Uk News Creation Records' Alan McGee: 'A film producer taking me to a crack house? Never! I found them myself!' United Kingdom news
PremierLeague-News.Com - McGee's life is given the ‘Trainspotting’ treatment in a wild new film written by Irvine Welsh. He talks about Britpop, Tony Blair and the poetic licence used in the script
PremierLeague-News.Com - Breaking Sport Transfer News ! Alan McGee is talking about a revolution. Two revolutions to be precise. Punk rock and acid house – the two musical movements he lived through. “I was lucky,” he says. “They were huge.” Both helped shape the anarchic spirit embedded in Creation Records, the indie label McGee founded in 1983 that famously showcased Primal Scream and Oasis. Oddly, he was much less enamoured by what came next. “I thought Britpop was rubbish,” he says. “But I sold a lot of records by Britpop so I can’t be a hypocrite. I never really dug it, y’know?”This is typical of the forthright, plain-speaking 60-year-old McGee, whose life – or an Irvine Welsh-spun version of it, as he keeps reminding me – is the subject of a vibrant new movie, Creation Stories. Scripted by Welsh and Dean Cavanagh, starring the excellent Ewen Bremner as McGee and executive produced by Danny Boyle, it’s all too easy to suggest this is another riff on Trainspotting, although the film’s director Nick Moran isn’t hiding the fact. “When I was first asked to do this, I saw it as the next Trainspotting,” he admits.Certainly, it feels full circle. In the Nineties, Welsh’s novel about Edinburgh heroin addicts became a pop culture phenomenon, aided by Boyle’s career-making Britpop-fuelled movie adaptation, starring among others Bremner, who’d already played the book’s junkie-in-chief Renton on stage (and switched roles to his hapless mate, Spud, for the movie). So when Boyle signed on to help close the financing on Creation Stories, Moran ran with it. “The moment his name was attached, I could go to meetings and say, ‘It’s Trainspotting set in Britpop.’”The i newsletter latest news and analysisEmail address is invalidThank you for subscribing!Sorry, there was a problem with your subscription.While it’s adapted from McGee’s own 2013 autobiography Creation Stories – Riots, Raves and Running a Record Label, there is plenty of poetic licence too. “The book is my version of my life,” says McGee. “The film is Irvine Welsh’s view on Creation and my life. And the truth is, it’s not that factually correct. Some of it is. Half of it happened; half of it is Irvine Welsh. And that’s just the way it is, but I can live with it, and I’m fine with it.” He chuckles. “I don’t hate the film. I think that’s the best compliment I can say!”McGee seems more than happy with his life story being mythologised by Welsh – even the depicted reunion with his estranged conservative father (played superbly by Richard Jobson) after a rough childhood in Glasgow. “I haven’t spoken to my Dad in 20 years and they’ve got me going into the sunset with [him].” But it’s not all exaggeration.“Some of it, Irvine got right. I did go through a massive breakdown just before Oasis exploded and I ended up in rehab and all that nonsense.”Creation Records famously showcased Oasis, above in 1994 (Photo: Ian Dickson/Redferns) Frequently teetering near bankruptcy in the Eighties, McGee’s success the following decade, beginning with Primal Scream’s seminal Screamadelica album, led him on an all-too-familiar path to drug-dependency – neatly captured in a scene where Bremner’s McGee is in Los Angeles, carousing with Jason Isaacs’ wannabe film producer, as they go from a swanky party to a hip-hop mogul’s VIP room to a shockingly unpleasant crack den, all in a hallucinatory blink of an eye.“Can I just say one thing?” interjects McGee. “That’s Irvine Welsh! None of that shit ever happened. I did end up in crack houses. But me meeting a film producer and going to a crack house? That never happened! I found my own crack houses! It never happened. But I’ve got to be honest with you – I was in loads of crack houses in Los Angeles at different points. But that’s just Irvine riffing.”Moran, who rose to fame as the geezer-ish criminal in Guy Ritchie’s hit 1998 crime caper Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, estimates he “was on the same surfboard” as McGee and his musicians – or at least catching the tail-end of the wave. Read More Don’t Look Back in Anger by Daniel Rachel, review: an oral history of Cool Britannia that verges on a fist fight He met Oasis’ co-founder Noel Gallagher more than once, but never encountered McGee “when he was his most interesting, when he was this explosive, volatile, crazy character”.Maybe just as well. When Welsh told McGee he wanted Moran to direct, he groaned. “I thought he was gonna be an absolute f***ing spanner,” he says. He’s not a fan of Guy Ritchie’s work, it seems. “All these movies like Snatch and Lock Stock… I hate these things. I hate the cheeky Cockney! It’s bollocks.
