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Alan McGee

Alan McGee
Background information
Born (1960-09-29) 29 September 1960
Origin Glasgow, Scotland, UK
Genres Alternative rock
Occupation(s) 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) is a Scottish businessman and music industry executive. He has been a record label owner, musician, manager, and music blogger for The Guardian. He 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, and The Libertines.


  • Career 1
    • Early years 1.1
    • Creation Records 1.2
    • Post-Creation politics 1.3
    • Poptones Records 1.4
    • Death Disco 1.5
    • Blogs/websites 1.6
    • Retirement from music management 1.7
    • Creation Management 1.8
    • Autobiography 1.9
    • Films 1.10
    • 359 Music 1.11
  • Personal life 2
  • Discography 3
    • with The Laughing Apple 3.1
    • with Biff Bang Pow! 3.2
    • with The Chemical Pilot 3.3
  • References 4
  • External links 5


Early years

McGee was born in East Kilbride on 29 September 1960.[1] He grew up in Glasgow and attended King's Park Secondary School, where he met future Primal Scream founder Bobby Gillespie. The two 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.

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 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.

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.

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. 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. 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

Following Creation's closure, McGee developed property—buying houses, flats, a farm in Nineteen Eighty-Four and accused 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 with whom he had 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. McLaren immediately stood down when Ken Livingstone finally decided to stand for Mayor.

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

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, 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

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.


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

On 12 September 2008, 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. 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. In November 2008, he was a visiting fellow on the popular music degree course at the University of Gloucestershire. 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.[9]

Creation Management

McGee announced in May 2014 he had restarted Creation Management with Simon Fletcher and signed The Jesus and Mary Chain as his first clients. The roster has rapidly expanded to includeWilko Johnson, Happy Mondays, Black Grape, and Shaun William Ryder solo projects. Mcgee has been quoted as saying "I want Creation Management to become as big as Creation Records was, together with my business partner we want to work with these great artists, help them reach all their full potential, as well as bringing on new young talent."


McGee's autobiography "Creation Stories" is scheduled to be published in Europe on 7 November 2013, by Pan McMillan.[10]


"Upside Down," a film on Creation Records premiered at the BFI in London on 23 and 24 October 2010.[11] It was scheduled for worldwide release in May 2011.[12]

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 2012 on the grounds of McGee's house in Wales.[13] In the film McGee plays himself. He also appears in Svengali, which 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." [14]

359 Music

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.[15] In the ensuing month he reviewed 2500 submissions for signing.[10][16]

Personal life

Since 1998, McGee has been married to Kate Holmes, 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. McGee's mid-1990s drug intake was such that he eventually suffered a breakdown. He has said 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, who were 'cool' about his cleaning up, but that his sober state made his relationship with Primal Scream difficult.[17]

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, whom he had not seen since he was a baby, had contacted him and they had reunited[18] but are now reportedly estranged again.[19][20]


with The Laughing Apple

  • "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!

see Biff Bang Pow! discography

with The Chemical Pilot

  • "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


  1. ^ a b Strong, Martin C. (2003) The Great Indie Discography, Canongate; ISBN 1-84195-335-0, pp. 409-10
  2. ^
  3. ^ ]
  4. ^ The Sun, 1 October 2009.
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Topping, Alexandra. Film to Immortalise Lords of Creation Records,, 8 January 2010.
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Jury, Louise. Alan McGee: "I don't look anger", The Independent, 6 September 2005
  19. ^ Howard, Ali. Alan McGee counts the personal cost of Creation. The Herald, 19 April 2011.
  20. ^

External links

  • Cameo appearance in drama series Svengali
  • Alan McGee Interview 2009
  • TEDx talk
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