April 7, 1998 19:47

ROD STEWART SETS OASIS STRAIGHT: 'I DON'T GIVE A FUCK!'

[a]Rod Stewart[/a] is not mincing his words over what Noel Gallagher might think of his version of 'Cigarettes And Alcohol'...

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Rod Stewart has told NME he doesn't "give a fuck" what Noel Gallagher (right) thinks of his cover version of Oasis' 'Cigarettes And Alcohol'. The onetime 'Tartan Tearway' - a lifelong non-smoker but reputed to enjoy a tipple or two - is releasing his recording of the song on his new album, 'When We Were The New Boys', out through WEA on June 2.

"I hope Noel hears it and gives me his opinion," Stewart said over the phone from Los Angeles to the NME newsdesk. "But I don't give a fuck what he thinks, really. If Noel doesn't like my version, it's tough shit. There's nothing he can do about it. I hope they all like it, but I'm not gonna be broken-hearted if they don't. It wouldn't be the worst thing that's ever happened to me."

Asked why he chose to record the track, Stewart said: "I think I've brought a new meaning to some of the lyrics. It's a different reading. I'm not challenging the way they did it. Our version is just a bit more bombastic."

Stewart also recorded a version of Oasis' 'Rockin' Chair' for the album but it didn't make the final cut. "It's just like 'Maggie May' really," Rod said. "It's a bit of a strumalong and we don't wanna go down that street."

'When We Were The New Boys' also features cover versions of Primal Scream's 'Rocks' and Skunk Anansie's 'Weak As I Am'. Stewart said the idea to do an album of 'indie covers' was the brainchild of WEA MD Rob Dickins. "A lot of those bands are unknown outside the UK and some of them could do with better vocals or a different approach. I think I can sing as good as Liam and as good as the guy in Primal Scream," Stewart joked.

Stewart said his favourite tracks on the album were 'Rocks' and Graham Parker's late-'70s pub-rocker 'Hotel Chambermaid'.

"Good rock'n'roll songs are hard to come by and 'Rocks' is pretty good. It just sounds like The Rolling Stones to me. We just slowed it up and I spat the lyrics out a bit more. The most difficult song to sing was Skunk Anansie's 'Weak...' 'cos it goes from the bottom of your register right to the top and she has some voice. The only reason I tried that was to see if I could change it from a male standpoint."

Oasis have yet to hear the version of 'Cigarettes And Alcohol' but Rob Dickins has played Primal Scream the version of 'Rocks' and they apparently like it. Skunk Anansie were unavailable for comment. The album was recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year and also contains a re-recorded version of The Faces' 'Ooh La La', which originally featured vocals from Ron Wood and the late Ronnie Lane.

Stewart also recorded Paul Weller's 'The Changingman' and 'On And On' by the Longpigs during the sessions but these did not make the album. Other artists whose songs will enjoy a home on the finished Rod album include Mike Scott, Nick Lowe and Superstar.

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