Glaswegian Alan McGee was the embodiment of the D.I.Y. spirit of the 1980s and 1990s, bringing Oasis, Primal Scream, Jesus and Mary Chain and the Libertines to the world’s attention through his Creation Records and as a band manager. A charming raconteur and one-time center of every scene of rock ‘n’ roll mischief imaginable, McGee captured his tale in Creation Stories: Riots, Raves, and Running a Label, a memoir just recently adapted to the screen by Irvine Welsh and Nick Moran. Amy Haben spoke with Alan McGee for PKM.
Can you imagine stumbling upon a relatively unknown group named Oasis at a sparsely attended gig because you were chasing a girl? That was just the kind of magic that surrounded Alan McGee, the founder of London-based Creation Records. One evening at King Tut’s in Glasgow, Scotland, he sauntered in looking for a girl he fancied. After being struck by the talent of the Gallagher brothers, he approached Noel and asked if he’d like a record deal. Noel agreed and they spent the rest of their conversation bonding over the Beatles and the Sex Pistols.
The enigmatic McGee is an unlikely character in the history of music moguls. Born to a working-class family in Glasgow, he had the drive to be successful on his own terms. He was a street tough who played bass in a post-punk band, The Laughing Apple, after relocating to London in 1980. They broke up after a year, freeing him to start a second band, Biff Bang Pow!, named after a song by the ‘60s band, the Creation. The more mellow shift in mood reflected his broad musical interests. Along with creating music, McGee showed an acute ability to bring people together while earning a living. He was a catalyst in the thriving London rock ‘n’ roll scene while putting on gigs at the venue he managed, The Living Room. It was with this money and some inspiration from the band, The Television Personalities, which moved him to start Creation Records.
The independent record company he co-founded with Dick Green and Joe Foster, did remarkably well for itself over its 16-year existence. Oasis, Primal Scream, and My Bloody Valentine, among others, were signed to the D.I.Y. label. Alan’s innate talent for discovering groups who went on to be multi-millionaires came easy to him at the envy of all the major labels. The charming provocateur has also managed some of the coolest bands around, including The Jesus and Mary Jane Chain and the Libertines.
In 1985, Alan was quoted in Sounds magazine, “I run the greatest record label in the world.” He didn’t completely believe this in his heart at the time but knew he had to convince people to believe it, in order to get there. In his 2013 memoir, Creation Stories: Riots, Raves, and Running a Label, Alan wrote, “I’d use any trick I could to rise out of indie obscurity and I knew no one else had the balls to make these kinds of claims.” This was the difference between him and the stuffed shirts at the major labels. He was a musician from the streets, a risk taker, a fighter. He had a history of jumping off stage to throw punches if someone said the wrong thing to him during a set. His flaming red hair and pale skin made him fall victim to teasing as a kid while his father was the source of many bruises. Perhaps, this torment built his blaring inner strength.
Alan had a teenage obsession with David Bowie, especially the album, Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. His father worried that he was in love with Bowie, wanting a ‘man’s man’ kind of son. In the level of candor that makes my heart smile, Alan admits his dad was dead right. His first gig was the Ramones supported by the Rezillos. This music opened a door which shone a spotlight on the bleakness of his expected destiny. The brilliant yet simple chords and swagger of the amateur vocalists made him realize he could express himself the same way. Punk rock saved his life in a certain respect. If he would have never started a band, he would have never moved to London, and there would never have been a record company.
He took his childhood pal Bobby Gillespie to his first concert, Thin Lizzy, when Bobby was only twelve years old. The two would play music with their pal Andrew Innes (who later would become Bobby’s Primal Scream bandmate) in Andrew’s bedroom starting an imaginary band called Captain Scarlett and the Mysterons. They sang the Clash and the Sex Pistols, getting their kicks on nights when there were no punk gigs to attend. Bobby and Alan are still great pals 44 years later, Alan believing Bobby must’ve made a deal with the devil to maintain his boyish looks.
In the new film Creation Stories, based on Alan’s memoir, actor Ewen Bremner (Spud in Trainspotting) plays a post success McGee being interviewed by a young journalist. There are flashbacks to the young, excited musician and his process starting the legendary label. Director Nick Moran (Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels) made sure to be as raw and real as it gets in this rock ‘n’ roll saga. Trainspotting’s Irvine Welsh wrote the film’s screenplay, taking a bit of artistic license but bringing wit and style to his gritty street characters.
