be released. Are you nervous about going it alone?
Noel Gallagher: Yeah, it's weird. All the great bits about starting are gone, like the element of surprise. And all the shit bits are magnified. I have to be the fucking frontman now and charge people money to see it. I'm wary of what people expect. Put this in the interview: Don't come expecting to see anything, because there's nothing to see. It's the music, there ain't no fucking jokes, no moonwalking, no juggling, no circus tricks.
Details: You never struck me as someone who worried about expectations.
Noel Gallagher: Yeah, I haven't got anything to prove. People say I've got a lot to prove, and I'm like, "Fuck, really?" I pity the people at the first 12 gigs, though. But after that I plan to unlock my inner Elvis. Kung fu in a cape, with burgers.
Details: You've always maintained that you're comfortable with fame, a rarity among celebrities.
Noel Gallagher: I have to say I was absolutely crestfallen when the phone-hacking scandal broke here in England and my name wasn't mentioned once. I'm not even worthy to have my fucking phone hacked. And Steve Coogan is. It is fucking over. But I never understood people who bitched about fame. Even in the nineties, when it was mad and there were photographers all around the house, it never occurred to me to send someone else out to get cigarettes. It took me five minutes—went for a walk, gave a wave, went back inside.
Details: What about when you were assaulted by a fan on stage in Toronto in 2008?
Noel Gallagher: That had nothing to do with me. That guy was a fucking moron. Why would he attack me and not Liam? C'mon. Fuck me. That's all I wanted to say to him afterwards: "Leave me alone. I write the fucking songs. Fuck up the guy over there with the glasses."
Details: Speaking of Oasis, Be Here Now is often called "the coke album." Is that a fair label?
Noel Gallagher: We were taking all the cocaine we could possibly find. When you're on the old cocaine, you think everything you do is incredible. The album is one of my least favorites, but wrapped up in that are some seriously amazing times. We were the biggest band in the world. We brought two DJs on the road. Who even brings one?
Details: When did you kick the habit?
Noel Gallagher: I woke up one afternoon in 1998, and there were people partying in the house for a couple of days and I didn't know most of them. I got up and started doing drugs for breakfast. But finally I decided it was time for a change. I kicked it for a couple of weeks, then that turned into a couple of months, and after that it was, "Fuck this. Fuck these people. Who the fuck are these people? I don't like any of them anymore." But the party was still going on, and then I had to get rid of friends who I had known for years. It was tough at first, but do I want to get to 40 and still being doing this? The answer was no. And fatherhood changes every thing.
Details: You have three kids now?
Noel Gallagher: Yeah, and you should not being doing drugs when the kids are in bed. That's just fucking wrong. And they can't be getting it from me. They're going find out soon enough, anyway. But it's not like my 4-year-old son is going to come up to me and say, "Dad, I'm going out tonight, and I think I'm gonna try some of that heroin stuff, what ya reckon?" Please, kids don't ask about drugs, they just do it. You don't know how you'll react. It's not like my kids will come home and say, "Whoa, I'm stoned. Dark Side of the Moon and all that." You have to be a detective. Kids are fucking kids and they'll try it.
Details: How has fatherhood changed you?
Noel Gallagher: I started off as many fathers do. I enjoyed the good bits, but I was wary of the responsibility. But now I love being a dad. It's different with the boys. All they want to do is fight. And I can take on a 4-year-old any day of the week—I will fuck you up. Give me that blown-up baseball bat and I will smash your head in. My little lad, before he goes for the bath, he's stomping on my rib cage, giving it his all. He thinks he's beating the fucking living daylights out of me. You just have to pick him up with one hand and launch him into the bath. Their mother is a real mum, a real parent. I'm a doofus fucking dad. If it were up to me, it's chocolate for breakfast and fucking watching TV all day. Kids and family life are only as good as your wife, and she's amazing. It allows me to be a fucking waste of space, really.
Details: Russell Brand was the best man at your wedding this summer. What was his toast like?
Noel Gallagher: If you weren't me, it was fucking sidesplitting. He just listed all the ludicrous, daft shit I've said and done over the past years. He basically said, "How is this idiot ending up with that woman? If he wasn't a fucking rock star, she wouldn't have looked twice at him." My wife said, "Well, that makes me look shallow, doesn't it?" To which I said, "Well, it's fucking true. You know it and I know it." He was my best man—there's no better man than him. If you see my friends, no one's the best. They're all barely acceptable. I couldn't have them make the speech when I have the modern-day Shakespeare here, who can speak for nine hours on nothing. It was the first time I've ever seen him speak when he didn't talk about himself. It killed him to talk about me.
Details: In August, Liam sued you for libel after you said Oasis had to cancel a 2009 gig because he was hungover. You've since apologized, but he says the lawsuit is not over. What's going on?
Noel Gallagher: I'm not allowed to say what I want, because I'll get sued. It's all very fucking silly. Worse, it's just not very fucking cool.
Details: When did you know the end was coming?
Noel Gallagher: [On that tour in 2009], I was traveling separate from the band just to make everyone's life easier. I knew I wasn't going to make another Oasis record for a long, long time. Liam wasn't enjoying it, for whatever reason. I wasn't planning on leaving or quitting. Who would walk away from all that on a whim? Certainly not me.
Details: Is it true he attacked you with a guitar in Paris with two shows left on that tour?
Noel Gallagher: Liam's a fucking funny guy. But then there's another side of him, which blows up when he has his drink. I can't do violence. What's the point? Especially since we're all of a certain age and, let's face it, quite wealthy. I never started a fight in my entire fucking 44-year-old life. Liam thrives on chaos. It makes him who he is.
Details: Were you surprised that the rest of the band went with Liam?
Noel Gallagher: No, I was going on a big sabbatical, and I wouldn't want them sitting at home waiting for a phone call from me. I might not do a whole lot in the next 10 years. They'll be working their little asses off.
Details: Lots of people are marking the 20th anniversary of Nirvana's Nevermind and Pearl Jam's Ten. When Definitely Maybe hits the two-decade mark, will you feel nostalgic?
Noel Gallagher: No. I don't look back at old photographs or listen to my old records. Wait, is it really the 20th anniversary of Pearl Jam? I don't get it. Who the fuck cares? But those seminal records like Nevermind, and dare I say Definitely Maybe, young people should be tapped on the shoulder and shown what they missed. I'm glad we made one of those albums, maybe even two, and I'm glad I wrote all the songs on them. I feel very proud that people still give a shit.
Details: Someone once asked you to sum up Oasis in a word, and you said, "Me." Still believe that?
Noel Gallagher: I was probably drinking that day, wasn't I? Oasis can't be summed up in one word. I could do a sentence: Boys from council estate made it very, very big.
Details: Will that be on your tombstone?
Noel Gallagher: No, my tombstone will read: THANKS A MILLION. THAT WAS REALLY FUCKING GREAT. NOW GET THE FUCK OFF MY GRAVE.