Creation Records Part 1; Re-Hab Fab 1983 – 1995

Creation Records Part 1; Re-Hab Fab 1983 – 1995

Why…? Why Creation? Why is it that I don’t give a damn about the occasional scratch or bruise about my person but if anyone even puts the slightest mark on my copy of ‘Definitely Maybe’, it’s a real cause for concern? Why do I care more about getting my rocks off with Bobbie than precious life itself? Why don’t I go out more rather than lying on my bed listening to the sweet voice of Sice and the band? Why is it that an innocuous building in a Hackney backstreet happens to have been the throbbing pulse of British music for the past twelve and a bit years?

RE-HAB FAB Creation Records Story Part 1 –  1983 to 1995

The story starts with a young man called Alan McGee who, disillusioned with the struggle of his band getting…anywhere, he up staked his roots in Glasgow and with a grand in tow, moved to London and opened up the Living Room nightclub so he could put his mates bands on.

creationJackneyofficestaffearlyMaking a little money from the venture, he felt ready to take on the world of pop. The flunkies alongside him were Dan Treacy and Ed Ball, who at the time ran Whamm records, also Joe Foster who along with Ed Ball were members of The Television Personalities. McGee’s mission to put his friend’s records out commenced and the label soon got into debt, with its first release in fact. It was a dreadfully crap tin pot do-it-yerself punk tune called “73 in 83′ by the Legend! – Otherwise known as Mr bitter and twisted Everett True. It was for this reason that Creation celebrated ten years in ’94 rather in ’93, like they should have.Jesus&Marychainearly

The record was a major embarrassment to McGee and all connected with the label and still is. That is why True is so scathing about McGee’s babies and “73 in ’83” is a good (or bad) enough reason for Creation to celebrate the release of the label’s second single, ‘Flowers in the Sky’ by Revolving Paint Dream. After this came a succession of lovely identikit singles from The Pastels, McGee’s band Biff Bang Pow! and the Jasmine Minks. Within a year of existence the label spawned its first classic, ‘Upside Down’ by The Jesus & Mary Chain, a smouldering blues tune smothered in blistering feedback. If McGee could’ve afforded to keep the Mary Chain, or if they hadn’t outgrown the label, they wouldn’t have spent the next three years in the realms of mediocrity.

The only bands on the roster at that time, who suggested greatness  were the ever reliable Pastels, C86 babes The Bodines and a Byrds fixated Primal Scream. Bobbie Gillespie has been a kindred spirit where Creation is concerned, whether it’s drumming for the ‘Mary Chain or singing with the ‘Scream, asking McGee to take him to a Thin Lizzy gig in ’72, or telling McGee to sign Teenage Fanclub in 1990. The ‘Scream were just a better looking version of The Pastels and were not really worthy of as much attention at the time, which is precisely what they got.

But Creation was getting attention and was known as the hippest small label in town. They were making such big waves, much more than they had the right to make that even Warners wanted a piece of the action. McGee struck a deal with the major label and started the doomed Warners subsidiary, Elevation.Creation_PrimalScream

The acts who joined were The Weather Prophets, Edwin Collins, and Primal Scream. With the bands starting to feel neglected and when Elevation received the rather large bill for the recording of the ‘Scream’s wah-wah frenzied debut album ‘Sonic Flower Groove’, (they surely spent more on nasal stimulation than recording the LP), consequently the label promptly closed, leaving McGee with a severely deflated purse and a depressingly lightweight collection of acts. The only band who prevented a second close-down were the faces of the ’87 indie scene, The House of Love, who released a succession of amazing pop singles, ‘Shine On’, ‘Real Animal’, ‘Christine’, and ‘Destroy the Heart’, they single-handedly kept McGee in business. I remember rushing up to the only decent record shop in Wakefield during dinner time, paying £1.49, I rushed home, avoiding any teachers who may have been around (not very anarchic, but I was 14 for f**k sake) and listened to ‘Destroy The Heart’ almost non-stop from 0ne’clock till bedtime. It blew me away every god-damned time and still does. To this day it remains one of the best pieces of vinyl that any label, let alone Creation have released. Not only did Chadwick and Bickers keep Creation in circulation, it heralded the coming of the good times. With a wiser, harder Primal Scream back with the label, a decent LP, and those studio-loving hermits My Bloody Valentine, Creation were becoming the ‘White Motown’. They had a set of great groups and some amazing single releases; the aforementioned ‘Destroy the Heart’, MBV’S ‘Feed me with your Kiss’, ‘The Primal’s’ ‘Ivy Ivy Ivy/ I’m Losing More Than I Ever Had’. Music with feeling, music with…soul?

