"I'm at a cafe right now that has good reception," Bruce tells me. "I'm going to get Vin, bring him right back here, and then call you." [So, how was your Saturday morning?] Half an hour later, he rings again. Vini's brought his phone, Bruce says. He's going to give me his number, and I'm to call him back. I do, and he's out of the gate like a thoroughbred.
Finally, after many missed connections, false starts, and bouts with business, depression (mine), and crippling shyness (mine again), I was talking--listening, mostly--to someone whose records I have carried with me for nearly thirty years.
This is the recording of my conversation with Vini Reilly of The Durutti Column on November 22, 2014. For you gear-heads, this was a Skype-to-phone interview. I was at Chez Bombast, or as Lady C calls it, "The Warren," and Vini was at the aforementioned hotspot. The audio has been compressed. Portions of this interview aired on the Hall of Legends special featuring the music of The Durutti Column. If I recall correctly, the segments I used in the radio program were actually in "chronological" order, but that was an accident. At any rate, here's the whole thing.
It strikes me that talking to Vini Reilly, for someone like me, is a bit like an audience with royalty, or the Pope. You just let the other person talk about whatever he wants. That is pretty much what happened. But after multiple listens I find this to be holistic and probably more focused than what my "list of questions" would have produced. Considering what Vini says about the structure of a piece of music, this conversation is very much like that. Portions of this discourse reprise things Vini has said before, notably in the revelatory Town Hall conversation with Paul Haslam at the Campaign Against Living Miserably benefit in 2013, and elsewhere Vini shares some insights I had never heard or read from him before.
Here's a secret: I like to lurk at Steve Albini's studio discussion forum, waiting for the occasional pearl of wisdom. [Aside--don't you think a Durutti Column album recorded at Electrical Audio would be the fucking bomb? I do, but anyway.] Once, Albini suggested that an effective recording, regardless of production values, should give the listener some idea about the personalities of the people who wrote and played the music. I think this is a good litmus test for recorded music [albeit one of many]--sometimes it tells you, quite accurately, that you're dealing with jerks, and sometimes it tells you that it comes from warm, friendly, thoughtful people.
It hardly needs saying which kind Vini and Bruce are. Many thanks to them, for being willing and helpful. And to James Nice at Factory Benelux / LTM and to Phil Cleaver at Kooky for issuing / reissuing the tunes. And to you, for listening.
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