BACK STAGE AT PEPPERMINT IGUANA HQ: Gigs, Festivals, Parties, CDs, Books, Protests, travels, photography and Cardiff City FC

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Creation Records - the movie

If you grew up in the 1980s and early 90s, liked guitar music, read the Melody Maker or the NME (ah – the good old days, when the NME was a publication worth reading) or paid the slightest bit of attention to what was going on beyond the mainstream; then you knew about Creation Records.

They certainly weren’t the first indie label, they probably weren’t the best (although that is open to debate), but they were definitely one of the most successful. Many of the bands on their roster would never become household names or get day time airplay, but with few exceptions they all had a devoted cult following.

With an A&R policy of signing bands that were good, as opposed to potential money makers, there was always a danger that catastrophe was only around the corner. But somehow Alan McGee, founding director, had the fortune of signing many of the era’s defining bands. Jesus and Mary Chain, Primal Scream, House of Love, Sugar, Super Fury Animals, My Bloody Valentine and eventually the colossus that would become Oasis, were all products of the Creation label.

Upside down, the story of the label, features interviews – both contemporary and archive – with all the movers and shakers in the Creation story. We also get live footage from the days when Indie actually meant Independent, rather than a style of guitar music.

Run, on the whole, by amateur music fans who just wanted to have fun, get laid and take lots of drugs, they achieved success despite – rather than because of – their passion for music and no time for compromise. Based in a nondescript office in north London, day to day life was more like a 24 hour party than a business and new bands were generally stumbled upon when out on the pull.

This warts and all documentary skips through the history of the label, from the formation, the early releases and the growing successes; through the glory years as the mainstream embraced the underground and Tony Blair embraced Brit Pop, to financial melt down, drug excess and the realisation – as Oasis played Knebworth – that the removal from the real world that comes with mega stardom aint all fun.

Tonight, as the film gets it’s welsh premier in Cardiff’s Chapter Arts, McGee drops in for a Q&A session. He comes over as a passionate music lover that has been through the industry ringer and come out older, wiser and with his feet re-planted firmly on terra-firmer. He is entertaining, witty and contented with his lot, having now settled in Hay on Wye.

As the evening closes, we top it off with free drinks in the foyer – no need to withdraw from the highlife completely!


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