Noel Gallagher is (mostly) a well-respected voice within music. He was the brains behind Oasis’ mega success and penned the majority of their iconic hits. As the mastermind behind one of Britain’s biggest cultural landmarks and somewhat of a national treasure himself, Noel Gallagher’s word regarding music is not taken lightly.
When talking about his musical journey, the ex-Oasis axeman once said: “Where I come from, people didn’t become rock stars. That happened to other people.” From a working-class background in Manchester, Gallagher, brother Liam and the other Oasis members managed to go against the grain and become rock stars.
They were part of that disenfranchised generation, labelled Generation X in America. Back then, a central facet of life was socio-political turmoil and a marked difference in outlook between Generation X and their baby-booming parents.
Although it was not outwardly apparent, this generation was influenced by the ideals of the original punk movement of the 1970s. They were too young to have been a part of it at the time but growing up in the ’80s, this generation took something tangible from the punk movement manifesting itself in outlook, to say the least.
The nascent grunge movement would highlight Generation X in America at the end of the ’80s. However, for Noel, Liam and other working-class teenagers in the post-industrial Manchester, their days would be spent raving away at places like Hacienda nightclub, with baggy culture in full swing and the ‘Second Summer of Love’ unfurling before them.
Gallagher would state: “All the music that I listened to was The Sex Pistols, The Jam, The Smiths, The Buzzcocks, Joy Division, New Order. It was all kind of very big guitar music, it was like guitar pop music. And I am only a sum of my influences.”
Given the above, what comprises the legend that is Noel Gallagher is a steadfast and deeply entrenched adherence to DIY, social independence and great songwriting. These elements greatly affected his career and subsequently British music that so many have tried to imitate him but have never succeeded. To do so would be impossible, but tell that to the countless wannabees that Gallagher and Oasis have spawned over the years.
This has led to many questions being sent in Gallagher’s direction, inquiring about his secret to success. Well, lucky for fans everywhere, Gallagher gave some paternal advice that is sure to dishearten a few and open the eyes of others.
In a 2015 radio interview with Q on CBC in Canada, Gallagher is asked if he thinks there are any acts keeping the spirit of rock and roll alive today. To which he responds: “It’s not about spirit, there’s a lot of band’s getting by on spirit in England, nice, they got the clothes and young people they look great, they got the hairdos, they got the attitude — which they got from us I might add.”
He says to those people about going that extra mile: “Write a fucking chorus. Attitude doesn’t sell records, attitude doesn’t mean shit. Your hairdo doesn’t mean anything, it’s all about the tunes.” He continues, “There’s good lads in bands, but there’s not a been a real good band for ten years since Kasabian and Arctic Monkeys came along.”
He then talks of the musical landscape in Britain, adding: “As for guitar bands it’s pretty barren, it’s because of the music, not because of the people.” He also says that the attitude of record labels towards guitar music in Britain is “questionable”.
He surmises, “Write a chorus is what I always say. They can’t be the greatest band in the world playing in a pub somewhere tonight that nobody has heard of with the internet. If you’re great, you’re gonna make it. That’s just a fact. There can’t be any ‘we’re didn’t make it because we’re working-class or something’. If you’re writing the best songs in the world, you’re gonna make it. The end.”
That’s not all that Gallagher says has destroyed Britain’s guitar music. He also claims that the death of the independent record labels at the hands of the major labels has also contributed to the “barren” landscape. He says that “independent thought” died with the indie labels and that now it is “all about commerce”.
The veteran songwriter adds: “These new bands have all the advantage of these devices that can get you to everybody in the world at the click of a button, all they’ve gotta come up with is ‘oh right yeah, the difficult bit’ (is) the fucking songs.”
So aspiring musicians, Noel Gallagher‘s advice is clear. Write a good chorus, think for yourself and use the internet to your advantage. Oh, and if you’re shit, give up. Easy.
Watch Noel Gallagher give his advice below.