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Alan McGee in Brazil


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I went to Brazil in May this year to DJ with Glen Matlock for a cultural festival. I have to be honest, I was apprehensive at first because you grow up with this concept that Brazil is a third-world country. But I was there for about five minutes and I realised I was totally wrong: I felt as comfortable there as I do in Madrid.

I went straight from the plane to a party at the British console — they were running the festival and I had a lot of photos taken. I made myself look a bit of fool, not because I was drunk though — oh no, I don’t drink anymore — but because this track came out: it was a cracking song, and thinking it was a U2 remix, I turned round to Glen and said “This U2 remix is the bollocks!” Glen smiled and said, “Alan, it’s The Black Eyes Peas”. I went a little red, but thought, “what the fuck” and then I realised why they are so big… because they write fuck-off anthems just like U2.  

The next day, I met some interesting people, but I won’t bore you by name dropping, and then I went off to do the gig. It was rammed, literally off the hook with that South America passion. It was crazy, the kids just wanted to dance. I didn’t see anyone standing around.

I felt like a rock star on the way to the gig as I was picked in a limo and these local kids noticed the car and followed us on their skateboards. They were coming to the side at full speed, slapping the car, waving and smiling. The driver didn’t even flinch; they seemed like nice kids, just having fun on a hot summers day. But it was fucking mental.

I have played in Italy and Spain and the kids there have it too, but the kids in South America are much more mad and I like that — they go crazier. I kept saying to myself, “Why the fuck haven’t I been here before?” because I’ve had loads of opportunities to be. But I guess it was down to me thinking that it would be all poverty, despair and the odd Brazilian football top.

I did see some of the kids have a kick about, and from seeing them play it’s  no wonder they are the best team in the world.

But the kids aren’t 24/7 nutters. I went to this bookshop, and in it was a Sushi bar with all these 20-year-old kids either sitting down reading or on their Apple Macs… There I was thinking they are meant to be third world, and yet there are 17 million people in St Paolo, a place where I hear the economy went up 20 per cent last year, and they are having it.

They look so happy. It seems it’s only in Britain where everyone is always down and fucking depressed. You’d think it’s no wonder because of the weak economy but then we don’t have it as bad as Greece, and if you go to France they are also having it: I don’t mean in a rock ‘n’ roll way, but in life in general. I just think the pressure of life is really starting to take its toll on Britain and America.

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As I travel so much and live in the middle of nowhere, I don’t actually feel it — I live near the hills, then I fly out to do gigs in Italy and Brazil, so I don’t have to deal with the drenches of Britain. But even then, it does feel like it’s really depressed at the moment.

Going back to Brazil, they go mental when they hear music and they make Scottish people look sane. I have had mad receptions in Barrowlands or even in Bologna in Italy, but the reception I got in Saint Paolo was totally and utterly mental, and they did the same for Glen Matlock.

I have already booked to go back at the end of the year to do some more shows. I had put Brazil on par with Mexico, and Mexico is actually dangerous at moment:  I have nothing against Mexicans because they are lovely people, but Brazil is the same as Madrid — if you go looking for it, you are going to find it, but you have to go fucking looking for it.

I couldn’t believe the buoyancy and affluence of the country. Brazil is sold to us by the press as crime ridden with everyone poor and depressed, but it’s not at all, it’s a wonderful place full of beautiful people in body, soul and mind. I was gutted I didn’t stay longer because I thought I would hate the place, get in, take the money and fuck off, plus I had promised my daughter I would be back for Sunday night to take her to school on the Monday. To my annoyance, I saw Glen dressed up like Indiana Jones in the hotel lobby before catching a taxi to the airport. I said, “Glen, what’s with the gear?” and he said, “I am doing a tour of the Amazon, shame you can’t make it Alan”. What a fucking rotter.

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© Words Alan McGee / ZANI Media

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