Alan McGee

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Alan McGee
Alan McGee.jpg
Background information
Born (1960-09-29) 29 September 1960 (age 53)
Origin Glasgow, Scotland
Genres Alternative rock
Occupations Record label owner, film producer, singer, songwriter, guitarist, DJ, music blogger
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1981–1991, 1997–1998 (as musician)
1983–2007 (as record label owner)
Labels Creation, Poptones,359 Music
Associated acts The Laughing Apple
Biff Bang Pow!
The Chemical Pilot

Alan McGee (born 29 September 1960) has been a record label owner, musician, manager, and music blogger for The Guardian.

McGee is best known for co-forming and running the independent Creation Records label from 1983–1999, and then Poptones from 1999-2007. He has managed and championed successful acts such as The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, The Libertines.

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

McGee was born in East Kilbride on 29 September 1960.[1] He grew up in Glasgow and attended King's Park Secondary School during his teens. It was there he met future Primal Scream founder Bobby Gillespie. McGee and Gillespie were heavily into punk rock, and they joined a local punk band, The Drains, in 1978. The band's guitarist was Andrew Innes.[2] After the breakup of The Drains, McGee along with Innes moved to London and formed the band Laughing Apple. They recorded three singles in 1981 and 1982, two of which were released on Autonomy, and the third was put out on their own Essential record label.

In 1983 he co-founded Creation Records (named after cult 1960s band The Creation) with Dick Green and Joe Foster. He also formed the band, Biff Bang Pow! (named after The Creation's song), which would continue until 1991. Whilst working for British Rail he began managing a band called The Jesus and Mary Chain, who became an underground sensation when McGee issued their first single on his label in late 1984. He then edited his own music magazine called 'Communication Blur' which he went around various gigs selling with his mate Tim nickolls.

Creation Records[edit]

Creation Records was one of the key labels in the mid-80s indie movement, with early releases featuring artists such as Primal Scream, The Jasmine Minks, and The Loft.

When The Jesus And Mary Chain moved to Warner Brothers in 1985, from McGee's profits as their manager Creation was able to release singles by acts including Primal Scream, Felt, and The Weather Prophets. While these records were not commercially successful, McGee's enthusiasm and uncanny ability to woo the weekly music media ensured a healthy following. Following an unsuccessful attempt to run an offshoot label for Warner Brothers, McGee regrouped Creation and immersed himself in the burgeoning dance and acid house scene. The legacy of which saw him release era-defining albums from Creation mainstays Primal Scream and new arrivals like My Bloody Valentine and Teenage Fanclub.

Creation had run up considerable debt that was only held off until he sold half the company to Sony Music in 1992. McGee calls the Sony years as the beginning of the end of the real Creation Records, which was driven by Joe Foster, Tim Abbot, Dick Green and McGee himself, and not by Sony accountants and marketing managers. To this day he claims he hated the 1990s and preferred the 1980s.[citation needed]

At the point it seemed Creation would collapse into receivership, the recently signed Manchester band Oasis began selling albums in huge quantities, as they epitomised the cultural Britpop movement of the mid-1990s. The success of Oasis was unprecedented for an act on an independent label, and their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? soon grew into the biggest selling British album of the decade.[citation needed]

This brought exposure to McGee, whose position was noted by the revitalized Labour Party, who considered him a figurehead of youth culture and courted his influence to spearhead a media campaign prior to the 1997 General Election. McGee was largely responsible[citation needed] for changing government legislation in relation to musicians being able to go on the New Deal which gave musicians three years to develop and be funded by the government instead of having to take other jobs to survive. Omnibus even went on to make a documentary on McGee and Creation in 1998 for BBC One. McGee was awarded by the NME 'Godlike Genius' award in February 1995 (John Peel won it the first year in 1994) and Creation Records was awarded "independent label of the year" every year between 1995 and 1998 by Music Week. McGee returned to making music in 1997, collaborating with Ed Ball under the name The Chemical Pilot, releasing the album Journey to the Centre of the Mind in 1998.[1]

Oasis went on to sell nearly 54 million records by 2008, Creation continued issuing acclaimed albums by other artists, none of which came near the success of the Manchester band. Rumours of McGee's dissatisfaction with what his once proud indie label had become began to circulate. In late 1999 it was announced that Creation Records would close. The final album released by the label was Primal Scream's 2000 release XTRMNTR, which went gold in the UK.[citation needed] The final single was the third released from the album itself. Two books were written in the wake of Creation Records: One, by David Cavanagh, which McGee calls "the accountant's tale" and one by Paulo Hewitt. McGee closed Creation Records for good, selling the rest of the shares to Sony in 2000 for an overall price that was staggered through the 1990s of around $30,000,000 (USD).

