Liam Gallagher knows exactly where he fits in the world of music. The former Oasis singer is rooted in rock ‘n’ roll with a big nod to the past.
He’s fully aware that the minute he opens his mouth to sing, it’s difficult to separate him from the Oasis songs that made him famous. And he’s completely fine with that.
That familiar voice is plastered all over Why Me? Why Not, Liam’s sophomore album and first solo release since 2017’s As You Were. He co-wrote the tracks for the set, which channels influences ranging from The Beatles and The Who to T. Rex.
Would Liam want Oasis to get back together? Sure. But as fans are fully aware, his public spats with his brother, Oasis co-founder Noel Gallagher, are for the ages. So for now, he’s content with flying solo. After all, why not?
Gallagher spoke to HuffPost about his new music, his brother and the lasting impact of Oasis.
People have been saying good things about the album. How does that feel? Do you pay attention to that kind of thing?
I don’t go searching for it, but if people tell me it’s going down well, then of course. I gauge it through the fans, really. If the fans like it, then I’m happy because they are the ones at the end of the day who have to come and listen to it or buy it or whatever. If they’re digging the tunes, then it makes it a lot easier for me to get onstage and sing them.
This is your second solo endeavour. How did you approach it this time versus last time?
We just went straight in … We thought the songs needed to be a bit better. As You Were was good, but it had places where we could definitely improve ... think I did a little better with me doing my own songs … just that, the killer instinct. And these songs are all co-written, and I think it’s a better album for it.
How would you describe the sound of this album?
A little bit of glam rock. It’s just classic music. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I’m quite happy with our rock ‘n’ roll guitar music. I’m not one to be pushing forward. It doesn’t need fixing as far as I’m concerned … The world seems to be in a more fucked up place, you’d think there would be more young teenagers out there smashing things up.
How has the music industry changed for you in recent years?
I stay away from that. I don’t think I’ve ever used Spotify once in my life and I don’t think I intend to either. I don’t even know how to use it. I don’t have a clue. Part of it is, ignorance is bliss. All these new ways to listen to music have gone way over my head, and I’m quite happy with it. Call it that I’m stuck in the ’90s. I listen to tunes on the record player.
I’ve been reading some of the reviews of your new album. One of them likens it to your Oasis glory days. How do you feel when you hear something like that?
I’m over the moon. A lot of people think I’m stuck in the ’90s. Well, I obviously am. I don’t mind about that. I’m certainly not desperate to run away from the sound that made me who I am. I’m quite happy with that. I could sing a fuckin’ reggae song and it would still sound like Oasis. Some people seem to think it’s all about Noel. Noel wrote the songs, but it was my voice on them songs. It’s always kind of going to remind you of Oasis. That’s my voice. I don’t have a problem with that.
It’s like Mick Jagger could do something but it would still sound like The Rolling Stones … I know there’s a few people out there, “Well, the geezer’s still stuck in the ’90s”. I’m not stuck anywhere. I’m in 2019 and I’m standing out like a sore thumb and I’m proud of it.
Why do you think you stand like a sore thumb?
Because I’m 47. I don’t give a fuck. I pretty much wear the same clothes as I did when I was in Oasis. I’m still sort of not joining the party. I’m still resisting to join in the bullshit ... I’m still a bit punk. I’m not playing the game.
I don’t think 47 is that old.
Neither is 60. So I’ve got another 13 years. You’re only as young as your outlook is, and I feel like I’m 18. I do like to look out for myself. I’m not obsessed with being super healthy. If I run, I run. If I go out to the pub, I go out to the pub.
How do you stay true to yourself in your own day-to-day life and in your music?
It’s easy. I know who I am. I sleep at night … A lot of people seem to be still trying to find themselves. And the music thing, I wouldn’t sing anything that didn’t move me. I think I am kind of like the people who come and see me.
To that end, what are your shows like these days? Do you see people there who are getting interested in your music for the first time?
Yeah, with the Oasis stuff. You definitely see loads of young people coming to the gigs that are 16, lots of young faces. And they’re bringing a bit of a vibe. It’s nice to have the youth jumping up and down and making a bit of noise … Oasis was a big band and made a big impact, so I think we’re lucky to reap the benefits of a lot of different generations coming to the gigs.
When you look back on that impact that you had, what do you think about?
I don’t know, man. God knows. Good songs. Obviously the people in the band were characters. We weren’t wallflowers. We spoke out and we talked a lot of shit and we’re still talking a lot of shit. Good music. Good singing. We looked pretty cool. We said what was on our minds; I think that’s what’s lacking today. I don’t think there’s many good songs out there. And today, everyone is minding what they say, in case they get trolled. I think the more shit you talk, every now and then you’ll hit something that’s a bit genius.
Last time we talked in 2017, I asked you what would it take to get Oasis back together and you said you and your brother would have to like each other first. Has anything changed?
Nothing’s changed. It’s exactly the same. He still thinks he’s the boss and the best thing since sliced bread and his ego’s out of control. I’ve had some success doing this, but I much prefer being in the band still because it was a good band. It would be nice to play all these songs. All the youth are coming. But it’s not to be. He’s doing his thing. I’m doing my thing. And we still talk shit about each other. So there you go. It’s not going to happen.
What advice would you give someone coming up in the industry today?
Don’t join a band with your brother. No, I’m only joking. Honestly, get your vibe going on. Find what you like and just try to master it.
You’ve been doing this solo thing for a few years now. Do you think there will be another solo record down the line?
Definitely. I’m up for it. I’d put one out next year. When it’s going well it’s good, isn’t? it? I don’t need to be dragged into a studio kicking and screaming. We’re not curing cancer. We’re making music and we’re having a good time. Plus, I’m writing it with other people so we get things done a lot of quicker. Why not? There’s nothing else to do. You can only sit home for so long. That’s the only thing I’m fucking good at: making and singing music. You never know when the worm is going to turn, so while everyone’s having a good time, let’s bang out the music, man.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.