Thursday, 23 June 2011

Q & A with Viv Albertine

Ms Albertine was of course the guitarist in the legendary punk band The Slits. You can find out details on Viv's latest releases and shows here:

1) How highly do you rate the Flesh e.p? Do you tend to think your most recent record is the best you've made so far?
"Well, it's hard to rate your own stuff and I haven't made a record for 25 years. I am happy with the songs. I could instrumentalise them a hundred different ways."

2) Do you think it's good that Mick Jones has reformed BAD? Will you go and see him play live?
"Not good to judge other people. I went to see BAD play and I thought they sounded great. Good songs. Good energy. If they keep writing new stuff then they are an evolving band. If they just keep playing the old stuff, best to only do it occasionally."
(Above: My photo of Mick from July 2009. Viv inspired Mick's London Calling song "Train In Vain")

3) Everyone seems to say nice things about Dylan Howe - is he all good or does he have a dark side?
"Haha. Well he is a sweetie and a very gentle person. He produced Flesh ' and saved me because I hadn't been in the studio for years. He took control which was such a relief and we worked really well together. It was a great session and a good re introduction to the studio for me to be in his capable hands."
(Above: The Blockheads. Dylan is on the far right.)

4) I read that you took part in the Stoke Newington Festival and that you talked about your love of ska. Was the event a success and what sort of thing were you saying?
"I was talking about how me Tess and Ari used to go to all night Jamaican sound system clubs in the 1970's. The only Whites there and girls too! No one gave us a hard time. We were left alone to enjoy the music. Not ska though, it was dub and sometimes in another room, lovers rock."
5) When Pete Waterman is asked what his favourite pop single is he always goes for Marvin Gaye's Heard It Through The Grapevine. Is the song perfect in your eyes too? Do you listen to much Motown music these days?
"I LOVE Motown. I grew up on it. I remember when I first heard grapevine and I can still see the original video in my minds eye of a cool black girl dancing, shot with a wide angle lens. A beautiful song. Our version is great too. I can't believe we had The nerve to cover such a great song!"

6) How many instruments can you play?

7) Tell me about the world of ceramics - are there any interesting young ceramacists out there that deserve a bit of praise? Do you visit all the degree shows?
"God no."
8) What is the most recent song you've completed and what is it about?
"I just recorded a song with Jenny Lee Lindberg from Warpaint. It is a beautiful wistful song. 6 minutes long. I am making a record of collaborations with bassplayers."
9) Do any films or records have the power to make you cry?
"I cry at almost every film I watch if that's what the director intended. I am a complete sucker. I recently cried all the way through an episode of Glee. There are songs that make me cry, like You're a Big Girl Now by Dylan. Young Girl by Union Gap is very uncool but my mum always used to say it reminded her of me. And, When She Loved Me, from Toystory. An absolute killer. About a girl who grows up and leaves childhood behind. Breaks my heart. Seems to be a bit of a theme here! I cried at every sad song after I had a baby because your emotions are heightened and you realise how profound but fragile life is. And I cry at records when I am heartbroken."
10) Are you a happy person?
"No. I am melancholic. I am a realist. But I have massive dreams and sometimes I achieve them."

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