You’ve been awarded the NME Godlike Genius Award. Are you more godlike or genius?


Well, that’s the thing about being a godlike genius, you’re kind of both...

Does your wife agree?

She kind of has to. It was in the marriage contract, unfortunately for her. I would say I am a bit like God because I’ve created lots of special things from nothing and I’m a bit like a genius because those creations are unique to me. So I accept the accolade without any irony.

So there’ll be no blushing on the night?

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Actually, when people are giving me compliments, I find that very difficult. What do you say? When people give me presents I find that very difficult. I’m not a great receiver of presents, eulogies or any of that s**t. I’d rather give them. I’m a giver.

Previous winners of the award include Dave Grohl, the Clash, Paul Weller and the Cure. Which musical genius would you invite to the after-party?

John Lennon or – if they had to be alive – Bob Dylan. Can I add to that? I think they’d be lousy dinner guests but I wouldn’t mind as long as I could say I did it.

Lousy because…?

John Lennon doesn’t seem like a very nice chap and Bob Dylan because he probably doesn’t eat dinner; he probably eats dictionaries for dinner.

The odd awards ceremony aside, music is an increasingly rare sight on terrestrial TV. Do you lament the passing of TOTP?

Absolutely, don’t you? I think everybody does. It was fantastic to watch it growing up and it was great to be on it when it was still going. I don’t even know why they don’t have it on any more. It was a great British tradition to have Top of the Pops on a Thursday, and it gave you a chance to see what these people looked like who you were listening to on the radio, and we don’t get that any more. I would bring it back in a heartbeat.

So where do you get your musical fix?

The family radio is tuned to 6 Music. My personal radio is talkSPORT.

What do you watch with your kids?

We used to watch Meerkat Manor but since the Meerkats got into selling car insurance I’ve gone off them. They’ve sold out. So it’s Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry in our house. The kids are in bed by six o’clock anyway.

You used to be a regular guest on Russell Brand’s Radio 2 show, do you miss it?

Yeah, I do. He’s a very dear friend of mine. Hopefully, one day he’ll move back to England and we can resurrect the radio show. Obviously, it won’t be on the BBC because he’s banned. I thought it was a brilliant, brilliant radio show and enjoyed it immensely.

How much would Simon Cowell have to pay you to be a judge on The X Factor?

It’s about six months’ work, innit? I reckon it would have to be a million pounds after tax.

Per episode?

No, I’m not greedy. A million pounds after tax. If he puts a million pounds in my bank, I’m in.

I didn’t think X Factor was your cup of tea.

I say that tongue-in-cheek. I hope he doesn’t put a million pounds in my bank account because I don’t really want to do it. But a million pounds for six months’ work? That’s good money if you can get it, isn’t it? Even I don’t earn that much.

What else don’t you like on TV?

Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsay. I don’t cook but that’s not the problem: I can’t handle Jamie Oliver’s worthiness and I can’t handle Gordon Ramsay’s attitude – if you make a bad omelette, it’s like the end of the world. Who gives a f***? I’m from the school of thought that one eats to survive; one cooks to be a smartarse. And I don’t like any period drama – Downton Abbey, all that s**te. Men with wigs on.

Noel, this is a family magazine. You have to mind your Ps and Qs. So what do you watch then?

I don’t have a car so I shouldn’t, but I love Top Gear. I don’t even have a driving licence. I don’t drive. I’ve got no involvement in the motorcar industry in the slightest; I’m not interested in learning to drive or anything like that. I just think it’s a good TV programme, do you know what I mean?

Just imagine if you’d got a car...

But you don’t get points on your guitar, do you?

Your new band is called High Flying Birds. Is that because you’re interested in nature?

That’s maybe the best question I’ve ever been asked in 20 years in the music business. No, I’m not a fan of ornithology, although I do know what the highest-flying bird is – it’s some kind of Chinese goose. I bet David Attenborough knows, but I bet he doesn’t know who plays bass for me. I just thought the name sounded really cool. It sounds better than Noel Gallagher.


The NME Awards are on Channel 4 tonight at 11:55pm