Creation Stories: Riots, Raves and Running A Label - Alan McGee (2013)

Chapter 2. LONDON

Andrew Innes, what a bastard. He wanted me to leave Glasgow just when life there was finally good. It had taken nineteen years to become good, and now he wanted me to start again in London!

Well, I could have said no and stayed where I was. A lot of people would have thought that was the sensible thing to do. I had a girlfriend, my own place, a steady job. But Andrew was going and I knew my best chance to make it in a band was to stay with him. He’d taught me everything I knew about how to play music. So I decided to go with him, and that was the first time I picked music as a priority over Yvonne. It wouldn’t be the last. I think quite often about what would have happened if I hadn’t followed Andrew. There’d have been no Creation Records, that’s for sure. Maybe I’d have become a taxi-driver and fulfilled my parents’ ambitions for me. Had fifty conversations a day about Rangers. When the heart attack arrived, I’d have probably been glad.

I said goodbye to Yvonne but we decided we would stay together and give long distance love a go.

I quit my job and caught the train down with Andrew Innes. I took nothing with me except a new Yamaha bass guitar bought on credit and a very small bag of clothes. We had no plan except that we would arrive in London and become pop stars.

We all lived in a bedsit in Tooting Bec, me, Andrew Innes and Jack Riley. It was survival of the fittest. Jack didn’t last long. He came from a nice family. Well, you know about mine, and Innes was born a twisted and dark human being independent of familial influence. We’re as acerbic as each other. Jack was a good-looking rich lad and had been having a whale of a time in Glasgow, living in his parents’ nice house, shagging all the girls. He should have been in the Police. Now he had to live with two vitriolic cunts who informed him on a minute-by-minute basis how much we hated him. You know how it is when you’re that age, or maybe you don’t. We were cruel and we were nasty and we loved it. There was a bitterness in me, a rage at those who had had it so much easier than me. When you think the world doesn’t want to let you into its club you can either give up trying or make yourself sharp like a knife and try to stab your way through. I’m sorry for it now. Jack was a bit soft and didn’t stand a chance against me and Innes. Off he went back to Glasgow and Innes took over singing duties. We changed the name of the band at this point too, from Newspeak to the Laughing Apple (you’d have to ask Andrew why).

We needed a drummer and I found one, when I walked past this punk girl with bright pink hair and got chatting to her. Do you know any drummers? I asked. Of course she did, she had one on the sofa back at her place, a lovely guy but with a bad smack problem. He kept his kit in a squat on St Alphonsus Road in Clapham and when we ran out of money Andrew and I moved in there. It was really run down in those days. The place was full of guys who were on the run from the army, deserters. All of them with no hope, with the threat of military prison hanging over them. It was a heavy drug scene, the first time I saw people injecting heroin. I’d never seen any drugs until then. Bobby, Innes, me, we were all innocents in that respect.

I’ve always been grateful that it was there that I first saw heroin. It was definitely good for me. If I’d seen people shooting up in a more glamorous setting, I think I would have fallen for it later in life. I mean, I got addicted to every other drug going. I remember watching a guy inject in this horrible, dark, damp room in Clapham and thinking, No, that’s not for me.

After a couple of months of that I’d had enough. I’d got a job working for the railways again. I was a stores clerk. It was the most boring job in the world. People would come in and ask for thirty-two bolts and then I was supposed to fill in a form and give them thirty-two bolts. But I’d never do the paperwork. I used to take it all home in my bag and dump it in the bin. I had to work with a guy called Tony who was a total div. He was the stores supervisor and OCD about everything. I don’t think he liked Scottish people, and definitely not Scottish people like me. It was with great joy that I used to take home the entire week’s paperwork and dump it. It was so boring. I couldn’t face it. It took them a couple of years to find out it was all missing, by which time I was off. When I left I used to torment Tony by sending him postcards from the Jesus and Mary Chain tours I’d go on. From Tokyo, New York, Paris. Missing you Tony, love Alan. I knew he’d receive them sitting in his horrible little storage hut, where he’d be till he got his pension, and he would hate me. I kept that up for a couple of years.

