Liam Gallagher is not the best person to go to for exercise advice. He might be a fan of rising early and running through Hampstead Heath or whatever city he wakes up in while touring his two hugely successful solo albums, but when it comes to giving tips to a novice jogger, his words of wisdom are iffy at best. How can we go for a run without getting really bored and knackered?
“Have a big fat fucking line,” he casually suggests. Surely that’s going to give us a heart attack?! “No, but it’ll get you on your toes though, won’t it?”
Such comments might suggest bacchanalian levels of debauchery, but the world’s greatest rock star is currently the picture of innocence, delicately sipping tea from a dainty porcelain cup. Midway through Liam’s 13-date European arena tour, we’re sat in a private dining room at the Amsterdam outpost of fancy members club Soho House. At 47 years old Liam Gallagher has taken on the appearance of a kindly, hypebeast wizard. He’s suave but grizzled, his bushy beard dappled with distinguished salt-and-pepper bursts of grey. Luckily for NME, he’s in a buoyant mood.
And why shouldn’t he be? The last 18 months have been pretty phenomenal, even for someone who’s had over a quarter of a century of rock’n’roll highs (and the occasional low). In September ‘Why Me? Why Not’ became Liam’s second solo album to reach Number One and was the year’s biggest selling vinyl release. 2019 was capped by a triumphant sold-out UK arena tour, with crowds every bit as wildly enthusiastic and pissed-up as they were in Oasis’s ‘90s heyday. This summer Liam will jet off to Italy to marry the woman he’s madly in love with at a blow-out three-day wedding.
And, perhaps most interestingly, Liam’s solo career has left his embattled brother and arch rival Noel Gallagher’s psychedelic disco High Flying Birds project for dust. Liam Gallagher is in a very good place indeed.
Right now Liam also gets to tour with the people who are most important to him. His fianceé Debbie Gwyther and eldest daughter Molly, 21, have been hanging out here in Holland and his two sons, Gene, 18, and Lennon, 20 are incoming.
“They were meant to be coming on the train today with Molly but they’ve got to do something tomorrow,” says Liam of the boys. It’s only the next day that NME finds out what that particular ‘something’ is: Gene’s court appearance for an alleged affray in the Hampstead branch of Tesco Express alongside Ringo Starr’s grandson. In the end Gene was accompanied to Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court by his uncle, Liam Howlett of The Prodigy.
Meanwhile Liam recently released new EP ‘Acoustic Sessions’, consisting of stripped-back new versions of ‘Why Me? Why Not’ tracks, and a nostalgic video for the song ‘Once’, which features legendary footballer Eric Cantona quaffing wine as he strolls about a stately home in a crown and robe. A suited and booted Liam plays his butler.
“We said ‘look, how much do you want?’”, Liam explains. “And he goes” – here comes Liam’s passable Cantona impression – “‘I do not want nothing. I will be there. I don’t want a hotel. I do not want picking up. I will be there.’ And he turned up on his fucking own with his suitcase and just fucking went for it.”
Liam didn’t sample the wine on the Cantona video shoot, but don’t worry, he’s not ditched the cigarettes and alcohol for a Veganuary style health kick. “I’ve been drinking all fucking January,” he confirms. It was a wet rather than a dry January, then? “It’s been soaked.”
He’s perhaps one of the world’s most famous Man City supporters, so it’s interesting to see Liam pay homage to a player best known for Man United. But Liam doesn’t see the fuss. “Cantona’s a star, he’s a rock’n’roll footballer. I like his madness. And I don’t give a shit whether City fans don’t like it or if there’s a few of them whinging that probably weren’t even fucking born to know who he fucking even is. So kiss my arse.”
