The Big Interview: Alan McGee

Alan Mcgee

We chat to founder of Creation Records Alan McGee, about his autobiography, being involved with a label again and who should have been massive… 

The Double Negative: Congratulations on the book. What was the process like?

Alan McGee: We started it a couple of years ago … with a ghost writer who managed to hand in one chapter in a year. So he got the sack. From that I had an editor, Luke Brown … I didn’t even have a deal at this point. We then kind of mumbled and wrote shit down… He synchronised it and handed it into Pan [publisher Pan-MacMillan] thinking they’d tell us to fuck off, and they went ‘it’s coming out at Christmas!’

In terms of going over the highs and the lows, though, how was that?

It was fine – it kind of was what it was – I tend to look forward and not look back.

“The Super Furry Animals shoulda been really big… Household names big”

You’ve signed and managed some huge bands, the obvious ones being Primal Scream and Oasis, but who deserved bigger success than they achieved?

The Super Furry Animals – They probably shoulda been really big… Household names big.

In terms of the scene at that time – let’s call it Britpop for sake of argument – what is the legacy of that era?

I don’t really know. It was going on and it was called Britpop – [but] it was kind of Britpop after the event. Like Cool Brittania – it was only called that afterwards. It was just one of those things – people are great at giving things tags after the event. If you’re in the middle of it, you don’t really know what your’e doing. You’re just instinctively doing stuff.


How fondly (or otherwise) do you look back on it all?

I was probably too old for it to be honest with you! Punk was meaningful for me; Britpop was just something that I did that was commercially huge…

If you had your time again, who would you sign?

The Stone Roses. John Squire’s guitar is timeless, it’s like Jimmy Page or something.

“It’s not about indie or record companies, it’s about the apathy of the consumer”

How do you see indie now?

I think, you know, it’s not about indie or record companies, it’s about the apathy of the consumer buying music. We’re down to the last 10% of people who buy records – the other 90% of human beings just put their computers on  and … we all go on youtube and listen to some songs.

What’s it like being involved with Cherry Red Records and running 359 Music?

I’m loving Cherry Red. It’s the first time that I’ve actually been happy at a record company. It’s a partnership – musically it’s my decisions and I let them deal with the business part; the licensing and pressing up the records. It’s good… It’s really fun.

Which bands are exciting you right now?

I just like what I like. I like the Arctic Monkeys new record [AM]; I like the Glasvegas record [Later ... When The TV Turns To Static]; the Primals new record [More Light]… There’s a lot of new unsigned bands that I like; I’d like to put their records out – a ton of unsigned music that’s really, really good – and I am doing. I think that’s a good thing, y’know.


I’m not gonna tell you who I’m gonna sign!

Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label by Alan McGee is out now on Pan-MacMillan

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Posted on 12/11/2013 by thedoublenegative