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'Oasis ripped off Slade': Alan McGee talks ahead of Wolverhampton Literature Festival appearance

By Leigh Sanders | Wolverhampton | Music | Published:

'The Slade Rooms, is that anything to do with Slade?'

Alan McGee will be at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival Photo: John Hollingsworth

Alan McGee is speaking to The Star ahead of appearing at the Wolverhampton venue this Saturday as part of the city's 2020 literature festival, and as usual he's thinking in musical terms.

"Oasis ripped them off you know," he adds of the Mancunian rockers he is probably best known for discovering and championing. "They got their guitar sound from Slade. If you closed your eyes while listening to them then honestly, you could be listening to Slade.

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"I don't think Slade were getting the big respect they deserved in the 90s. But Oasis stole that sound."

It's not even the first Wolverhampton reference McGee has thrown out during this conversation. When he hears the name and home city of the paper he is speaking to, he booms in his deep Glaswegian tones: "Aaaaaah Wolverhampton Wanderers. The home of Derek Dougan.

"I loved watching that big Irish b******. I loved him. I remember watching him for Northern Ireland against Scotland as a wee boy. I just loved the strips and the fashion at the time and that was a good time for football."

And while he's not here to talk football - although we do, about his memories of Rangers and Celtic in the big European ties of that period - he is here to discuss his music career.

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On Saturday night he will take to the stage at the Slade Rooms alongside former Blastoff promoter Dave Travis to talk about everything from founding Creation Records to writing columns for The Guardian via managing and promoting iconic British bands like The Jesus And Mary Chain, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine, Oasis, and The Libertines.

"I started doing these Q&A tours last year, we did about 50 of them all over the place," he adds. "I get to go to all these mad little towns and cities along the way and meet lots of music fans. I'd never usually go to Wolverhampton otherwise.

"We take to the stage and do an interview which lasts about 45 minutes to an hour. We talk, hopefully I make people laugh, and then we take a wee break. Then it's open to the audience. As you can see I'll answer anything! There's usually a video played or a band playing too."

Alan McGee is known for discovering and managing Oasis, amongst others, through his label Creation Records

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He'll be back in March as well at The Night Owl in Birmingham, hosting an event this time in conversation with IDLES frontman Joe Talbot. He's a fan of the band, and "mates with his agent", so it was easy to put together.

"I'm meeting him before the show Saturday actually, so he might even be at Slade Rooms too. I love all those new punk bands, IDLES, Shame, Fontaines D.C. etc."

He's still involved with management and currently co-runs his Creation23 label, founded in 2018. They look after up-and-coming bands across the country such as The K's, The Illicits and The Clockworks, who were the last band McGee had seen live when he spoke to us and who he described as "f***ing incredible". But one name in particular will be familiar to local music lovers - Cannock's Marquis Drive.

"I have my eyes and ears over as much local music as I can, I just love it," McGee adds. "Marquis Drive from Cannock I like. Those lads are good.

"I'd love it if the world suddenly woke up and loved these guys. But it doesn't matter if we're selling thousands of records or just a few. I just love music and will keep doing it."

And McGee even had some advice for any local act reading his words hoping to catch their big break.

"Don't ever quit, just keep going," he adds. "Embrace the moment, and enjoy what's around. Music is still good. It might not be as big on a cultural level as the 90s but it's still good.

"We all just listen to the bands we like."

And for McGee, that still won't include Coldplay. He made headlines back in 2000 by labelling their work as "music to wet your bed to". They were understandably aggrieved, and it is a comment McGee has been brought back to multiple times over the years since. But has he seen them on stage yet, and will they ever be a 'band we like' to him?

"Listen, there's so much music out there that is more s*** than them. But see them live? Give over. If I wanted to watch paint dry I'd watch paint dry."

An evening with Alan McGee is at Wolverhampton's Slade Rooms on Saturday, starting at 8.30pm. Tickets, costing £16.90, are available from Ents 24.

Leigh Sanders

By Leigh Sanders
@LSanders_Star

Senior sub editor for the MNA portfolio and entertainments writer leaning towards features and reviews. Get releases to me at leigh.sanders@expressandstar.co.uk

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