"Maybe you're gonna be the one who saves me."
Former Oasis frontman - and now High Flying Bird - Noel Gallagher, talks to Gay Byrne about the things he believes in... and the things he doesn't; plus the thoughts that make him forget his own lyrics on stage.
Gay Byrne and Noel Gallagher have got 'previous.' At the height of Oasis' fame, when they first played Slane Castle, in 1995, his Mayo-born mammy, Peggy, supposedly told him, if he only did one interview in Ireland, it should be with Gaybo for The Late, Late Show. Seventeen years later, an older, mellower Noel Gallagher is only too happy to meet up again to talk about the things that give his life meaning.
Noel talks about his upbringing in inner-city Manchester. His Meath-born dad was a drinker and in the end his Mum, Peggy, did a flit with Noel and his two brothers to get away from him. He insists that there was nothing unusual, where he lived, in coming from a broken family, but his childhood still left him and his elder brother Paul with stammers, which needed correction through speech therapy.
He also didn't really get school. He pulled off the spectacular feat of playing truant for months from a school where his mum was a dinner lady, by sneaking in at lunchtimes and then sneaking out again. When she found out, she nearly murdered him. not because he'd been mitching, but because he'd been lying to her. That combined with his early encounters with drugs and petty crime meant his future was not promising. What rescued him was music.
Like most Irish mothers, Peggy raised the boys as regular Sunday mass-going Catholics, until Noel was a teenager, when his Mum stopped making them go. How much of that faith has stuck? Well, Noel's own wife, Sarah, is also a regular church-goer and he envies her her faith, but doesn't really share it.
Noel is relaxed about the fact that, having been part of the biggest band on the planet at one stage, he's now ploughing a humbler furrow. He talks about the buzz of performing as "the ultimate high" .and having tried a few other kinds, he should know. He talks freely about his past escapades with drugs, which were pretty well a full-time pursuit until the moment he decided to stop.
He talks to Gay about his brother and their famously difficult relationship and current rift.