Though he’s still devoted to City, it’s been a while since Liam’s gone to see them play – and with good reason. “I don’t go and watch them anymore. I don’t really like the Etihad. I don’t dig it man, it’s like going and watching the fucking opera,” he says, pining for the glory days of their old Maine Road stadium. “The last time I seen City I got told to be quiet by some fucking donut who was too busy looking at his menu. I was jumping up and down and he went, ‘Can you be fucking quiet?’ It must have been interfering, like messing with his brain; he didn’t know whether to have the prawns or the fucking caviar.”
Liam now has a far preferable match day routine. “I watch it from my nice warm house, where I can spit and scream at the TV without someone called Sebastian telling me to be quiet.”
Does he sees his later years playing out like Cantona in the video; knocking back the Malbec and swanning around a mansion in a cape? “Nah, I’ve already done that,” he scoffs. “You certainly wouldn’t see me in a fucking mansion like that – them days are over.”
Instead, Liam has a different plan for his dotage. “I can see myself retiring in a wigwam.” It turns out he has quite a thing for tee-pees. “I bought one years ago when I lived in Henley, but it’s fucked because a deer got in it and couldn’t get out. I’ve come back to the house one day and there was this fucking commotion going on. There’s fucking holes in the fucking tent and I’m like ‘What the fuck’s going on here?’ And a deer from the fucking field next door had gone in for a snoop and couldn’t get out and lost its fucking mind.”
He and Debbie moved into a new place together on Christmas Eve, and he’ll get to spend a decent wedge of time settling into their home – plus tee-pee – when the European tour’s finished. He plans to crack on with the new record after the wedding; eyes are on a summer 2021 release for solo record number three. Again, Liam will work with Hollywood songwriters Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt, who both contributed to 2017’s ‘As You Were’ and last year’s ‘Why Me? Why Not’.
If there’s one thing that upsets Liam about his spectacular comeback, it’s the lack of camaraderie.
“I’m gutted that I’m here doing this on my own,” he admits. “I find this fucking boring, being on your own. I joined a band, so doing it with our kid and with Bonehead and the lads years ago was what I was into, was how I envisioned it. Being in a band – it was about the Roses, it was about The Beatles or The Stones or The Pistols. Not fucking sitting here like fucking Rick Astley or Julio fucking Iglesias, doing a solo interview. I always imagined us all being around, having a fucking crack. You know what I mean?”
Liam and Noel have been on infamously terrible terms since the band broke up in 2009, but rumours of a reunion still keep flaring up – most recently from Liam himself. He tweeted that they’d been offered 100 million pounds to get back together and tour. Noel quickly denied all knowledge, writing on Twitter: “To whoever might be arsed: I am not aware of any offer from anybody for any amount of money to reform the legendary Mancunian Rock’n’Roll group Oasis. I am fully aware though that someone has a single to promote so that’s maybe where the confusion lies.”
Who’s telling the truth? “The geezer’s ego’s out of control,” says Liam. “Let me tell you this: it has been offered and he knows about it. He’s obviously gonna say no, because he’d like to be the person to break the news to people because he’s the fucking oracle. And obviously I’m his little brother, who’s doing well and I’m here to spoil the fucking party.”
Putting the boot firmly into his older brother, Liam starts on Noel’s current ticket sales, which aren’t a patch on his own. “That cunt can’t even fucking sell out Apollo in Manchester – 3000 capacity in his own fucking town, the fucking embarrassing fucking donut.”
When was the new reunion offer put on the table? “It’s not been put on the table; it’s just been booted around,” he clarifies. But is it a current offer? “The last couple of weeks, yeah. It is gonna happen, believe you me – it’s gonna happen very fucking soon because he’s greedy and he loves money and he knows that it’s got to happen soon or it won’t happen.”
Liam stresses that the alleged offer was for a tour, rather than for new Oasis music, though he’s not against the latter. “I’d do a record, but listen, it depends on what kind of record it is. If it’s anything like that shit he’s putting out at the moment, I don’t think anyone wants that. I think people would give you £100 million not to fucking make that record, you know what I mean? They’d just go ‘yeah, look, here’s £100 million quid for the tour and here’s another £100 million quid to not make a record like that.”
