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John McCready

John McCready

John McCready began scribbling in public as a news journalist for free titles in Liverpool. One reluctantly allowed him a music column. Pete Burns enjoyed his emerging acerbic bent and pleaded with John to give him a verbal hiding. Of course he refused. With ambitions to write for NME, he bombarded then Live Reviews editor, Danny Kelly with an uncommissioned series of pieces. Danny called him to ask what the fuck he thought he was doing. John was given the NME news editor's job for a couple of months. He gave in on discovering the previous editor, having been sacked, had destroyed the filing system.

John freelanced for NME from 1986 and avoided the indie vs soul wars until the early '90s- being the first to write nationally about the La's, Half Man Half Biscuit and the Detroit Techno scene. He's proud to have barged Cilla Black onto the NME cover; he interviewed Kenneth Williams and visited a London cinema to review a movie with Charles Shaar Murray – who kept his sunglasses on throughout. He also wrote extensively for The Face and was hauled into Nick Logan's office one day for contributing a piece to it in which he communicated to its readers that most of the people who worked for it looked like "binmen". There were significant associations with ID, Radio Times, Mojo and Word.

John has compiled and written sleeve notes for releases by New Order and Stone Roses. He had a one-job-only career as Press Officer for Network Records in Birmingham- the pioneering dance independent that brought the world Detroit Techno. Select magazine once designed and delivered an award certificate for services to "Untruth and Dishonesty" following multiple crackpot press campaigns- like ejecting Xmas puddings from a hot air balloon over Stafford town centre with the eternally entertaining Altern 8.

He has written and presented stories for Radio 4's Front Row (Lester Bangs, Grandmaster Flash etc) and worked as a Producer and Music Consultant in TV – overseeing an entire evening of anniversary programmes on John Lennon for Channel 4, together with documentaries for BBC and ITV on the Beach Boys, Abba, the Carpenters and Rod Stewart.

A traitorous move to Manchester in 1990 saw John become a resident Hacienda DJ for five years and a New Order tour DJ. He released records on the great Rob Gretton's label. Do NOT review them. They are not very good.

Currently immersed in teaching and lecturing on journalism – and specifically music journalism – John has created and taught courses at Leeds College of Music, Huddersfield University, Edge Hill University and for training specialists, News Associates in Manchester and London. He is a regular guest lecturer at John Moores University in Liverpool and Trinity in Leeds.

A director of Music Events company, Top Drawer, John continues to write, DJ and pass on the good (and the bad) news. A long time Situationist "fan" his extensive collection of original documents, publications and posters is now held at John Moores University. He is writing a book about the Situationists in Britain and their all pervading, often invisible influence.

John McCready online

List of articles in the library by artist

Patrick Adams

Sleevenotes by John McCready, Counterpoint Records, 2000

THOUGH MANY have tried, it’s hard to free disco of the negative associations that have shadowed it. "Disco Sucks", they still say. Boney M and ...

Amon Düül, Faust, Neu!: Welcome To The Machine: Kraut Rock

Overview by John McCready, Face, The, November 1996

Julian Cope has championed it, new Nineties bands are ransacking it and the ageing German hippies that first created it are now packing in techno ...

Derrick May, Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson: Welcome To the Phuture: Techno

Overview by John McCready, NME, July 1988

TECHNO – a new Detroit sound vibration – is rocking the House of the future. John McCready checks out the credentials of the Third Wave ...

Beats International, Fatboy Slim: Beats International

Report and Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1990

Beats International are a pop group of their time... an indie star turned dance guru, a soap star turned singer, and a motley crew of ...

Kate Bush: The Whole Story

Review by John McCready, NME, November 1986

IT WAS Mark Smith of top pop group The Fall who, in a typical broadcast of dedicated anti-trendiness, announced that vegetarianism helped one leave the ...

Depeche Mode: Modus Operandum: Depeche Mode in Detroit

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1989

IT'S JUST after one at the best club on the planet. This is Detroit’s Music Institute, an all-night and most-of-the-next-day juice bar with a sound ...

Depeche Mode, Erasure, Inspiral Carpets: Staying Mute

Profile and Interview by John McCready, Face, The, August 1990

ELECTRONIC. TEUTONIC. Independent. European. Regardless of the reality of its catalogue, Mute Records has a certain image. Like any record label with a desire to ...

Electronic: Getting Away With It

Interview by John McCready, Spin, July 1991

John McCready probes the northern soul of Electronic, the first English supergroup of the '90s ...

The Farm: The Dark Side Of The Mersey: Retro-Rock Scallies

Report and Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1988

A HIPPIE IS chased down a darkened street by a group of 16 year-old Casuals. In most parts of Britain, what follows is likely to ...

Frankie Goes to Hollywood: Frankie Goes To Hollywood: Mad Bastards

Interview by John McCready, NME, November 1986

WITH A LITTLE help from his friends, Frankie went to Number One. He found that Number One was more exciting than Hollywood ever could be. ...

Half Man Half Biscuit: Tough Cookies

Interview by John McCready, NME, December 1985

"Next week will solve all your problems/But now, fish fingers all in a line/The Milk bottles stand empty/Stay glued to your TV Set." (‘Ex-Lion ...

