Not too long ago in a Santa Monica hotel suite, a film crew was so busy setting up cameras, it lost sight of its high-profile subject, and a director looked around and asked, “Wait a minute! Where did Liam go?” Undetected, ex-Oasis/Beady Eye anchor Liam Gallagher had slipped out on his day of press to share cigarettes with his girlfriend and manager Debbie Gwyther. Dressed in cargo shorts, a nautical windbreaker, with his shoulder-length shag haircut trimmed short and minus his customary aviator shades, the British superstar wasn’t recognized. With his first solo effort, “As You Were,” just released, he was enjoying that low profile for as long as he could.
You once swore you would never do a solo album.
I know, I know. I prefer to be in a band. It was just the thought of nailing my name above the door and all that. But then all of a sudden, I write a couple of tunes, and off we went. There was never any doubt about me singing, and I never stopped believing. It was just whether I wanted to. And Debbie got me back on track.
How did you two meet?
Debbie was working for Quest Management, for Scott Rodger, who manages Paul McCartney. She was working with him when we met, and that was it — we just hit it off. But without Debbie, I would not be here doing this, without a doubt. Because I was getting a bit depressed. Not too depressed, but I was feeling a bit lost.
She urged you to start playing guitar again, and to let Warner Bros. hear your new songs. And they suggested you fly to L.A. to work with the songwriters Greg Kurstin and Andrew Wyatt?
I’m about the voice, man. When I look in the mirror, I see a rock and roll singer, not a songwriter. I didn’t even know who Greg was when I met him. But I’d sent him and Andrew some rough demos to show the kind of stuff I was doing, kind of a Lennon-y thing. And they played me (eventual first album single) “Wall of Glass” and we had that song finished by the end of the day.
Even when you were going through your recent divorce — and Beady Eye was breaking up — you and your brother Noel still weren’t talking?
No. Me, I don’t have any problem with Noel. I love him dearly, and I wish we were still in a band together. I wish we were brothers again. But he’s been getting away with murder, butchering those Oasis stone-cold classics, singing them like f–ing Dolly Parton. Now I’m back to do them f—ing proper!
IF YOU GO
Where: Warfield, 982 Market St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Nov. 13
Tickets: $34.25 to $50
Contact: (415) 345-0900, www.axs.com