TOIan McGee, the founder of the music label that signed to Oasis and navigated the crest of the Britpop and acid house scenes, believes Tony Blair will have already received a message assuring him that there are no hard feelings. “Probably a friend has told him that the things I say in the film are not what I really think,” says McGee from the confinement in Wales. “I’ll certainly tell him when I meet him, because that spiel my character makes about Blair, that’s all Irvine Welsh, not me. Irvine hates Blair, but I still quite like him. “
McGee is the subject of a hectic new biopic, Creation stories, available now on Sky Cinema, which unravels the history of the record label that made McGee rich and famous. The script, written by Welsh, is theoretically based on his autobiography, but McGee is amused by how funny the Scottish author of Trainspotting And the film’s director, Nick Moran, had with the facts: “I realized that what I would get was Irvine Welsh, and that’s what I got. I let him carry on. “
At the dawn of New Labor rule in the late 1990s, as a publicity war raged between Oasis and rival gang Blur, McGee was one of the few notable guests at Downing Street to celebrate the new government’s great associates. . Moran’s film gleefully caricatures this moment and also shows McGee spending the weekend at Checkers with the Blairs, where he crouches in horror from fellow guest Sir Jimmy Savile, played by Alistair McGowan.
“That’s not true. I never knew Savile was a pedophile until 2014, although I could see that he was a dodgy bastard who was creepy with my wife. Fifty percent of this movie is utter bullshit, but I let him in. And Anyway, I stick my neck in the movie more than anyone, so that’s okay. “
McGee says he only resisted a couple of comments about his first wife in the original script. “There were two clever phrases that I said they couldn’t do because they would kill me. I asked Irvine to take them out, partly because I don’t think he can really take a joke. It’s also taken us years to get back on track, so let’s not go and screw it up now. But otherwise, they paid me some money to be a consultant on the movie basically to shut me up. And that’s fair enough. “
In one scene, McGee, played by Ewen Bremner, wryly claims that he hates biographies. False, says McGee. “That hip-hop over NWA, Straight from Compton, it’s good. And the new one we have here is pretty fun. It’s just a representation rather than what actually happened with Creation Records, but I’m not going to complain. “
Tickled as he is by Moran’s cheeky movie, he poses a strange problem. McGee will now have to defend not only the things he actually did, but also the things the Welshman has invented: “People will come to me for the rest of my life and ask me questions about Ewen Bremner and his performance. “McGee says that interviewer Adrian Chiles has already questioned his apparent hatred of his grandmother after seeing Creation stories. “Well my grandmother was a funny woman and she hit me, but at the end of the day she was fine you know?” corrects McGee.
“And that part of me driving down Sunset Boulevard with Jason Isaacs’ posh drug addict character is utter nonsense. I’ve never done that, although I’ve met a lot of people like that. However, I wouldn’t necessarily stick with them. But did I ever end up in a crack house in California? Of course I did. But not exactly as Irvine says. “Interestingly, this satirical sequence is one of the most compelling scenes in the film.
Some of the more sentimental moments on screen, in praise of McGee’s caring mother, also exaggerate the truth, according to the 60-year-old man who grew up in Glasgow. “No, it wasn’t really like that. She was a lovely woman, of course, and I loved her, but she wasn’t on my side. It was more than not getting the music; my parents didn’t really understand me. “
Still, it’s possible that Welsh and Moran are getting closer to the subject of their movie than he realizes. After all, the record industry’s reputation is built on fantastic anecdotes and stories. “Yeah well, you just have to look at my Wikipedia page. Most of that isn’t true either, ”says McGee, but he won’t admit that the business he’s worked for for 40 years is largely based on stories of male excess.
“Maybe it was like that in the old days of glam rock, when I was young, when it was more dominated by men, but when punk appeared, it changed all that and let in a lot of women.” McGee still regards Courtney Love as a good friend, she says.
The film salutes the way pop reinvents itself with each generation, but once again McGee suspects this is Welsh’s romantic vision. He himself is realistic, if optimistic. He feels that there is a possibility that a good new sound is developing during the lock. And he’s looking around, just in case. “It makes you realize how much you have missed live music,” he says. “The problem is that youth culture is no longer the same. People are obsessed with their phones. It’s like the way steam trains are still great, but not practical in 2021. I suspect the world has moved on, but I’m moving on anyway. “
Adversity can make for interesting musical moments, he admits: “Sometimes it fuels creativity.” An example of this could be the advertising tournament organized between Oasis and Blur: “It worked particularly well for Oasis because Blur was so much bigger at the time it started. His album Park life sold about two million, while Morning glory it had sold only about half a million. But all of a sudden, Oasis was on the news and also became popular. “
It wasn’t him, but Andy Ross, the man who signed Blur, who actually created this productive part of the band’s rivalry, although McGee is often the one to blame. He had discovered the Gallagher brothers by chance in 1993 at a club in Glasgow, and the film plays a lot with a supposedly pivotal moment where McGee misses a train back to London and has time to kill. “The truth is that he was chasing a girl. That’s why I went to King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut that night. I liked someone, ”says McGee.
Today he credits Oasis with having the courage to break up in 2009. “A lot of bands still hang out, playing together for money. At least when Oasis fell, they parted ways. You have to give them that. He was incredibly honest. It’s hard for a band to break up when there’s so much money at stake. “
In the movie, McGee is shown as a chaotic singer, but the real man defends his ear for music. “I don’t think I’m as talented as I say in the movie. Once again, it’s Irvine who thinks that. I have a real knack for signing successful bands, as I’ve proven time and time again. ”The Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, and My Bloody Valentine were other influential groups signed and promoted by Creation in the early days.
Still, McGee can live happily with Bremner’s performance. “It’s a version of me: Alan the cartoon. When I was using drugs it was probably a bit like that, but that was almost 30 years ago. I wish I had never taken them. It would have saved me from a lot of nonsense over the years.
Also, I would never have said that being a rebel is as important as my character is. He probably would have said, ‘Feed your kids shit’ instead. But I agree that I have always been a nonconformist. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism