Ride Jan 2010

Ride recently reunited in Oxford for a chat with the local Nightshift magazine. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut EP the band took some time to reflect on their early days in Oxford, signing to Creation and deny any responsibility for the bands that followed them from the city.

Here’s a section of the interview:

The big break, though, came with that tour support to The Soup Dragons, at the time pretty big favourites on the UK indie scene. Apart from exposing Ride to a national audience and national music press attention, it was here they met and formed a relationship with Alan McGee, head of Creation Records – home to many of Ride’s heroes and easily the coolest label around.
MARK: “I think Sean from the Soup Dragons asked us to support them and the link came through Dave and the Warners connection at that time. I remember feeling like we were blowing the Soup Dragons off the stage every night and this was also the time that Alan started coming to see us one night after another and talking to us after every concert. It was an amazing time.”
LOZ: “It was art college kids on tour, but with the usual touring antics, I suppose. Steve was so grown up he had something called a ‘girlfriend’. Andy and I would take photos, play tapes and often sketched in our sketchbooks; Mark seemed to be in a cosy state of preparation for impending stardom… it was all pleasantly odd.”
ANDY: “They let us use their gear, which was nice of them. So we were playing through Marshall Stacks instead of tiny little combo amps. We got our first national music press on that tour, in NME, Melody Maker, and Sounds. I remember that we played very loud!” Having Alan McGee as a fan must have been an incredible feeling.
ANDY: “In theory, we were aiming for 4AD because we felt that Creation was too obvious. But then, once there was an actual offer on the table from Creation we decided to take it. McGee seemed nice enough and was obviously mad on the band. But there was no relationship until later on.
We’d send Dave up with our recordings and sleeves and everything and he’d come back having got us what we wanted. Later on, McGee became one of my closest friends but that was after Ride finished.”
MARK: “Alan quickly became like family to me, and I still feel the same way about him now. He supported us in a big way and let us make the records that we wanted to make and from the sidelines also personally educated and turned me and all of us on to lots of other great music that had a big influence on us.”


To read the full interview click here (pdf file)

Oasis

Yesterday’s Guardian (8th Jan 2010) featured an article about the forthcoming movie ‘Upside Down’ featuring Time Abbott and and film director Danny O’Connor.

Below is the text of the article:

When an unsigned Noel Gallagher took the train from Manchester to meet the bosses of Creation records in 1993, he had little idea what to expect.

In a room above a sweatshop in the back streets of east London, surrounded by self-confessed “misfits, drug addicts and sociopaths”, the Oasis songwriter found his spiritual home.

“He came to the Creation office and saw the words Northern Ignorance scrawled in magic marker across the roof of the reception,” said Tim Abbott, the label’s former managing director. “I’d done it the week before, when I was off my head on ecstasy, walking on the tables and drinking champagne. Noel saw it and went: ‘Fucking ‘ell, I’m having that. I like it here.'”

The full extent of the debauchery, precarious nature and genius of the independent label is to be laid bare in the most revealing rock’n’roll film since 24 Hour Party People, the story of the “Madchester” scene. Upside Down, due out in spring, reveals the label’s unusual method of making sure new bands came on board, according to Abbot. “We often used to drink and drug the bands into submission,” he said.

After the initial bond formed, Abbott said, Gallagher was frog-marched to the pub where, unsurprisingly, all involved got “stuck into a session”.

A decade after Creation closed, and 25 years since the release of its first single, Upside Down charts the heady 15-year existence of the label that launched Primal Scream, Ride and My Bloody Valentine, as well as Oasis.

The label veered from one financial precipice to another, he said. Even after Primal Scream won the Mercury music prize in 1992, the resulting visibility did not translate into financial viability.

“We were always skint. It was like spinning plates, we were always trying to dodge the bailiffs,” he said. “It was my job to go out and see them, probably because I was the smallest. Dick [co-founder Dick Green] would see to the manufacturers who we couldn’t pay and Alan [co-founder Alan McGee] would just try to blag it. It couldn’t go on like that.”

Upside Down’s director, Danny O’Connor, who admitted to going through “near bankruptcy and dementia and all the other things that come with Creation” during the making of the film, said he was drawn to telling the story of the label that had provided the soundtrack to his life.

“No one does excess like Creation, no one does great records like Creation,” he said. “Creation was an indie, but it didn’t wear a cardigan, it didn’t apologise. There was a real power in its punch. If you think that rock’n’roll is all about swagger — this is your film.”

And few do swagger like McGee. In a trailer for the film he admits: “I was absolutely delusional. I actually thought I was up there with Beethoven and Shakespeare, creating metaphysical history by running Creation.”

The company behaved like the “ultimate dysfunctional family” but still managed to make great and intelligent records, said O’Connor.

Abbot agreed: “We were dysfunctional people working with dysfunctional bands but somehow we still managed to function — we got results. There were a whole cast of characters at Creation and the sum was greater than its parts.”

For Abbot, when Sony bought 49% of the label in 1992, it spelled the end of its glory days. “When McGee sold creation to Sony, it was a curse,” he said. “It took the pressure off financially but it changed everything. Sony brought in accountants and a major label culture. The offices moved from Hackney to Primrose Hill and it got stupid.Knebworth [Oasis’s 2005 Knebworth concert] was a gig too far. It signed off the old culture.”

He holds few regrets about the eventual closure of the label in 1999. “When the label folded it was sad, but it had been consumed by a monster. It stopped being a vehicle for music and started being a vehicle for egos. Alan and Dick sold the soul of Creation to the devil, and the devil wanted it back with interest.”

He added: “I have no regrets. In its heyday Creation produced fantastic music and art, and I was lucky enough to be there. It’s like asking Ronaldo if he regrets playing for United. If you get to play for the best team in the world, you can’t ask for anything else.”


Article can be found by clicking here.

Back in the late 80’s there was briefly a magazine called ‘Underground’ in the UK and never a month went by when Creation weren’t featured. Below is an interview with Alan McGee from early 1988, the text of which i’ve featured on the site before but this time I decided to make a playlist up of tracks featured in the interview. Continue reading

Baby Amphetamine were put together by Alan McGee and Joe Foster in April 1987. The band consisted of three shop assistants from the Virgin Megastore and was Creation’s reaction to manufactured pop. Although the band only released one single, Chernobyl Baby (who needs the Government?), they made the cover of the NME in 1987 and this article makes for some interesting reading Continue reading