As you might have guessed, Liam won’t be popping down the road from Highgate to see his big brother play Kenwood House on Hampstead Heath this summer. “I couldn’t think of anything worse,” he says, shaking his head. “Going to watch him and all these divs backstage sipping champagne and trying to be working-class.”
Oasis became one of the world’s most un-fuck-with-able bands after their pair of seminal 1996 Knebworth shows (they played to a quarter of a million people over a weekend) and Liam is adamant it’s going to happen again – with or without Noel. “I could do it easy!” he says of a solo gig at the sacred Hertfordshire site. It’s not an unfair proposition too, especially when you consider how quickly he sold out this summer’s Heaton Park show. “Knebworth – it would be a piece of piss to be perfectly honest,” he insists. “And it’s definitely gonna happen.”
Since the animosity between Liam and Noel is still so brutally strong, does it ever feel strange for Liam to sing Oasis songs live? After all, they were written by someone he’s been trading vicious insults with. “I don’t sit there and go, right, here’s a song Noel wrote,” he explains. “I go here’s a song by Oasis that we all made great. I start singing a song and I just go, ‘Here’s a song that I made great!’
Pissed off-ness with his brother aside, ‘great’ accurately sums up Liam’s current state of mind. As well as his career success, there’s the fact he’s totally loved up with Debbie. How does Liam Gallagher know when he’s in love? “When you miss them, man. Totally. When you miss them and you just want to be with them all the time. I think that’s what it’s about, surely.”
He’s a romantic, too. “But not to the point where I buy her flowers every day and chocolates and stuff.” Liam Gallagher is not one of those guys who’ll love bomb you with cuddly toys and red roses. “That’s fucking creepy, walking ‘round the fucking street with teddy bears and a little flower between the teeth.” Instead he shows his love in a very modern way. “I mean, I let her have the remote control.”
Love is high on Liam’s agenda; it’s more important to him than solo success and even the contents of his wardrobe: “It doesn’t really matter how many Number One records you’ve got or how many fucking parkas you’ve got, because at the end of the day, if you ain’t got love then it’s nothing, is it?”
This summer will mark Liam’s third trip down the aisle, following his small registry office weddings in 1997 to actor Patsy Kensit and All Saints singer Nicole Appleton in 2008. This time around he promises things will be different; not least because he’s going to have a massive party. “We’re going big, man.” His best man will be the other Gallagher brother, Paul. “It certainly won’t be fucking Russell Brand,” he says, an unsubtle dig at Noel and his celebrity-studded wedding to Sara MacDonald in 2011, which Liam resolutely did not attend.
Liam’s not bought his suit yet, but he’s already got some ideas about his wedding look. “It ain’t gonna be like something fucking Harry Styles would wear,” he reasons. “I like him; I’m not slagging him off. I’m just saying he’s somebody that’s a bit wild and a bit high-waisted. Mine is gonna be a bit more Bruce Lee kind of vibe. It’s gonna be black and cool; maybe a roll collar. Maybe a cardigan, one of those kimono things.”
His mother Peggy has insisted that Noel receives an invite, but Liam is adamant he won’t show: “I know for a fact he won’t come so I will put it through his door just to make him look bad. Then he’ll go, ‘But I didn’t get one’, but I’ll make sure I deliver it myself and I’ll be able to turn around and go – ‘See, he is a cunt’. I’m only doing this to shine a light on how much of a cunt he is.”
Noel’s predicted absence aside, the wedding is set to be a proper family affair. “I’ve got my two boys being ushers, which will be fucking comedy gold in itself, because them two don’t know how to get from A to B. I think it would be funny to watch them two do something responsible.” Liam’s hopefully more reliable daughter Molly will be a bridesmaid.
