Though Creation Records is one of my favourite labels I'm very wary of McGee and his frequent tall tales so approached this book with a dose of cynicism - but I was proved (mainly) wrong. It was a really easy, enjoyable and at times funny read. I certainly didn't get the impression that McGee was bulls***ting too much. You get a real mix of his character in the book, frequently arrogant, sometimes deluded (eg. the quality of dance music on Creation), even humble in places but almost always engaging. Lots of interesting accounts of his relationships with bands and record companies (an apparent inferiority complex with Geoff Travis/Rough Trade). I was certainly left wondering what caused the real rift between Liam Gallagher and Damon Albarn that McGee wouldn't/couldn't tell us. Towards the end there is lots of name dropping of 'real stars' but this surprisingly doesn't irritate too much as McGee actually comes across as a rather excited child. McGee almost spoils it in the end by describing himself now as a 'property dealer' and someone needs to tell him that 'clucking' is heroin withdrawal symptoms not relapse. It could have also done with the pompous quote on the cover from that idiot Gillespie.
Its a very quick, easy read and covers most the interesting bands. If you want to delve deeper into Creation records buy the excellent David Cavanagh book 'My Magpie Eyes...'.
As I read Alan McGee's autobiography I realised just how much of the output of Creation Records I really loved: the Jesus and Mary Chain, Ride, Primal Scream, Super Furry Animals, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, Ed Ball, Kevin Rowland, and so on. A lot of these artists owe whatever they achieved to the vision and passion of Alan McGee. He has quite a tale to tell too. Complete self reinvention that starts with an ordinary, tough Glaswegian 60s/70s upbringing complete with a violent and abusive father to hanging out with Tony Blair at 10 Downing Street.
This being a rock 'n' roll tome, it has an extraordinary amount of debauchery, drugs, madness, and for most of the participants - including Alan McGee - a breakdown or rehab. Alan's was more spectacular than most and it ultimately resulted in a drink and drugs free recovery. Some books of this type pull their punches but not this one. There are some great stories of Creation's outlaw heyday.
Alan's post-Creation life is also covered, however this is less compelling, but still interesting, in particular his short-lived tenure managing The Libertines (the dysfunctional relationship between Carl Barat and Pete Doherty puts the battling Gallagher brothers completely into the shade).
If you like the music, and you're interesting in the post-punk independent UK music scene, then you will find much to enjoy in Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running a Label.
I would imagine that this is the sort of book that you wouldn't buy your granny for Christmas, but then if you know who Alan McGee is then you probably know roughly what to expect!
Very much a grim start to his life in the 60's in Glasgow and he doesn't hold back on this part of the story, I think this shows why he became so driven and broke free like he did. Perhaps this energy and drive also partially propelled him to the inevitable crash (that isn't a spoiler by the way - there's much more to the book than that chapter of his life!)....
This is jam-packed with stories from his time from the formation of Creation Records, Britpop, the gigs, the parties , the drugs, drink and the rockstars. He is very matter-of-fact about his life but humble with it and despite the prolific use of drugs and more latterly drink, he doesn't seem to have been too warped by the experience and perhaps offers a cautionary tone to others who might read his path.
He is a true raconteur and anyone who has an interest in the bands that he was involved in will love this book. His writing style is easy going (even if some might find the content a little uncomfortable at times) and perfectly captures the dizzying highs and terrifying lows of life in the music fast lane.
Considering the exciting times he's lived through and the experiences he's known, it's a crying shame that this book is so boring and poorly written. McGee comes across as a miserable self-obsessed bore, which is a shame. It's worth a read for some of the nuggets of information though.
Alan McGee is known for giving Primal Scream and Oasis to the world, but this excellently-written book gives so much more about the trials of running a record label when competing against majors and also how the music business has changed. I enjoyed the anecdotes and the chaos of his earlier life as well as his self-awareness and realisation that the music could still be great without the drink and drugs. This is a great insight into the business itself and is tightly-written - there is no fat that needed to be edited out, I really enjoyed every page.
I blame Tony Wilson. If he hadn't written the (great) 24 Hour Party People, there wouldn't be the current vogue for record label kiss-and-tells. You can understand the appeal of the genre - credible name + insider insights + nostalgia factor + favourite bands = fun times a-go-go... but what distinguishes '24 Hour Party People' (and fails to distinguish pretty much any of its successors) is that Tony Wilson COULD ACTUALLY SPIN A HALF-DECENT YARN. Coincidence that he had years of telly presenting behind him before he began his label..? Quite.
'Creation Stories', then, is a tepid affair at best, offering little insight into Creation's bands or the music and scant self-insight from McGee himself. I guess it's his blunt (at times thuggish) narcissism that makes him think that his talents extent to writing - when they don't, they don't, they don't. There's no narrative propulsion here at all... it's just a long slow sine wave of a tale from 'mediocrity' to 'success' and back to 'mediocrity' again. Having given up on quite a lot of books recently, I stuck with it through to the bitter (bland...) end - but now find myself wishing I hadn't wasted the time.