Liam Gallagher: Noel is embarrassing - he needs to have a long holiday with Bono
Ahead of his Belfast gig next summer in Ormeau Park, Liam Gallagher tells Craig McLean about outselling Noel and why he's a posh boy now - but Weetabix helps keep him real
It's the end of a long year for The Comeback Kid and, staring down the barrel of Christmas in a New York hotel, Liam Gallagher is looking forward to a nice festive rest. Or, rather, to paraphrase the former Oasis frontman, is he f***. "Kipping?" he snorts. "F***ing rubbish. Boring. I can't handle it. Sleeping can f*** off."
Ah yes, mere minutes into an audience with 45-year-old Gallagher it's clear that his reputation as rock 'n' roll's mouth almighty is well earned. His views are varied, passionately held and come liberally littered with expletives.
Animals? Brilliant. "All of them, really. Obviously cats and dogs are great. I'm not into snakes and f***ing gerbils and s*** like that. Dolphins are good. Dolphins are f***ing where it's at, man." Whales? "Whales, alright," he muses. "Fat dolphins, aren't they?"
Even mealtimes get him animated. "Not a***d about lunch. Dinner time I'll have a bite to eat. But I do like a breakfast. I have different foods for different seasons," he expands. "At the moment, winter, I'm bang into the porridge. Then in the summer I have Weetabix with milk and a bit of honey. And spring and autumn I have melon and a little bit of that ham."
Parma ham? That's quite posh. "Yeah, well, I am posh. Posh boy, aren't I?" is the proudly working-class Mancunian's claim. "I've done well for myself. I like nice things, without a doubt. But I still keep it real with the Weetabix."
He's raring to get home for his sold-out arena tour of the UK. And Liam will be returning to Northern Ireland again next year to play Belfast's Ormeau Park on Saturday, June 16.
It's an eye-watering momentum kick-started by the didn't-see-that-coming success of his debut solo album, As You Were. It enjoyed blockbuster first-week sales of 103,000, easily beating Sam Smith, Taylor Swift and, more importantly, elder brother Noel's third post-Oasis record."It's been mega. It's not curing cancer," he notes "but there's an appetite for a good album. "The world moves so f***ing fast and everyone's trying to reinvent the f***ing wheel. I'm not interested - the wheel's alright."
Later this month, he plays in Manchester in the arena where 22 people were killed during an Ariana Grande gig in May. A week after the bombing Gallagher made his solo debut nearby, donating all proceeds to the fund set up to help victims. Was it a tough night? "Them things are, aren't they? Guess you just got to go into it - you can't change it. But what you can do is turn up, sing your little heart out and put a smile on people's faces."
Ahead of the rest of his shows, he still doesn't have any firm ideas around support acts for summer events, not least because "there's not many bands around that I like".
Pressed, he admits that he rates former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft. "No one else."
There's not a good tune on the Ed Sheeran album? "I don't listen to Ed Sheeran," he says, face curdling in disgust. "I don't really listen to new music." So he couldn't nominate an album of the year? "My album's the album of the year. And I can say that because, as everyone knows, I didn't write all of it. So as much as I'm in deep with it, I can actually sit back and go: that's a stone-cold classic," he pronounces with faultless Liam logic.
Conversation turns, as it irrevocably does, to his ongoing beef with his elder brother, who has himself been on the interview trail. "It's ridiculous," he fumes. "He's embarrassing..., the s*** that's coming out of his mouth at the moment. He needs to have a long holiday with Bono."
Personally, though, things seem in good order. After splitting with second wife Nicole Appleton - the relationship sunk in 2013 by the revelation that a fling with a New York journalist had resulted in a child - he's "back on track" with their son Gene (16), and Lennon (18), his son with his first wife, Patsy Kensit. "Gene lives with me most of the time. It's all good, man." He and girlfriend Debbie Gwyther share a Highgate flat but are moving to a house around the corner.
How is it living/working/travelling with his girlfriend 24/7? "I love it. She doesn't like it so much but I've always kinda wanted that thing." Does he behave better with Debbie around? "I do, indeed. Left to my own devices, I'd be sat on top of that f***ing Christmas tree," he says, glancing at the 15-foot festive fir that dominates the dining room.
As for his own holiday plans, on December 27 he and Gwyther fly to Australia for some gigs and are then taking a holiday in Thailand. For Christmas, he's "renting a gaff out in the Cotswolds. I think my mam's gonna be with Noel 'cause of the kids and that. My other brother's gonna come down," he says of Paul. "Debbie's family are there, I think Gene and Lennon are coming down on Christmas night."
What does he want for Christmas? A deluxe copy of the new U2 album? "God, no," he spits. "I've got everything, man… No, I tell you what I want: I want Our Kid to come to his f***ing senses. It's in him, innit? That's what I want for Christmas. Maybe a couple of s*** reviews and poor album sales, he'll soon come round, won't he? Listen, I enjoy the banter. But I'm f***ing a***d about reforming Oasis. I'm quite happy doing this. Just him coming to his senses. He used to be funny but now he's just… not bitter. Just a bit mean-spirited."
That Christmas wish, I'd suggest, shows how much residual love he has for Noel. "Yeah, I love him, man. He's my brother at the end of the day. He's just a bit f***ing snobby. A bit pompous. A bit like that," he says, sneering down his nose.
Liam is obviously having a fat dolphin of a time. Can he sum up 2017 in three words? "The obvious ones would be 'as you were'. That good enough?" Sure.
Liam Gallagher's new album As You Were (Warner Music) is out now. He will play Belfast's Ormeau Park on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 6pm. Visit www.ticketmaster.co.uk for details.