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“Upside Down”, the story of Creation Records, a film made by Danny O’Connor with the assistance of Radio One DJ Steve Lamaq who interviewed former artists Bobby Gillespie and Noel Gallagher, who Danny had persuaded to talk the camera.
For quite some time, there have been trailers of the film appearing on YouTube and FaceBook, with much speculation on when the film will be released. Then, last month Alan McGee starting doing some interviews discussing the film, there was a buzz again
Not only were Creation Records influential in bringing to the fore bands such as Oasis, Teenage Fanclub, Jesus and The Marychain and many more, it is a story of belief, struggle, near financial ruin, success, drugs, creativity and a vision. A label with no master plan, other than to release records they liked, and in doing so, they have left a mark in history
ZANI doubts that “Upside Down” will be superficial and sycophantic, but an insight into what went on behind closed doors, and a study of the crazy world of what was Creation Records.
This interview came about by chance, when Alan McGee phoned me on the morning of 14th October to say he had hurt his back and could not play at the ZANI party that night. (Alan promises to be at the next one come rain or shine and sends his apologies). So, at the ZANI office, I decided to turn the negative into a positive, and chat to him quickly about the film “Upside Down”.
ZANI – It’s taken a long time, when is the film out ?
Alan McGee – 23rd October at the BFI, then we take it to a variety of film festivals until the end of year. It will then be released on DVD next year.
ZANI – Good. OK let’s go straight for the jugular, we are good friends and in loads of our conversations you have always dismissed nostalgia. Isn’t “Upside Down” a nostalgic piece of film making ?
Alan McGee – You know I am not a nostalgic person but it was a difficult film to do, and the making of the film did bring up a lot of buried skeletons. However it did make me realise how good Creation was, and what we stood for. I always knew that, but “Upside Down” has confirmed this. I remembered how I loved all of the artists, although maybe I am not down with them now as mates, but that is the way it goes.
ZANI – In a way, the story of Creation is the story of youth,
Alan McGee –Thick as Thieves.
ZANI – Cool, a Jam reference, When you are young with your friends, you more or less live with your them, club, drink, take drugs and go on the pull together, then you slowly drift apart. No big fall outs, you just go your separate ways.
Alan McGee – True
ZANI – It’s like when you go into the attic , and pull out a box of old photos from a bygone era, you find yourself lost in the passage of time. It’s a beautiful moment
Alan McGee – In a way, the making of the film was like that. I don’t usually like things that I am connected to, but Danny got the film right, spot on in fact.
ZANI – Why do you think he got it right ?
Alan McGee – Cos he’s mental like you and me.
ZANI – I take that as a compliment
Alan McGee – It is. With regard to the books on Creation Records, Paolo Hewitt kind of got it, but David Cavanagh’s was so boring, I called it The Accountants Tale. But I am not knocking the book, as many people liked it but the bottom line is, Danny may have been an outsider in regard to the Creation Records clique, but he got inside my head, Gillespie’s and Noel’s.
I have dedicated the film to Bobby Gillespie, without him, I would not have had Primal Scream, The Mary Chain, The Teenage Fan Club, so I have to dedicate it to him because I did it with him.
What is lovely, with the release of “Upside Down”, is that I was up a mountain in Spain with Bob Geldof and out steps from a car Bobby Gillespie with his kids, I couldn’t believe my eyes, but there is only one guy who stoops like that. I hadn’t seen him for six years, then we bumped into each other four or five time on that holiday and we got on.
I am not asking anything of anyone, but it was nice to get the relationship to a civilised place, where we could be nice to each other, and that is where we are.
The genius of the film is that it is very difficult for me to dig anything up like My Bloody Valentine’s. It made me remember that I actually liked Kevin Shields, he wasn’t that bad. At the time I liked Shields but I doubt I would ever hang out with him again, but I have no problem with the guy in the slightest. Shields did a great record for me, and I accept that.
But it’s not that I don’t like his music anymore, it’s just that I really don’t like much music anymore. I like books, films, Noel Gallagher and the new bands that I like are The Grants, The Vortex, Agile Beast, and a guy called Michael Davies, who sent me his stuff today, which is called Law Abiding Citizens, that is great.
But my world has changed a lot since the crazy days of Creation Records. I am a house dad for fuck sake and I live in Wales. I couldn’t give a fuck about London or the London Music scene. But there are people down there like you, Paul Gallagher, Jamie Jam who I like, and trying to do their own thing.
ZANI – Thank you. I understand you have heard some of Noel’s demo
Alan McGee – It took him three months to send them to me, but he is back to his peak. There are at least three songs, especially one which I won’t name but is up there with Live Forever. The only reason why Noel has been quiet is that he has got an album up his sleeve. It will be huge.
ZANI –When you sold off Creation in 2000, did you at the time feel that was the right thing to do or did you years later regret selling the label ?
Alan McGee - I knew it was the right thing to do at the time.
ZANI – No regrets then ?
Alan McGee – No, because “Upside Down” is like a massive full stop to Creation Records, but. I am getting a lot of interest to a film like 24 Hour Party People, you know the one about Tony Wilson and Factory Records, Chris and Tim Abbott want to write the script, so maybe that like happen.
ZANI – Is there going to be an album to accompany the film ?
Alan McGee – Sony have got their heads up their own arses, they don’t even know what is going on.
ZANI –So Sony haven’t picked this up as an opportunity to make some money, and maybe even get a Number One album.
Alan McGee – I think they are on an even level, but who knows ?
ZANI - I hope so, it would be nice. A collection of songs from a spirited and innovative label.
Alan McGee – We shall have to wait and see.
ZANI – What should people take out of the film ?
Alan McGee – That it was possible, it’s a different time now, but it was possible back then to be anarchic, fuck you and not be corporate but happy and well off. It was possible to say fuck you to the system, and that’s what Creation did. But I don’t think you can do that anymore, maybe you can but not to that extent.
ZANI –There might not be the money but you can be happy and fulfilled. Creation did that for you
Alan McGee – It’s because I think it was meant to be. Creation never failed, I have never failed with that name.
ZANI – You must get itchy feet to do something again to that level, maybe not in music ?
Alan McGee - I am thinking about going back into management with my friend Simon Fletcher, not rock and roll, but characters based in show business. I have done music management and it exhausted me.
ZANI – That’s so cool, and Creation isn’t just about you, there was Dick Green, Joe Foster, Tim Abbott, they made the magic work.
Alan McGee – And Gillespie, we all had a vision and we made it happen
ZANI – And left a mark on the music industry. Which rock and roll film would you compare it to.
Alan McGee – The best rock and roll film in the last ten years was “Dig”. I think “Upside Down is up there.
ZANI – Final question, would you work with Danny again ?
Alan McGee – Without a shadow of a doubt, we are already talking about making a film about Alastair Crowley with Dean Cavanagh writing the script.
ZANI – Look forward to that one, and “Upside Down”.
Alan McGee – It will be a scream.
No doubt it will be. Please check the press for details of screenings of “Upside Down”, failing that play your favourite Creation record, and believe anything is possible. Alan McGee and his friends did.
© Words – Matteo Sedazzari / ZANI Media
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