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Alan McGee (born 29 September 1960, Glasgowmarker, Scotlandmarker) is a London-based music industry executive and musician. McGee co-formed the independent Creation Records label (1983 - 2000).

Career

Early years

McGee 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. 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, McGee 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.

Creation Records

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 seminal 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.

These records were not commercial hits, and with McGee's escalating drug use 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 mavericks Tim Abbott, 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 as he hated Sony with a passion forever more.

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, Morning Glory? soon grew into the biggest selling British album of the decade.

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 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.

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 releaseXTRMNTR, which went gold in the UK. 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).

Following Creation's closure, McGee developed into property - buying houses, flats, a farm in Walesmarker and even an office block in Primrose Hillmarker. 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. 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 Streetmarker.
 McLaren immediately stood down when Livingstone did finally decide to stand for Mayor. McGee had enough of the Labour Party by 2000 and declared more interest in football as he is a boyhood fan of Rangers F.C. .


In late 2009, McGee joined The Sun's campaign against Labour and in favour of the Conservatives, contributing an article to the October 1 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."

Poptones Records

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 , McGee found platinum success within the second year with The Hives.

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

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


Death Disco

McGee runs the international club night, Death Disco. McGee also DJ's on the odd occasion around the globe under the moniker of "Death Disco". Death Disco has had branches in Glasgowmarker, Londonmarker, New York Citymarker, Budapestmarker, Los Angelesmarker and San Franciscomarker. Death Disco has appearances from The Libertines, The Killers, BRMC, Kaiser Chiefs, Glasvegas, Razorlight, The Hives, Kasabian, The Darkness among others. Death Disco Moscow is scheduled to open in 2009 .

Blogs/websites

Since 2006, Alan McGee has been writing a weekly music blog at The Guardian's website.

In January 2009, McGee and Paul Brownell started a new music website called TooCoolToDie.com The site features up and coming artists, interviews, and reviews with blogs by both McGee and Brownell.

Personal life

Since 1998, McGee has been married to musician Kate Holmes his long term girlfriend since 1995, currently of the Client and formerly of the Frazier Chorus and Technique. The couple has a daughter.

His first marriage produced a son. Due to McGee's long-running drug habits, he had been estranged from his first wife and had not seen his son since he was a baby. In 2005, McGee told The Independent that his son had then recently contacted him and they had reunited.

Retirement from music management

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. Since the '80s he has 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 and loves newer bands such as Glasvegas, The Grants, The Vortex, etc.

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. McGee also has a recording studio in Glasgow with Mogwai.

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

In November 2008, he was a visiting fellow on the popular music degree course at the University of Gloucestershiremarker.

References

  1. The Sun, October 1 2009
  2. Alan McGee: "Why I'm giving up my label" at The Independent
  3. TooCoolToDie.com
  4. Jury, Louise. Alan McGee: "I don't look anger", The Independent, 6 September 2005
  5. Alan McGee's MySpace Page
  6. Supporters at LIPA
  7. "Alan McGee faces the music" a University of Gloucestershire press release


External links




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