Alan McGee talks to Music Film Web

Alan McGee
Alan McGee has given another great interview whilst promoting the new Upside Down film. This time he spoke to Music Film Web about acting, UFO’s and why he’s not interested in resurrecting Creation Records.

MFW: You created a bit of a stir in the music press when you said that the first time you saw Oasis you thought Liam Gallagher was their drug dealer.

Alan McGee: That was true, I did think that. Back in the ’90s the drug dealers usually looked cooler than anybody in the band.

What other future rock stars have you mistaken for drug dealers?

Uhhh … good point. Probably the Libertines [laughs].

Is it weird for you being back in a situation where things you say become news?

Yeah, kinda. [Upside Down] went to no. 2 in the music DVD charts, and I don’t think I really thought it was gonna do that. It’s gonna come out in other countries, and it’s gonna get shown on the BBC and all that sort of stuff. I just thought it was gonna be a sort of weird art house movie.

Why did you think that, given the legacy of Creation Records?

Just because it was made for like half a million quid, or 400 grand, and it was self-funded by the director. Nobody really expected it to be able to do anything, other than document [the Creation story], which it did brilliantly. He’s an amazing talent, Danny O’Connor. He’s an Irish bohemian genius.

When we had Danny on the podcast – and this could be a recollection you dispute – he said when he first brought up to you the notion of making a Creation movie, he wasn’t volunteering to do it, he just wanted to know if it was something you’d considered. Obviously at a later point you thought he was the right guy for the job. Why’d you feel that?

I don’t remember having that conversation [laughs]. I’ll go along with his recollection but I got to be honest, I thought he asked me to do it. The reason he got allowed to do it was that he’d made such a good job of the [2004] BBC Radio 2 documentary [Biff! Bang! Pow! The Story of Creation Records]. And I thought, God, this guy captures it, so why don’t we let him make the film? He’s the only guy who ever got the spirit. Everybody else goes, oh, we got it in chronological facts. Who gives a fuck what’s chronologically good? What about the fucking spirit of rock ‘n’ roll and what about the spirit of Creation Records? Everybody else, any books, just never captured that.

Do you see doing another film? There’s been talk of a narrative film about Creation.

Irvine Welsh was talking about doing quite a political-type film based around a few different indie-type characters, so a fiction-based thing. And [former Creation Records executive] Tim Abbott wants to do the Creation drug story. And then Jon Owen, I think he’s got funding for [a movie version of web series] Svengali, finally. He wants me to be in that film. So I’ve kind of got a few films on the go. All very strange.

So you could be coming back as an actor?

Only in Svengali, but I’m not actually acting. More like Curb Your Enthusiasm – I’m just playing myself.

If there were a fictionalized version of the Creation story, who should play you?

Rhys Ifans, definitely.


Cause he’s my friend. He knows I’m a fucking lunatic. He would get me right.

What’s the most unusual or surprising experience you’ve had being on the road with [Upside Down]?

Danny O’Connor, upside down in a bass bin in Gothenburg, about 2 o’clock in the morning. Four-fifths of his body was inside a bass bin, with little legs kicking, trying to get out. I had to pull him out as I DJed. There was one lying dormant behind the DJ decks and he fell off the DJ decks and went head-first in.

What kind of stuff do you play when you DJ? Do you kick it old school?

Yeah, I just put on what I like – the Beatles and Oasis and the Libertines, Stone Roses and the Verve, Ian Brown and Primal Scream. Kind of just keep it to that, you know? I’m not trying to be anybody, I’m just being me.

Is there any new stuff you’re listening to these days?

I love Glasvegas, I really love them. But I don’t really keep up. I don’t really know anything about modern music anymore. I’m more into the whole, you know, Aleister Crowley, the chaos magicians like Peter J. Carroll, Austin Osman Spare, and the films of Kenneth Anger and stuff like that. And Grant Morrison, the cartoon guy. That’s more where I’m kind of at, really – books and films and stuff.

Have you always been so into the occult?

Yes. [Carroll’s book] Liber Null was a massive learning curve for me.