The job meant I had enough to rent a room in Clapham North. I was renting the room from a family and in some ways it was worst than the squat. The dad was mental, a head case. I remember playing my records in my room and him bursting through the door, screaming and shouting and telling me I had to get out. I was staying in his daughter’s room, who he’d fallen out with, and now he’d made up with her and wanted to move her back in. He wanted me to leave immediately, and I’d have had to sleep on the streets. I’d paid till the end of the month, was going nowhere and told him so. I moved out soon enough though: I’d bounce around from one mad bedsit to the next, two months with one lunatic and two months with another. Yvonne and I would travel back and forward between London and Glasgow at the weekends – we both got tickets for next to nothing because we worked for British Rail. It took a year for her to decide to join me in London. Andrew stayed living in the squat. He was more interested than me in what was going on there.

We were playing gigs as the Laughing Apple wherever we could. We rehearsed at the squat and wrote our own songs. Andrew wrote the first ones and I learned from watching him, just as I learned everything about how to be in a band. We played gigs at the Stockwell Arms and at a dive in Tooting Bec. We supported the UK Subs at one point. I loved playing the gigs at first, but as we got used to them the buzz of playing wasn’t enough any more. It was desperate times, to be honest. I knew what I wanted but things weren’t going my way. Music felt like a hobby, not an escape – I couldn’t see how it was going to help me escape the destiny of a boring nine to five existence.

But I kept trying. The one gig everyone wanted to be on was the Hampstead Moonlight Club run by Dave Kitson from Red Flame. It was so hard to even get put on as third on the bill. Finally we managed it: I just wouldn’t go away and they put me on so I’d stop hassling them. We were supporting the Scars, who were the coolest band in the world then. During the middle of our set on stage we put a record on the portable Dansette I’d bought with the newspaper money back in Glasgow – it was ‘Jumping Someone Else’s Train’ by the Cure – then Andrew and I jumped into the crowd and started dancing around to it. The crowd were totally bewildered. ‘I’ve seen it all now,’ said Paul Research, the Scars’ guitarist, as we danced past him. Once it had finished we got back on stage and started playing our instruments again. Total post-punk!

We were putting out our own singles too. I used to go to Mayking records and give them £500 for a thousand records. We managed to blag the money for the first one, ‘The Ha Ha Hee Hee EP’, from CND, which we paid back once we’d sold all the records. Bobby was working at a printers in Glasgow and he’d design the sleeves, print them and send them down to London where we’d fold them into a plastic bag. It was pure budget stuff, and that was my first experience of putting out records. We’d take them down to Rough Trade records and Geoff Travis would take fifty of them at a time and distribute them around the country through his Cartel shops. What an amazing concept that was he came up with there. We could take them into the shop and he’d get them out across the country for us, and for loads of other small indie bands. The Cartel was a collective of shops that offered small bands a genuine alternative to major label distribution. I don’t really get on with Geoff Travis (and he probably hates me) but professionally and personally he’ll always have my respect for Rough Trade distribution. It was completely idealistic and ultimately it failed but for a while it changed the landscape of British music. And being part of the Rough Trade scene, for all the things I hated about them, was a very important education for me when I started off.

We were aware too that just as we’d left Glasgow the music scene was really kicking off there, with Alan Horne’s Postcard label and their biggest band Orange Juice. We didn’t know them but we were connected through friends. In fact, they asked if they could borrow a Vox organ Andrew and I had bought together, and that’s the organ on ‘Blueboy’ by Orange Juice. I’ve got a lot of respect for Alan Horne and Postcard these days (I was horrible about him in interviews when I was a loudmouth drug addict). He was as responsible for changing Glasgow into a music city as I was, as Bobby Gillespie was, Edwyn Collins and Teenage Fanclub. Before 1980 all we were famous for was Lulu and the Alex Harvey Band. Now it’s perhaps the biggest music city in the UK.

Though Andrew wasn’t paying any rent he certainly paid the price of the lifestyle in the squat. Within a year he’d caught hepatitis B and suffered kidney failure. He told everyone he’d got it from ‘sitting on dirty toilet seats’. He lost a kidney – it was that serious. His parents had to come and pick him up to take him back to Glasgow. He was gone for a whole year. (When he came back he went to university and got a degree in chemistry, specializing in pharmaceuticals. It makes sense, he’s the musical alchemist in Primal Scream. Though the thought of a member of Primal Scream opening up his own chemist’s is scary, for sure.)

London was a lonely place without Andrew. I’d lost my guitarist and I guess that was a moment when I could have given up on my dreams of being in a band and concentrated on working for British Rail, getting enough together for a mortgage, having kids with Yvonne, being the normal nine to fiver she would have liked me to be . . . But I couldn’t get the idea out of my head that the music industry was where I belonged, the only place I belonged.