Creation Stories | Official Trailer | Sky Cinema
A notorious partier, Alan McGee was known to be the one holding the party favors on most nights for his vast adopted family of misfit musicians. Uppers jived well with his fast-paced life. Partying all night with friends, Alan would make sure he had the right combination of pills to fly to L.A. from London with no sleep, just to jump off and head to another night of debauchery. Eventually, the drugs stopped working for him, leading to a life of sobriety.
After becoming friendly with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Alan helped enact a law to help musicians get benefits. He was appointed to the Creative Industries Task Force along with Richard Branson, Paul Smith and other business bigwigs. From there he was appointed to the Music Industries Task Force. They wanted him to be the leader, which meant he would be the head of the music industry in all of Britain. He turned the lead position down, but agreed to be on the team. This is where he was able to change the system. For ten years, a kid could simply show up with a guitar to the welfare office and collect fifty quid a week. After all, there is a reason why they call them, “starving artists.” This is one of his proudest achievements as he was able to help people and give back to those who were living his previous life of poverty.
Alan started DJing a now legendary night called Death Disco in 2002. Hundreds of people packed the space while hundreds waited outside trying to get in. Celebrities like Jude Law and Dave Grohl would stop by surrounded by the rowdiest rockers in town. Live bands would play, as well, including the Brian Jonestown Massacre and the Hives. DJing took him all over the world causing a near riot in Mexico while spinning with Carl Barat of the Libertines. Robert Plant eventually asked him to DJ his son’s wedding. The highlight of his DJ career was watching Robert Plant and Jimmy Page dancing to “Lola,” by the Kinks.
These days he spends his time supporting up and coming bands, running his record labels, Creation 23 and It’s Creation Baby, collecting art, DJing on Boogaloo Radio and spending time with his family. I was able to spend some nights hitting the pubs in London with his son Dan, who is a chip off the old block. He not only looks a lot like Alan, but has hilarious stories and loves punk music. I caught up with Alan while he was in Wales recently where we talked about the new film and, of course, music.
Alan McGee: I’m just down in Wales.
PKM: What are you doing in Wales?
Alan McGee: I just came down to check up. So how are you getting on? To whoever is watching us this is for Please Kill Me. I thought we should do an Instagram live. We had a hard time doing it another way.
PKM: Yes. To everyone watching, this is Alan McGee, creator of Creation Records. He has a new film coming out on Sky Arts about his life called Creation Stories, which is very exciting. This film is adapted from your memoir, Creation Stories. How did you get Irvine Welsh involved in the project?
Alan McGee: Well Amy, I knew him. I’ve known him since ‘91, since Screamadelica (Primal Scream album) which came about off the back of Acid House, which was mentioned in Trainspotting. He got big in Edinburgh. That film came out around ‘95 and it became a global hit. So I’ve been friends with him since ‘92 since before he was famous. I think I sent him the book, and he said to me it would be great to do a film about it since he has all the connections. I didn’t really take it too seriously but I got involved in it. He pulled it together. Irving got Nick Moran on board to direct. He’s a famous actor. He’s only directed a couple of films. He did the Joe Meek movie and now the Creation movie. They initially offered me Ewan McGregor, but I was like, “I do not look like fucking Ewan McGregor.” Then two or three days later a producer said, “What about Ewen Bremner?” Spud. I fucking loved him in Trainspotting. They got a bunch of great actors and then they got Danny Boyle. Danny Boyle put a lot into the film, so it was a good team effort, ya know?
PKM: Trainspotting was an amazing movie and Spud was my favorite character. Spud does look a bit more like you.
Alan McGee: Ewan McGregor is unbelievable, come on. He’s this big, sexy, handsome guy, and Ewen Bremner and I are wee, cheesy, ginger, Scottish guys. That’s what I look like, so it should be someone that looks like me. Spud does make it believable.
PKM: I can’t wait to see this movie. I hope it comes to the U.S.
Alan McGee: It will. I’m doing the deal. I’m not really involved in the business end of it. I’ve got a percentage in the back end, as it goes, ya know what I mean? America is gonna happen. They’ve been offered the deal and they are haggling at the moment. It’s coming out in weird places. I’m doing the Australian premiere, that’s not weird, on April 15th it’s coming out there, but Saudi Arabia paid big money for it. Who in Saudi Arabia is going to watch it? You know what I mean?
