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Alan Mcgee's Top Five...gigs of all time

The Creation Records founder talks about The X Factor, film making and his rekindled excitement for music

Written by . Published on November 8th 2012.

Alan Mcgee's Top Five...gigs of all time

“THERE are only two self contained cities in this country," says Alan Mcgee, "and those two are Liverpool and London."

"Both abide by their own sets of rules. Liverpool inhabits its own separate world and it answers to no one. That's what I like about it.”

The ex-Creation Records boss, who took Oasis, Primal Scream, The Libertines and The Jesus and Mary Chain to greatness, may be reflecting on this from the other side of the water next weekend. 

'You are only ever as good as the groups you work with. Nobody at a record label is a genius'

Mcgee is Mersey-bound to help launch Birkenhead's newest venue, Jam, with a late-night DJ set which, he says, could very well include Pete Wylie's Heart As Big As Liverpool. 

“That was a belting album he did for Sony,” Mcgee remarks from the Welsh farmhouse where he now dwells. Here, fair days are spent fell-walking and plotting and scheming with chums - like Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh and screenwriter/artist Dean Cavanagh - on movies, musicals and other thrills. 

Such as Kubricks, Mcgee and Cavanagh's first foray into feature film production together. Shot over five summer days at Mcgee's rural, 11-acre gaff, Kubricks stars Roger Evans and Joanne Pickering and is the tale of a film director, complete with a megaphone, who thinks he's making a film in Wales. But then it all gets warped up in quantum physics.  “We're finding out if we can actually make a film,” declares Mcgee in his broad Scottish brogue.

With a tagline borrowed from Carl Jung, “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order,” you can see where it's going – or very possibly not. 

For rainy days, there's suing the News of The World. And then there's Tokyo Rocks which has given Mcgee the itch back for music mogulism. 

After being invited to DJ the 2012 event, he is co-curating 2013 and has already added My Bloody Valentine to the bill. 

"Music needs a kick in the balls and I have got the music buzz back again," he was quoted in September.

Obviously he will spearhead a new record label for 2013, not Creation but a re-Creation. “We are reinventing the wheel,” he says. “The business model has completely changed from the 1990s. The new label has to work with all of those changes. It will communicate in very different ways.” 

He won't, perhaps, be in a hurry to sign any musical acts that currently grip the world of his nemeses at News International.

Mcgee reveals how he watched the X-Factor for the first time last Saturday night with his daughter. 

“The point of the X-Factor is that there is no point,” says the man whose influence was courted by New Labour in 1997 as a figurehead of youth culture. “But it illustrates the generation gap brilliantly. Me sitting there, slagging off the acts, and my 12-year-old voting for them on the phone. 

“She says to me: 'District 3 are brilliant, Dad. You've got to sign them.'

 “Can you imagine?”, he roars with laughter. “Hell would freeze over first.”

Alan Mcgee's top five gigs of all time

Clash 3 

1: The Clash - Glasgow Apollo 1977

Everything you could ever want in a rock n roll band, The Clash had the songs, the sound and the look. I saw them twice in 77, really mind-blowing for a 16-year-old. It changed me and Bobby Gillespie forever, seeing The Clash.

The Jam


2: The Jam - Glasgow Apollo, 1978.

Paul Weller was on fire, the second album was coming out and he must have been about 19.

Another gig that just made you want to form a band or start a label or a fanzine.

Weller would come out after gigs and talk to fans. I know him a little bit in recent times and, like The Clash boys, he's a dude.

I love The Jam, they got better as they advanced in their career. Nobody really does that but The Jam did.

Tv Personalities

Dan Treacy

3: TV Personalities – London, The Venue, 1982

This gig was the blueprint for Creation: it was pop art meets punk rock.

Dan Treacy is probably the great songwriter most people have never heard of, but an absolute genius, without a doubt. That gig they had about 17 people on stage with them and Joe Foster cut a Rickenbacker guitar in half. Again, it blew me away. I love the TVPs.

(Click here to add text)

4: The Cult - New York, The Ritz, 1985

They had started to get big, it was around Sanctuary time and Ian Astbury had it all.

I am lucky enough to be good friends with him now, but in 1984 the world was their oyster. Me and Gillespie loved it as we were there with the Mary Chain who had started to get big in the States too. Good times.

Primal Scream


5. Primal Scream - Cardiff University, 2011

They only get better and better. This gig shocked me how good they had become.

The next month I saw them play to 17,000 people in Tokyo, at Summersonic, but the 1,500 capacity gig was better.

Bobby and Andrew are like family to me. They're both geniuses. You are only ever as good as the groups you work with. Nobody at a record label is a genius.

Primals and Oasis and the Valentines made me look good. I am no genius. Just a fan.

Jam – Wirral’s new cafe bar and live music venue - opens its doors for the first time next Friday, 16 November, at Price Street, Hamilton Square, Birkenhead. CH41 6JN. Alan Mcgee basement DJ set from midnight to 3am. Free admission to basement.


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AnonymousNovember 9th 2012.

I hope it's a big success. Then he can afford a hat that fits his noggin properly

AnonymousJuly 8th 2013.

Seeing The Clash In 77 changed Bobby Gillespie forever? Wake up Alan, he's a drug taking hippy wearing cowboy shirts fronting a Rolling Stones covers band. His peak moment was playing drums in The Jesus and Mary Chain. - Regards - The Man With too Much time On His Hands.

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