Alan McGee Talks Creation Documentary – Part 2

This Is The Wild Side

You mentioned Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) is he interviewed in the film?

Aye well, he’s definitely in the film, we used Snub or Rapido or something like that. But all the politics have been removed and it’s good that it clears the air and there’s no bad blood. Not on my side anyway. There has been loads of stupid posturing on both sides but you know what ‘Loveless’ was a great record and I’m proud to have put it out. And equally, just to put this right. Kevin Shields didn’t bankrupt Creation Records. We were never bankrupt as it goes. Probably should have been a few times (laughs). But our mismanagement was via being off our nuts. And his procrastination over finishing a record all added up to the same thing. It was nobody’s particular fault; it’s just the way it was at that time.

People have said that those dysfunctional qualities were to the detriment of the label. But were they the very qualities that were integral to what you were all about?

I think I’m drawn to dysfunctional artists and the reason I find music boring now is that. I remember sitting with the head of one of the big record companies and he described A&R men as oil wells, they had to produce a certain amount of oil. And I just though ‘Fucking hell dude, it’s time to get out’. That was bout five years ago and I just thought, ‘Get out McGee’. And I got out at a good point. The only thing that could possibly drag me back now is something that’s even more rock n roll than Creation and I doubt anything could be in 2010. But if someone could tell me then maybe I’d consider it.

I’m now more interested in authors, books and films to be honest. Billy Sloan (journalist) one of my great and dearest friends in Scotland says the music business is ‘terminal’ and that was an email from him yesterday. He was the first man to play a Creation record on the radio.

You mentioned earlier about how much the industry’s changed. That extends to PR who are now not just there to promote you but give you a shiny, glossy, acceptable product.

The thing is, I don’t mind coming across as a cunt, sometimes I am a cunt, sometimes I’m a nice guy and most human beings are. Its how we are. That’s just the way it fucking rolls and that’s why I said to Danny O’Connor don’t get a press officer. If a journalist doesn’t like me let them print that I’m a cunt. The bottom line is I don’t know anyone that’s in a band thesedays. I barely know any fucker in a band. In fact I don’t want to know.

People perceive that as being arrogant, is it just being honest?

I’m not being arrogant. I don’t buy the music papers. I don’t read about music. I bought one record this year because I loved the single. I bought the ‘Coral’ album and yeah, it was pretty good but not as good as the single. Look I’m 49, I like what I like, I DJ for fun, that’s the best fun going. I DJ with Paul Gallagher, Noel & Liam’s brother and with Jamie Jam so I’m still a tiny little bit rock n roll. I go to see bands. I’m far more interested in really new bands rather than established bands. I’m more interested in what Noel’s doing or what James Allan’s doing and keen to hear Liam’s new band. But new bands that I’ve seen…I love The Grants, the Vortex, Agile Beast, Violet May. So I suppose I can name at least four bands that are new and are fucking good. I also like a band called The Rivalry from Stoke on Trent as well but these are just bands I see when I’m DJing and they’re good, just little bands that pull like 300 people.

Do you think there’s apathy within the industry? Not just with the A&R men, or the money men, but apathy amongst artists themselves?

I think there might be unfortunately but think you’re maybe missing the point…I’ll try to put it in a better context for you. I don’t think the bands understand that it’s such a fuck up at the moment. You could be The Beatles with Hey Jude and you wouldn’t get fucking signed at the moment. And really its so fucked up I really don’t now how they’ll sort it. I mean kids just don’t buy CD’s; my daughter buys CD’s on my account on Amazon (laughs). But kids generally don’t buy CD’s.

Do you think that’s as a direct result of music being produced digitally and distributed in an entirely different way?

I mean, bands don’t sell records anymore. No matter what the record companies tell you. Medium sized bands worldwide are only selling 30,000 records. Now these are real figures but I wont name and shame the bands. Say a medium sized band that would do Brixton would sell like 30,000 records. But they get paid £25-30,000 a show. So they are making their living from playing live shows. It’s a completely different market now.

It must be very difficult then to do it full time?

Incredibly hard today. I mean, even aside from the attitude and the pc newspeakness in 2010. If I wanted to set up a label and had five million, who the fuck is gonna buy the records? I think bands still think there’s a Creation around that comes along and makes you big and the really sad thing is apart from maybe Domino I don’t think there is. But even Domino, and no offence against Lawrence, cause I love Lawrence but I think culturally record companies just don’t have the same impact that we did 20 years ago. They’re not any less of a good record company, I think Domino are a fucking great record company but it just means less to people.

But going back to that point I was making about the apathy, people don’t seem to give a fuck about much?

Everyone’s just into what they’re into. I like Wales and the countryside and reading books and bringing up my kids but I’m 49.

But when you were a younger man you were aggressive, angry, hungry, all of those things…

Maybe sometimes I am still but I can’t remember the last time I got angry about anything (laughs).

Not even party politics, state of the nation? Do none of these issues make you angry?

I think if I lived In London that stuff might affect me. And as for the political thing, I just don’t give a fuck (laughs). They’re all the same as each other. In Wikipedia, just for the record right, I don’t vote Tory. But this is how much I don’t give a fuck about politics; they’ve got me down as a TORY (gales of laughter). I couldn’t give a fuck what you call me.

Do you think this documentary adds anything to the legacy of Creation?

It finishes it. Danny O’Connor would say that it’s the end of rock n roll. For me it finishes the story. You know, there’s a book offer, supposedly 5 offers for a ’24 hour party people’ taking the piss kinda vibe and there’s a film offer. I mean I might do it?

Who would play you?

The drummer in the Vortex, Sean O’Donnell, but only because he’s a funny little cunt (sorry for the language). Will I do that? I might do it, I might not. I probably don’t want to do it because I don’t want to tell the truth. We’ve told enough truth in this film without truths about childhoods and shit, I don’t really want to tell the truth. I’ve dedicated the film to bobby Gillespie and that’s the right person it should be dedicated to because without Bobby Gillespie I could never have done Creation records.

It’s nice to hear that he’s getting that acknowledgement. I’ll look forward to seeing it up on the big screen. So thanks, from one independent to another.

I’m no independent (laughs) I’m just a house dad.

Upside Down: The Creation Records Story is showing at the BFI London Film Festival on:

Sat 23th October – 18:15 – Vue Screen 7 (Leicester Square)
Sun 24the October – 12:45 – Vue Screen 6 (Leicester Square)

or check website for details:

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