We’re now just two weeks away from the release of Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds’ new album, Chasing Yesterday, so you had a feeling the former Oasis guitarist was going to ramp up his storytelling and commentary. In an incredible new interview with the Quietus, Gallagher delivers in spades, discussing politics, his life as a solo artist and — hold the phone — an alleged night out in Los Angeles with Morrissey and Russell Brand.
“I could write a book on that night,” Gallagher tells the Quietus. While we await that sure-to-be best-seller, here are some excerpts from the chat, which shows a kinder, gentler side of the Mozzer and reveals something odd about Rice Krispies.
Before I go, I want to know more about your night out in LA with Morrissey that you’ve referred to in recent interviews — when he played you Brian Protheroe’s Pinball, which influenced Riverman off the new record.
Fucking hell, it was funny. I was in LA on holiday with Sara and the boys, and Russell [Brand] came to see us. And he goes, “What you doing tonight? I was with Morrissey last night, and he reckons we should go out for a drink.” So Russell’s texting him from my hotel room, saying, “It’s on,” and Morrissey’s texting back, going [does pitch-perfect, drawling Morrissey impression] “Wonderful. Tell him to bring his credit card.”
And we get to this gaff – this is like at seven in the evening – and I’m saying to Russell, “I’m up for it tonight, but I don’t want to keep Sara up all night, we’ll kick things in the head about two.” And Russell snorts. “2 o’clock? We’ll be out of here in 40 minutes! I can’t handle Morrissey for more than 40 minutes: he’s fucking mental!” So, we go in, and there he’s sat, and I could write a book on that night.
Russell doesn’t drink so me and Morrissey were roaring drunk. First thing, he got up and sort of shook my hand. I said, “Alright mate, how’re you doing?” because I’ve met him at awards ceremonies, I’ve been on planes with him going to festivals. He’d just cancelled all the gigs in South America because he had whatever it was. So I go, “I thought you just cancelled a load of gigs, I thought you were at death’s door.” And he said [raises eyebrows, does the voice again] “Yet here I am”.
So it just descended, and he was fucking hilarious. He doesn’t have a good word to say about anyone, anyone, anything. At one point he was asking [the voice again] “Who do we find funny?” and I was like, “I don’t know? Micky Flanagan?” and he’d just go [rolls eyes back in head, puts fingertips of stretched-out on table, shouts exasperatedly] “Micky Flanagan!!!!”. And I’d say, “What about Jack Dee?” and he’d just go [leans forward and shout] “He! Is! Not! FUNN-Y!” Russell was just so nervous, and Morrissey was going, “Come on, come on, can’t we drink champagne and get pissed.” It just went on for quite a while, and he was brilliant.
Then things get weird.
And I have to tell you this story. I was saying to him, “So, when you were with The Smiths, the melodies that you wrote… well, you had all these words, but your way with melody is quite unique, it’s not the blues and it’s not pop, so did you have all these songs before you met Johnny?”
It’s like that time Ted Williams asked Mark McGwire if he could smell the wood when he hit a baseball.
And he says [preens] “I did”. And I was like, “Did you?” He said, “I had them on cassette”. And I said, “But you can’t play the guitar” He said, “No, no, but I had a little drum kit”. And I said, “What, a drum kit?” and he said, “Yes, yes, yes”. And I said, “What did you have a drum kit for?” and he said, “Well, not many people know this, but Rice Crispies once asked me to do a jingle for them”. So I said, “Really? Did you do it?” and he said, “No, no, no, I wouldn’t play it.” The he paused and leaned over, and said, “I wouldn’t wear the leather.” [erupts in laughter]
And you know what: he never asked me a single fucking question about why I was in LA, what I was doing, Oasis splitting up, nothing. When you’re with Morrissey, you’re in the court of Morrissey. But he’s a fucking uber-legend. What a top man.
We can’t wait for the book. In the meantime, Chasing Yesterday is out March 2, and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds play Boston’s Opera House on June 6.