It was good that I had music to focus on. Without that to occupy me, I don’t know what I would have done. I was a really angry man. I was ready to lash out all the time. I’d be in a record shop and someone would say something and next thing I’d be threatening to throw them through the window. My accent was quite scary to some people and once I’d realized that, I couldn’t resist. I guess I thought all southerners were soft. I’m amazed I didn’t get filled in more often.

With Andrew back recovering, we got Dick Green in as a replacement guitarist in the Laughing Apple. Before Andrew left we’d had to sack the drummer Mark Jardim when he didn’t turn up for the fiftieth practice in a row, and it was his replacement Ken Popple who brought Dick along to the squat one day to try out. He was a good guitarist too, played like Will Sergeant from Echo & the Bunnymen. We let him in and I’m glad we did because Dick has played such an important part in Creation’s story, though when we met him he was working as a pensions clerk and it took him till 1988 to jump fully on the Creation bandwagon. It wasn’t all fun in those days being in the Laughing Apple. Well, almost none of it was fun. We did a miserable tour of England supporting Eyeless in Gaza, playing universities. I really liked Eyeless in Gaza – Martyn Bates had such a soulful voice. I think I was the only one who did like them though. Someone stole my bass from the last gig of the tour in Edinburgh and on the drive back to London Dick hit some black ice and wrote our van off. Yvonne got thrown through the windscreen. It could have been a lot worse although she had pretty serious whiplash afterwards.

Yvonne had moved to London in 1981 and got a job at British Rail at Euston. We got engaged straight away. Not for very long; it seemed like the next minute we were getting married.

The wedding was that December, at 3 p.m. in Brixton register office. It was three o’clock and Yvonne’s family were there but my parents and sisters weren’t. It was quarter past and they still weren’t there, and we had to start the ceremony. Typical, I was thinking. They can’t even get here on time for their son’s wedding. (They’d set off that morning and been delayed by snow on the tracks.) Yvonne and I made our vows and we were married. Andrew Innes was there and Dick Green. Ken Popple. I loved Yvonne and I was pleased about that at least, despite how annoyed I was at my parents. We hung around afterwards, waiting, in case my parents turned up. They wanted to shut the register office soon and go home. It was 3.45, 3.54, one minute past four and that’s when my mum and dad dashed in and said, ‘Have we missed it?’

Poor Mum, I think it broke her heart. My sisters were just bemused. Dad couldn’t have given a fuck.

Yvonne and I lived in some terrible places after we’d got married. Ilford was the worst. The roof of our kitchen was a tarpaulin. It was the winter of February 1982, just after we’d got married, and it must have been the coldest flat in London. It wasn’t fit to live in. Eventually, Yvonne managed to sort out a mortgage and we bought a little house in Tottenham on Beaconsfield Road. We were completely terrified of the £15,000 mortgage we’d taken on – it seemed like more money than anyone could hope to earn in a lifetime. I think we were on £70 a week then.

That was as close as I came to giving it up forever. I tried for a while to be Joe Soap. I was at home in the evenings, watching Paul Weller appear with the Style Council on Top of the Pops. I was still missing Andrew a lot. I never made many friends in London until I started running the Living Room club in 1983. There was one good thing about Andrew being gone though: now the responsibility all fell to me to get gigs, and I realized this was a side of the music business I enjoyed in a different way to being in a band. Particularly when I began to get us press as well as gigs. I got us a two-page feature in Sounds written by Dave McCullough: ‘The band most likely to’ and all this shit. Janice Long was a fan straight away and played our songs. She’s always been a huge supporter of me. I wore John Peel down with persistence and eventually he played a single, ‘Sometimes I Wish’. I was still talking to Andrew up in Glasgow and he was amazed by the press I was getting. You could be a manager, he was telling me.

I didn’t understand then that I’d stumbled across my true talent. I was good at organizing people, at persuading them to do something, making things happen. I liked trying to get people to share my enthusiasm, making them believe me. I convinced people that the Laughing Apple were going to change the world! They stayed convinced for about five seconds, but even that was some achievement.

Pressing the Laughing Apple records had taught me a lot too. Because I didn’t have anyone babysitting me, by default I had to learn how to do every stage of the process. It didn’t seem intimidating to me. I’d had to work things out for myself my whole life, from the day I started selling newspapers to the day I realized it was much more profitable to steal them then sell them.

