NEW YORK – Oasis' Noel Gallagher (search) is like a bad boyfriend. He doesn't call when he says he will, and when he does show up, it's usually too early or too late.
With a new album - "Don't Believe the Truth (search)," out Tuesday - and a pending worldwide tour, he's too busy these days to squeeze chats in between television interviews in Paris and jumping on the Eurostar back to London.
But like any bad boyfriend, once you get him on the line, he's as charming as all get out. Cocksure, glib and playful, he's without any of the mean spiritness you might expect from the outspoken rock 'n' roll star whose well-documented battles with other bands and his younger brother Liam are what rock legends are made of.
Don't believe the stories, Noel says.
"It often sounds to me a lot more vicious than it is," says on the way to a London gig. "It's all said very tongue-in-cheek, ya know? But when it's in black and white, obviously you don't see the smirk on [our] faces when [we're] saying it."
But don't expect the bash brothers to let up on the fighting any time soon.
"It's something that comes naturally to me," he says, adding, "I quite enjoy it as well."
Recently Noel said Liam was like a woman with constant PMS, while Liam called Noel a "f---in' smug c---." But Noel wasn't upset. In fact he embraced it.
"Well I am a f---in' smug c---," he says, with a smirk. "Wouldn't you be?"
Sure, why not? The Manchester band's latest disc is being heralded as their best effort in years - a return to old-school Oasis (search) - and the four-piece Brit-poppers sold out their first Madison Square Garden date, on June 22, in an hour.
"It's quite amazing. I'm quite upset we didn't do it before," he says. "We don't want to go slapping each other on the back yet. We haven't done the gig yet."
Oasis wants to make sure they aren't rusty. The band hasn't released anything in three years. They recorded an album with electronica duo Death in Vegas as producers, but scrapped the effort.
"The songs weren't good enough. It's as simple as that really," Noel says.
How did he know? He gets help from his five-year-old daughter Anais.
"She said, 'Daddy I like that one. It's cool. Record that one,'" he says with a devilish laugh. "Of course, that's not true. It would be great though, wouldn't it?"
They're also getting older. Noel turns 38 today, but he hates celebrating birthdays and doesn't exchange presents with his brother any time of the year.
At times he seems like he only tolerates Liam. "He's good to be in a band with, but I wouldn't go down to bingo with him," he says.
In fact, if they weren't brothers, Noel and Liam wouldn't be in the same band anymore.
"If I didn't have a band with relatives in it I would be solo, beyond a shadow of a doubt," Noel says.
That said, Noel says he looks out for Liam, as an older brother should.
"I wouldn't like to leave Liam on his own," he says. "He'd get in too much trouble."
Awww. That's so nice.
"It is, inn't it," Noel says.