Noel Gallagher On Paul Weller: “He’s as real as it gets.”

Noel Gallagher on the ever changing muse of his friend, hero and MOJO’s current cover star, Paul Weller.

Paul Weller And Noel Gallagher, The Q Awards, 2006

by Will Hodgkinson  |
Updated on

In the latest issue of MOJO, on sale now, we speak to Paul Weller about his new album 66 and his still insatiable need to keep moving forwards. Here, Weller’s friend, frequent collaborator and former drinking buddy Noel Gallagher explains the ever-changing muse of The Modfather…

“I WAS ON MY way to get something to eat when a message appeared: “I’ve got this tune. Do you want to write some lyrics?” I knew he was making a record but I didn’t know what stage he was at, because I hadn’t seen him in a while. He caught me at a good moment. I scribbled down some train-of-thought stuff, sent it back to him half an hour later, and that was [new Paul Weller track] Jumble Queen. It was all inspiration.

I didn’t hear from him until a year later, when I listened to the album for the first time. He asked me what I thought of the album, and I said: It’s quite chilled, isn’t it? He replied: “Are you fucking saying it’s boring?” No! The more you listen to it, the more it reveals itself. The reality with Weller is that the older he gets, the more at ease with himself he is, the better he gets because he’s always growing. Maybe a lot of songwriters went through a reflective period during lockdown – how did we get there, where are we going? – so that comes into it too, but there aren’t many people I got into as a kid whose releases I still look out for today. There is Neil Young, Morrissey, Johnny Marr and Paul Weller. I’m struggling to think of anyone else.

He’s always had that drive to do something new – the jump from Eton Rifles to Town Called Malice is immense, and a few months later you’re into The Style Council. He actually gets frustrated with artists who are not as forward thinking as him. He thinks most of us do the same old same old and get away with it. I remember, backstage before one of his shows in the ’90s, when someone made the mistake of going: “Fucking hell, won’t you just do Town Called Malice?” And there followed a massive row in the dressing room. He wouldn’t play anything from the past in those days.

He used to be a lot more confrontational when he was still drinking. One time there was a party at my house in Buckinghamshire and there was a guitar lying around – never a good idea – when someone said, “Come on Paul, play us one of yours.” I would have done Wonderwall or Don’t Look Back In Anger, so I thought he might at least do That’s Entertainment. He did a new one he hadn’t even finished yet! There was total silence. It was brutal. I remember one afternoon in the late ’90s, being in his convertible Mini – which he bought off my ex-wife, maybe it was going cheap – when we pulled up at a zebra crossing. A lad is crossing the road, and back then, seeing us two on a Tuesday afternoon in Marylebone… it’s a thing, right? This lad stops, open-mouthed on the zebra crossing, when Weller stands up in the driver’s seat and shouts, ‘Oi! Get a fucking move on!’

I wouldn’t say he’s in his pipe and slippers phase – and don’t get me wrong, he can still be tricky – but he’s certainly a lot more amiable these days. Ultimately the one thing you can say about people like Weller and Neil Young is that it is as real as it gets for those guys, which is why he would never try and rewrite That’s Entertainment, or any of those great songs that have formed the fabric of England, if he felt he was faking it. That’s why people hold him in the utmost respect, and long may it continue.”

As told to Will Hodgkinson.

“If Eton Rifles and Going Underground came to me easily now, I would definitely put them out…” Get the latest issue of MOJO to read our exclusive cover interview with Paul Weller in full. More info and to order a copy HERE.

Picture: Dave M. Benett/Getty

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us