We weren’t doing it to make money. We covered costs and made a little bit but it was never about profit. We were addicted to having our own records. My own record where I played bass on it! It was mind-blowing. The days of vinyl too – it had a mystique that CDs never had, even in the days before every PC could churn them out.

I’d found another band too that changed my life. The first time I saw Television Personalities was in 1982, supporting the Nightingales. Andrew must have recovered then, because he was with me. I liked the Nightingales but the TVPs were out of this world. It was March 1982, a Rough Trade concert. What a performance. There were about twelve of their mates sitting around on stage, wearing suits, smoking cigarettes through holders and pretending to be aristocrats. There was Ed Ball on bass, Dan Treacy singing and on guitar, and then Joe Foster ran on to sing ‘Part Time Punks’ really camply, before he sawed Dan Treacy’s Rickenbacker in half! It was maybe a grand’s worth of guitar. They were only getting paid about £50 for the gig! I saw them loads after that. Their live sets were always incredible: whimsical, camp, racing with the speed rush of the 1960s mod scene. I loved the first two albums And Don’t the Kids Just Love It and Mummy Your Not Watching Me. ‘Three Wishes’, ‘Part Time Punks’ – brilliant singles. Treacy was like a cross between Jonathan Richman and Ray Davies.

There were two future Creation employees on stage that night too: Ed Ball and Joe Foster would play a big part in the story.

It wasn’t just the TV Personalities’ music I loved – it was their record label Whaam!. It was a pop-art label. I’d start going to visit Dan Treacy in his house on the King’s Road. He was a bit suspicious of me, didn’t know what I was after. I just wanted to be his mate, ask him for a bit of advice. I saw him as a kindred spirit – he had a club, a label and a band – and he was influenced by punk and psychedelic sixties bands too. I think it annoyed Dan Treacy at the time that we got so successful by copying his moves but we became good friends later in life. I have a lot of affection for him.

Discovering the TV Personalities reinvigorated me and I’d been inspired by the fanzine Jamming! too. It was a great fanzine which Paul Weller helped fund and Tony Fletcher, who went on to write Keith Moon’s biography, put together. Tony Fletcher was even younger than me, and I was only about twenty-two when I started reading Jamming! He did this one brilliant issue that made me sit bolt upright: get up off your arse, form a fanzine, form a club, form a band. So I went and did all three.

Years later I told Tony Fletcher what an influence he’d been for me, and he was pissed off: ‘Why don’t you tell people that!?’ So I’m correcting that now, Tony – thanks for the inspiration.

First I tried the fanzine. Jerry Thackray and I put Communication Blur together. Jerry Thackray was the Laughing Apple’s biggest and, on dark days it seemed, only fan. He’d be the one dancing at our gigs, and we became mates. We nicknamed him The Legend, ironically. There was nothing legendary about him, but it was a good persona for him in the fanzine to let rip. We used Communication Blur to unleash our bile about everything we hated on the world. We pretty much hated everything, or Jerry did anyway. He was slagging me off by the end, for being too cosy with music journalists. I’d put adverts in the fanzine for the Laughing Apple singles, special offers, and I managed to sell a few doing this. But that was the last act of the Laughing Apple. We petered out that summer. As a band we’d never really found our own style, and I was tired of ripping off Joy Division.

Next up I wanted to try to run a club. My first club was the Communication Club in October 1982. I put on the Nightingales, the Television Personalities, the Go-Betweens. I ran it for eight weeks in Camden and no one was interested. I lost money every night – we’d get about fifty people there and it wouldn’t cover the costs. It was depressing but I’m glad I did it: it was through putting on the TV Personalities that I became involved with Joe Foster. I remember the first time we spoke. He arrived up the club with hair and clothes like Bob Dylan in speed-fuelled 1966 and strode up to me.

‘Are you Alan McGee?’ he said.

‘Yeah.’

‘Good,’ he said. ‘You owe me eleven quid for the cab fare.’

Joe quickly became one of my best mates. The thing that I loved most about Joe Foster was that he was genuinely more mental than me. Six months after the failure of Communication Club, in June 1983, we tried to run another night together, this time called the Living Room. It was up in the Adams Arms on Conway Street.

