RADIO 4 featuring DJ ALAN McGEE at Bar Code (549 College), Tuesday (March 27), 9 pm. $5. 416-928-5012. Rating: NNNNN
Former Creation Records supremo Alan McGee sounds like he's gotten over the grand-scale implosion of his label empire. The fast-talking Britpop visionary who founded Creation as an indie haven for twee janglers back in 84 eventually hit paydirt with Oasis a decade later. Then, faster than you could say "Champagne fookin' Supernova," it all vanished in a cloud of dust.
But the resilient McGee has bounced back. He's now spinning the records he loves -- AC/DC, Mirwais, Lee Perry, Guns 'N Roses -- during the day on radio and in clubs at night, while in his spare time he's been signing El Vez, the Ping Pong Bitches and whoever else sounds cool to his new Poptones imprint.
McGee has renewed faith in his own ears, which, with the possible exceptions of Les Zarjaz, Apple Boutique and er... Mishka, have served him remarkably well.
"The big labels have all merged," explains McGee in a thick Scottish burr from his London office. "Suddenly, there's space for a label like Poptones to come up the middle. So now there's a place for a band like the Ping Pong Bitches, who sound kinda like Giorgio Moroder meets Primal Scream.
"Poptones is not really where Creation was, but where Creation should've went."
And exactly where Creation went wrong is something McGee has obviously spent some time considering. Evidently, the corporate monster was only partly responsible.
"Oasis got big, I got into drugs and was put into rehab for about a year. Then I came back to find 20 new employees at my label who used to work for Sony and Warner Brothers. The A&R department was taken over by these Daleks who signed shit bands, and I was marginalized.
"The tail end of it was ugly, but we had 10 fantastic years under my control. I made Oasis the biggest band in the world, we all made a load of money and we all lost the plot."
Considering the magnitude of McGee's loss, he seems strangely sanguine about the whole disastrous slide from music mega-mogul to spinning old Rod Stewart singles at Barcode on a Tuesday night. Nothing to get worked up about, it seems.
"The Creation label was started to put out good records. But I was also in it to fuck as many supermodels as I could possibly get my hands on, take shitloads of drugs, travel around the world and become a multi-millionaire -- all of which I achieved.
"It was just a fucking party that made a lot of money. I know that might offend a lot of student journalists, but that's all it ever was.
"This time around," he chortles, "we'll keep the supermodels and drugs off the menu, but I'd still like to put out some good records and make a load of money."