The headline is "Bad boy gone good" and I have to say, you can see it! I remember another interview from the Beady Eye years in that same magazine, that a friend of mine, who dislikes him anyway, also read and it made me cringe, because everything he said sounded even worse translated into German. But this one? He has changed his public persona quite a lot and to the better I think.
Nothing really new here, but a nice read and it sounds nicer about the album than the actual review.
We have the story about Yoko Ono and the Lennon paintings.
Recap of the Oasis split and then, after Beady Eye, the "dark" years and FINALLY someone who can count (Germans, eh? ), it was 3, not 4 years! He admits that his "dark" years were peanuts compared to people with real problems, but it's all subjective and he wants to stop hurting people, which, he admits, is work in progress.
He says, that even if "As you were" would not have been a success, he may have tried again, but he's not sure. But AYW opened doors for him.
He's happy, because of his children, his girlfriend, his mother and his cats. (I love how his pets always get a mention. Poor Paul, though!)
No drug problem, no alcohol problem.
He says he did not write the choruses on this record, because he can just write verses, but not the big, hymnic choruses. (Not every song needs one, Liam. Don't listen to the chorus police!) He thinks everyone who does everything themselves without being the best is being selfish. Most important thing is that he is singing all the songs.
A few paragraphs later though he says how playing his guitar makes him automatically happy when he is sad and it's magic how like that a song can be born that touches someone in Taiwan. Well, I guess he means the verses.
He could never work in an office and the final words:
"I am happy that I have music. I think people with music in their lifes are blessed. Music never left me. The day when I stop feeling [music?] is the day when everything gets dark."
It's rather long! But it's always fun putting my school English, that over the years turned into a bastard version of that beautiful language, into Liam's mouth, especially using words he would never, ever use.
Visions, 319 10/19, pp 32-35
Bad boy gone good
After years of musical insignificance with Beady Eye, Liam Gallagher finally can hold a candle to his brother Noel. On his second solo record Why Me? Why Not, the title of which he took from John Lennon, Gallagher does not do many things new, but many things right. But not just artistically, also privately the 46year old seems to have found himself. Could it be that the eternal bad boy has become reasonable?
LG does not exactly know what took him to Munich shortly before Y2K. „Maybe I was on holiday. It was no concert. I was with Patsy then, so it must have been the end of the 90ies.“ During a walk he comes across an exhibition with works of Yoko Ono and John Lennon. He immediately notices a self portrait of John Lennon from 1972: a simple drawing showing beardy JL with outstretched arms and a questioning look on his face, above the title 'Why Me?'. „Somehow that totally spoke to me. So I bought the drawing.“ Years later, with LG having a son called Lennon, Oasis are playing a show in NY. „Yoko Ono wanted to meet me, naturally. I visited her in her appartment in the Dakota building. She asked me to take off my shoes, we drank coffee and ate cookies. We talked about JL and I told her about the drawing.“ There was a second drawing from that series, YO mentioned. She would send it to him. After a few nice hours LG said goodbye. „Yoko was totally cool, but I did not want to outstay my welcome. I thought maybe she had some ironing to do, has to wash her hair or do yoga. Some weeks later I sit at home in the garden with my cats Mick and Keith on my lap when suddenly the door bell rang.“ A shipment from YO. „I opened it and there really was the second drawing of JL: He sat in a chair, also with a cat on his lap. Below that it said 'Why not'. I could never forget that. Somehow it became my mantra.“ About 15 years later LG is calling his second solo record, a record full of Britpop swagger – Why me? Why not.
This is not the first time JL was an inspiration for LG. „You could say I'm slightly obsessed by JL. But in a healthy way.“ In the 2017 track „I've all I need“ LG used the line „While I've been hibernating, I've been gathering my wings.“ He found that sentence during his visit to YO's appartment. It was on a Japanese banner that JL, who had stopped doing music for a while in the 70ies, got from YO's parents. It fits rather perfectly that Gallagher used it for his first solo record „As you were“, because the record is kind of his break-free-moment, the end of a muscial desert, that started with the end of Oasis. [Desert is my translation-pun, could not resist, it fitted so well!]
A short look back: In August 2000, some few minutes before Oasis were due to attend the Rock en Seine Festival in Paris, LG and NG got into a fight again. Two hours later NG releases a statement on the band's website: „With some sadness and great relief … I have left Oasis today. People will write what they want, but I could not go on working with Liam one day longer.“ The British band that played a crucial part in the 90ies music scene was finally over. LG then together with his Oasis mates Gem Archer, Andy Bell and Chris Sharrock formed Beady Eye, but even united they could not hold a candle to NG. DGSS in England sells just half as many copies as the self-titled debut by NGHFB. It did not even help when Beady Eye began to put Oasis songs in their set in 2012. Two years, just after 2 albums, LG announces the band split.
He takes 3 years afterwards to sort himself out, works on songs for his solo debut AYW with Greg Kurstin, Andrew Wyatt and Dan Grech-Marguerat. When it's done, he allegedly cries because he realizes: „I'm back!“ The record actually is a success, as LG reaches the top of the UK charts and sells 103.000 copies in the first week, more than the rest of the top 10 together.