A learning curve for what – how you view the world, conduct business?

How I view the world. It was a life changer for me, that book Liber Null. And Psychonaut and Liber Kaos, both by Peter J. Carroll.

Can you give an example? Like in what way Crowley or Carroll changed your life, or shape your philosophy?

If they taught anything me it was that if you want something, you can have it. All magic is about tipping the scales of chance in your favor. If magic is anything in one word, it’s audacity.

See, the thing is, when I was doing the Creation thing I was always really drawn to stuff that is quite out there. And then in 2007, I was in Santa Monica and I saw a UFO, and it blew my fucking mind. You’re probably thinking, god, he is fucking mental. Because it was in Santa Monica, and it’s right next to Area 51, it was probably an unclassified – I don’t think I saw aliens, let’s put it that way. I saw something go across the sky at about two and a half thousand miles an hour, in and out of sight in about three seconds. It was the fastest thing I ever saw in my life.

I’d always been into it before, I was always fascinated with Crowley and stuff like that, but I never went bang, right into it. And then I got fed up with music. I was getting too old for it, I was getting bored. You know, when you do the same job for 25, 30 years, it’s time to change your job. So I chucked it. Luckily I’d sold 60 million albums, I’d made enough money not to worry about how to eat or anything anymore.

So I saw that [UFO], and whenever I had time on my hands, I started investigating stuff like geopolitics, deep underground bases, the whole – I suppose if you want to keep it simple, the whole conspiracy idea that there’s a bigger thing going on. I went through all of that, and I got to Crowley, and from Crowley I ended up at the chaos magicians, and that’s what I’m into, the study of these things. Crowley was the biggest libertarian ever. He’s the ultimate fucking rock ‘n’ roller. That’s why Jimmy Page idolizes Aleister Crowley. He was rock ‘n’ roll before rock ‘n’ roll music.

Were you aware of this stuff when you were in rock ‘n’ roll, and were you applying these ideas to what you were doing? Or was it that you came upon this seriously later and went bang, that’s what I did, this speaks to me about the life I’ve had?

Yes, definitely. I didn’t actually understand a lot of this. I never understood the power of will. I always wondered why, I wanted the biggest group in the world and I fucking got it! [Laughs] How did that fucking happen to me? [Crowley’s] The Book of the Law is amazing, but the main part, all you gotta understand, is, “Love is the law, love under will.” Perception and will power is ultimately bigger than love, basically. And “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law.” As long as you don’t hurt anybody else, then ultimately I agree with that. I think that anybody has the ability to make themselves whoever they want to be. Crowley worked it out 100-odd years ago. That’s the part that nobody tells you. I don’t know what you want to do in life, but I wanted the biggest group in the world and I got it. And I come from nowhere, dude. My dad was a panel-beater and my mom was a shop assistant.

Noel Gallagher says in the film that he’d love to be back on Creation and be in that situation again. Do you feel the same way?

No. Not at all. [Laughs] You’ve got to understand, these people are still – I’m not talking about Noel, I’m talking about the label – these guys are still in music. I left. It would be a nightmare for me to go back to music. I don’t even listen to it. Arguably, bar the Beatles, I don’t even like it, to be honest. I only DJ because people basically phone me up and ask me to do it. I only really do it for friends. Or if somebody offers me some stupid amount of money.

Why would it be a nightmare? Do you feel like you’d fall into your old habits, or you’re just not interested anymore?

No, I’m over drugs. I haven’t had any drugs since I’ve been 33, and I’m 50 now. I don’t think I’m falling back into the drug trap. No, I’ve got no interest.

Do you have any ideas or theories on why you were able to attract all of these great bands? Was it being in the right place at the right time?

Maybe because they sensed that we didn’t really care, deep down. Which we never did. If we cared we’d still be in the music business. Well, if I cared I’d still be in the music business. But I left, and I’m never coming back.

If you’d cared, too, you might not have taken so many risks and been willing to go along with so many bands you believed in.

Yeah. Probably because I was prepared to lose everything, I won everything. Which is probably a good way to live your life.

Source: Music Film Web