After Live4ever caught up with former Creation boss Alan McGee back in January as the documentary on the legendary label was being readied for launch, we recently had a follow up chat to discuss the subsequent success of the film, as well as delving deeper into some recent family issues and, of course, some more thoughts on Noel Gallagher‘s newly-launched solo venture.
Congratulations on the film ‘Upside Down’, looks great. On a personal level what does it mean to you to see your Creation stories on the big screen?
The film is great – I am pleased with it, but it’s in the past, it’s not where I am at anymore. But at least it represents what we were all like in the 90s so in that respect the film-makers got it right.
With doing the Svengali episodes, in which you showed an ease in front of the camera, and now the film going out is the industry some thing that really interests you these days?
Svengali is just great fun. I keep hearing strong rumours Jon has funding now so I really hope it turns into a film next year as really it’s too good not to happen.
In your interview with Live4ever back in January this year you stated: “I don’t like music any more, it bores me,” what’s worse, the industry or the music itself?
No, I find musicians bar Gillespie, Anton Newcombe and Ian Astbury just boring to be around; most of the boring people I know are musicians. They are nice people but I am just not that interested in anything bar The Beatles in truth.
What does interest you these days? Magic and the Occult books are some of them aren’t they?
I like the chaos majickians which is kind of punk majick. That whole school of majick came out around punk and came out of Leeds so I would say Peter J Carroll and the late Austin Osman Spare are a bigger deal to me than Crowley, although I like him as he is a genius and a massive media manipulator he is still doing it to this day and he died in 47.
It could be said that your profile has grown to more than the guy who signed Oasis or the Creation boss – which is a nice title anyhow – therefore would you consider the reality shows; the Jungle, you know, more mainstream projects…seriously?
If it was funny maybe as it would be ridiculous, but me in the jungle with one of the Spice Girls? I can’t ever see it happening.
How about something like ‘The Alan McGee Show’, I could well imagine you sat on a nice couch chewing the fat with Noel, Lemmy, Boy George etc?
I think i would be rubbish at that to be honest. Again it’s not me, but I bet you Noel could pull that off. I remember back in ’95 he did Gary Crowley’s show for a week and it was better than Gary so I will leave that for Noel to eventually do one day.
Really like the new band you’re involved with. The Broken Vinyl Club. An obvious comparison could be The La’s, although they definitely have their own thing going on. I’m presuming they must have something about them for you to get behind them?
Yeah, I stumbled over them in Wales in the valleys in this place where music is still alive and kicking called the Mountain Ash Inn, and the owners are all about the music so I DJ there sometimes and I bumped into that band. They are just a very good beat group who have tunes. I think Liam likes them as well so I am not alone.
The band are from Aberdare, south Wales and have played the Mountain Ash Inn, which has become a fave drinking spot for you and other music industry/artists, how did the Welsh connection come about?
Just through mutual friends like Dean Cavanagh, the writer of Svengali, and Jon Owen who plays Dixie. I got to know Tony Rivers and he really loves rock n roll so we clicked.
Compare the current finical situtaion to when you signed Oasis or sold to Sony today. Would you say the current finical situation in the UK is making it really hard for the bands and artists looking for contracts and suitable backing?
Nearly impossible for new bands as it’s all live. Something has to change for the better or I don’t know how new bands will break through the way it is now set up. I am glad I came through in the 80s and 90s.
Am I right in saying you used to be a clerk at British Rail? Do you still use the trains and what do you think to our current train system in the UK these days?
I love trains. I find planes boring, but I really love trains; where I live in Wales it’s three hours to London and the journey by train I still love.
You started out as a band member in Laughing Apple, so when was it that you first discovered you were more attuned to the managerial/music industry side of things rather then being in a band, being an artist, and why?
I ended up managing bands by default as nobody else was doing it. I never wanted to be in the music business, I just found out I was good at it so I decided to go that route – life is strange.
Having a look at some of your previous interviews I notice the same topics and questions usually crop-up – Oasis and Noel, Primal Scream etc. You’ve actually said in the past that you don’t go for nostalgia, you like to live in the now. Considering this can interviews be a bit of a drag and repetitive some times?
It is what it is. The interesting thing about all the bands you talk about - the Primals have never been better. Literally I saw them in Cardiff and it was mind blowing. I really like Beady Eye, although I know some people don’t agree, and the Noel demos are great so can’t wait to hear the finished album. These bands are still doing it and have a big audience, I live in wales so really I barely see anybody, but the film was good as it made me realise you are only ever as good as the groups you put out, and I put out some great ones so they make me look good in a historical way.
So not to disappoint on that score, regarding Noel, you’re one of the lucky ones to hear some of the tracks early o. Do you think this is the start of another great chapter for Noel as a solo artist?
I hope so, the demos are raw – I hope he keeps some of that edge when he releases music. He has the tunes.
If I can I would like to ask you about Dan Devine your estranged son who has a band called The Flats. He’s been quoted a number of times recently as talking of his lost relationship with you, his father, and in a recent interview he claimed to be ‘abandoned’ by you when he was young, what’s the truth?
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.
Lastly, you’ve achieved so much in your career up to now, do you still have any unfulfilled dreams or ideas that you’d like to take on, if yes what are they?
Life is for living, I am over the music business but I still love The Beatles. I love Wales, my main interest in life is my daughter and being her Dad. I love going away to DJ as it reminds me of a bit of me that used to be me 24/7. I can’t see how I would fit back into music as it’s too corperate these days I loved Creation and the bands and the people who I worked with but it’s done now, if people miss it buy the DVD!