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Thursday, April 12, 2012
Noel Gallagher: I'm more inspired than I’ve ever been
Last year, the former leader of the pioneering Brit-pop band Oasis launched his new group, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. But these Birds won’t be flying very long, and that suits its namesake just fine.
“It’s not a band,” stressed Gallagher, 44. “This band will disband in November, and who knows what will happen then? It may be years before I make another album. I’m not asking them to wait around.”
High Flying Birds plays here Tuesday at the Balboa Theatre. The show comes in between Gallagher’s co-headlining shows at the sold-out Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival Saturday and April 21.
Yet, while Gallagher is enthusiastic about his short-lived-by-design new band, he acknowledged High Flying Birds exists only by default, as a result of the famously dysfunctional and combative Oasis having imploded in 2009. The band’s dissolution followed yet another blow-up between Gallagher, the band’s lead guitarist and principal songwriter, and his younger brother, lead singer Liam. (Notoriously volatile, Liam once challenged George Harrison to a fight, via the media, after the ex-Beatle accurately observed that some of Oasis’ songs were -- shall we say --quite derivative.)
Sibling rivalry notwithstanding, had Noel and Liam not buried the hatchet in each other’s skulls — figuratively speaking — it would be Oasis, not the High Flying Birds, now on tour.
But that was before Oasis came crashing to a halt three years ago. It was also before Liam sued Noel last summer, for stating that Oasis had abruptly bagged a 2009 English festival date because Liam was too hung over to sing. The aborted show fueled Noel’s decision to quit the band. Liam, who now leads a group called Beady Eye, was incensed.
“I have taken legal action against Noel Gallagher for statements he made claiming Oasis pulled out of the 2009 V festival ... because I had a hangover,” Liam told The Sun newspaper last year. “That is a lie and I want Oasis fans and others who were at V to know the truth.”
The cause, Liam said, was that he had laryngitis, which was diagnosed by a doctor. Noel’s claims of drunkenness went “way beyond rock’n’roll banter and questioned my professionalism,” Liam charged. “I tried to resolve this amicably but have been left with no choice but legal action. All I want is an apology.”
Noel did apologize, albeit reluctantly.
However, the wording of his mea culpa implied his younger brother couldn’t sing at the V festival because he had laryngitis and was hung over.
“I guess the worst gig I ever did would have to be the one where I got attacked on stage and got three of my ribs broken by a drunken maniac — not my brother, I hasten to add,” Noel said. “It was in Toronto in 2007, or 2008, or 2009. I can’t remember.”
Is not playing in Oasis cathartic for Noel, whose self-titled debut album with the mildly psychedelic High Flying Birds came out last fall?
“Yeah,” he replied. “It’s nice to be in the (recording) studio and be able to work at my own pace and dictate the direction for the album and to do what I wanted, when I wanted. It’s nice to be on tour and to know I’m leaving this hotel in 20 minutes, and that the gig will take place. I know it will happen and last for one hour and 50 minutes.
“Whereas in Oasis, you could get down to the hotel lobby to go to the gig, and it would (suddenly) be like: ‘That gig is not happening...’.”
Duke Ellington, one of the greatest most prolific composers of the 20th Century, was once asked what inspired him to compose. Ellington smiled, and said: 'Give me a deadline.'
"Ah. We don't have deadlines in rock 'n' roll -- That's the very definition of it, isn't it?" Gallagher said. "I guess those jazz guys, in those days, Duke and them would write to order. Rock 'n' roll is very different; by definition you don't adhere to timetables."
The High Flying Birds' song “People Who Will Be (The Death of You and Me)” features a brass arrangement that hints at classic New Orleans jazz. If one were to poke around Noel's record collection, might they find some albums by Louis Armstrong or the Dirty Dozen Brass Band?
"You might find a bit of ragtime and a bit of that stuff, yeah. Not a great deal; I'm by no means an expert. I saw a documentary on ragtime once, and I thought: 'Wow, it's like early blues and early jazz, music for the common man. I like that.' And I do like Sun Ra. He’s amazing."
Sun Ra? The iconic, now deceased, avant-jazz pianist and composer from Arkansas, who started off in the big band era, before launching his one-of-a-kind ensemble, the Arkestra, and exploring a cosmic musical palette unlike any other, in or out of jazz? What drew Noel to Sun Ra?
"Oh, (expletive)!" he said. "I'm only a recent convert to this style of music. A couple of years ago, I thought: 'Right.' Because I have some mates that are great jazz musicians, and I go see them play jazz gigs in little clubs, and I think: 'I know there's a place for me in this, but this music (my friends are playing) is (expletive) rubbish.' So it was a process of elimination. I got through all the greats and then I got to Sun Ra, and it was psychedelic and out there. I don't think I've got any of his albums, but I've got 180 songs by him. My favorite track by him is 'Angels and Demons'."
Read the Rest of Interview here
via L4e / source utsandiego.com
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