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. So I just thought he was one of these guys.” Then they met, and he relented. “He’s actually a good guy, a very thoughtful person.”Alan McGee on success: “I didn’t really change going in and I didn’t really change going out” (Photo: Getty/John Phillips)One of the film’s more cartoonish aspects is when McGee and his artists are courted by New Labour just as Tony Blair (played in the film by James Payton) was heading for power, and spin doctor supremo Peter Mandelson latches on to Cool Britannia (despite using D: Ream’s “Things Can Only Get Better” as their signature tune). The shots of Bremner’s McGee looking awkward among the Westminster suits is telling. “I was a bit out of place,” he admits, “but I’ve got no beef with Tony Blair… The last time Britain was good was Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. I like them. I know that’s not rock’n’roll cool.”There’s a more uncomfortable moment when McGee is introduced to Jimmy Savile at a dinner hosted by Blair at Chequers in 1999. The film references the Sex Pistols musician John Lydon’s 1978 TV interview where he dropped hints at Savile’s rumoured predatory behaviour, though McGee “had no clue” at the time they met that the TV personality was one of Britain’s most notorious paedophiles. “I never knew!” he says. “I met him and I thought he was a gangster to be honest.”Chaotic and colourful, Creation Stories does vividly capture why this indie label was so important, even before the Britpop era, supporting bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine. “If anyone got signed to Creation, that was it,” says Moran. “You were with the coolest label, and this is even before Oasis. That was the label, that was it. It was all about success without compromise. They didn’t have to make cheesy things. They could do something genuinely cool.”McGee doesn’t seem bothered that Creation came to an end – dissolved in 1999 after his breakdown. He’s still “vaguely” in touch with the musicians that used to be on his label. “I don’t not get on with any of the bands.” He frequently speaks with Noel Gallagher but hasn’t seen Liam for about five years. Does he lament the fact the band split acrimoniously, leaving the brothers not talking? “It’s family shit,” he shrugs. “It is what it is. What can you do?”Ewen Bremner as McGee. ‘Creation Stories’ is scripted by Irvine Welsh and Dean Cavanagh and executive produced by Danny Boyle (Photo: Sky Cinema Originals/Creation Stories)He now runs a new label, It’s Creation Baby, with artists such as Scottish singer-songwriter Charlie Clark, punk band Cat SFX and Galway’s The Clockworks. “I’m still finding good stuff and I’m still putting records out. It just was different in the Eighties and Nineties. It’s just people that don’t care any more, which is OK.” He seems entirely philosophical about success. “I didn’t really change going in and I didn’t really change going out.”Moran is more concerned – the way pop became reality TV-influenced, factory-floor manufactured and owned by the corporations. “[Back in the Nineties] we were ruling the roost for five minutes. And then the man came along and took it back. And I think that’s what it would have been like in the Sixties. We had our Sixties moment at the end of the Nineties. It only lasted about 18 months. But that was it, we had it. And I don’t think it’s happened again since.” Read More Patti Smith and Lenny Kaye: 50 Years of Words and Music, review: compelling, and profoundly moving The finale of Creation Stories features a big montage – a V-flick to the establishment, The X Factor and the Simon Cowells of the world. “There were more people that would have gone into that montage at the end, but everybody would have sued!” laughs Moran, who laments that fact the “punk ethos” that McGee grew up on has dissipated. “The film is about that energy, and wherever that springs from,” he says. “It doesn’t exist right now and it needs to.”‘Creation Stories’ plays online at the Glasgow Film Festival between 24 and 27 February (glasgowfilm.org), then on Sky Cinema from 20 March
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