“He’s got this black Strat with nine pickups and he’s saying, ‘Do you think it’s a bit mad?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s mad as fuck’”: Noel Gallagher recalls guitar shopping with Johnny Marr

“He’s like a poster from my bedroom wall that’s come to life.”

Noel Gallagher and Johnny Marr

Image: Ollie Millington / Getty Images

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Noel Gallagher has looked back fondly on the time he went guitar shopping with former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.

Speaking on Gibson TV’s Icons series, Gallagher says the two struck up a friendship in 1993 after he handed an Oasis demo tape to Marr’s brother at Manchester’s Hacienda club.

“I don’t think anything of it. There are a lot of bullshitters in Manchester, glorious blaggers,” Gallagher says. “Was he Johnny Marr’s brother? Didn’t look anything fucking like him. I’m not even sure I mentioned it to the band, then I remember a couple of days after that coming in and the phone went. ‘Hello, is that Noel?’ ‘Yeah.’ ‘It’s Johnny.’ Johnny Marr.”

“People said, ‘Did you think it was a wind-up?’ No. Call that arrogant? Of course he’s gonna fucking call me. My number was on the demo tape.”

The pair ended up going for a beer and some guitar talk when Gallagher told Marr about a store in Doncaster called Music Ground, where he had been when roadie-ing for Inspiral Carpets.

The next day, “[Marr] picks me up in a car at India House, and I am sitting in the back, and he’s sitting in the front, and there’s a guy driving. I vividly remember he was playing Exodus by Bob Marley, the long version, and Johnny’s turning round going, ‘Get on the fucking groove!’ And I’m like, ‘I love Bob Marley,’” says the Oasis rocker.

“We go to Doncaster. We go to Music Ground. [Laughs] This one in Doncaster is a mad one. It was a mad vintage guitar shop. They’re not the same anymore. It was like an Aladdin’s Cave. We go in the front door and Johnny says, ‘Okay, right. I need to go in and eat first before I shop.’”

“So we go to a sandwich shop and he says to me, ‘A bit of advice. Before you go guitar shopping, don’t do it on an empty stomach.’ We went and had a sandwich and a cup of tea in a cafe and then he went and bought a Stratocaster with fucking nine pickups in it.”

“I still only know this guy for two days,” Gallagher says of the surreal experience. “He’s like a poster from my bedroom wall that’s come to life. He’s got this black Strat with nine pickups and he’s saying, ‘Do you think it’s a bit mad?’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, it’s mad as fuck.’”

Watch the full episode of Icons with Gallagher below.

Elsewhere in the chat, Gallagher admitted that he learned the guitar by making up his own songs because he felt he wasn’t “very good at playing other people’s songs”.

“I was thinking about this today, I was thinking, it was quite an early thought. It’s like, ‘I’m not interested in other people’s songs, because I’m not that good at it,” he explained. “I haven’t got the patience. I’ll do my own. That’ll be easier’. So that was quite an early decision to set off on my own path, really.”

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