Hail To The Chief.
It’s official: The Chief is now in print. On November 1, Noel Gallagher releases his first official book Any Road Will Get Us There (If We Don’t Know Where We’re Going).
Promising to be “epic”, the book tells behind-the-scenes story of Noel’s biggest ever world tour with his band The High Flying Birds and the making of his critically-acclaimed album ‘Who Built The Moon?’ – told through the stunning images of former Man City photographer Sharon Latham and the words of Noel and his bandmates Mike Rowe, Chris Sharrock, Russell Pritchard, Gem Archer, Jessica Greenfield , Charlotte Marionneau and YSEÉ.
To celebrate, NME has 10 exclusive photos from the book, and a few anecdotes told by Fuji (their lighting designer), and fellow High Flying Birds.
Fuji (lighting designer): "I was brought on by Noel when the High Flying Birds thing started and I’ve been with him for just about every show since 2011. I got a copy of the new album about a month before it was released. In some of the songs you could just hear the emotion in them and I thought, I don’t need to light this like a typical rock show, like we have in the past. I could do new things, go more artful with shadows, and lasers – things that even with Oasis were never explored. I can tell which song is playing in these pictures just by the lighting: this is the chorus of ‘It’s A Beautiful World’."
Through the lens of former official Man City photographer, Sharon Latham, who was granted unprecedented access, this is Noel Gallagher as you’ve never seen him before.
Curated by the man himself, the book contains hundreds of unseen, beautiful shots from both on- and off-stage that take the reader right across the USA, Canada, UK & Ireland, Europe, and Southeast Asia, alongside candid interviews and anecdotes from Noel as well as contributions from his band and crew.
“Sometimes you do get a bit jaded about what you do,” Gallagher told the audience at the launch of the book. “Sometimes you kind of treat it as a job, but on this tour it’s been fucking great. It’s like, ‘I am amazing, fucking hell’.”
The book is as much a love letter to Gallagher's bandmates in the High Flying Birds, as it is to the fans.
Jess: "I did get emotional doing songs like ‘Wonderwall’ some nights, with everyone singing. I was into Oasis: I had posters, all my friends had posters. My dad was a guitar teacher, he’d teach all the Oasis songs to his students, and my brother was a huge fan as well. So some nights it would be like, “I can’t believe I’m doing this”, definitely."
Charlotte: "I’ve got the scissors, I’ve got the bells – sleigh bells – tambourine, shakers. I started doing vibraslap. I’d never played percussion before. I couldn’t even play percussion, really. It just somehow ended up that way. And I really enjoy it now, actually. For me, personally, I’ve got more confident onstage, because in my own band I was a frontperson, but I was really shy. And I just felt, when I joined this band, that I found my place. And I know now it’s at the back! Because I have way more fun at the back than I do at the front. I’m way more confident: nothing compared to the way I was before. So that’s been a revelation for me."
Noel: "The lighting on this tour, the lasers and all that, just fits with the record. It’s modern, but it’s cool. I was blown away by it all. The lighting guy, Fuji, really smashed it. The pictures that I’ve seen, and the footage that I’ve been shown… I see it and I’m going, “Fucking hell, is that what it looks like? Wow! I might have to put the ticket prices up."
Speaking of life on the road with the High Flying Birds, Gallagher said: “I do this at my own pace, and the band; I wouldn’t be on tour with another set of people. If I could choose any people in the world to tour with, it would be these. They’re great to hang out with and not too expensive – which is important.”
Noel added: “I’ve often said to people in my band, ‘None of us here are the best in the world at anything’, do you know what I mean? We’re a group, we make this noise and people love it. From my own part in it, I’m not the best singer, I’m not the best guitarist, but I’m the best in the fucking world at being me. All these people pay to be me, so it’s fucking easy.”