Post-Creation politics[edit]

Following Creation's closure, McGee developed into property - buying houses, flats, a farm in Wales and even an office block in Primrose Hill. In January 2000 he likened the Labour party to Big Brother in the George Orwell novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and accused prime minister Tony Blair of being a "control freak". He had previously been one of Labour's biggest financial donors, having donated some £100,000 to the party.[3] As a final insulting gesture to Sony Music and the Labour Government who he had now fallen out with, one of McGee's last acts as Creation Records boss was to use £20,000 of Creation's money to fund Malcolm McLaren, in what was known in the media as Malcolm for Mayor, to run for Mayor of London.[citation needed] Until the point Ken Livingstone decided to stand for Mayor, McLaren had garnered an estimated six per cent of the capital's vote in street polls which may potentially have given McLaren a political role in Livingstone's team to run London. This put McGee on the front page of The Sun three days in a row and upset Tony Blair and 10 Downing Street.[citation needed] McLaren immediately stood down when Livingstone did finally decide to stand for Mayor. McGee had had enough of the Labour Party by 2000 and declared more interest in football as he is a boyhood fan of Rangers F.C.[citation needed].

In late 2009, McGee joined The Sun's campaign against Labour and in favour of the Conservatives, contributing an article to 1 October 2009 edition of the paper in which, in a significant new development from his previous attacks on New Labour, he praised Conservative leader David Cameron, saying of him "At least David Cameron looks like a leader."[4]

In The Sun in April 2010 McGee stated he would vote for his local Welsh MP Roger Williams who is a Liberal Democrat.[5]

Poptones Records[edit]

The dissolution of Creation Records led to McGee forming Poptones in 2000. The label's name is a homage to the Public Image Limited song. Although Poptones was written off by Paul Lester of Uncut after eight days of opening[citation needed], McGee found platinum success within the second year with The Hives, and received press with the The Others (band).

In May 2007, McGee told The Independent newspaper that he was winding down Poptones for financial reasons.[6]

Alan McGee, Kate Moss, and BP Fallon DJing at Death Disco NY in 2004

Death Disco[edit]

McGee ran the international club night, Death Disco. McGee occasionally DJ's around the globe under the moniker of "Death Disco". Death Disco had branches in Glasgow, London, New York City, Budapest, Los Angeles. Death Disco had appearances from The Libertines, The Killers, BRMC, Kaiser Chiefs, Glasvegas, Razorlight, The Hives, Kasabian, The Darkness, Neils Children, The Foxes among others. Mcgee has no further involvement with Death Disco since 2009.

Blogs/websites[edit]

From 2006 to 2010, Alan McGee wrote for The Guardian's weekly music blog.[7]

Since September 2011, McGee blogs for The Huffington Post UK.[8]

Retirement from music management[edit]

On 12 September 2008, Alan McGee retired from band music management and being involved with record companies after 25 years. The decision was due to him wanting to concentrate on raising his daughter.[9] Since the '80s he had managed Jesus and Mary Chain, The Lilac Time, Primal Scream, Mogwai, The Kills, The Libertines, Mew, Dirty Pretty Things, The Beta Band and Black Affair.

After he sold Creation Records to Sony, he continues to publish songs of label acts such as Oasis, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver, Teenage Fanclub, Eugene Kelly of The Vaselines under Creation Songs.

In 2007, McGee was made a Companion of the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, in recognition of the work that he has carried out with students.[10]

In November 2008, he was a visiting fellow on the popular music degree course at the University of Gloucestershire.[11]

In interviews with the Glasgow's Daily Record in September 2010 and the UK's The Independent in October 2010, McGee stated he had lost interest in music and was more interested in the esoteric and occult teachings of Aleister Crowley and Peter J Carroll.[12][13]

McGee announced in May 2014 he had restarted Creation Management again with Simon Fletcher and signed The Jesus and Mary Chain as his first clients.

Autobiography[edit]

McGee's autobiography "Creation Stories" is scheduled to be published in Europe on 7 November 2013, by Pan McMillan.[14]

Films[edit]

"Upside Down," a film on Creation Records premiered at the BFI in London on 23 and 24 October 2010.[15] It was scheduled for worldwide release in May 2011.[16]

In February 2012, McGee announced in the Huffington Post that he had started a new film company with writer/director Dean Cavanagh, who still works with Irvine Welsh, called Escalier 39. The film "Kubricks" was scheduled to be shot in the summer of 2012 in the grounds of McGee's house in Wales.[17] In the film McGee plays himself.

McGee also appears in a new film "Svengali". The film premiered at the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June 2013. According to The Hollywood Reporter, McGee "enjoys a surprising amount of screen-time and, in what is perhaps a deliberate in-joke, is never seen without his Trilby hat." [18]

359 Music[edit]

In October 2012, McGee stated that he was going help curate the Japanese rock festival Tokyo Rocks in 2013 and through working with Tokyo Rocks had become interested in starting up an as yet unnamed record label in 2013.

