Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Durutti Column

The Durutti Column
"Alan introduced Tony to me. Tony came round to see me, never having heard me play. Alan brought Tony round three times before I finally agreed to take part and put a band together with other musicians. I insisted that I would have control and all kinds of ridiculous things, which was just silly."
Vini Reilly explains in his most recent interview (for Scream City fanzine) how The Durutti Column was born.
Alan was Alan Erasmus and Tony was Tony Wilson. In 1978 they were looking for a band their new record label, Factory Records.
The Durutti Column featuring Vini Reilly, a classically-trained pianist and virtuoso guitarist, took their name from Spanish revolutionary Buenaventura Durruti and the cartoon of Two Situationist Cowboys in the comic Le Retour De La Colonne Durutti (1966). Centred around Reilly, the then five-piece band recorded two tracks for FAC-2 A Factory Sample, the first ever music release on Factory Records. Vini, not happy with the band or the punk-styled recording, then walked out because it was "complete and total rubbish". Alan and Tony persuaded Vini to return, saying "you are The Durutti Column" and the rest is history.
To this day, The Durutti Column is still essentially Vini Reilly. But whilst he is the constant, legendary Manchester musician, nay institution, Bruce Mitchell (ex-Alberto Y Trios Lost Paranoias) has been the drummer since the seminal album LC (1981). A succession of other guests has augmented the line-up over the years, notably John Metcalfe (The Duke Quartet), Tim Kellett (Olive, Simply Red) and Keir Stewart (Durutti producer and more since 1997).
Always at the forefront of technology thanks to Factory's innovative (but sometimes misguided policies), The Durutti Column released the first cd-only popular music album with their Domo Arigato (1985) live album recorded live in Tokyo. Factory predicted "No vinyl within 5 years" but what did they know!? Later, The Guitar and Other Machines (1988) was the first ever commercially available album to be released on Digital Audio Tape. Perversely it was also promoted with a 7" flexi-disc - a relic of a bygone age. In 1995, the Factory Too album Sex and Death also appeared in interactive CD-ROM format. More recently, and keeping up their record of having appeared on every incarnation of Factory Records, their debut for Tony Wilson's all-too-shortlived F4 Records, was the digital download-only E.P. Heaven Sent (It Was Called Digital. It Was Heaven Sent) (2004). The launch of this release was celebrated with a live webcast of a gig from Shetland.
Throughout it all, musical experimentation has always been the keynote of The Durutti Column's music. Able to flit from Classical on Without Mercy (1984) to House on Obey The Time (1990) via Opera on Vini Reilly (1990), it has never been possible to pin Vin down. Famously, he did some sterling work on Morrissey's debut album Viva Hate. But, when asked to work on the follow-up, he declined because Morrissey didn't want to take it to the next level, to experiment.
The new album by The Durutti Column Sunlight To Blue... Blue To Blackness is released on 23 June 2008 on Kooky Records.

The Durutti Column are an English post-punk band formed in 1978 in Manchester, England. The band is an ongoing project of guitarist (and occasional pianist) Vini Reilly who is often accompanied by drummer Bruce Mitchell.

Early history

In 1978 Tony Wilson and Alan Erasmus, later to become partners in Factory Records, built a band around the remnants of Fast Breeder: drummer Chris Joyce and guitarist Dave Rowbotham. Within days they added Reilly, guitarist for Manchester punk rock band Ed Banger and The Nosebleeds, as well as vocalist Phil Rainford, keyboardist Stephen Hopkins and bassist Tony Bowers, although Rainford le ft in July of that year. The band played at the Factory club (organised by their managers), and recorded two pieces for the first Factory Records release, the compilation A Factory Sample (a double 7" also featuring Joy Division, John Dowie and Cabaret Voltaire). Just prior to recording a debut album, the group broke up after a dispute about Wilson and Erasmus's choice of producer, Martin Hannett. Most of the other members apart from Reilly went on to form The Mothmen, and Joyce and Bowers later became members of Simply Red. The D urutti Column effectively became Reilly's solo project from then on; drummer Bruce Mitchell and other musicians have occasionally contributed to recordings and live performances, and Mitchell and Wilson managed the group throughout their career on Factory and for many years afterwards. The band's name is derived from a misspelling of the name Buenaventura Durruti, who led a column of anarchists during the Spanish Civil War (the Durruti Column). A 1967 Situationist International poster included the phrase "The Return of t he Durutti Column", which eventually became the title of the group's first album.
*The Durruti Column was the most famous column of anarchist fighters during the Spanish Civil War. It was led by Buenaventura Durruti from mid-1936 until his death on November 20 of that year. The column was instrumental in holding Madrid for the Republic in the face of the falangist uprising. It had a French-speaking unit, the Sébastien Faure Century, as well as the Sacco and Vanzetti Century (formed by American anarchists) and the Erich Mühsam Century (made up of German anarchists).[1] The Column was eventually, like the rest of the anarchist and socialist units, incorporated into the general army of the Republic.*
Durutti Column - The Return of the Durutti Column(1979)

Durutti Column-Ic(1981)

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

I have a post up about Gaza. I'm glad you made the comment on my blog.

Take the time to listen to John Peterson's talk about the Spanish Revolution on my blog. Neither the anarchists or POUM played a good role in the end. The consequances of their policy, was after the war, they were used as slave labor under Franco.