If you’ve followed the recent career trajectory of Liam Gallagher, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d travelled back to the supernova heights of Cool Britannia when the Gallagher brothers’ dust-ups commanded as many headlines as their football terrace anthems.
Just over 12 months ago, the mouthy ex-Oasis frontman was ready to throw in the tambourine, the collective shrug his band Beady Eye received knocking his supersonic confidence.
But now armed with a solo debut, As You Were, Liam’s rocketed back with the third fastest selling album in the UK this year and a sold-out run of arena shows.
On some much-needed downtime, the parka-clad singer talks to Sam Wicks about his triumphant return.
Liam Gallagher: Alright mate?
Sam Wicks: How’re you doing man?
Good. Little bit rough, man. I had a party on… had the last gig of the tour in Manchester on Saturday so I’m still recovering.
That was at the Manchester Arena. Your mum and your boy were in the building, you performed a 21-song set, [founding Oasis guitarist] Bonehead joined you for the encore. It feels like the perfect way to finish what’s been a victory lap for you this year.
Yeah, this year has been… I’ve had some good years over the years and obviously some not so good years, so this is up there with the best of them, for sure man.
I feel like this is your biggest year since ’97.
There you go. Well, I’ve not sat and thought about it, but I’ve not pinpointed any years specifically, but it’s definitely been up there with all the golden era, as they say, the youth.
I say that the best thing about it is, for four years when I was in Beady Eye or after Beady Eye, I felt like there was a lot of aggro from the fans and I feel like the fans have come back on my side and that, so that’s good.
I felt like when Noel spun his yarns about how Oasis split up, there was four or five years [when] Oasis fans were kind of like, ‘Oh, he’s a ****, he’s this, he’s that.’ They sort of took Noel’s side, which is ridiculous.
But I feel like I’ve got the fans back and that’s more successful than having a successful album or playing the gigs. Knowing that… ’cause I grafted my balls off in that band for 20 years or whatever it was and to not have them there – whether they’re buying your records or not, there was a big hole, so now I feel like I’ve got them back and that’s good and I ain’t gonna let them go, you know what I mean.
Along with the fans that have been with you since day one, there’s a new generation of parka monkeys who are along for the ride this time. What do you think you’re giving them that they’re not getting elsewhere?
Ah, the truth, honest, no bullsh**, the Oasis classics and just good songs. Good music, man, good music and a good no-nonsense attitude. I think that’s what it is. I mean, I’m not sure, you’d have to ask them, man.
They go and see Noel and he plays some of the songs so… I tell you what it is, energy. They’re getting a lot of energy and a lot of explosive aggression and I think when they come to my gig or whoever’s gig it is, people come to a concert for a release, don’t they? They have a hard life, they’re working, they’ve got a sh***y job maybe sometimes, they've got sh** at home. They want to go to a concert and release it all.
And if you’re going to a concert being told to sit down and they’re doing acoustic songs all the time, you’re going to come out and you’re going to still be uptight, you know what I mean. So I think when they come to my gig they’re letting it all out.
I get the impression you know how much music needs Liam Gallagher right now.
Yeah, totally, I do get the impression, man. I mean, listen, I’ve missed playing on stage as much as people could have missed me, but judging by the reaction… this is only in the UK. We went to America and we did some good gigs, you know what I mean, but from the UK perspective it’s been missed, big time man.
Was there ever a point you lost sight of that, you didn’t realise how important you were and how much your voice was needed?
Maybe. I mean, I’ve always felt pretty important and that I was needed, but in Beady Eye that obviously didn’t take off as well as we thought it would do. But I think the four years off when Beady Eye come to an end, I think there was a big gap there.
It’s like gout, it’s like eating a lot of food. There’s a lot of sh** out there, there’s a lot of sh** for people to take in, and at some point they’re going to throw it up. They’ve took all the sh** in and they’re just gone, ‘You know what, this is making me feel sick – bleurgh!’ and they threw it all up. You know when you’ve thrown up and you’ve got an empty stomach and you think, right, and you feel a bit clearheaded and we’re away to go.
Listen man, who knows man. There’s a new generation coming to see us now so they’re the ones that are breathing fire, breathing new life into the gigs, you know what I mean, as well as the people that were there at the beginning, so it’s a good mix, man.
You’ve kept a lot of journalists in jobs with the material you’ve given them to work with over the years. Are you aware of your longstanding service to the British press?
(Laughs) Oh, I am mate, yeah, course I am. I enjoy doing interviews man, I enjoy the hustle and the bustle and the toing and froing when someone wants a bit of a ding-dong, you know what I mean, and I enjoy it.
Do you think of interviews as a kind of performance?
Erm, yeah. I think they’re equally as important as a record or a gig, man, for sure.
I’m not one of them type of guys that goes on stage and has big chats in between songs so I think it’s another way of expressing yourself and letting the people who buy your records, who come to see you, see another side to you, you know what I mean.
The most that you’re saying on stage these days is, ‘“I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.” What inspired you to begin the shows with that opening line from ‘I Am the Walrus’?
Well, it was after all the bombings coming down, you know what I mean. Like now when we go to a concert, I think it’s a dangerous place going to concerts these days.
It used to be a nonchalant thing – you’d just go in there and do your thing and rightly so and that, but these days it’s not as safe as it used to be. I don’t want to put fear in people – everyone knows the score anyway – but that’s why I say it really.
Your next show is not till next week when you play the first of your Australian dates.
F***in’ hell, is it next week? Next week! That sounds really soon. I thought it’d be about two weeks. Don’t say it’s next week – I’ve got to drink lots of Guinness and eat lots of mince pies, man.
So you’re officially on holiday now?
Yeah mate, yeah, totally. So, go on, next week – sh**. No, I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to getting down there and getting some sun on me bones and playing some loud music, man.
What are you doing with the downtime apart from mince pies and Guinness?
Right, downtime, what am I doing? Today, this is the first day I’ve got out of me bed since Saturday ’cause I’ve been mashed. Today I’ve got to do some more interviews and then I’ve got to do a bit more Christmas shopping, and then we go to the country and then we do what we do, and then we leave on the 27th to come and see you lot.
With all your wins this year, what do you want for Christmas?
Mate, ah, I don’t want anything, to be fair. I just want to have a laugh, you know what I mean. I want to have a good time, no arguing. I want to drink lots of alcohol, I want to eat nice food, I want to have a good old chat, you know what I mean.
Life goes fast sometimes and you get in little snippets – ‘Alright mate, how’s it going?’ I want to just have a sit-down and have a good old chat about their life, my life, what they’ve been up to, you know what I mean. I want to lend my ears to someone’s yap, you know what I mean.
That’s what it’s all about. It’s nice to be back and let’s have another 2018, another good year and keep the dickheads at bay, that’s the way I see it.
Liam Gallagher’s debut solo album As You Were is out on Warner Bros.