Alan McGee - A Quick Catch Up

Written by Matteo Sedazzari
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It has been some time since ZANI had a quick catch up with Alan McGee, so on one sunny day, with a little bit of rain and wind, we caught up with Alan in a hotel in the old smoke to have a quick natter about recent world events and the media’s take on them.

Fuelled by countless cappuccinos and club sandwiches, we conversed….

ZANI – Following the death of Amy Winehouse… I understand you met her in 2004 with The Libertines…

Alan McGee – Yeah, I was with the band at the time; we had just appeared on the Jonathan Ross show just before the second album had come out and we performed Can’t Stand Me Now on the show. She was on the same TV show – I think we met her in the Green Room, she was still just a kid but very weary of us. Pete Doherty was just doing his thing, walking about, Carl Barât was downing a bottle of Brandy and I had relapsed into drinking a bit. So it was like the A –Team kicking about, but she was very sweet, and she held her own. And as you know, her and Pete became good friends.

It is sad about her recent death, and there is a blame culture into in this society, but ultimately it’s down the individual if there is an addiction. If you want to sort it out, you can sort it out.

ZANI – Katy Georgiou wrote a nice tribute on ZANI about Amy…

Alan McGee – Yeah I saw it, it was cool.

ZANI – Noel’s latest single seems have caused a bit of stir and people say it is a return to form…

Alan McGee – I think it’s a brilliant record, very much in the Neil Young mode. What’s great about it is that Noel is 43 and it appeals to all ages: you can be 60 years old or 16 and like it. He’s not trying to be somebody that’s he not, and that’s what Neil Young or Weller is doing. They are what they are; you either love it or you hate it, and most people love it.

ZANI – You have had your differences recently with Primal Scream’s front man Bobby Gillespie, but now it seems you are friends again and you state that they are smashing it at festivals…

Alan McGee – Our relationship has been more on than off; I fell out with Bobby for about five years over something petty. Which in a bizarre way was a good thing, as I’ve known him for over forty years and we needed a break from each other.  

I remember when they announced that they were going out on the road and performing Screamadelica, and I thought whatever, as I’m not into bands revisiting old albums. I didn’t go into the early show, and then I went to the Cardiff show with Tony Rivers and all that mob. There were 1,500 people and it was like The Stones at their best, nobody could touch them that night. Seeing them that night, I knew they’d bring down the roof at the festivals and across Europe and they did.

But why Screamadelica is still relevant, I have no fucking clue. But it is. They smashed Glastonbury, then the following week they were at T in The Park. Coldplay were on the main stage and The Scream were in a tent, and it was embarrassing for Coldplay as The Scream blew everybody away. Coldplay looked like geography teachers dressed up as Sgt Pepper.

Primal Scream used to play Coldplay and U2 at their game and lose, but now they play Coldplay and U2 at their game and win, that’s the difference. They have become a major force, they’re an amazing band.

ZANI – The recent documentary, Upside Down, the film about Creation Records, has been a success, but I understand you have fallen out the director…

Alan McGee – The film has been successful in terms of sales, and to me, the film has achieved what I wanted it to achieve in terms of spirit. But the director is a painful character, and if I never saw him in my life again I would call that a result.

ZANI – Let’s leave that one at that. OK, your son Dan Devine of the band Flats  has made some rather harsh comments about you in the Scottish Tabloids; let’s hear your side of the story…

Alan McGee – He was adopted 17 years ago; I finally met him when he was 16. We didn’t get on, but I wish him and his band all the best.

ZANI – Fair enough. You mentioned Tony Rivers earlier… I know Tony as he has written for ZANI and now he has bought a pub in Mountain Ash, outside of Cardiff, called The Mountain Ash, which he has turned into a little scene of its own with bands and DJs playing there. It seems to be going from strength to strength.  

Alan McGee – There is more of a scene there than there is in Cardiff – it’s rocking. It’s a pub full of about 200 to 300 well-dressed Welsh maniacs; they are the best-dressed audience I have seen in ages. Into their music, clothes, football and just hanging out. Nice crowd, but there is an edge there.  Tony Rivers is a top fella, author of The Soul Crew book  and a massive Cardiff City fan.

ZANI –  You always need an edge. I will have popped down there…Wales has certainly become your adopted home and I understand you moved there to study the Ley lines and Alistair Crowley?

Alan McGee – But more of the chaos magicians: Austin Osman Spare, Peter J. Carroll, Alan Moore, Ray Sherwin, people like that. I love Crowley, but the chaos magicians are where I am at.

ZANI – I don’t know too much about magic, what is Chaos magic…

Alan McGee – It is kind of Punk Magic, it takes a bit of this and that, it’s not Ritual Magic. It’s complex; maybe we should discuss it another time.

ZANI – I will have to look into it. I understand you have two mediums, and Gillespie tugged you about this because Hitler had a medium as well.

Alan McGee – Yeah, when I told Bobby I was using a medium, the first thing he said was that Hitler had one as well. But I don’t compare myself to Hitler.

ZANI – Ha. Staying on the theme of power-crazed tyrants… I am surprised to see Rupert Murdoch being taken down.

Alan McGee – I think the term taken down is too bold, I think the phone hacking thing is inexcusable and I think it has been going on for years, not just with Murdoch. Two things: Murdoch has pissed somebody at the top… I am not talking about government, I am talking way above that. So he has been taught a lesson. But the other thing is, you have to look at the bigger picture. Basically, they want people to get their news from the Internet, not the print. Look at GSM tracking on your mobile… people know where you are. So who is the biggest media mogul in the world? It’s Murdoch. They want everybody to be on computers, not buying newspapers, so it is about control and I think it is bigger. I don’t think it is as simple as we see it. As I said, they want people on computers, not the newspapers, and what’s the best way to do it, take out Rupert Murdoch and prove a point. What he’s lost, a lot…

ZANI – But he won’t starve…

Alan McGee – I know that, he owes fucking Australia. But he has offended some fucker way beyond our reality.

ZANI – True…

© Words – Matteo Sedazzari – ZANI Media
© Top Photographer – Lucy Devereux

Read 6692 times Last modified on Saturday, 10 April 2021 14:05
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Matteo Sedazzari

Matteo Sedazzari

About Us

ZANI was conceived in late 2008 and the fan base gradually grew by word of mouth. Key contributors came from those of the music, film and fashion industry and the voice of ZANI grew louder. So, when in 2013 investor, contributor and fan of ZANI Alan McGee* offered his support to help restyle and relaunch the site it was inevitable that traffic would increase dramatically and continues to grow. *Alan McGee co-founder of Creation Records and new label 359 Music..


What We Do

ZANI is an independent online magazine for readers interested in contemporary culture, covering Music, Film & TV, Sport, Art amongst other cultural topics. Relevant to modern times ZANI is a dynamic website and a flagship for creative movement and thinking wherever our readers live in the world.