Need to know: an afternoon with Gene Gallagher

Gene wears J12 calibre 12.1 watch in white highly resistant ceramic and 18k yellow gold CHANEL Watches, Coco Crush bracelets in 18k white gold and diamonds and 18k yellow gold and diamonds CHANEL Fine Jewellery and No.1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Serum and CHANEL La Crème Main

As frontman of his band Villanelle, the young musician has entered the family business.

Taken from the new print issue of THE FACE. Get your copy here.

Tousled of hair and bleary of eye, Gene Gallagher is giving deadpan respect to his band’s fans. It was good, I enjoyed it,” Villanelle’s songwriter, singer and guitarist says of last night’s gig at The Bodega in Nottingham. The crowd were decent. They were alright.”

These are warm-up club shows for the four-piece, not even a year old, ahead of a month supporting the old man on his 14-date, instant-sell-out arena tour celebrating the 30th anniversary of Oasis’s debut album Definitely Maybe. What happens if the crowd heckle and shout, get off, r kid’s kid, we wanna hear Rock n’ Roll Star”? We’ve had some of that before,” replies Gallagher Jr, who turns 23 this summer. That’s just human nature. You’ve got to expect it and accept it. That’s my motto.”

Good to meet you, Gene. What’s your best musical attribute?

Probably my haircut. If I lose my hair? Then I have to give up music. Or, there’s always Turkey.

How would you describe Villanelle to an alien?

I’d tell them to come to a show and get up on stage with me. I’d just have to show them the experience instead of putting it into words.

Would that encourage them to stay on Earth, or make them fuck off back to their own planet?

They’d probably fuck off back to their own planet, to be fair.

How shitting it are you about playing these Definitely Maybe arena shows?

Not at all. We’re doing all these warm-up gigs around the UK. Decent sized but not massive. But I’m used to those big crowds because I play the drums with my dad. You get used to the atmosphere of a big crowd, but behind the drums you’re not front and centre. So it’s going to be different.

What’s on your rider?

For these shows, it’s usually just beer they give us. But for the Definitely Maybe shows, I’m gonna get some fish finger sandwiches on there. I’m craving those. The proper orange, Birds Eye ones – with ketchup. And some premium lagers – Asahi.

What was the last great gig you saw?

Not to big him up any more, but my dad and [ex-Stone Rose] John [Squire]. We saw them at Kentish Town Forum [in North London], they were really good.

And what was the last terrible gig you saw?

Probably my friends singing in the kitchen at 3am.

Where do you stand on K‑pop?

I love K‑pop. I love it all. I love how different it is. I like that massive one… what are they called? BTS!

Who’s your favourite member of BTS?

Hmm. You’ve put me in a predicament now. I don’t listen to them religiously…

Gene wears tunic CHANEL Métiers d’Art 2023/24 collection, Coco Crush bracelet in 18k white gold and diamonds and Coco Crush ring in 18k yellow gold CHANEL Fine Jewellery, No.1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Serum, CHANEL Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Lèvres and CHANEL La Crème Main

What does indie sleaze mean to you?

Um. I guess it means swagger, doesn’t it? Very clean indie I fucking hate. I don’t really know what sleaze indie [sic] is, but I’m assuming it’s something that’s a bit more dirty and interesting. That’s what indie should be. It shouldn’t just be all fucking bubbles and fucking flowers.

What are your festival plans for this summer, attending and/​or playing?

I really wanted to go to Glastonbury but we’re obviously on the Definitely Maybe tour that month. So festivals this year might be a miss. Also in June, the Champions League finals are on, and the Euros. It’s a shit-show. Thanks, dad!

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

I like drawing. So I’d probably be a cartoonist. I wasn’t going to be a lawyer or anything.

Gene wears vest CHANEL Métiers d’Art 2023/24 collection, Coco Crush necklaces in 18k beige gold, 18k yellow gold and 18k white gold, Coco Crush bracelet in 18k white gold and diamonds and Coco Crush ring in 18k yellow gold CHANEL Fine Jewellery, No.1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Cream, No.1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Body Serum-In-Mist and CHANEL La Crème Main

Favourite vape flavour?

I don’t buy them, I usually just steal them off people. So I don’t have an actual choice. If there’s one on the table, that’s going in my pocket. But I don’t know what flavour it is cause I’m usually quite drunk.

That reminds us of something your dad once told us: I’m constantly brushing my teeth. Whenever I walk past a toothbrush I’ll have a little go, quick tidy. I take one out with me as well.” What’s your approach to dental hygiene?

I love it. I’ve never had braces. When I was younger I really wanted them, cause all my friends had them and for some reason I thought it was quite cool. But my dentist was like: No, your teeth are fine.”

Your dad was on the cover of THE FACE twice. Here’s his first, from August 1994…

I’ve seen that before, I really like that one. He looks really clean there. Well-shaven – and so young!

Then, November 95, here he is again…

Oh yeah, with a beard. That’s prime him there, isn’t it? That’s a sick haircut. He goes through phases with his beard. I’m kinda similar. I like having a clean shave, or I’ll have something going on – I hate having to keep up with it all the time. I’m quite lazy.

Gene wears coat CHANEL Métiers d’Art 2023/24 collection, J12 calibre 12.1 watch in black highly resistant ceramic and 18k yellow gold CHANEL Watches, Coco Crush bracelets in 18k white gold and diamonds and 18k yellow gold and diamonds CHANEL Fine Jewellery, No.1 de CHANEL Revitalizing Serum, CHANEL Hydra Beauty Micro Serum Lip and CHANEL La Crème Main

Gene Simmons claimed you’re named after him, but your dad said it was legendary jazz drummer Gene Krupa. Who’s correct?

Well, my mum named me after Gene Simmons. But my dad named me after Gene Krupa. So that’s where things start to get mixed up. Which do I prefer? My mum’s a massive Kiss fan so I’ve always liked them. I met him backstage once with my mum, my auntie and my cousin. But I’ve never seen Gene Krupa play the drums, so I’ll go with Gene Simmons. [Krupa died in 1973 – Obituaries Ed]

It’s our round, what you having?

Depends on the time, the pub and where everyone – and everything – is. If it’s early doors, I’ll have a Guinness. If the pub does shit Guinness not that I’m one of those Guinness connoisseurs – I’ll have a lager. If it’s a posh pub, an Asahi. Or if it’s later in the evening, I’ll have a double vodka soda. Which they call the skinny bitch drink, but I actually love it.

Who would win a battle of the bands, Villanelle or your brother Lennon’s band Automotion?

Oh! Fucking hell! I think we’d both lose. Because if you’re comparing yourselves, you’re losing.

What’s your favourite track on Definitely Maybe?

Um…what’s actually on that album? I get them all mixed up… Columbia! Or Digsy’s Dinner! It’s popular at the moment on TikTok. They’re probably making lasagne to it.


HAIR Kim Rance MAKE-UP Marco Antonio using No.1 de CHANEL skincare range and CHANEL La Crème Main PRODUCTION Adam Lilley and Katherine Bampton PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANTS Guy Isherwood and Tommy Aucott DIGI OP Laura Heckford

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