In 1990, whilst McGee was, in his own words, f**ked off his head on E, his newest recruits were laying down the master plan for what Creation is today, he signed Ride, Teenage Fanclub, The Telescopes Swervedriver and (oh dear) the now departed and rather terrible Slowdive. Then his ‘acid’ signings, Sheertaft, Hypnotone, Fluke, Ed Ball’s Love Corporation, a sublime and sophisticated dance combo and the infamous Momus gave the label an eclectic quality, something it had never had before. All those great bands, fantastic bands, who the f**k are TaCreation_ridelivengerine and Les Zarjazz anyway?

Now, after all the sweat and tears the label finally started to pay McGee’s rent. Primal Scream got ‘Loaded’ in the top ten and on Top of the Pops. Ride’s first three astounding Ep’s full of white noise, teenage angst and melody graced the charts. Swervedriver pre-empted grunge by eighteen months with their first two mind-blowing singles, Ed Ball continued with some of that Ed Ballness with The Times’ Spacemen 3-esque ode to ‘Manchester’ and course, there were Peter Astor and The Jazz Butcher…right. ’91 was, amazingly, another cash-strapped year. This was their biggest ever year, a year of continued and unfounded success.

The first masterpiece came early – My Bloody Valentine’s ‘Loveless’ was seeped in sweet sounding feedback, and and it cost a reputed £400,000 to make. Although it sold alright, due to the cost of the album’s recording, it left the label in the red with major part of the money spent uncollected, lying on the shelves of record shops all over the country, leaving McGee’s chart stars to pick up the pieces. McGee blagged the f**ker, totally, without the ‘Primal’s high and mighty top ten, and the Teenage Fannie’s ‘Bandwagonesque’, he’d probably be wearing dirt and pine by now.

My Bloody Valentine MBVWhilst Creation got bigger, McGee was running out of money, quick. My Bloody Valentine may have had something to do with this, but what’s more likely is, what with the Cre-fab fours groups threatening constant chart success, and a line of up of fine bands, all which reeked of cool with the maximum shaggability, Creation couldn’t handle this, so McGee sold a large (49{56f2936c3fbc3de09a84fd52b6c7526482536b9cf55829985307b198e62a23d8}) slice of his hard work to the Sony label. In return McGee got the financial security and better distribution from a major label with clout. He also set up three subsidiary labels, Rev-ola, which gave us albums from Leonard Nimoy, nice one, Infonet, a thumping techno label, which featured Bandulu, Reload and August, with only Eugenius being much cop. ’91 was a good year with the exception of ‘Nevermind’, all the coolest albums came from McGee’s stable. It was also a year that Creation almost went out of business. Odd that.Ride_Goingbackagaincover

After such a turbulent year, ’92 was pretty quiet. My Bloody Valentine, the Fannie’s and Primal Scream all toured for a while then disappeared, leaving Ride to hold the fort which they did well. Their second album, ‘Going Blank Again’ was an over looked work of genius of Beatle-esque proportions, a top five hit! The end of the year polls belonged to ex-Husker Du shouty bloke Bob Mould and Sugar’s execrable debut album ‘ Cooper Blue’. McGee spent the year pushing new boys Adorable, doing what Oasis are doing now, far too early for their own good, they didn’t sell shit. Silverfish came along with their angry douche music and the biggest balls in the label’s history. Leslie Rankin was a revelation, she could twat everyone on the label in her sleep, but it was the new signings from Rough Trade, the much unloved Boo Radley’s which REALLY caught my ears. The bitter sweet Beach Boys melodies and non-stop guitar attack used on their second album ‘Everything’s alright forever’ spent at least eight months on my super stacking system. I remember the cries of “shite!” every time I played it on the sixth form stereo. Little did they know that whilst they were throwing my tape round the study area and taking the piss, three years later, the very same people helped one of their later albums enter the album chart at number one.

For the third year running (Ride’s ‘Nowhere’ in ’90, Fannie’s Bandwagon-esque’ in ’91 and now ‘Everything’s Alright Forever’), Creation had released an album that refused to dislodge itself from my stereo. It made my life of study that little bit easier. If you take a look back through Creation’s history you will see that they have always had one band whose success outshines all of the others and every year that band usually goes on to represent a time and place that captures  the imagination of a nation. Check it. It started off with the Pastels, then onto Primal Scream MK1, Felt House of Love, My Bloody ValentinCreation_swerevedrivere, Primal Scream MK3, Sugar, Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream MK3, the rock whores Oasis and now, the Boo Radleys’ number one album – piece of piss.