PKM: I have to congratulate you because you come from a working class background and you started this label on your own.
Alan McGee: Well Glasgow is working class. I don’t know anyone who isn’t. I’m sure there are a few posh bits…
PKM: I read that the first gig you attended was T. Rex when you were eleven years old. That must’ve been amazing.
Alan McGee: Oh, yeah it was. I was looking at your Instagram. Are you obsessed with punk bands?
PKM: I was very much into punk as a teen and then I got into glam. I would say these days I’m into everything. I’d say glam is my favorite in the sense that it gets into the emotional, magical side of life. Then punk is my angry, teen angst music.
Alan McGee: Well you’re the same as me then. The Glam thing. Bowie was my guy. I am fucking obsessed with Bowie. T. Rex… I love Slade, obviously. I love Gary Glitter, but you aren’t allowed to like him anymore.
PKM: I still love Gary Glitter’s music and I know it’s controversial.
Alan McGee: I DJ sometimes and you can’t put Gary Glitter on. You’ll get stabbed. You know? He’s a cunt. At the end of the day, the records are good.
PKM: At the end of the day, we have to separate the musician’s personal lives from the music…I think most musicians have done terrible things in their lives…
Alan McGee: Haha!
PKM: You went to school with Bobby Gillespie. He’s a very nice guy. I met him in Ireland.
Alan McGee: Oh, yeah. He is. He has a book coming out. I think it’s coming out in October. Me and Bob grew up together and it was amazing. He’s a good guy. He hasn’t really changed.
PKM: He’s so sweet and he’s a great performer. He definitely doesn’t have that rock star persona, he’s just the guy down the block, completely humble. What was it like to watch these 14- and 15-year-old actors playing you guys? It must have been surreal.
I DJ sometimes and you can’t put Gary Glitter on. You’ll get stabbed.
Alan McGee: Yeah, there are two Bobbys in the movie. There is The Jesus and the Mary Chain drummer Bobby and Primal Scream Bobby. School Bobby as well, but that’s played by the same person. So there is the Glasgow teen Bobby and the older Bobby playing music in London.
PKM: So were you the guy in school that knew about all the underground bands?
Alan McGee: No. I was a fucking geek, man. Nobody wanted to hang out with me. I was into weirder music than most of the fucking people in my school because I was into Bowie, ya know Ziggy Stardust. Maybe twenty people at my school liked that record. They were all into the Status Quo and things like that, ya know what I mean? In retrospect, I came to love the Status Quo. A lot of people at my school were into Yes and Genesis. It was shit what they were into.
PKM: Probably disco as well.
Alan McGee: I was into Slade, Bowie, and Sweet. So they probably just thought I was an idiot, do ya know what I mean?
PKM: Right. It’s funny how music comes around. Roxy Music is also one of my favorites. The music is amazing and the cover art is amazing. I think it’s perfect that Irvine Welsh wrote the screenplay for Creation Stories because he writes in such a strong Scottish dialect. It was slightly difficult to read Trainspotting, but doing so you hear the accent in your head as you read. It reminds me of Hubert Selby Jr. who writes in a Brooklyn accent.
Alan McGee: Alan: I’ll tell you what sums up Scotland… Ewen Bremner is from Edinburgh and I said a couple of weeks ago, that he plays kind of a posh version of me because he’s from Edinburgh. It’s the only place in the world where people go, “I’m more common than you.” I’m going, “This Alan McGee is more posh than me!” English people are quite chatty and try to outdo each other.. ya know, “I’m posher, I’m richer.” Where Scottish people are the opposite going, “I’m more rough than you,” ya know what I mean. Haha.
PKM: I identify with that. Did you have to work closely with Ewen getting your mannerisms down?
Alan McGee: This film was nearly not made a million times and in the end, when they said, “Fuck it. We’ll do it.” It was a rush to the start, do ya know what I mean? So what Ewen had done from the start is rush through my 30 years in music through Youtube. Starting back in the Eighties. Two or three interviews from the Eighties and there were loads of interviews from the Nineties on there. So there was a lot of stuff. So when he met me, he could already do me. I had a really severe night with him at the Boogaloo bar, where I met you. He was going into character being me and I was like, “This is too weird, man,” ya know what I mean. He can really do me.
