Alan McGee – Eyefocus 359 Music

This entry is part 1 of 7 in the series Eyefocus 359 Music

Creation Records founder Alan McGee claims he has been reinvigorated by music recently, to such an extent that he has launched a new record label in conjunction with Cherry Red Records. Not content with resting on his illustrious laurels, the man who helped bring bands such as the Jesus and Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Primal Scream and Teenage Fanclub into our lucky lives has decided to once again grace the record buying public with his welcome presence, and hopefully to provide us with some much needed new music and great talent.

Creation Records was started in 1983 by Alan McGee, Dick Green and Joe Foster (and a £1000 bank loan) in order to put records out by bands that they liked, and according to McGee who no one else wanted. In a candid interview for the Guardian in 2010 McGee also revealed that part of the reason for starting Creation Records was because of ‘not wanting a real job’, which is as good a reason as any to start your own record company. However, to run a record label that seemed perennially in debt must have brought its own stresses and tribulations, and although McGee admits a lot of it was down to luck, there must surely have been a lot of hard work and a passion for what he was doing in order to keep Creation Records going as long as he did.

Some of the most influential bands from the past 25 years were signed to Creation Records, and they need no further introduction here. When Creation Records came to an end in 1999 the label had released records by at least 40 bands, and you would forgive Alan McGee if he felt like throwing the towel in at this point, however, he formed Poptones and signed The Hives before dissolving the record label for financial reasons in 2007.

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Can the man who co founded Creation Records and subsequently Poptones have any more hunger for the trials and tribulations of the music business? The answer is comprehensively in the affirmative. However, Alan McGee has decided to set up his new venture from his home in rural Wales. McGee moved to Wales with his wife and daughter and he openly admits that he got bored with life in London. Thanks to modern technology McGee has been afforded the luxury of being able to operate his new venture from the comfort of his own home.

Alan McGee argues that all he needs is a Blackberry and a laptop in order to operate his label. Although McGee has found a new zest for music, he feels that technology has altered the importance of music. McGee argues that people are more enthused by Twitter than pop music, which makes uncovering the next Primal Scream or Oasis virtually non-existent. However, McGee is also canny enough to know that online social media sites is now the way to push new music, and YouTube, Twitter and Facebook do provide an important outlet for new bands, who can promote their music off their own backs. However, the other side of the argument is that the Internet is making it difficult for any aspiring musician to forge an identity amongst the deluge of sub standard music.

Luckily the artists signed to 359 Music do have an outlet for their music, which comes in the form of Cherry Red Records, who intend to handle the business side of the label with McGee responsible for A&R. How Cherry Red Records and Alan McGee came back together is somewhat amusing. McGee says he received a letter in the post from Cherry Red Records saying that he was due outstanding royalties to the tune of a £126. The royalties in question date back at least 30 years when he was in a band called the Laughing Apple. Cherry Red Records must be applauded for outstanding honesty and unwittingly helping to convince Alan McGee to return to the music business.

Cherry Red Records are still going strong and growing after 35 years in the music business, and can lay claim to being the biggest reissue company in the market. Now Cherry Red records are moving back to distributing music by new and upcoming artists, and this joint venture with Alan McGee sounds like a match made in musical heaven, especially for the lucky 15 or so artists who made the cut and are finally realizing their dream of actually recording music and getting it released for us lucky punters to hear.

Alan McGee had invited artists to send their music by MP3, and McGee then promised to listen to everything that he received, which must be a monumental but thoroughly enjoyable task in itself. Within a few days of announcing the formation of 359 Music Alan McGee said he had received at least a few thousand MP3’s, however, he would have also liked to have heard from more female artists as McGee claims that at least 85% of the MP3’s he received were from male bands. According to McGee ‘there is more talent in Huyton than there is in Hoxton’, which reveals his disenchantment with London was not just geographical but musical as well. The request to send MP3’s is closed for for now, but will periodically re-open with fresh opportunities when the time is right. Our advice would be to follow 359 Music on Facebook and Twitter, to keep up with the action.

November is set to be a busy and exciting month for 359 Music and the artists who are lucky enough to be signed to the label. 359 Music are set to unleash at least half a dozen albums throughout the course of the month, and I have been lucky enough to have a sneak preview of 3 of these albums. Pete McLeod, Gun Club Cemetery and Tess Parks have been fully endorsed and supported by Alan McGee, and he feels that 359 Music will provide a much-needed outlet for these artists to showcase their talents.

Alan’s Interview to follow…

A Series has been set-up for 359 Music on eyeplug.net, which include interviews and reviews of the 6 newly signed Artist’s and they will be published very soon!


Long John

Charming Chap and a new sharp force for Eyeplug, being a toppermost writer with a keen appreciation for things of quality and distinction. A well known face on the London ‘Mod’ Scene but with an open mind and heart. Got a strange interest in Pirates? One to watch out for!

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