Molly was raised by her mother, the actor and singer Lisa Moorish, alongside her half-brother Astile (whose father is The Libertines’ Pete Doherty). She and Liam finally met in a Highgate pub two summers ago. Making up for lost time, the pair are now super-close. She’s joined Liam on tour with him and there’s even a song about her on the last album, the tender ‘Now That I’ve Found You’.
He accepts that things between him and Molly were always set to be far from conventional: “She’s already been brought up by her mam,” he says. “Hats off to her mam and all that. So for me to be coming in as a father, that ship has sailed. So I just want to be cool and be her mate. She’s already a grown woman but a father’s forever so I just try to be here for her.” Are there regrets about not being there a bit earlier? “Totally man, totally. And there’s regrets that I haven’t seen the girl in New York.”
Liam conceived a child with American journalist Liza Ghorbani in 2012, when he was still married to Nicole Appleton. Their daughter, Gemma, is now seven and although Liam pays child maintenance, he has still not met her: “These things are not as easy as people make out; they try to make out they are when it’s been black-and-white. So yeah, total regrets, man. All you can do is draw a line under it or over it and make sure everything from then on and now on is fucking Biblical.”
Attempts at this Biblical family life sit alongside Liam’s current commitment to making the world a better place, too. He proudly voted for the Green Party in the last election. “I think they’re the only ones that I can actually sit there and go, ‘Do you know what, they’re actually thinking about something that’s right, the rest of us are all bullshitting each other’,” he explains. “Whether it’s free wifi or a fucking train up to fucking Scotland – back and that in fucking zero time. The Green Party are talking about real issues.”
He’s not quite planting a tree every time he takes a flight, but Liam’s at least reducing his carbon footprint by not owning a car. He doesn’t even have a license, but insists that he knows how to drive because “I’ve robbed a couple of cars and that in the past.”
He pauses to ruminate on what might have been a possible career option if rock stardom hadn’t come a-knocking.
“I’d be a good getaway driver,” he suggests, “because I don’t like going around roundabouts – I just fucking go straight over it.” This goes back to his hellraiser days. “I’m not into driving because I was into the booze, wasn’t I, and having a laugh and that. So I thought if I drove I’d end up killing lots of people, as well as myself.”
A sensible decision. But now he’s a bit older, wouldn’t he like to drive out to some place nice in the countryside now and then? “No, I much prefer to sit in the back and fucking bark orders.”
Despite the wild reputation and his sopping wet January, Liam is now a pretty low-key homebody. He and Gene liked Joker (“Loved it man!,” he says, “but I thought he should have fucking battered a few more people”) while he and Debbie enjoy settling down in front of Love Island (“a 47-year-old man, watching 20-year-old divs”, as he puts it) with their two cats Sid and Nancy. But you will definitely not catch him watching The Great British Bake Off.
“I don’t like that bollocks, man,” he says. “That’s why our country’s fucked. Too many fucking shows about food. It’s like, what the fuck is up with us? We invented the fucking Sex Pistols and the fucking Roses and all these fucking great fucking bands and everyone’s fucking wanking over a Victoria sponge. It’s like, fuck off, man! I can’t handle them.”
What, in culinary terms, can Liam handle? “Kebabs, man!,” he says enthusiastically. “I love kebabs and I love 10 pints of Guinness. I love eating a load of fucking shit and then I feel like a twat and then next Monday I’m up to sort my shit out. I’m not into calorie counting and all that. I like eating healthy as well, but if I eat healthy, I eat healthy. But if I eat shit, I eat fucking shit. And if I drink fucking 20 pints of lager, then I do that.”
A tee-total Liam, then, is about as likely as Noel turning up to his wedding brandishing balloons that spell out ‘SOZ’. “I couldn’t be like these people who don’t do anything,” he says of the world’s abstainers. “They just look like they’re fucking having a terrible time.”
A terrible time? Right now that’s the absolute last thing Liam Gallagher is having.
– Liam Gallagher tours the UK from June 12