PKM: I love the Boogaloo. Thank god for Gerry (owner of the Boogaloo pub and film producer) for letting me stay there for a month.
Alan McGee: He’s a brilliant guy.
PKM: I actually hung out with your son, Dan.
Alan McGee: He’s a good boy.
PKM: He is so funny. You made a very funny human being. I had a blast going to bars with him. Good kid. He looks like he’s doing good lately.
Alan McGee: Oh yeah. He’s sober. He’s doing good man. He has a few drinks. So what, he’s a thirty-two year old kid, but he’s not on the darker stuff. That’s where he was at one point.
PKM: I love how you made this label in a D.I.Y. way. Most record label owners were wealthy or already famous pop stars themselves. Did you play music?
Alan McGee: Yes. I was in punk bands. It was good fun. I was in a fairly decent one because (Andrew) Ennis from Primal Scream wrote the songs and taught me to play the bass. Because I was in Andrew’s band, it was called The Laughing Apple, he would say it was my band but it was his.
John Peel kinda liked us. Andrew became Bobby’s writing partner in Primal Scream, ya know, so it was a semi good band. We didn’t do too much with it. Toured around Britain a couple times but that was about it. I come from that. I got into punk as a musician and then came to London at 19, Amy. Then I was in a band with Andrew. He was actually younger than me. He was 17 and I was 19. Doing gigs and going up to Charlie Harper. Getting on with the U.K. Subs.
PKM: The U.K. Subs!
Alan McGee: I think they had only one or two singles out then. It was 1981, or 1982.
PKM: Did you ever see that independent film UK/DK about all the early Eighties punk bands?
Alan McGee: No, but I saw UK/DK in 1981 or 1982 support the Southern Death Cult.
PKM: Which would become just the Cult.
Alan McGee: Yeah, I’m friends with Ian [Ashbury]. What were all the different versions of that? It was the Southern Death Cult, then Death Cult, then the Cult. They kept changing the name. I loved the Cult. What is interesting was when I took Jesus and the Mary Chain to the States as their manager in the Eighties… It might have been the second time we made it to New York. I think it was December 1985. We got “Psycho Candy,” out. Bobby, Douglas Hart and I went to the Ritz and we got tickets to the box and the Cult had just broke America at that point and it was brilliant. We knew Ian Ashbury a wee bit already and here he was smashing it at the Ritz and we thought, “Fuck, this is amazing.”
PKM: I saw the Cult live in around 2018 and they were perfect. I felt like I was listening to a record. So are the Clockworks, the band you are working with?
Alan McGee: They have a big American manager now, a guy called Peter Katsis. Do you know him? He’s got Morrissey, Blink 182, and all these bands. He’s a great guy. I just signed the Clockworks on the record label. I’ve got this punk star, Cat SFX, you’d like her. I’ve put out two songs so far. She has a new one coming out called “All the Money in the World.” She’s a real character. A real outspoken girl, which is cool.
PKM: Is there a movie premiere that you’ll be attending?
Alan McGee: There is no premiere because of Covid but that actually suits me. I’m a fucking hermit. Ya know? If there was a premiere, they would be bugging me to invite Bobby Gillespie and the Gallaghers. Anybody else they could think of that I may have a vague association with or have helped in their careers. Although, the truth is, I’m not really a premiere person, you know what I mean?
PKM: Do you still talk to the Gallagher brothers?
Alan McGee: I talk to Noel pretty frequently by text. He’s going to do a record with somebody I’m involved with. I haven’t seen Liam for years honestly. I haven’t seen Liam for six years. The last time I saw him was through the promoter, when I DJ’d for Beady Eye in Japan. They flew me out and I actually had a good time. Bobby and Noel I talk to quite a lot. Most of the bands I worked with I get on with quite well.
PKM: Do you have any crazy memories of parties that you went to in the Eighties or Nineties?
Alan McGee: Yeah, loads. We went to loads of parties. We had a great time, you know what I mean? We single-handedly turned the NME on to Acid House. The NME… People like yourself were king makers. The scene now… If you are a journalist now, it’s because you want to be a journalist and it is cool, right. Back then, the NME and the Melody Maker were king makers and we wanted to get them into Acid House because we had all these records coming out. So we invited all these NME people and just got them hammered on Ecstasy. Like four to five pills each. By the end, they were sold on Acid House.