The Human League: Flesh And Blood

Interview by John McCready, NME, September 1986

Born to make mistakes? THE HUMAN LEAGUE, CLASS of '81 veterans, saved Phil Oakey from a life on the bins. Jon McCready talks to the ...

Michael Jackson: Bad

Review by John McCready, NME, September 1987

Michael Jackson doesn't live in the real world. I read my Sun and Star every day. I know that the boy from Gary, Indiana is ...

Jane's Addiction: Jane’s Addiction: Guns ’N Poses

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1990

Some people think Jane’s Addiction are the new Guns N’ Roses, even the new Rolling Stones. Others think that singer Perry Farrell will save rock ...

Chaka Khan: Khanal Knowledge

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1989

"ASK ME what you want, John. I can take it. I mean, what are you going to do — spank me?" ...

Augustus Pablo, King Tubby, Lee 'Scratch' Perry: A Bluffers Guide To Dub

Guide by John McCready, Jockey Slut, 2000

Note: This piece originally featured in Jockey Slut magazine and was written to serve as an introduction to those who had heard the word Dub ...

The KLF: KLF: Tales From The White Room

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1990

SINISTER. That's the word. The KLF are sinister. With their pervy mail-order black-hooded packamacks, their propaganda and their perfect assimilation of rave culture they are ...

Kraftwerk

Profile by John McCready, Independent, The, May 1997

IT IS inevitable and happens to everyone. James Brown's new bag is now full of holes. David Bowie, a former ideas factory, is reduced to ...

The La's: The La’s

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1989

INSPIRED BY a single, ‘There She Goes’, and an assortment of odd, beautiful and tangential B-sides built from nothing but raw creativity, I feel like ...

The La's: The La’s

Interview by John McCready, NME, October 1987

"WE CAN'T really play but we’re having ago. And we love music, that’s why we’re having a go... our songs are just dead catchy tunes ...

Madonna: The Crucifixion Of A Junkyard Angel

Comment by Lucy O'Brien, John McCready, NME, December 1986

Madonna: The Crucifixion Of A Junkyard Angel, part 1Lucy O'Brien ...

Massive Attack: The Bristol Bunch

Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1991

MASSIVE ATTACK were part of Bristol's Wild Bunch crew, a posse who pioneered UK hip hop. In 1986 they helped put together ‘The Look Of ...

Joe Meek: Hearing A New World: The Joe Meek Story

Retrospective by John McCready, MOJO, May 2001

NOTE: This piece originally featured in Mojo magazine in a truncated 8,000 word edit. this is the full near-12,000 word original piece. This is such ...

Jamie Principle: Acid House: New Acid Daze

Report and Interview by John McCready, NME, February 1988

As our charts bulge with British House, so its big American brother trips off in a new direction. Spacier and racier, mesmeric and dis(c)oncerting – ...

Salt 'N' Pepa: Cookie Cruets

Profile and Interview by John McCready, NME, April 1988

Rap moves fast. Blink and you'll miss a ship-full of 12-inch singles each one pointing in a dozen new directions. With almost ten years or ...

Smith & Mighty: Smith And Mighty: Bristol Rising

Profile and Interview by John McCready, Face, The, 1988

Coming from the same sound system roots as Soul II Soul, dance producers Smith And Mighty are at the centre of a thriving West Country ...

The Stone Roses

Retrospective and Interview by John McCready, MOJO, May 2002

ON FRIDAY, JULY 10, 1987, the greatest rock'n'roll band of the decade are playing to no more than 30 people at Planet X, a dark ...

Luther Vandross

Profile by John McCready, Radio Times, August 1987

IT'S LIKE saying Miles Davis can play the trumpet, or Mike Tyson can knock most heavyweights into the middle of next week, but Luther Vandross ...

Yes: Live At Manchester Apollo

Live Review by John McCready, Independent, The, February 1998

LIKE ALICE Cooper, who I saw late last year playing the same game, it's interesting to note that former forces of the 1970s are bowing ...

List of genre pieces

In a Moog Mood

Guide by John McCready, MOJO, 1997

UNLIKE THE Hoover, a similarly undisputed brand leader which  describes any vacuum cleaner as all vacuum cleaners do the same thing, all synthesizers are, over ...

10 Years of House

Retrospective by John McCready, Face, The, 1997

TEN YEARS IS A LONG TIME. Three score short of a lifetime, I know, but long enough to establish your own space programme and see ...

Enter The Acid House

Report by John McCready, NME, February 1988

As our charts bulge with British House, so its big American brother trips off in a new direction. Spacier and racier, mesmeric and dis(c)oncerting – ...

Miami Bass: How Low Can You Go?

Report by John McCready, Face, The, 1994

In Florida, a pair of 15-inch speakers carry more B-boy cred than a pair of fat-laced sneakers, and your car is judged not by speed ...

Techno: A Bluffer’s Guide

Guide by John McCready, Face, The, 1989

TECHNO HAS turned ordinary record buyers into badly-informed technology obsessives. ...

Working on a Building of Love: The Great Days of the Haçienda

Retrospective by John McCready, Face, The, Spring 1997

With Michael Winterbottom's 24 Hour Party People opening in the UK this weekend, we reprint Face writer John McCready's wonderful account of the club's rise, ...

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