LAST TIME we spoke, Noel Gallagher was announcing his first solo New Zealand show, in Auckland at Easter 2016.
It was cancelled on the day of the gig after his guitars got held up in Chile. With no time to reschedule, he scuttled off to Sydney a day early.
"Aaaaah. That's right yeah. F****** really shit couple of f****** days that was. All the way to New Zealand for f*** all and it rained and I got shouted at by some fans. 'Why won't you f****** play a f****** acoustic gig?' 'Cos I haven't got any f****** guitars.' 'Oh, there's a f****** music shop up the street.' 'Well, they're s*** guitars, so you know, f*** off.'"
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Fans, who needs them. Not, ostensibly, Noel Gallagher, who's thriving on doing things his way in the veteran phase of his career and seems, sincerely, not to care what anyone else thinks.
When we speak, he's in his London house. He's just finished a North American tour with Smashing Pumpkins and is promoting a new single, This Is The Place, lead track on the second of three EPs previously slated for release this year.
It's a banger that wouldn't sound out of place on a Chemical Brothers album and marks another subtle step forward from his last album, This Is The Moon, made with dance producer and soundtrack composer David Holmes.
"Oasis has such a definite sound it's easy to move away from it," says Gallagher. "After I'd done [Who Built The Moon] and it was like, I'm going to do these EPs, what's it gonna be?, it was like, you know what, there's no point in saying this f****** s*** all over again so I'm kind of just going to go in the studio and I'm going to make the music something akin to what I listen to at home. And what I listen to at home is kind of electronic or alternative 80s pop or quite obscure Krautrock and shit like that. I'm not really into contemporary music.
"I do get a bit of flak from my fanbase about what I do, but it's just like, you know, I don't really give a f***, I'm doing it for me now, I'm not doing it for them.
"People who are into it will listen to it but you can't really sit and bemoan s*** like that. I had enough f****** success in the '90s to last me two lifetimes so I'm not bothered. I enjoy what I do and I enjoy the band that I'm in and that's it. You can't ask for any more than that."
Gallagher, a sprightly 52, will return to New Zealand in November. His band, Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, are the opening act on the next leg of U2's swaggering Joshua Tree, a role they fulfilled around South America and Europe two years ago.
"I'm looking forward to it man. U2 are like family to me. I've known them all since '94. How this particular tour came about was Edge was in London and we met up and we were chatting away and he said, 'We're going to Australia [and New Zealand] in November,' and I just said, 'Can we come?' and he just said, 'Yeah all right' and that was it.
"It's an amazing show. It truly is one of the great things you'll see in your life. You'll come away thinking, f****** hell. I watched it every night … the Joshua Tree bit is amazing but the hits that they play either side as well — it's an amazing night out."
The Joshua Tree album came out in 1987, when Gallagher was 19.
"I played it to death. I didn't really appreciate it until I started writing songs for a living, and then you go back to those songs and you think the entire album is really around about four chords. I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For — what a f****** great song that is. Just a great image, message, virtually no chords in it at all — it's just a feeling. Where The Streets Have No Name, when that thing fades in at the gig it does give you goosebumps."
Of course, Oasis were always in thrall to the Beatles too. And as there was a rivalry between fans of the latter, who preferred John Lennon's songwriting over Paul McCartney's, now, it seems, many Oasis followers favour either the Noel or Liam camp.
The brothers Gallagher seem further apart than ever after Liam escalated their social media-driven feud earlier this year by taking aim at members of his brother's family. More recently, Liam dismissed Noel's new direction as "f****** little disco music for all his little disco mates".
I was told not to bring up little brother. As it happens, Gallagher references him when I ask if he gets frustrated that his new music doesn't get more cut-through.
"No, because the reaction I get at the gigs is great. Really, the people who complain about this s***, I'd hazard a guess that they're between the ages of 14 and 25 and have watched the Supersonic documentary [about Oasis' hedonistic glory years] and they want a version of Oasis for themselves and I'm just like, you know what, you're a f****** spotty little prick, don't tell me how I should sound after all these years. The other fella's playing the game somewhere in a big field near you, go see him.
"If This Is The Place was s***, I wouldn't put it out just for the sake of it because it's different. It only works because, actually, it's f****** great."
The next EP will now appear after Christmas, although a track from it featuring sleigh bells will appear in time for the festive season. The lead track will be even more electronic "my Blue Monday", he says referring to New Order's 1983 electropop classic.
Then, "probably" an album, written like the last one in the studio.
"I can see it being possibly a double album," Gallagher says. "I've got a shitload of stuff, just germs of ideas that I know are going to work when I get in there. I won't put any time pressures on it, so it'll be out when it's out, but I think it'll be a big album."
(After we spoke, I found this quote, about Arcade Fire's 2013 double album, Reflektor: "Anybody that comes back with a double album, to me, needs to pry themselves out of their own a*******. This is not the '70s, okay? How arrogant are these people to think that you've got an hour and a half to listen to a fucking record?")
Whatever, it's likely to be recorded in his own studio, which he's currently building from scratch. He feels blessed to be in his early 50s and still doing new things.
"I'm going to have my own studio and I'm doing this electronic music. Usually, when you get to my age you tour once every 10 years, do the f****** hits, maybe make an album that's a facsimile of what you've done before, feather the f****** nest and there you go.
"But I'm not at that stage and I hope I never get to that stage."
Despite instructions, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't ask about Liam. I leave it to the end and raise it sheepishly.
"I'm just doing my thing. I don't know what he's doing. He's probably on Twitter as we speak, slagging my kids off or my wife. I don't know. I'm happy doing my own thing mate, happy doing my own thing."
NOEL ON ...
Touring with U2
"I'm going to be getting into some kind of fitness regime for when I meet up with that mob in New Zealand because they can f****** party. They can f****** have it properly."
The music industry
"The record companies got greedy and they're still greedy. They bemoan the fact that people are not buying but they're streaming it and the record companies own all the streaming platforms anyway. It's a bit of a carve-up, but as an artist, you're here to put s*** out into the world. If you get paid for it, great. If you don't, still f****** great because there's a higher goal to aim at here, which is art. And there's not enough of it in the world."
The 50th anniversary of Abbey Road, his least favourite Beatles album
"I like Come Together and Here Comes the Sun. I f****** hate Octopus's Garden."
Whether his beloved Manchester City can win three English Premier League titles in a row
"I hope we win it because you can't have Liverpool winning it. It will devalue the Premier League trophy. It will devalue the brand. It was bad enough when f****** Leicester won it."
His recent move into the countryside:
"I had a gradual falling out of love with London. I'm really f****** enjoying it. I'm enjoying the peace and quiet."