Kevin Shields: 'Britpop was pushed by the government'

My Bloody Valentine leader raises possibility the mid-90s pop movement was part of an establishment conspiracy

Kevin Shields has raised the notion that Britpop was part of a government conspiracy. Speaking to the Guardian in an exclusive interview, to be published online later today and in the G2 Film&Music section tomorrow, the My Bloody Valentine leader reacted angrily to a mention of the Cool Britannia phenomenon.

"Britpop was massively pushed by the government," he said. "Someday it would be interesting to read all the MI5 files on Britpop. The wool was pulled right over everyone's eyes there."

In the early years of Tony Blair's premiership, Britpop luminaries such as Noel Gallagher and Damon Albarn were vocal supporters of the Labour government, and visited 10 Downing Street. Shields said he would only have attended "on condition we could play a song".

Reading on mobile? Click to view

Shields also said the time he spent with Primal Scream – he toured with them between 1999 and 2006 – was a bit of a blur. "I was terrible in my 30s," he said. "I did some silly, crazy things. That's when I really went for it in every respect. Taking drugs recreationally – lots of them. So it's all very hazy and jumbled up. I can remember the beginning and the last few gigs with Primal Scream but everything else is interchangeable.

"I once took down the name of every single member of staff on an aeroplane because I was so fucking drunk. I found this illegible piece of paper in my pocket the next day and couldn't work out what it was. I'd blacked out. But now I'm a more convivial drinker, I don't get really drunk."


Guardian music

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
'It's all psychedelic!' The film about Alan McGee's rocking, rolling life
He launched Oasis and Primal Scream, then practiced occult magic in Wales. Nick Moran and Ewen Bremner explain how they recreated McGee’s life for biopic Creation Stories

John Harris

18, Mar, 2021 @12:00 PM

Article image
Kevin Shields: New My Bloody Valentine album due next month

It's been 21 years since Loveless, but now – out of nowhere – Kevin Shields has announced the new MBV album

Guardian music

07, Nov, 2012 @4:13 PM

Article image
Britpop songs – 10 of the best
For some it meant the arrogant swagger of Oasis and cheek of Blur, to others it stood for the perceptive wit of Pulp, but mostly the Britpop moment produced catchy tracks about youth on the move

Caroline Sullivan

15, Feb, 2017 @12:10 PM

Article image
Britpop wasn't perfect, but it was ours | Elinor Davies
Eli Davies: I’m puzzled why this wave of nostalgia for the likes of Blur and Oasis has annoyed people quite so much. They brought a bit of joy to a grey era

Eli Davies

14, Apr, 2014 @11:51 AM

Article image
Britpop: a cultural abomination that set music back

Michael Hann: During the heyday of Blur and Oasis, ruthless ambition became the order of the day, as scores of unrelentingly pedestrian bands ditched everything that once made British pop music interesting

Michael Hann

24, Apr, 2014 @6:00 PM

Article image
Devendra Banhart: 'I love almost every Britpop band'

The Venezuelan singer and artist on Britpop, life under Chávez and childhood memories of bugs' guts

Chris Salmon

21, Mar, 2013 @10:37 PM

Article image
Quiz: How much do you know about Britpop?

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Blur's Parklife, here are 30 questions to test your knowledge of mid-to-late 90s British guitar music

Jack Dutton

25, Apr, 2014 @11:38 AM

Article image
Shed Seven review – a nostalgia rush from the Britpop songbook
Rick Witter’s 90s band offer very little in the way of progression, but they recapture the spirit of a bygone era

Daniel Dylan Wray

02, Jul, 2018 @12:05 PM

Article image
Could Alex James's Britpop drink turn out to be made of cheese?
The cheese-obsessed former Blur bass player wants to create a drink named after the 90s musical fad. He'll be going up against Oasis again, then

14, Jan, 2014 @3:09 PM

Article image
Shiiine On Weekender – Bez's pool party, Britpop bastions and middle-aged boozers
For one weekend in November, the Minehead Butlins turns into an idyll for forgotten indie tribes, with performances from the Bluetones, Ash, Dodgy, the Wonder Stuff, Black Grape, Shed 7, er, the Clone Roses, and more

Mark Beaumont

14, Nov, 2016 @5:27 PM