Even his combative brother Liam knows you don't start a scrap that you can't finish with the pugnacious Noel Gallagher.
Especially now, when the Oasis leader thanks to a strict workout regimen that incorporates boxing is in his slimmest, trimmest fighting form in years. He's so fit at 41, in fact, that he just foiled a crime in his native London by confronting two hoods attempting to steal a former Bond girl's purebred dog. Even when he was tackled by a crazed fan onstage in Toronto recently, breaking three ribs and bruising another five in the process, he picked himself up, grabbed his guitar and plowed painfully on with the set anyway.
So Noel figures his body can still handle the occasional Bacchanalian road-trip party during the band's tour on behalf of its latest album, Dig Out Your Soul.
"Even though things start to not repair themselves as quick as they once did at my age, I think being in a band keeps you young, at least mentally, and I have a lot of nervous energy, which helps," he explains. "Plus, I'm lucky enough to be able to have home gym equipment. I've always shied away from exercise because of the clothes, the gear you have to wear when you do it. But I'm not a fitness freak, and when I'm on the road, I've gotta say it's just fucking club sandwiches and french fries, and I kinda like that. Because on the road, it's not supposed to be a health farm, now is it?"
And while much of Gallagher's Dig material is lyrically even musically zenlike, la "The Turning," "Waiting for the Rapture" and the mantra-ish single "The Shock of the Lightning," he's not above taking a few swipes at any dastardly downloader who wants it, gratis.
"All that stuff about giving music away for free on the Internet?" he says, sniffing disdainfully. "We're not giving ours away, because it costs too much fucking money to make. But if some kid out there who can't afford to buy our record can find it for free, more power to 'em. But putting it out for free like some bands are doing? Get the fuck out no fucking way."
Oasis still sounds thuggishly old-school when it comes to modern technology with one major personal concession, Gallagher acknowledges. He sees the iPod as "the greatest invention, ever. And me, personally? I carry my entire record collection around in my pocket. Fuck me, man it doesn't get any better than that!"
And besides, he adds, a brief Oasis summer tour of Britain just went on sale.
"We just sold nearly a million tickets in two days. And you cannot download that shared experience. You cannot download 50,000 people in a stadium, and even if you could, it wouldn't be the same. And that's the greatest thing.
"With all this stuff about music being given away for free and all that bollocks, if you can play your instruments, if you can get up onstage and inspire people, then you've got it made. D'ya know what I mean?"
I miss you, Lenny! My family and I thank you for all the special times…
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