„If the record had not done so well … I don't wanna say I would not have made another one, but if people would not have liked it, I would have thought, maybe they are sick of me? There is no use making music just for making music. But with AYW we opened the door and that made the new record possible. You know, there are times when you are unhappy in your life, but the music does not reflect it or the other way round. But on this record, both is at the same level. The songs reflect exactly where I am standing at the moment. I'm really happy. The older you get, the better able you are to deal with things. My kids make me happy, my girlfriend makes me happy, my mum makes me happy, my two cats make me happy. I simplified my life. I'm 46 years old, don't have a problem with drugs, don't have a problem with alcohol. I feel good!“
The last decade was not one of the best in LG's life, musically and privately. 2001 he has a son with All Saints singer Nicole Appleton, on Valentine's day 2008 they get married. Two years later he begins an affair with journalist Liza Ghorbani, who has his child in 2013. When Appleton hears about this on the telephone, she files for divorce. „That really was not the best time, but when I speak about dark times … In other parts of the world children starve, people live on the street. I still live in a nice house and have enough money. It just did not go as well as it used to. I lived in a world of lawyers, the split from my wife … None of that was good. Hurting people never is good. Reality caught up with me one day. But I learned my lesson, I learned not to be unkind to people and to stop getting into situations that won't end well and destroy other peoples' lives. I'm not saying everything is settled, it's one step at a time. But for example I know when to go to bed. The voice in my head that says 'you're 46, go to bed!' is very loud. It used to be far away and I could hardly hear it.“
Instead of drinking in the evening, LG prefers to get up early and going jogging. It almost sounds as if the bad boy of Britpop has become reasonable. „I don't want to sound boring, but, yeah, a little bit. I am an early riser and love it to get out early in the morning. If you leave the house at 12:00 it's selfie hell. So I try to get a few hours for myself, when no one else is awake. Of course the main reason for jogging is to stay fit, but it definitely is good for my head. I can think about all kinds of things, what I have to do, who will get it because he made fun of me or that I could use a new parka.“
LG having cleared up his life and being reflective is shown in WMWN. [some lyric examples] „The last 10 years have been a reality check, to get my feet back on the ground. The Oasis years were like a bubble. I can say that today I live in the real world, even if my world is maybe a bit nicer than many other peoples'.“
WMWN was made again with Andrew Wyatt and Greg Kurstin. While NG surprises with synthie sounds and disco beats on his May single „Black star dancing“, LG does what he can do best: Rock'n'Roll, simple and without frills, but rather good. „Now I'm back in the city/...“ he sings in the arrogant first song „Shockwave“ to a Mersey-Beat-Riff. „Be Still“ is a classic Oasis rocker and the title song as well calls back the high times of Britpop with its irresistible refrain. „Once“ is an ode to „Wish you were here“, while „Now that I found you“ resurrects George Harrison's spirit. But there also is a gospel outro (One of us) or an odd whistle, above a non-stop jangling piano (Halo). The strongest track without doubt is „The River“. LG rants against „money-suckin' MPs“ and demands „You gotta scream and shout ...“ in the hymnic refrain above a cool Britpop riff.
There are a lot of big refrains on WMWN. „Nothing to do with me. I'm not a songwriter, I started as a singer. I can write verses, but not those big, hymnic refrains. But I don't have a problem working with other people, Elvis did it as well. That's what music is about. Everybody that goes 'I do it all by myself' is selfish when it comes to the fans. My aim was to write even better songs this time and that's why I had to share the work. Those that buy the record and come to the gigs, they don't care anyway, as long as I sing them all.“ LG might be right in that. All in all, WMWN is kind of a refined update of its predecessor.
If you listen closely, there are some lines that make you think on the never-ending fight between LG and NG. [Shockwave] „The song says you are an arse and I will tell everybody. Of course that could be about Noel, but he is not the only arse in the world, even if he is the most annoying at the moment! He still lives in that bubble. Looking at his recent comments, it's time that someone destroys that bubble. You become a better person through that. But it has already started, he definitely is no longer on the top. Neither am I of course, but at least I'm on my way back, he's going downhill. He will be astonished.“ In „One of us“ LG is sounding much more reconciliatory. If NG is asking nicely, would he be up for it? „Of course! I love Oasis. The word 'solo' makes me want to vomit, I prefer being in a band. We meant a lot to the people, I think it would be good. But if he does not want to, I will continue 'solo'.
Of course he will. In the documentary „As it was“, that accompanied his comeback with his last solo record, he says he does not make music to be more famous, he's famous enough. Also, it's not about the money. He joined a band because he loves music. „I love how a song is born from nothing. Some days you get up, put on the telly and think, everything is shit. You make a cup of tea, sit down and see the guitar. You put it up and suddenly something happens. This song is born, you record it, publish it and then it moves someone in Taiwan. That's a miracle, it's magic.“ [Some musings about the movie „Yesterday“]
Could LG imagine a life without music? „That would not be life, that would be hell. I could not imagine working in an office and getting orders. I very likely would have taken many drugs and this does not end well usually. Therefore I'm happy to have music. I think people that have music in their life are blessed. Music never left me, the day I don't feel anymore, is the day everything gets dark.“