“People like to party outdoors,” Noel Gallagher declares as he begins his interview with a Coachella videographer. “Americans have come relatively late to this thing… like the regular ones we have in Europe, people just like to get wasted outside, particularly in the rain and listen to music. I don’t think there’s anything more spiritual than that.”
Gallagher, front man of Noel Gallagher and The High Flying Birds, gives one of the most honest, insightful and funny interviews of his career just before taking the stage at the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival in Indio, CA.
“The organizers will tell you that it’s a gathering of like-minded people and blah blah blah while they advertise more about phones to you… the bottom line is that people just want to get wasted and listen to rock ‘n roll in the rain, don’t they… I certainly do anyway,” he says with a laugh.
The 44-year-old musician talks to the unseen interviewer from the comfort of his oddly decorated trailer that he’s keen to make fun of. In a short twelve minutes, he covers the growth and importance of Coachella, the state of the music industry and lends some encouraging words to aspiring musicians.
“This festival has become bigger over the last ten years. When we first came here people were like, ‘You’re going where? To do what? Palm Springs?’ Now it’s a big deal in England. It’s like it gets reported in the national press… so, it’s grown. Probably one of the only festivals that has grown.”
Gallagher provides some straightforward talk about being in a band versus his new solo career. “Our band [Oasis] was quite volatile and you never really knew if you were actually going to play that night because other people in the group might have a whim and decide they’re not going to do the gig. But I can assure you the gig’s gonna happen here tonight.”
The singer’s dry British sense of humor is in full swing when he discusses how the music industry has changed fundamentally for the worse. “The rules of the game have changed. Albums are made by committee and focus groups. The consumer has become all more powerful now… the consumer is king. So, the consumer gets what he wants. But as I understand it, the consumer didn’t want f**king Jimi Hendrix, but they got him. And it changed the world. And the consumers didn’t want Sgt. Peppers, but they got it… and they didn’t want the Sex Pistols but they got it. And now there’s an attitude in the music business that like ‘well, let’s keep the consumer happy because that’s what makes the music business go ’round.’ And who suffers is the artist, not me. We’ve been in it for a while. But new artists have to put up with all sorts of nonsense.”
“It’s like, the young, it’s their fault. They invented the f**king internet. It’s their fault. F**k ‘em, that’s what I say.”
Gallagher pokes fun at himself, declaring he’s spending more time in Los Angeles because “That’s where aging rockers usually end up. And, I like it. The reception for the record has not been great I have to say, but then nothing ever was that great after Morning Glory, but I don’t worry about it. As long as I get the chance to play here, and they clap in between the songs, which is essential, then that’ll do me.”
Treat yourself to the entire interview here.
Noel Gallagher will listen to the crowd clap between his songs once again this Saturday night at Coachella. Watch his set webcast live via YouTube. Check Coachella.com Saturday afternoon for details.
–Jay Tilles, CBS Local