Interview with The Creation

Eddie Phillips was the lead guitarist in The Creation, the band from whom Creation Records gained not only a name but many of its musical influences. Intially known as The Mark Four, The Creation were hugely influential in their day, inspiring such groups as The Who and Led Zeppelin.

We caught up with Eddie recently as he works in the studio on some new Creation songs that he wrote with fellow Creation band member Kenny Pickett:

Many people familiar with Creation Records will have been unaware of the huge influence your band had on the label. Can you remember the first time you heard about the label and Alan’s band ‘Biff Bang Pow!’

I first heard about Creation Records when The Creation band briefly reformed in the 90’s. We played the Mean Fiddler in ’94, and that’s when I first met Alan McGee. It was then that I learned that he’d named his Record Company after our Band, and that he’d called his first band, Biff Bang Pow! after one of our songs. At that time, I was quite impressed by it all.

The Creation influenced a lot of bands in their own day aswell including The Who and Led Zeppelin. Do you feel great pride from this or did you feel quite bitter as I’m sure many people would watching other bands gain huge success?

I suppose I haven’t thought too much about the fact that the other bands made it ‘big’, like the Who and Led Zeppelin, until recently, when there has been great interest in the Creation, mainly I suppose, from a whole new generation of music ‘fans’.  It still amazes me that people know so much about the band and sometimes it seems, more than me!!! They seem to remember so much. I dont feel bitter about other peoples’ success. Maybe it would have been nice to have had a slice of it, though.

Did you become good friends with people such as Pete Townsend who was obviously a big fan? (I’m refering to the rumour he asked you to join The Who).

I did meet Pete Townsend on a few occasions, on the ‘scene’ at various gigs we shared together.

Given that The Creation never had any chart success in their day, would it be rude of me to ask how you’ve made a living financially over the years?

Over all these years, I’ve mainly made a living through the music. I’ve never stopped writing and recording and when Boney M covered “Painterman” back in the 70’s, that sold over 7 million copies altogether which was very nice!! I’ve had various successes including one with Rockpile and The Shadows did one of mine, some out in Germany and more recently, in ’97 had a big hit with “Hillbilly Rock, Hillbilly Roll”, by the Woolpackers from Emmerdale!! Quite a change of style – it started all the Line Dancing craze, which is still popular now.

The Creation released a single in 1966 called ‘Makin’ Time’. Did you get the chance to listen to the group of the same name in the 80’s (from which The Charalatans formed) and many of the other bands of that era such as ‘The Prisoners’?

I never did get to hear the band, “Making Time”, or “The Prisoners”.

Did you enjoy the revival of ‘real bands’ in the 90’s with the Stone Roses, Mondays, etc.. in the early part of the decade and then of course there was Oasis and Blur five years later?

As far as the other bands you mention, it was nice to see kids getting together playing instruments, not like now, where no-one plays anything anymore in the charts! I watched a few weeks ago and not one group played one instrument in the Top 10. Just a load of puppets.

You reformed The Creation in the 90’s and performed with Ride at The Royal Albert Hall for the 10th Anniversary celebrations. Did you feel a slight sense of justice after all these years?

It was great when we played the Albert Hall in ’94. It was a good night and it was nice to have a really good dressing room!!

Were you aware of Alan’s problems with drink and drugs at this time? You must of thought it strange that he didn’t attend.

I wasn’t aware that Alan had problems with drink and drugs.

You also supported Oasis around the same time, did the Gallaghers remind you of many of the 60’s bands in their attitude to music. Most bands these days are more interested in the success rather than the music they make.

I didn’t play at the gig when Creation supported Oasis. As far as the Gallaghers went, they reminded me of every 60’s band there was but especially ours and if you look at the old footage, Liam looks just like a young Kenny Pickett.

You had Andy Bell of Ride on guitar for some of these gigs, did you enjoy Ride’s version of ‘How Does It Feel To Feel’?

As far as Andy Bell goes, I met him at the Albert Hall gig and he was a nice bloke and he played really well, and I would wish him every success. I thought that the Ride’s version of How does it Feel, was really good and I liked it.

The Creation were an experimantal band in their day, have you had much chance to listen to My Bloody Valentine who were undoubtably trying to move everything another stage further?

No I never got to hear, My Bloody Valentine.

Did you get to see many of the Creation Records bands live?

Only Ride and Teenage Fan Club, I saw live and thought they were both good bands.

Do you get to watch many bands live these days?

No I dont get to see many live bands now as I’m too busy gigging, but I would like to.

Finally, is there any message you want to say to the kids today?

I would say “want it, go for it and be just a bit crazy, it helps!!”