The Living Room was anti-everything else that was going on at that time. Gigs were in set venues. There was no one else putting four good bands on in the upstairs rooms of pubs or if there was I didn’t know about it. I think we were responsible in large part for starting that scene: not many people would put on unsigned bands at that time and after that, there were nights like ours everywhere. Bobby was running a similar night, Splash One, in Glasgow, but that was posh – he was hiring a nightclub. We just bought our own cheap PA and did gigs wherever we could find the space, whether it was a place normally used for old men to play dominos or if it was a place normally full of women who got paid to take their clothes off. Because the rooms were so small our cheap PA was fine. It was raw. We’d get the room cheap, pay the bands a reasonable amount and make a decent profit. Completely illegal in terms of regulations, and the police shut us down once.

Some nights we’d have two hundred people coming up the stairs. Big guys from the army would be trying to get in and Joe would decide he wasn’t going to let them. These enormous hard guys and Joe would stand there telling them to fuck off. ‘Come on then, we’ll come down and we’ll fight you now,’ he’d say if they didn’t like it. I’d be looking at these hard cunts and back at Joe and he’d be totally unafraid. I’m not scared of much but he’s mental. Joe, I was thinking, we’ll get our heads absolutely stoved in. But he was totally fearless. Everyone in the TV Personalities had told me he was mental, and within a week of starting the Living Room he was on the door telling trained killers they’d better fuck off or he’d come out and batter them. He couldn’t give a fuck. The funny thing is he wasn’t even hard! I found this out later when he drove me mental on a tour in Europe.

It’s hard to work out why some clubs arrive at the right time and work and why some arrive at the wrong time. At the height of Britpop, when I was at my most famous, no one would come to a night Bobby and I tried to run. A couple of years later, people were queuing up for Death Disco. In 1982 no one cared about my Communication Club. In 1983 the Living Room took off immediately. We’d have two hundred people paying a fiver each and once we’d paid the bands Joe and I would have about £800 to split between us. It was completely nuts – to put it in context, I was getting only £70 a week from British Rail.

I got a lot of my confidence back then. The Television Personalities had really inspired me and I wanted to try to make music again. The influence of Joe Foster and Dan Treacy was definitely making itself felt when I started a new band in summer 1983. I’d been into the 1960s garage band the Creation since seeing their record ‘Biff Bang Pow’ on the inside sleeve of All Mod Cons by the Jam. Joe Foster and Dan Treacy were even bigger fans: I’d seen the Television Personalities cover ‘Biff Bang Pow’, and the amphetamine energy of the 1960s mod bands was a huge influence in the pop-art scene they were trying to create with Whaam!. We called the band Biff Bang Pow!. It was me on vocals and guitar, Dick Green on guitar, Dave Evans on bass and Ken Popple on the drums. I’d write a lot of the basic melodies and then Dick would put the flowery parts on. And Joe Foster produced all the recording sessions for us and played on most of the songs, and then wrote a lot of songs with me, so it wasn’t long before he was a fully fledged member too.

After a couple of months of Joe Foster and me drinking all of the profits from the Living Room away, the McGee work ethic kicked in and I decided with Joe to use the money to start putting records out. Running the club had been very useful too. Being on the door of the place everyone was trying to get into, I’d ended up getting known and made lots of new pals. The journalists were all coming along, and they all knew my face now.

We called the label Creation, after the band again, and with a lot of influence from Whaam!. The punk spirit and the melodies of 1960s psychedelic pop – that was the concept for the label. But the first record we ever brought out – in August 1983 – was by the Legend and it was fucking awful. I played the drums and Jerry chanted over the top. At the time I was shocked people didn’t think it was a work of genius. We were crucified. My favourite fanzine Jamming! described it as ‘totally worthless’. It took me six months before I dared attempt another record.

We did twelve singles before I found the Jesus and Mary Chain and we had our first hit. The Pastels, the Jasmine Minks, Revolving Paint Dream and the Loft all followed.

Of these, I thought the Jasmine Minks had the best chance of making it. They were the first band we took seriously in that respect. They were from Aberdeen. It was fronted by Jim Shepherd and Adam Sanderson and they both wrote songs. There aren’t many bigger characters in the history of the label than Hans Christian Sanderson, as we called him: he was an incredible teller of tall tales. They were all great people. We released their records till 1989. Majors were sniffing around them but it came to nothing. They should have made it, and maybe they did make it, maybe making it is the joy in making the records you wanted to make and getting to tour them around Britain and Europe. They seemed happy with that – they weren’t desperate to be pop stars. They had a punk ethos in that respect. Hans Christian ended up coming to work for Creation, answering the phones for a year, in the days of Hackney madness.

