Interview: Noel Gallagher’s world tour brings High Flying Birds back to Edinburgh Castle

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at this year's T in the Park. Picture: Greg Macvean

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds at this year's T in the Park. Picture: Greg Macvean

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COME August, Noel Gallagher’s latest single, Everybody’s On The Run, will hit the shops, but for many, it’s the B-side they’ll be most interested in - a 15-minute remix of AKA... What A Life, by dance producers Amorphous Androgynous, who are colloborating with the star on his second solo album.

After initially indicating that the record would be out this summer, it was confirmed back in February that the release date had been pushed back until 2013 and any hopes harboured by his followers that the record would be issued in the first few months of the new year appear to have been dashed.

When asked if he had plans to return to the studio any time soon, Gallagher, who brings his High Flying Birds to the Castle on Tuesday, said “Not at the moment. My tour’s been extended ‘til November, that’s 13 months on the road.After that, I’m gonna be going on holiday for a while.”

It’s an epic touring schedule for the veteran rocker who has played far-flung gigs in Tokyo, Rio and Sydney and more.

He’s also managed to fit in a couple of Edinburgh dates – albeit separated by a period of almost nine months – at two of the Capital’s most iconic venues, the Usher Hall and the Castle. Not that he’s been idling while traipsing around the globe, taking time to work on tracks for the album in between concerts.

“I’m not short of material,” explains the guitarist. “It’s just a case of when I do it, once I recharge my batteries.”

At his recent T in the Park performance, the 45-year-old stuck to the tried-and-tested, performing tunes from his solo debut, with a fair few Oasis classics thrown in for good measure.

“That’s the thing about festivals,” says Noel. “They want to hear what they know – they’re not bothered about your next jazz odyssey.”

However, those desperate for a taste of what to expect from the new LP could be in for at treat when Gallagher at the Castle. Recently, he’s taken to playing the previously unreleased God Help Us All and It Makes Me Wanna Cry while soundchecking, copies of which both leaked online last month.

At the moment, though, he’s not worried about working on new tracks – he’s too busy planning his time off, which will include seeing more of his beloved Manchester City.

“I didn’t see any football last season,” moans the Blues fan. “We won the f*****g league and I missed it all, so I’m hoping we win the Champions League and I can be there.”

There was one City event he didn’t miss, though, and that was the launch of the club’s kit. To mark it’s official release last week, the star posed in the new home top alongside club captain Vincent Kompany. The move came as a bit of a surprise, especially considering brother Liam did just that last season, helping promote the strip by recording fan anthem Blue Moon with his band Beady Eye.

That cover may have gone down a storm with fellow supporters, but some other tunes that the younger Gallagher has been performing recently haven’t been quite so well received.

Despite vowing never to sing any Oasis songs with Beady Eye, the frontman chose to play Rock ‘n’ Roll Star and Morning Glory at a warm-up gig prior to their support slot with The Stone Roses at Heaton Park.

With all his trademark humility, Gallagher junior tried to justify the move by arguing that “they’re just as much my songs as they are Noel’s.”

Given the stick he got from his younger sibling about playing Oasis tunes live, Gallagher has maintained a largely diplomatic silence over the former’s U-turn. Until now, that is.

“Beady Eye have my permission to play my songs. They should do whatever they like. I say he should go around the world, do those songs and fill out the PRS forms,” he says mischievously, cleary relishing the fact that by performing Oasis hits, Liam will be topping up his his pension fund.

For Noel, however, the prospect of not dipping into the Oasis back catalogue was never really an option. “I haven’t got any more material anyway!” he jokes.

“The new stuff can hold it’s own, that’s for sure. My record has sold more than the last Oasis album. But obviously they’re not going to go down as well as the likes of Don’t Look Back In Anger, or y’know, Talk Tonight, because they’re really famous songs.

“They’ve been around for a long time and they’re parts of people’s lives. The songs off those early Oasis records, they mean so much to people – and to me as well. They’re the albums that keep on giving.”

• Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Edinburgh Castle, Castle Esplanade, Tue, £45, www.ticketmaster.co.uk