’93 went along rather nicely, Teenage Fanclub provided the hits with tracks from their disappointing ‘Thirteen’ LP. Swervedriver came back bigger and better, Dread Zone released a punky spliffed up shankin’ dub plate LP, but promptly left the label as they didn’t feel like they were being treated as a priority act. They felt that other bands were getting more of McGee’s attention; bands like Medicine ho ho, Slowdive hee hee and the Poster Children no! Stop iiitt! McGee signed up the ever enduring BMX Bandits along for the ride. A band responsible for the existence of the Teenage Fannies, Eugenius and oh dear, Superstar (the group they all originated from), the ‘Bandit’s were doomed, never, ever, EVER to sell any records. McGee also hooked up with a little group from Manchester called Oasis. I saw them this year, not knowing anything about ’em except that they were “f**king excellent!”. It was their press officer who said that, so I went along expecting shite. I left declaring them as saviours of RAWKUNDRAWL. In a year free from financial worries and with a new dawn of commercial success beckoning, this year’s soundtrack came from an unexpected source a band, who thanks to McGee’s faith and devotion are still around today – The Boo Radleys had finally arrived with their stunning (top twenty) album ‘Giant Steps’. If only they knew what was round the corner for them, McGee, of course did know, proclaiming that the album is good, “but their next album will be THE Boo’s album”.Lastfm_TheBooRadleys1996

So, in the halcyon days of ninety four, their eleventh year of existence, but the year they celebrated their tenth birthday, it all blew up. Primal Scream – BACK! They rocked. Ride BACK! They’d grown up and grown their hair. Sugar BACK!, with a not that bad LP. Velvet Crush BACK!, grrreeeeat! Adorable BACK!, yippee, shcmippie. And Idha became the only female solo artist on the label. This little Scandinavian honey was married to Andy Ride. No, no nepotism involved at all, right.

Druggie Gillespie’s comeback was overshadowed by a band who, along with Blur, own the key and all the awards of ’94, the year of another rock and roll renaissance, Oasis. The fastest selling debut album, ever, five top 20 singles, they made people feel that if you use your initiative you can make IT happen. They wrote stupid songs about gin and tonics, red pack Malboro’s, none of that poncey lights malarkey here, and songs about being free and being able to live eternally. Their narcissism, hedonism and ego knows no bounds, they dusted off the old “we’re the best band in the world” line, and we believed them, no questions asked. Little kids like the tunes, the teenies believed they could be part of the band, and parents who recognised the Ray Davies haircuts and Lennon microphones exploits, reminisced.

Oasis_Noel-and-LiamGallagher-a-002Finally, McGee had his sticky fingers on a set of bands who could infiltrate the top ten with comparative ease, Oasis spent Christmas at number two with ‘Whatever’. Now, how the hell did that happen? You can accuse me of being arse licky, I have been. There were, and still are, some awful acts in the stable of Creation. Remember shite goth band Medicine, crap baggies Medalark II; C & W bilge from Velvet Crush; BMX Bandits and The Jazz Butcher; going nowhere, Slowdive; dull indie shoe pursuers, now dull ambient shoe pursuers, sub standard Teenage Fannies; Superstar and Boyfriend. But none came worse than the quirky, irritating and VERY malodorous Shonen Knife. Yet those few mistakes are forgivable when you have the opportunity to blast out classic lines like “always gotta line for the ladies”, “she wears denim wherever she goes, sez she’s gonna buy some rekids by the Status Quo, oh yeah” and “you gotta, you gotta make it happen” in your bedroom and have your life changed by an inanimate object like a twelve inch piece of plastic.

From Glasgow to the world, from handmade Jesus & Mary Chain sleeves and 985 copies of the Legend! (unsold) to Primal Scream taking their pillaged squawk and roll to the US, and Oasis cranked up to eleven in one million bedrooms. There have been some mega tunes and just a little bit of indie meandering. But one thing’s for sure, whilst McGee is still around, the kids are gonna get whatever they want, whatever they need. Like I said before, Creation is the White Motown.

Debut on Creation
One of a few fantastic singles, back in 1987
One of the most overlooked and underrated bands – Ride were a great band.
Can’t find many official videos by Teenage Fanclub… sorry
A Happy Christmas in 1994 and this stand alone single only got to No.2 – rip off!

Creation Records Part2: Supernova Nights

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Creation Records Part 1; Re-Hab Fab 1983 – 1995