PKM: That is hilarious. You were over there giving them massages…
Alan McGee: Danny was saying, “This music is fucking great, Alan.”
PKM: That reminds me of the Nineties. I went to a lot of underground raves. I was a punk first and then got into the rave scene for a bit.
Alan McGee: This was the Eighty-eight. I stumbled on to it. I found it in Manchester in the basement of the Hacienda. There was a party afterwards after the (Happy) Mondays/ New Order gig, who I managed at the time. It was just the bands and the managers. I was big in the E’s. There was a girl there I really liked. It wasn’t even that big. There were about seven people dancing. It was seven in the morning, we should have all gone home by then. I was dancing and thinking, “Fuck. I get it.” It was the first time I had taken the pill properly to the music.
PKM: It’s been so long since I took drugs. I’m stone cold sober.
Alan McGee: Me too. I’ve been sober since 1994 with the drugs and I got sober with the booze in 2005. I stopped it for a few years but I started back up… I had this club Death Disco, did you ever go to it?
PKM: No, but I’ve heard about it. It was in London, right?
Alan McGee: Yes, but we also had one in New York. BP Fallon had a version of it underneath the Williamsburg Bridge. It was a brilliant club. To be completely honest, I’ve got this friend, Joanna Pickering, and she wants to do a book and film about the Death Disco and me launching the Poptones label and going to Wales. I’m not even against it. I would’ve been against it in the past, but now I don’t think it’s a bad idea. When I started Poptones, it was influenced by Public Image Limited. I know Lydon and I asked him if I could use the name Death Disco and Poptones for the label and he was cool about it. I helped the Sex Pistols in the mid-Nineties because everyone was slagging them off when they came back together for a tour. I bought a page in the NME for the Sex Pistols. I’ve always gotten along with John, ya know?
PKM: The Filthy Lucre Tour! I was at it. I saw the show in Hollywood. John Lydon is incredibly talented. I saw PiL a few years ago and John’s voice is still brilliant. It’s exactly the same.
Alan McGee: I saw them with Dan. Lydon gave me two tickets to see Public Image at the Hundred Club and we were watching it. It was fucking great. Dan is obsessed with the U.K. Subs. I love them, but Dan is obsessed with them. We see this little grandad guy going past us. I go, “Look at this wee guy. It looks like a grandad version of Charlie Harper,” and Dan goes, “It fucking IS!” So we went and got our picture taken with Charlie Harper. Haha!
PKM: So funny. I was in London in 2019 and I went to some tiny town with a friend and there were two little old people walking down the street and one had a ‘Punk’s not Dead’ patch on the back of their leather jacket. The lady had purple hair and the guy had tartan pants on and I was like, “These are elderly punks!”
Alan McGee: Do you know how sad I am, Amy? Thinking of different people that I’ve met at different points of my life. Do you know the people that impress me the most are the punk stars, by quite a long way. Like Weller and Lydon… Ya know what I mean? Then someone like Joaquin Phoenix enters the room and I’m like (uses deflated tone), “Alright, how are you?” Hahaha!
PKM: I heard Tony Blair made you some kind of musical ambassador?
Alan McGee: The musical Tsar. No, that’s a joke. Basically, how that happened, was I put money into the Labour Party. I came out of rehab in 1994 and was a member of the Labour Party for a couple of years. Derek Draper said, “Are you the McGee that’s a Labour Party member?” I said, “Yes, I am.” He said, “Right. Well we want to come and see you.” The next day I’m in the office and I get a call that says, “The General Secretary of the Labour Party, Margaret McDonagh, for Alan.” I picked up and she asked if I’m that guy and I said yes but that I haven’t gotten my membership card yet. So she says, she will be right around. So she comes over and gives me the card and asks if I will help them and I said okay. She says, “Can you get Oasis for the Youth Party Conference?” So I said, “When is it?” This was a Monday or Tuesday, and she says, “Saturday.”
Alan McGee: They were literally the biggest band in the world. So I call up Noel and he was like, “I’m too knackered. I’ve just come back to America.” He wasn’t having it. So he said, “Just give them a fucking disc.” So I got a platinum record made up for the Labour Party and we gave them some cash. Oasis were fine with funding them. Then they started putting me on these committees. I was turning down all the jobs at first. There was a guy who was head of the Treasury and involved with the Coventry football team. Anyway, he calls me up and says, “Are you interested in getting young Britain back to work?” You got to keep in context that I was pretty big in the music industry at that point. So I said, No.” They started offering me all these mad jobs and eventually I got on the Creative Industries Task Force and then the Music Industries Task Force. The one good thing that I did was help change the legislation to help musicians get benefits. That was a law for about ten years. So I did some good.
