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Wednesday, May 29, 2013
20 Years Ago Alan McGee Signed Oasis
excerpt from The Guardian
Alan McGee on Creation, Oasis and cashflow – a classic from the vaults
It's 20 years since Alan McGee stepped into Glasgow King Tuts and signed Oasis. Time to visit 1994 via Rock's Backpages and find out what the Creation Records founder was thinking …
Alan McGee founded Creation Records 10 years ago. Now this
former British Rail clerk's labour of love is a floatable proposition,
with nearly half of its shares owned by Sony. McGee surprised many when
he got into bed with the company, not least because he was supposedly no
fan of corporate structures. But that may simply be a sentimental view,
judging by the candid assessment he gives over coffee at the Dome,
"In September 1992, I got fed up with selling 200,000 Primal Scream
records in England and 18,000 in Germany," says McGee. "I got tired of
selling only 3,000 Bandwagonesques there. It's all about distribution.
If you're signed to some shit fuckin' indie,
no matter what it does for your credibility, it does nothing to promote
your group. Sony help us get worldwide distribution. At the moment,
we're still getting some crap sales, but the potential is there. I've
sold Sony 49%, which makes them feel good, but I'm very loyal to our
bands. I've got their best interests at heart.
"The truth is that,
without financial backing, it is now very hard to exist in England, but
when I've gone in to Sony and said: 'Look, you need to help us with
so-and-so,' they've always done it. And they don't talk to me about the
music we put out, ever."
In 1984, McGee was looking after a young
and irascible Jesus and Mary Chain. Like his proteges, McGee's clothes
may be sharper 10 years on, but he hasn't really changed that much, and
he remains a patron to like-minded fanatics such as Bobby Gillespie, the
Jazz Butcher, Bill "the Man" Drummond and Lawrence from Felt/Denim.
celebration of Creation's first decade, McGee has gathered together his
10 most personal mementoes. It comes as no surprise that what feature
most among his choices are items that spark off memories of liaisons
with some of rock's greatest mavericks.
group, Oasis, are the one recent thing that made me go: 'Fuckin' hell, I
still believe in rock'n'roll.' I saw them last year and it was a
complete fluke. I was at an 18 Wheeler show in Glasgow at King Tut's
Wah-Wah Hut. Third on the bill were a band from Manchester. They were
friends of Oasis and they'd told the band they could play fourth on the
bill. So Oasis hired a van and drove up from Manchester with their mates
and when they arrived the promoter says: 'No. Fuck off.' And they're
saying: 'Look, it's cost us £200 to hire the van and equipment and get
here. If you don't let us play, we'll smash your club up. There's 10 of
us and only two security …'
"So the promoter lets them play. Now, I
wouldn't have got to see them normally, because when a band of mine's
playing I usually get in five minutes before they come on stage.
However, because I'd gone with my sister Susan, who doesn't happen to
own a watch, I got there two hours early. I witnessed all the
shenanigans, so I wanted to see what they were like.
song was really good. Then the second was incredible. By the time they
did this fantastic version of I Am the Walrus, I'd decided I've got to
sign this group, now. I said: 'Do you have a record deal? Do you want
one? I wanna do it.' Eventually they had 20 record companies offering
them deals and at the last minute Mother Records, owned by U2, phoned
and said: 'We'll offer double what McGee is offering.'
is a cross between the Kinks, Stone Roses and the Who, and the cover of
this tape, which is incredibly rare, only 10 ever made, is important
because it's a Union Jack going down the toilet. That sums up our
country at the moment. I don't want to herald them too much, but they're
already one of my favourite groups. Seeing them is what seeing the
Stones must have been like in the early days. Brutal, exciting,
via L4e / source: guardian.co.uk
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