Revolving Paint Dream was just another name for Andrew Innes. He played most of the instruments himself, recorded one of my songs actually, ‘In the Afternoon’. On one version I sing, on another it’s his girlfriend. I’d steal songs from him and put them out with Biff Bang Pow! There was no preciousness about songs – we’d swap them all the time, not care about who got credited. ‘Someone Stole the Wheels’ for Biff Bang Pow! was one of Andrew’s for example.

The Loft were fronted by Pete Astor. When I first met Pete Astor I thought he was a pretentious prick. He’s a well-spoken posh lad, and we were all rough Scottish lads. You make snap judgements that are not really fair, because he’s a lovely lad. Back then, I thought he thought he was better than me. I began to realize the Loft could play really well watching them at the Living Room and signed them. Just before they split up they were getting a lot of radio play from Janice Long for ‘Up the Hill and Down the Slope’ – that was a tune. Perhaps if they’d stayed together they could have ridden that momentum and sold a few records. But it was inevitable they were going to split up: because Pete Astor absolutely hated two members of the band. They seemed oblivious to it. I wasn’t: he wouldn’t stop telling me how much he hated them. The drummer always seemed stoned, which may be why he didn’t annoy anyone or notice that the rest of the band hated each other, and when Pete split the band he came with him and formed the Weather Prophets.

We put out the Pastels too, though that wasn’t much fun. I’ve got nothing against Stephen Pastel – he’s coming from a good place, still busy with his shop and events and his band these days. But he always had such romantic ideas and it was hard to socialize with him then. In those days all the bands would stop with me and Yvonne in our house on Beaconsfield Road when they were playing London gigs. The Pastels were the most awkward people I’d ever met. I don’t know who they thought me and Yvonne were but they seemed terrified of us. We ended up dropping the band twice. Stephen had fallen out with Geoff Travis at Rough Trade and left them and we released the Pastels’ single ‘Something Going On’, which got some nice reviews. Then we put out ‘I Wonder Why’ and his guitar player called me and accused me of owing him £100 that I was sure I didn’t owe him. It was all a misunderstanding but for that we threw them off the label. I think Joe Foster re-signed them after that to do an album but I heard that before they’d even gone into record the songs they’d had an argument and they and Joe Foster had gone their separate ways.

We made a formal deal with Rough Trade, who had been distributing and selling my records since I pressed up the Laughing Apple singles. It was a straightforward P & D deal (production and distribution). I thought it was shit. They took 25 per cent off the top, despite all their bullshit about being a workers’ cooperative. Although I respected Rough Trade for what Geoff Travis had pulled off with the Cartel, I hated the ethos there from day one. The offices and the warehouse were up in Blenheim Crescent, off Ladbroke Grove. It was the most unsafe warehouse in the world: anyone could have wandered in off the street and stolen as many records as they wanted. While I liked the music fans on the warehouse floor I thought the bosses were preachy and hypocritical. You’d find out that they’d been to Eton, or that their dad was a merchant banker, and yet there was all this ‘up the workers’ crap and big bowls of communal brown rice for everyone to eat. It was pretend poverty. I had actually been poor; I didn’t aspire to be poor. As soon as I could, I was going to be a champagne and sirloin steak kind of guy and there was no way I’d be ashamed of it.

I was getting better and better at handling the music press. There wasn’t anyone else out there with my self-belief. By 1985 I was being quoted in Sounds: ‘I run the greatest record label in the world.’ Deep down I knew it wasn’t true, but I knew there was no way you could become the greatest record label in the world without people believing you were. I’d use any trick I could to rise out of indie obscurity and I knew no one else had the balls to make these kinds of claims.

The music press had always found me amusing. I was a breath of fresh air after all the worthy brown-rice-for-tea bollocks the likes of Rough Trade would spout to them. They loved the cocky persona, certainly at first. And when they decided I was too cocky, roughly 1988–1994, I barely did any interviews with them.

It was beginning to feel to me like maybe Creation could do something. But it was only a dream then. It took signing my first great rock and roll band in 1984 for me to really start to believe that I could make that dream a reality.