PKM: Yeah. Too bad that ended. Was it voted out?
Alan McGee: They eventually got rid of Tony Blair because the Iraq thing was so bad. I still know Blair. I was in Tony’s office. Have you ever seen the Monty Python sketch, “Don’t Mention the War?” That is what it’s actually like. You’re in Tony’s office. You can talk about anything but you can’t mention the war. He’s actually not a bad guy. I think in another life, he would’ve been in a rock band, but he ended up running the country.
PKM: Was there a musical idol that you got to meet after you became a music bigwig?
Alan McGee: I was only a music bigwig for about two years, to be completely honest. I met some great people. I met Lou Reed. I met Neil Young.
PKM: I never got to meet Lou Reed or David Bowie even though I’ve lived in NYC for 17 years. It kills me that they’re gone.
Alan McGee: I met Lou Reed in New York. The funny part about Lou Reed… You probably have heard stories about him. An absolute awkward cunt. What happened was Seymour Stein took me in 1989. He was like, “You’ve got to meet Lou!” Sometimes when I like a musician that much, I don’t want to meet them. What am I going to say, “You’re great.” So I went and Lou was there with his wife, the one before Laurie, and there were ten Hell’s Angels in this small dressing room. It was like the Brooklyn School of Music. Seymour is all, “Lou! This is Alan! He’s got all the bands in England!” And Lou was like, Who is this cunt? Haha! So I was like fucking hell, man. But, what did I expect? It’s Lou Reed. He probably was just like, Who is this fucking idiot?
PKM: I feel like Lou’s bad attitude was an act because I’ve met some of his closest friends and they say he was the kindest man. Maybe he just didn’t want to be bothered because he was so famous, so he did that, I don’t give a fuck about you. Get the fuck out of my face, act.
Alan McGee: There was a funny dinner afterwards. Seymour invited Lou and every time the door would open Seymour would say, “Alan! It’s Lou Reed!” Even though it was some normal person coming in.
PKM: You didn’t want to be seen as some fan boy.
Alan McGee: Well, I was a fan boy. It was kind of funny in a cool way. I was pals with Joey Ramone. Did you know him?
PKM: No, but my bosses, Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain, did know him well. Please Kill Me was inspired by the Ramones.
Alan McGee: One of my pals was dating Joey Ramone. I had this white reggae guy from Nevis, he was actually brilliant, but I know it sounds terrible. I made a record with him. I actually sold loads of records of his over in Japan. I’m in New York at the Soho Grand Hotel with Joey Ramone, and it’s one or two in the morning. We are in my room berating the fucking producer, because the producer was one of these guys that would say one thing and do another complete mix. So we were listening to it and Joey was like, “He’s fucking ripped you off Al!” It was around three a.m. in England and Joey was making me phone the guy up to yell at him. The funny part is he was A and B in reggae mixes. That was Joey Ramone.
PKM: I heard Joey was very quirky and had a great personality.
Alan McGee: He had me put out this Ronnie Spector record because he produced it. It was right at the end of the Creation Records thing. He was a good guy and he ended up in the Primal Scream studio. They had him do something on one of their records, not sing, but play something else.
Joey Ramone & Ronnie Spector – Bye Bye Baby
PKM: I saw Ronnie Spector do her Christmas Special three years ago. It was magical. I also like how she handled Phil Spector’s death. He was crazy and did bad things, but she was lovely about him.
Alan McGee: I know you like the New York Dolls. Around 1989, I was in New York and David Johansen was doing his Buster Poindexter act. What a fucking showman. It was small, maybe 200 people. It was so brilliant. Have you seen him perform?
PKM: Yes! I love him. I hosted a party he performed on New Year’s to ring in 2020. He is not only talented but very funny. I remember one time the Dolls played at Bowery Ballroom and David performed a comedy act between songs. He said, “Can I go home now?” He’s a natural comic. Weirdly, I had an omelette with him at Kellogg’s Diner in Brooklyn. I’m usually very talkative, but with him I was a bit intimidated. He’s just very cool. So I talked to his wife mainly. He knows how to pose for photos well.