In May 2013, McGee announced the new label as a joint venture with Cherry Red Records called 359 Music. He stated he saw it as launch pad for new artists.[19] In the ensuing month he reviewed 2500 submissions for signing.[14] The first artists to be signed are John Lennon McCullagh, Gun Club Cemetery, Tess Parks, Chris Grant, Pete Macleod, and Mineral.[20]

The 359 label launch, along with that of a regular club night at the Liverpool club District, is scheduled for 6 September 2013. Chris Grant will play live.[21]

Personal life[edit]

Since 1998, McGee has been married to musician his longtime girlfriend Kate Holmes who is currently of the Client and formerly of the Frazier Chorus and Technique and now runs the fashion label Client London. They have been together since 1994. The couple has a daughter who is now 13 called Charlie, and they currently live in rural Wales.[12]

McGee's mid-90s drug intake was such that he eventually suffered a breakdown, or 'crash' as he calls it in "Upside Down". He has said that he has no idea how many drugs he was taking at this point, but that he can't remember anything of the year 1993 other than the signing of Oasis. He also stated that Oasis were 'cool' about him cleaning up, but that his sober state made his relationship with Primal Scream difficult.[22]

His first marriage was unsuccessful but produced a son named Daniel. Due to McGee's former long-running drug habits, he had been estranged from his first wife and had not seen his son since he was a baby. Dan was adopted by his ex-wife's new husband in 1994 and his name was changed to Daniel Devine. In 2005, McGee told The Independent that his son now 16 who he had not seen since he was a baby had then recently contacted him and they had reunited.[23] Alan and Dan are again estranged.[24][25] Dan Devine is currently the frontman for the band Flats.[26]

After reading Peter J. Carrol's Liber Null, McGee became much more interested in the study of occult magick.[27]

In July 2012 Mcgee bought a Baptist Chapel in Talgarth in South Wales which he has now turned into a small events venue called The Tabernacle and will host acoustic events and literary events.

Discography[edit]

with The Laughing Apple[edit]

  • "Ha Ha Hee Hee" 7-inch (1981), Autonomy
  • "Participate!" 7-inch (1981), Autonomy
  • "Precious Feeling" 7-inch (1982), Essential
  • "Wouldn't You" 7-inch flexi-disc (1983), Creation - included with The Legend!'s "'73 in '83" single

with Biff Bang Pow![edit]

see Biff Bang Pow! discography

with The Chemical Pilot[edit]

  • "Astral Dominoes" 12-inch/CD-single (1998), Eruption
  • "Move a Little Closer" 12-inch single (1998), Eruption
  • Journey to the Centre of the Mind album (1998), Eruption

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate, ISBN 1-84195-335-0, p. 409-10
  2. ^ Michael Bonner (November 1999). "True Adventures of Primal Scream". Uncut. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  3. ^ "Labour pop guru turns on Blair". BBC News. 21 January 2000. Retrieved 29 April 2011. ]
  4. ^ The Sun, 1 October 2009
  5. ^ "Cool Britannia to Broken Britain". The Sun (London). 22 March 2010. 
  6. ^ "Alan McGee: Why I'm giving up my label". The Independent. 2007-05-11. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  7. ^ "Alan McGee". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  8. ^ "Alan McGee". Huffingtonpost.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-21. 
  9. ^ [1][dead link]
  10. ^ [2][dead link]
  11. ^ [3][dead link]
  12. ^ a b [4][dead link]
  13. ^ Bazley, Lewis (22 October 2010). "Cultural Life: Alan McGee, Creation Records founder". The Independent (London). 
  14. ^ a b Stanley, Carl (19 July 2013). "Louder Than War Interview: Alan McGee". Louder Than War. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  15. ^ [5][dead link]
  16. ^ Topping, Alexandra. Film to Immortalise Lords of Creation Records. "The Guardian, 8 January 2010"
  17. ^ Wilks, Jon. "Alan McGee on Kubricks: Interview". The Autojubilator. Retrieved 4 February 2013. 
  18. ^ Young, Neil (22 June 2013). "Svengali: Edinburgh Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  19. ^ Ingham,Tim (7 May 2013). "Alan McGee launches new label, 359 Music, with Cherry Red". Music Week. Retrieved 22 July 2013. 
  20. ^ Gallagher,Paul (15 July 2013). "ALAN MCGEE ON HIS LABEL’S NEW SIGNINGS, THE ROLLING STONES’ TOUR AND IF OASIS ARE ABOUT TO REFORM?". Dangerous Minds. Retrieved 21 July 2013. 
  21. ^ Wright, Jade (26 July 2013). "Liverpool is an Oasis of great music". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 27 July 2013. 
  22. ^ Wilks, Jon (22 June 2011). "Alan McGee: The Interview". Time Out Tokyo. Retrieved 8 July 2011. 
  23. ^ Jury, Louise. Alan McGee: "I don't look anger", The Independent, 6 September 2005
  24. ^ Howard, Ali. Alan McGee counts the personal cost of Creation. The Herald, 19 April 2011
  25. ^ Carl Stanley. "Interview: Alan McGee Returns To Live4ever To Discuss Meeting His Estranged Son & Noel Gallagher’s Solo Career". Retrieved 2011-08-23. "Dan got adopted at 5 by my ex wife’s husband and his name was changed to Daniel Devine. I then met him when he was 16 – he texted me in Mexico so we met up. We didn’t get on unfortunately after we met but I wish him all the best for the future." 
  26. ^ Freeman, John. Never Lose The Aggression: Flats Interviewed. The Quietus, 22 March 2011.
  27. ^ MusicFilmWeb. "Alan McGee: Creation and Chaos". 

External links[edit]