Brothers and sisters, I know times are tough. I realize you may not have a job, savings, stability, direction, guidance, a significant other, a Kindle Fire or even hope, for that matter, and that — to paraphrase Tariq Aziz — there may not be a light at the end of the tunnel, just more tunnel.
And yet, I am here today to tell you all things are possible. That health and happiness are within your grasp. That not only is Utopia real, but it exists on this temporal plane, and all are welcome. That no matter how dark things may seem, dawn is just over the horizon. I know all of this to be true, because I have seen the light. And the light's name is Noel Gallagher.
You have probably heard of him. He was the guy in [artist id="1168"]Oasis[/artist] who actually seemed to care about being in Oasis, or at least his musical legacy. He wrote some of the greatest songs of the late 20th century — "Live Forever," "Champagne Supernova," "Don't Look Back in Anger" and, of course, "Wonderwall" — and did so with such apparent ease that he became emboldened by his talents, famously buying a fleet of expensive cars (despite never learning how to drive) and a mansion with a swimming pool (despite never learning how to swim). He boozed and brawled, drugged and destroyed, made money fast and blew through it even faster, proclaimed his band's greatness at every possible opportunity and then actually backed it up, selling millions of albums (on both sides of the pond) and playing massive gigs in spots like Knebworth, Wembley, Maine Road and Loch Lomond.
In short, Gallagher was the last of a dying breed: Not just a rock star, but a true icon, a maverick, a tornado, a throwback, a sensation. He reached the heights of fame, built a house there, probably did blow off the kitchen counter, and then wrote a song about it. And yet, despite all that, he was never really an overly complicated guy either. He grew up poor and never forgot it, which is why he always worked hard (even when his brother didn't want to: witness Oasis' truly epic 1996 "Unplugged" fiasco, where Noel sang all the leads because Liam claimed he had a sore throat, only to spend the entirety of the show smoking cigarettes in the balcony), why he appreciated nothing quite so much as the simplicity of a really killer chorus and, yes, why he enjoyed everything he had achieved. If you once worked construction, you tend to enjoy fast cars and fine art just a little more, it would seem.
And sure, you could argue that perhaps Gallagher lost a bit of his luster in Oasis' later years (though Dig Out Your Soul is pretty good), but he'll freely admit that was due mainly to his various excesses, mostly of the cocaine variety. The fact remains that he is still a total legend, a complete badass and, yes, perhaps even a guru of sorts. And here's why I say that.
Last week, I got the chance to sit down with Gallagher for the first time (I was supposed to interview Oasis in 2008, but that chat was canceled when the band went "missing"), to talk about his really, genuinely pretty great solo debut, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds (it is definitely better than Heathen Chemistry, not to mention his brother Liam's post-Oasis bow, Different Gear, Still Speeding too). What followed was 30 minutes of positively life-altering material, a free-ranging conversation from minute one, since it became pretty clear Noel didn't really want to talk about High Flying Birds a whole lot. Instead, he pontificated about the importance of punctuality, the suckiness of Nickelback, the excellence of fine drugs, and how truly great it is to be a hugely successful rock star. He was hilarious, unapologetic, unhinged and, though sort of sleepy — our interview happened at 10:30 a.m. — incredibly cool, even if he wasn't trying to be. There is not a man on earth he fears, nary a challenge he will not accept, especially since he's accomplished pretty much everything already.
And that got me thinking: Wouldn't life be better (or at least easier) if we all asked ourselves "What Would Noel Do?" Couldn't our wildest dreams be realized if we were all just a little more cocksure, exuded a quiet confidence and wore black leather jackets? What if we all harnessed the power of our inner Gallaghers (not this one) and, in turn, shifted that power outward? What could possibly stop us if we realized, on some level, that we are all indestructible, unstoppable and that we could, in fact, live forever?
