Noel Gallagher speaks exclusively to Glynn Pegler in a special interview for the Glastonbury Festival website.
Picture this; it's a hot sunny day, you’ve got yourself comfortable on a nice patch of shaded grass for a bit of a chill out when you notice a familiar looking Mancunian, donning sunglasses, swaggering confidently over. In this case the man in question, dressed discreetly in a white tee and blue faded jeans, is a music icon; part pioneer of the so-called ‘Brit pop’ music genre, and part all round contemporary rock music legend in his own right. His name, as he reliably informs me when he introduces himself, is Noel. And he’s brought with him two pints of cold beer. Sweet as!
Not known as a particularly forthcoming person when it comes to press interviews, (and fair enough, he’s done enough of them), it comes as a bit of a surprise that it was Noel who decided to talk to us, unaided by PR or record company pressures and currently in between albums, he comments to long-term girlfriend (Sara), now standing proudly beside her man, that he thinks the other journos who have been clustering around him are “pretentious t***s” and as “they” (me and my colleague) “aren’t up their own arses”, he doesn’t mind speaking to us. Nice of him to say so. Anyway, I digress. Read on for a few of the Glastonbury related gems revealed during the interview and find our what our kid Noel had to say on whats next for Oasis and some of the people he thinks we should watch out for in 2004.
Before we start, remember if you will, just a few things: Oasis are a band who on their own sell 120,000 tickets in just a few hours. In just one world tour they performed to a combined audience of 1.2 million people across some 23 different countries. They are one of the most successful music acts of all time, and they’re here for you, at Glastonbury 2004.
Currently in the studio recording what is now their sixth album, Oasis are taking some time out to headline at this years festival, silencing the critics with their first major gig for months. With a special 10 year celebration DVD released in September and the new album to follow shortly after, Oasis have got a lot to shout about. So, why choose Glastonbury and what makes it so special for them? If you weren’t a fan before - and lets face it how could you not be? - but if you weren’t, then put any pre-conceptions painted by the press of Noel and Oasis’ supposedly increasingly bizarre behaviour aside as all notions of this kind of behaviour are immediately dispelled as it becomes clear that in fact, as many of their hardcore fans already know, Noel Gallagher is a pretty top bloke...
Noel, Glastonbury Festival; how would you describe it to someone who maybe hasn’t ever been before?
Glastonbury Festival is something very, very, very special. Everything you’ve ever heard about it still can never really prepare you for the whole event once you get here and it can’t ever really be put into words. (Smiles a cheeky grin), And if there are good bands on at the same time, its even better.
Which festival acts would you suggest people make sure they get along to see?
As far as line-ups go, having Morrissey there makes a festival for me. I’m looking forward to seeing Kings of Leon. (Second on the bill, playing just before Oasis on the Friday night - Ed). They’re a really good band. The Stands are a great live band also.
As a festival regular now, have you got any stories from Glastonbury Festivals past that you can legally share with us?
(Laughs and thinks for a LONG time). The first year I came here I remember sitting up in one of the fields somewhere and it was about half past one on the Saturday afternoon. I had been at the festival since the Friday and all I remember from then is being tapped on the shoulder on that Saturday afternoon and turning around to see that it was two official looking chaps who had come to tell me that I was due to play on the stage in about 15 minutes! (Laughs) I spent my time then trying to convince them that i’d played the day before. I didn’t know where I was, I was out of it, (sunstroke perhaps? - Ed) but I got there in the end and it was great!
How was it for you when you popped your Glastonbury cherry?
I could take that question some well rude places, man! (Grins). Seriously though, the first time at Glastonbury is always the best. The second time there’s not quite the same impact but perhaps you enjoy it more, although you don’t have the surprise of seeing just how many people there are there, and how big it is. You know your way around though when you go the second time, and in the Glastonbury environment, thats a definite advantage.
We’ve heard lots of different stories about Oasis taking a new direction with the sound on the next album, whats the latest?
We’re all in the studio writing separately at the moment and we don’t put timescales on these things anymore. We’ve all got stuff thats sounding really good now. I’m really proud of Liam with some of the stuff he’s been writing and the album will be ready when its ready. Its just one of those things and we’ve never listened to the pressure that other people try to put on us, just hopefully deliver the goods in the end, in our own time and in our own way.
All bands seem to get on the collaboration bandwagon at some point or another, is there anything new like this in the pipeline for Oasis?
Well, if we could collaborate with anyone, for me it would be Neil Young. I’d only choose Neil Young slightly above Morissey because for me they’re both legends in my house and I think it would be really cool. There’s nothing sorted in the form of a collaboration as yet.
What do you think of the current trend by the majority of the music press in constantly feeling the need to pigeon-hole bands and put them all under a certain label, which if you don’t fit sometimes means you're not acceptable?
Pigeon-holing bands is a sign of the times. Its the 21st century and this is a sad sign of the times and I think that its really bad that this is the way that the music industry is going. You have to have a badge on you that labels you by the rest of music industry before you’re accepted and its not just about the music anymore, its got to be either one thing or another and thats really bad for the whole industry. Don't even get me started on all that Pop Idol shite either - more bands like The Stands, The Bandits and Basement; that's what the UK needs right now. Thats just my opinion though and people can always take it or leave it.
Whats your opinion of Glastonbury in comparison to other festivals?
They should actually ban all other festivals and just hold Glastonbury for a whole week at the end of August each year and make it the people’s festival.
The rest of the festivals out there don’t even match up. -The rest of the festivals are all only good until you’ve been to Glastonbury, and then once you’ve been to Glastonbury you think well (clenches fist and sticks middle finger up) to everything else! All the other events are gigs - Glastonbury is a festival; the other festivals are just big gigs in a field and Glastonbury is a proper festival. The mother of all festivals!
You can see Noel, little bro Liam and the rest of Oasis performing live on the Pyramid Stage, Friday night, headline slot at Glastonbury 2004. If you weren’t one of the lucky people to get a ticket this year, you can catch the whole thing live on the good old BBC; one not to miss!
On 6th September 2004, Oasis release ‘Definitely Maybe – The DVD’ to commemorate the ten-year anniversary of this landmark album’s release. Including rare vinyl-only track ‘Sad Song’, the DVD also contains over four hours-worth of archive and new footage, including an hour-long documentary about the recording of the album featuring interviews with the band, label, friends and entourage. Memorable live and TV performances of ‘Definitely Maybe’s twelve era-defining tracks and more extras besides make up the rest of what is a treasure chest of classic Oasis music and footage.
Noel Gallagher was interviewed exclusively by Glynn Pegler from Culture