Alan McGee: I saw Johnny Thunders a few times. Mad places. The first time we were in L.A, Jesus and the Mary Chain and I saw his show at the Roxy in 1985. Two nights in a row. It was fucking great. There were about 200 people there.
PKM: That’s so awesome. I have a bit of jealousy. People your age got the best of all the music. You had punk and glam. You got to see the best of everything. I arrived too late.
Alan McGee: Yeah, I know. You don’t always know what you are seeing sometimes. That’s the truth. Sometimes you don’t know because you are so young. I got the punk, acid house, and glam. Punk happened when I was 15. Acid House when I was 27. By the time Brit Pop came around I was like, yeah, whatever.
Seymour is all, “Lou! This is Alan! He’s got all the bands in England!” And Lou was like, Who is this cunt? Haha! So I was like fucking hell, man. But, what did I expect? It’s Lou Reed.
PKM: Did you ever see Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust phase?
Alan McGee: Yes. I saw him in ‘72 when I was eleven. My mum and dad didn’t give a fuck about me going to shows. So I used to wander into town at ten and eleven and go to gigs. I had a job selling newspapers, so I always had a little bit of money. I took Bobby (Gillespie) to his first show. He was twelve and I was fifteen. I took him to see Thin Lizzy, it was 1974.
PKM: Were you guys able to drink there?
Alan McGee: No. At that age we were just going to the show.
PKM: Did you ever get into the X-Ray Spex or any of those female-fronted bands?
Alan McGee: Yeah. I loved the Slits. I loved Siouxsie and the Banshees, fucking hell. The Scream, and Join Hands were formidable records. I loved Blondie, obviously. Siouxsie really blew me away. She became a pop thing but those first couple of Banshees albums were classic.
PKM: Are you friends with Siousxie Sioux?
Alan McGee: No. I never met her.
PKM: You must have met Becky Bondage from Vice Squad.
Alan McGee: I know of her. That’s what’s great about you. I know you through other people. You are obsessed with that. I’m obsessed with punk too, man. I get excited when I met Charlie Harper.
PKM: I get energized by punk still.
Alan McGee: When I was doing that Boogaloo (radio) show, I play tons of punk. Do you go to that Rebellion Festival? It’s a punk festival in Blackpool. When this shit is over, I’m going to it. Dan is obsessed with punk too. When he was sixteen, I was DJing in L.A. at Part Time Punks. Dan is standing next to me and going, “This is shit.” Then he looks out in the crowd and says, “Fucking hell! There is Tim Armstrong.” The Rancid guy. So I told him to go and say hi to him. So he weaves through the crowd and comes back. I said, “How was he?” He says, “Oh, he was alright.” I said, “Did he say anything to you?” Dan says, “Yeah. He said he’s here to see you.” Haha! It was brilliant, ya know what I mean?
PKM: He is lucky to have you as a dad.
Alan McGee: He is a character. He’s a punk chef. I was talking to my friend about bands. He was saying, “The thing is, Al, every kid just wants to be a fucking rapper.” He is fucking right, the rappers are more rock ‘n’ roll then the rock bands, ya know what I mean?
PKM: I read about ten years ago, some punk icon saying that rap artists are the new punks. You know they mainly come from poverty, they write honestly, and they come from the streets. They are struggling against the man. The attitude is there. Speaking on money, now that Covid has happened, friends have moved to Scotland from London to save money. Some of my friends are moving back from Los Angeles to New York because rents have gone down by around a thousand dollars. Do you think this will create a new scene?
Alan McGee: It will be in New York. London is a bit cheaper again for rents. That will obviously help. If musicians can live in cities, that will be great. Before Covid, a lot of musicians couldn’t afford to live in London.
PKM: One good thing that came out of last year is that musicians can afford to live without working too many jobs.
Alan McGee: Yeah. Glasgow is great for musicians, where London has been expensive for a long time. So hopefully they will come back to London.
PKM: I took an hour of your time so I will let you go. It was great talking with you. I feel like we are friends now.
Alan McGee: Oh yeah. I knew about you already. Dan and (Steve) Diggle speak highly of you.
PKM: Aww. We had a lot of fun. Thank you.
*Creation Stories is now being shown in the U.K, Australia, and New Zealand. Coming out soon in the U.S.