Simply put, the world needs more Noel Gallaghers. Especially now. And so today, based solely on his actual quotes from my interview with him, I am presenting "The Noel Gallagher Life Management Plan," a seven-step process to better your own miserable existence. Read his teachings, ingest them, and then begin the first day of the rest of your life. He may not realize it, but Noel is onto something here, something that can benefit the whole of mankind. Unhappy? Unfulfilled? You certainly don't have to be — at least not anymore. Thanks to Noel Gallagher. Namaste.
Step One: Be Comfortable With Your Greatness
"It's great to be in the music game. What problems could you possibly have? If you come from where I come from, doing what I do now, I'm living the dream. I've got no complaints on any of the scores. The only problems are internal problems, problems with you as a person. What's problematic about playing stadiums and driving around in private jets and drinking champagne at 8 o'clock in the morning? What's wrong with that? I haven't got a problem with that. I can't fathom why people would."
Step Two: Yet Remain Humble
"To make art is not about working hard. You follow your instincts and you get your inspiration from wherever it comes from, and you try to make it the best that it can be. There's no formula to it. ... There's nothing to say the more time you spend in the studio, it will be better; it doesn't work like that. I've spent weeks on songs in the studio and they've been absolute rubbish. And I've spent 15 to 20 minutes recording a song and it's been hailed as a classic. ... You've just got to trust your instincts and realize that you can't please all the people all the time. You've got to please yourself ultimately in the end."
Step Three: Be Punctual, But Never Too Punctual
"There's no reason, ever, to be late. Or early. I've got a friend of mine back in England who, when I say to him, 'Meet me at mine at 2,' he says, 'I'll get there at half one.' No, get here at 2. Not five to or five past; get here at 2. I apologize for being 30 minutes early [for the MTV interview]; it would annoy me if you were 30 minutes early for me. I would make you wait outside for 30 minutes. I run a tight ship."
[I inform him that New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin has a longstanding policy that if a player is on time for a meeting, he is actually "five minutes late."]
"That's nonsense. If you're on time, you're on time. Who is this guy again? [I inform him again, and point out that Coughlin has, in fact, won a Super Bowl.] Has he played Knebworth? No. If you're on time, you're on time. If you're five minutes late, the bus is gone. Sorry."
Step Four: Don't Make Promises You Can't Keep
[After asking him what fans can expect on his 2012 High Flying Birds Tour, which kicks off March 28 in Washington, D.C.] "I'll speak to you directly. Don't come expecting to see anything; there's nothing to see. All I have is the music. If the music is what you want, come along! Buy a T-shirt and a badge. But if you're coming to see anything, it's not the gig for you. Go and see someone else. I know I'm not selling it very well, but those are the facts."
Step Five: State Your Opinions Freely and Willingly
[I ask Gallagher about his next album, a black-light odyssey he's cooking up with Amorphous Androgynous, a.k.a. electronic duo the Future Sounds of London.] "I know drugs are illegal, but it would be handy to take some mushrooms and listen to it. No question. Drugs are bad, by the way, and they are illegal; I'm just pointing that out. These are not the views of MTV or MTV News. These are not even my views. This is just a fact: Some music is meant to be listened to on drugs."
Step Six: Make Outrageous Demands Because You Deserve Them
"They're real strings [on the album]; not Mellotron. That's a 24-piece female string section. I insisted on it. Girls play different from boys, you see. They sound sexier. It's an amazing thing. Now, a brass section would have to be all guys, because they blow harder. I would insist on a female string section, because strings are supposed to be sexy."
Step Seven: Always Remember Who Your True Friends Are, Yet Be Unafraid to Cut Them Loose for Seemingly Innocuous Reasons
[I ask his opinions on Twitter and Facebook.] "I don't need a million friends. I've got six friends, and I'm f---ing trying to get rid of one of those. I've got one too many, because I can't count them all on one hand. That f---er's got to go, because I don't like his missus. She's an idiot and all. He's not aware of it, but he will be when he doesn't receive a Christmas card."
Are you ready to follow Noel's life plan? Let us know in the comments!