John Robb talks with Alan McGee

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John Robb talks with Alan McGee, the main man of Creation Records. Read all the things he says for Oasis, Primal Scream, Stone Roses etc

Upside Down’, the soon to be released documentary on Creation records, is one of the great rock n roll films.
Threatening to catapult the maverick and multi million selling label back into the mainstream like ’Control’ did for Joy Division the Danny O Conner directed film interviews all the main players and tells a tale of drug driven mayhem, pop culture surfing and purely instinctive signings that defined an era of British music. The film not only touches on the chemical madness but the relationships that drove the label with a surprising emotional clout.

Main man Alan McGee instinctive enthusiasm and ability to create such beautiful madness made the label perhaps the key UK independent in the eighties and nineties.
Now retired from the music business and famously scathing of previous attempts to document the label McGee is more than happy with the film.

I’m forever indebted to Danny O'Connor he has totally nailed spirit of Creation records. He’s a genius filmmaker. Normally I find it really hard if I'm involved in things to be complimentary but it’s shockingly good. I thought ended up being some kind of bizarre indie release but it’s shaping up to do really well.

It was brilliant because they had to give it subtitles at an American film festival! I think it’s because of all these Scottish and Mancs and nobody can understand what anyone says!

There’s some great interviews

Gallagher’s amazing in it but then he’s one of funniest people alive, Gillespie is brilliant in it. I'm self depreciating which is good- thank fuck! Dick Green is a superstar, Joe Foster is a superstar, Ed Ball is a superstar. I think Danny has got the spirit of what we were trying to achieve. The film is nearer to my vision of the truth than Dave Cavanagh's book which was a lot of facts- they all kind of happened but it didn’t have the sprit. I'm not knocking Dave Cavanaugh because ultimately people really like that book but for me it wasn’t what it was about.

One of the great things about the film is that it underlines how much of a Creation band Oasis were.

What me and Foster set out to create with the label was the merging of the Creation with the Sex Pistols- of punk and psychedelia. In 1993 I saw Oasis doing ‘I Am The Walrus’ and it was perfect but I had no idea that it would become the mainstream.
We didn’t create them but we helped create the scene, the context.

I will tell you what is really scary about that film is that Noel remembers the clothes I was wearing when I met him better than I did! The scary thing is he's right- I was dressed like a fucking seven year old -blue jacket white jeans and red shoes, the fucker got it right!

The film is not just a rock n roll story, it’s quite emotional as well.

Great bit when Dick Green gets emotional about me getting ill and I dedicate the film to Gillespie because I couldn’t have done it without him. We had fallen out but I ran into him on holiday recently and it’s become ok again we can send each other texts. I've known Bobby 40 years and we went through a period of five years of not talking to each other and we’ve just come out of that. There is no way I could have done it without Bobby - number one is Primal Scream who are the central group to the story and number two is that Bobby brought me Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary chain and Teenage Fan Club. I brought Oasis, My Bloody Valentine and Ride bit you have to give Bobby half the credit for the label.

Liam and Noel are getting bust again…

Interesting. Is Liam’s download a single or just a free track? There has to be more to come. I think its fine and pretty good but I imagine the album is rocking. Andy bell incredible guitar player.

I’ve heard Noel’s stuff which is amazing man. It’s stripped down, just the songs- three massive tunes like ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, ’Live Forever’ type of songs. I said are you sending me the demos and it was, yeah! And three months later they fucking arrived and immediately I went through the songs and it was tune! Tune! Tune!

I would say it’s probably his best record since ‘Morning Glory’.

I think he was going to make a solo record anyway- that was an inevitability. It’s a pity they fell out so bad but I'm sure they can make up at some time. Noel is one of the good guys. The music business does not promote gentlemanly behavior but he's a fucking gent, that's the bit everyone fucking misses about Noel.

There was nothing more untrendy than to sign a band from Manchester in 1993 and who turned up but the Gallagher brothers and luckily I had the balls to sign them. I remember the first sessions and ‘Slide Away’ came out of that, fucking incredible, and I thought anyone who can come out with a tune like this has got a job for life .

I wish I had signed the Stone Roses. I don’t know how missed them. They were the only band I missed. We were on a role at that point. We get every good one. I never worked with Ian Brown, there was a vague flirtatious period in the middle of the decade when he was between managers but we ended up not doing it for some unknown reason but we should have, it would have worked.

5 things like now

I really like living in Wales.
I really like being retired
I really like the esoteric, occult teachings of Aleister Crowley, Austin Osman Spare, Peter J. Carroll and recently got into Grant Morrisson.
I really like investigating stuff now- just working out my relationship to a lot of stuff.
 I really like bringing up my little daughter and being a house dad, it’s amazing watching your little daughter grow up.

Do you miss music at all?

Not really. I'm not denying that at half ten this morning I listened to Liam’s new song but there’s very few people that interest me I cannae get interested in Mumford and Sons- I don’t understand why anyone would like it. Can you make sure you put that I'm retired- I'm not semi retired- I'm retired.

Have you heard Flats? Your son’s band.

I haven’t seen him three years. I’ve not heard his group. I hope he does really well. If you say it’s good it must be good- I hope his band are great.

Something never told anyone

Before Creation we were in a band called Laughing Apple, touring with Eyeless In Gaza. At a gig at Edinburgh University we were in a side room and there’s eleven big Burundi drums in there and we played them for 45 minutes with Eyeless In Gaza drowning out the straight’s disco. We came out and the guy who took my 400 quid guitar got a punch in the throat and the guitar got nicked. We got in the van and Dick Green hit black ice and turned the van over.  We then broke up the band and I quit the music business only to retrun weeks later to start Creation off. It was a special night. Whatever we invoked with the drums was powerful.

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