Alan McGee answers this week’s Questions of Doom about his new clubs Now We’re Off To Rehab and Rock’n’Roll Promz, the sheer brilliance of the new and forthcoming Mogwai record and working with Steve Mason on the cool-as-fuck King Biscuit Time.
What’s with all the new clubs like Rehab and Rock’n’Roll Promz?
Rock’n’Roll Promz is a club idea that I had during the last night of Glastonbury ... I was Djing at the end of Glastonbury ... playing some old school electronic music like Blue Monday and Da Funk by Daft Punk and nobody could hear anything ... so I thought ‘Fuck it’ and turned it up to 85 decibels and started to put on just sheer anthems. It was getting so anthemic that it was getting tacky but everyone loved it. ... at first I thought ‘I cannae do it’ ... but fuck it they wanted more and more anthems. So I gave it too them – it was insane, thousands of people dancing and singing along to Oasis, Verve, Blur and Kinks records. From that I just realised that I hit on some sort of stream-of-consciousness of what people want in a club.
It took me ages to think of the name ... I wanted to evoke the spirit of England in 1966 ... hitting something iconic and something in the spirit ... like the classical proms at the Royal Albert Hall only this time it is rock’n’roll and a celebration of rock’n’roll anthems.
The whole idea is really simple ... we don’t charge alot of money to get in and people get pissed ... its kind of like a club for drunks. Its something completely different than what I do with Death Disco ... its like socialism – rock’n’roll promz is a club for everyone. Its not going to be leftfield. With Death Disco I put on unknown bands, with Poptones, I sign unknown bands, instead of being leftfield this is going to be a club for everyone.
I am giving people what they want. And that is what Rock’n’Roll Promz is going to be about. And you know what sometimes its ok to give people what they want. We are still about the leftfield ... our club culture reflects that – we are opening up a new club called ‘Now We’re Off To Rehab’ on every Friday at the Highbury Garage in Islington and we’ve still got The Queen Is Dead every Friday in the West End and Death Disco is still going strong as ever on every Wednesday at the Nottinghill Arts Club.
Though it is still an anthem club ... we are still going to have the some same rules like ‘No Darkness ... ever! And ‘No Bon Jovi ever...’. The reason why I had to close my original club is because Ian Johnsen started to play Bon Jovi records. I mean, l like and respect Ian ... but I knew that Radio Four had to close when Bon Jovi records were being played ... even if was ironically. At least I hope so.
What’s been going on with the new Mogwai record?
The new Mogwai record is being mixed at the moment. It is incredible. I think this is going to be a word of mouth record. I can’t see how this is going to be played on Radio One or Radio Two but you know what – it is probably the greatest art rock record that I’ve been involved in since My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless. Its possibly better than Loveless. It is the record that they have always threatened to make and unless something tragic goes on during the mixing process we will have an absolute masterpeice. For Mogwai this is a creative career high ... sure other records might sell more – but they are going to be hard pressed to beat this record ... this is the record that they have always threatened to make.
It is a shockingly good record – fucking masterpiece.
What’s been happening with King Biscuit Time?
The single ‘C I AM 15’ is great. Its getting alot of interest. Steve Mason will never go back to the major labels ever again. A word to the majors out there at the moment – if you want to sign Mason he wants a million dollars. He is more into being indie. He is fiercely independant. He wants to do everything himself. For this forthcoming tour, I wanted him to get a roadie to set things up for him and he didn’t even want that ... I had to convince him that he couldn’t set everything up himself and got him a roadie. Its funny ... people going on about how ‘indie’ they are. Most people who think they are indie are major compared to Steve Mason.
It seems that with King Biscuit Time that he has lost the tight arseness of the last two Beta records and is flowing more with the psychedelic soul.
That’s a good way of putting it. Beta Band are completely underrated – put any track in your IPOD from Heroes to Zeroes to The Beta Band and it is genius – Dry The Rain, She’s The One, Assessment – its all brilliant, all these tracks just make you realise what a completely original iconic British band the Betas were. When the Beta Band’s Greatest Hits comes out – I think the reviews are going to be all ten. People will realise what a great artist Steve Mason is. And how influential his music was ... it was its own unclassifiable genre. One of Oasis’ greatest songs ‘Go Let It Out’ is heavily influenced by the Betas ... go and ask Noel he would admit it.
His debut album ‘The Crunch’ is a great, great, first record – he is fine with making his own records with just a couple of colloborators. Its all him. He loves it. I really respect that in him that he is total punk rock diy. For this tour he is just getting in his car and doing his own thing across the country. I mean, this is an artist who used to have the same manager as Neil Young and now he has the Libertines manager and I’ve got to convince him that you do need a little bit of help on the road.