After a decade of feuding with his brother, the former Oasis frontman is happier than ever — but still throwing some shade.
“If Oasis were putting this record out, people would be losing their shit,” says Liam Gallagher of his second solo project, Why Me? Why Not., released Sept. 20 on Warner Music.
But it isn’t — and Liam is finally coming to terms with the fact that the band will likely never release another album together again. Since Oasis’ brutal band-ending fight backstage at the Paris Rock en Seine festival 10 years ago, Liam and his older brother Noel
— who co-founded the group together — continue to trade inventive disses in interviews and on social media.
Fortunately for Liam, though, he isn’t all that concerned with critical reception. “People that come to my gigs will like it, and I’m sure there will be people that hate it, which is equally important,” the 46-year-old says of his new album, co-written with Andrew Wyatt and Greg Kurstin. “The minute you’re loved by everyone, you’re doing the wrong thing — I hope I’m sticking out like a sore thumb in 2019.”
Did the success of your 2017 solo debut, As You Were, create any added pressure when making a follow-up?
Gallagher: I’m not being cocky, but I’ve never really felt the pressure. I stick to my formula and it works. If people think that’s playing it safe, so be it. Neil Young’s been doing the same thing for fucking 40 years and no one seems to give him shit. I’m not comparing myself to Neil Young, but [to] people who don’t change the formula. I’ve got no urge to start bringing in drum machines and scissor players and trying new things to make some new kind of shit. You ain’t going to beat rock’n’roll.
Why Me? Why Not. arrives less than two years since As You Were came out. Was it important that you didn’t wait long between albums?
First off, I love making music. Oasis should never have split up and Beady Eye [Gallagher’s band between 2009 and 2014] obviously shouldn’t have happened, but it did. I had four years of all my personal stuff going on, so I’ve got some catching up to do. I’ll bang another one out as well. If people are into it, I’ll just keep going. You do need time between records to have a bit of a break and for people to miss you. But I think for this [solo] thing, it was important I did two albums straight away.
This album has a few upbeat songs, including “Now That I’ve Found You.” Is the Liam Gallagher of 2019 a happy man?
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. My kids are all healthy. I have a relationship with my daughter [Molly Moorish] for the first time. [My partner] Debbie [Gwyther] is blowing my mind, so all is good in the world. I’ve got two lovely cats. My mam is still alive. And I’m not surrounded by dickheads for the first time in my life.
Do you still have the same fire in your belly you had as a young man?
I’ve got too much of it. I need to get on fucking Prozac at some point because I sing some of these softer songs as if my life depended on it. I need to chillout sometimes, but that’s passion.
What has kept Oasis from getting back together?
The people that Noel is surrounded by want to keep us apart. I’ve got no more olive branches to give. I’ve done my bit. Everyone goes, “If you stop calling him a potato then he might get the band back together.” The geezer don’t want the band back together because he likes to be the main man. He’s better off in that world. If the fucking music he’s writing now was going to be any part of Oasis, I’d fucking blow my brains out. We’re probably better off apart.
It feels like a reunion is now further away than ever. Would you agree?
Without a doubt. I’ve done stupid things in the past on the internet, tweeting shit, but that’s life. He’s done a few shity things as well. But I think it was over before that anyway. You don’t split Oasis up lightly. I think he wanted to do a solo career and he wanted to write his fucking little disco music for all his little disco mates and they knew that wouldn’t fly with me. It’s nothing to do with me calling him a potato.
If Oasis started in 2019, do you think you would have broken through in the same way that you did in the 1990s?
No, we’d all be in fucking jail. Everything is so politically fucking correct these days, you’ve got to fart in the right fucking way. The world — to me, it’s very uptight. We wouldn’t have even gotten a deal.
When fans meet you do they still expect you to be same hedonistic person you were 25 years ago?
Yeah, I get it. You’re out running on [London’s Hampstead] Heath and people ask you to go for a beer. I’m like, ‘I’m in my fucking shorts. I’m running up a fucking hill and you’re asking me if I want a line at half seven in the morning? Do I look like I fucking want a line, you daft c–t?’ We do have a party now and then, but I do know when to go to bed these days. Thank fuck.
If As You Were had flopped, what would you have done?
The thought of it fills me with dread. I start going into a sweat. I’d have probably left the country for a bit and just gone a chilled somewhere and maybe left England, because England would have been hell. There’s nothing worse than not having anything to do but still being famous.
You’re opening outdoor arenas of 17,000 to 50,000 capacities for The Who this fall. Do you want to be performing in your 70s?
When you come into this business, you’re in it for the long haul. I love rock’n’roll and I want to do this for as long as I fucking can. It’s the only thing I can do half decent. Everything else I’m fucking shit at. So as long as my voice holds up and people want to see me, then I’ll do it forever.
A version of this article originally appeared in the Sept. 21 issue of Billboard.