Creation Records was simply one of the most iconic and important independent labels ever to grace this musical landscape. The man behind this Rock n Roll Behemoth was none other than the legendary and outspoken, Alan McGee.
With the success of ‘Upside Down’, the documentary, that told the story of the wild excess of Creation Records, McGee has now been pushed into the limelight once again as he frankly talked about his time running one of the most famous independent labels in music history, for the movie. Famously retiring a few years ago and turning his back completely on the music industry, McGee has agreed to answer a few questions for me. We discuss Creation, Oasis and we talk about Alan’s estranged son Dan Devine, lead singer of Flats and his comments recently in the press.
Sourmash: So with the success of ‘Upside Down’, reliving those memories and talking about it in such detail, was it a process you enjoyed contributing too?
Alan McGee: I like the film, the film makers got the spirit right. There are other creation offers for films and books but really let’s all give it a rest after this film for a few years its been done now I want to make a Svengali movie next with Jon (Owen) and Dean (Cavanagh) and have some fun. This film to be honest hasn’t been fun as the film premiers have been painful as I have nothing in common as a person with the director but my bit is over and done with now so onwards with Svengali. I love Dean and Jon so it will be a laugh.
SM: Why do you think Creation Records became as iconic as it did and what do you think helped it become part of Rock n Roll history?
AM: Maybe because we didn’t, deep down, care. I was never that into music I just didn’t want a real job so when you don’t care you win.
SM: What was it that drove you to start Creation in the first place?
AM: To not end up being my Dad. I love the guy but I didn’t want his gig.
SM: With some very important bands on Creation such as Primal Scream and The Jesus And Mary Chain, were there any other bands that you wished you had signed around that time?
AM: The Roses and The Mondays, I loved them both.
SM: You talked very publicly about your feelings towards Sony around the early 90s, was it hard having other people come into the label and try taking it over?
AM: Yeah there a bunch of cunts.
SM: One of the biggest signings to Creation was Oasis, that first encounter with the band has since been become part of music folklore, what do you remember about that night and what was it about the band that made you sign them?
AM: I just liked them and I liked Noel’s guitar playing.
SM: Do you think it was inevitable the way the band eventually split up?
AM: No I just think it went down the way it went down. I actually love them both in really different ways Liam is very warm hearted and Noel is very loyal, they are both good men.
SM: I have read that you had heard early demo’s of Noel’s work for his solo album, what were you initial thoughts on his output?
AM: Loved them, keep it raw dude.
SM: During the height of “Britpop”, the Labour Party considered you a figurehead for youth culture, so much so you got an invite to 10 Downing Street. Was that something you felt comfortable with or was being involved in politics something you yearned for?
AM: No I never wanted it but by 1999 I was in the government it was very weird.
SM: After the sad demise of Creation you went on to create the Poptones label. It saw releases from the likes of The Bellrays and The Hives. Did it have that same ethos as Creation did, or did you have different ideas for it?
AM: It was what it was. I love The Hives but we were kind of before our time, I wanted an internet label 10 years too early.
SM: Once Poptones had finished in 2007, did you worry about what you wanted to do next or was the idea all along to just quit and give the industry up altogether?
AM: I got bored, I was 47 and when you have nothing left to say, fuck off to Wales and leave the city.
SM: A big part of your music industry career was managing bands too. What did you favour more, managing musicians or being the label boss or was there no real difference you think?
AM: It’s the same bullshit, I am over with music.
SM: On a slightly different note, I read an article on The Quietus website which featured your son’s band Flats in it. Your son, Dan Devine, made these comments about you…
“That man, he abandoned me as a child. Then he abandoned me again when I finally met him after 16 years. He plays absolutely no role in my life and has never done a thing to help me. I really hate the fact that people think he has played a part in it, because I have worked my fucking arse off. Over the past year I have slaved for this band – all of us have, we’ve all worked really hard – but it is a perception to some people. He has never done a single thing to help us. When we were getting a deal and stuff, I don’t even think it would have helped us, but some people might have utilised it as a selling point. I didn’t. To be honest, I never really discuss him with people.”
Now these seem to be some quite scathing remarks, did his comments shock you?
AM: He got adopted at 5 by my ex wife’s new husband, his name is Devine now, not McGee. We met when he was 16 and we didn’t get on unfortunately, but I wish him all the best for the future.
SM: I am interested to know if there is anyone in the music industry that you most admire? What about people like Geoff Travis of Rough Trade or Martin Mills of the Beggars Group perhaps?
AM: Neither of those fuckers. I admire Domino Records and Laurence Bell he means it and isn’t a prick.
SM: I know you are officially retired from the business, but have you ever thought about another venture ever? Make the big comeback into the industry at all?
AM: No I hate the music business, I only did it because I was good at it so I made millions, its full of cunts.
SM: And finally….If you could start up Creation and do it all over again, would you?
AM: No it wouldn’t work.
So there you have it, thanks to Alan for taking the time to do this and watch this space for the Svengali Project