"The way that we're doing it now feels kind of fresh to me, it feels like it's a High Flying Birds song, almost" – Noel Gallagher defends his Joy Division cover and issues a challenge to brother Liam

Noel Gallagher
(Image credit: KPNW / YouTube)

Noel Gallagher has a golden touch, not just with his own songwriting but often with his covers of other artists. But a lot of fans seemed divided on his orchestral version of Joy Division classic Love Will Tear Us Apart, first aired on BBC 2's Piano Room and expected to be a regular part of his current US tour setlist.

Now in an interview with US radio station 98.9 KPNW's Marco Collins, Noel has given some background on it – including the personal connection it has to his roots, and his reaction to Liam's scathing opinion of it. 

"Well anytime you go to the BBC now, you can't do anything without doing a cover," Noel explained. "They ask you to go along and perform and then they say, 'Can you do someone else's song as well?' And you're like, 'Really? I've got to do someone else's f*****g song?' 

"The reason why I did that is it's the first song I learned to play on guitar – on the top string, I learned the bassline," he continued. "I did a little demo of it at my studio and I thought, actually it's going to work. And when I told [the band] we were going to do it, they were all kind of looking at each other going, 'Really?' If you come from where I come from it's sacrilegious [to cover it]. But if I didn't think we'd done a good job, I wouldn't do it. And the more that we play it, the better it will get."

The more upbeat take on it with the tempo change was very much a conscious decision too.

"I think if you're going to do a song, don't copy it," reasoned Noel. "The way that we're doing it now feels kind of fresh to me, it feels like it's a High Flying Birds song, almost. When you see people do covers and they copy it note for note, you think, what's the point of that?"

Collins also asked Noel for his opinion on Liam's scathing twitter reaction to the performance, apologising on Noel's behalf for his 'blasphemous' take on Love Will Tear Us Apart. Though for his part, Noel claims he didn't see the original tweet. 

"Well I'm not on social media so it doesn't reach me until people say," Noel responded. "I don't know how to react to things like that anymore. Well let's put it this way, when he's doing his thing I've got better things to do with my life than listen to what he's doing. So I take it as a compliment that he's crawling the f*****g internet at whatever time in the morning, looking for that kind of thing."

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He knows that neither of us are particularly interested in it

So big bro is taking the high road? Well not quite. 

"He should concentrate on what's left of his f*****g hairdo and not worry about what I'm getting up to," Noel added, claws out. 

And of course, Collins then asked the obligatory question about whether he'd consider a reunion with Liam in Oasis, and Noel responded with the now obligatory "call me" response – but with a twist this time. Suggesting neither party really wants a reunion deep down. 

"I've been saying it, he's gonna have to call me," Noel said. "Or he's gonna have to get someone to call me… he doesn't want it, and he knows that neither of us are particularly interested in it. I know he doesn't want it, I'm very comfortable with what I'm doing and couldn't give a flying f*** one way or the other. But, when he keeps going on about it and I'm like, 'Well call us then, let's hear what you've got to say. You've made up all these imaginary ground rules down the years and told  kids it's happening, it's happening, now it's coming, it's definitely happening blah blah blah.'

"I dare him," added Noel, now pointing at the camera to address his brother. "I f*****g dare you to call me. I dare you to call me, and you won't call me, because if you do call me and I go, 'Actually that's a good idea, actually that might work.' Then the arse falls out of his trousers. Then you've got to be in the same room as me and then we both know how that ends up. So you call me, stop tweeting – you're bigger than that, you're better than that."

In better news for Oasis fans, Noel has been playing Oasis rarity Going Nowhere on the current US tour – with the Auburn performance above only the second time he'd performed it live ever. 

The song was one of six Noel-penned tracks we recently chose as essential Oasis non-album songs that don't feature on The Masterplan b-sides compilation. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.