posted by davidt on Wednesday August 08 2001, @09:00AM
As previously mentioned, here is a transcription of the Vini Reilly interview (a scan of the one page can be found here).
From ALTERNATIVE PRESS #158 (Sep 01):
ORIGINS OF COOL >>>
Classic albums revisited
Recorded and released just months after The Smiths' breakup, Morrissey's solo debut remains on of his best long-players. David Hemingway proves that misery loves company.
Recorded with producer Stephen Street and the Durutti Column's Vini Reilly, Viva Hate proved that Morrissey had no intention of sitting idly in the wake of The Smiths' recent dissolution. Though it's unfashionable to say so - even Morrissey describes the album as "an event rather than an achievement" - most of Viva Hate still sounds good enough to make your nipples hard. The title, for starers, is deliciously misanthropic. Viva Hate had the working name of Education in Reverse, but the final title, according to Morrissey, simply suggested itself: "That's the way the world is. I find hate omnipresent and love very difficult to find. Hate makes the world go 'round."
Viva Hate begins with a frantic Reilly guitar wigout and ends, bluntly, with the slicing of a guillotine. The first track, "Alsatian Cousin," is one of the album's best, with Morrissey luridly following a degrading line of enquiry: "Were you and he lovers?/and if you were then say that you were/On a groundsheet/under canvas/with your tent flap open wide." The latter track, "Margaret on the Guillotine," actually resulted in Morrissey's being questioned by police, spurred by the singer's Thatcher-baiting: "When will you die? When will you die?"
Elsewhere, Viva Hate revisits Morrissey's obsession with Englishness, whether he's pondering the fate of a former English child start ("Little Man, What Now?"), imploring a nuclear bomb to fall on "the costal town they forgot to close down" ("Everyday is Like Sunday") or (with horrific clumsiness) questioning a Bengali's appropriation of indigenous fashion ("Bengali in Platforms").
The album's thematic centerpiece is the curiously sluggish and monotonous "Late Night, Maudlin Street", the first of a trio (with "Break up the Family" and "Suedehead") of songs recalling a young Morrissey circa 1972. "I never stole a happy hour around here," Morrissey murmurs on "Late Night", backed by Reilly's fluid playing.
"It was absolutely for real," Reilly once said of the track. "Everyone felt it and just went very quiet and went to bed very subdued. We didn't play charades that night, I can tell you."
On "Break up the Family", Morrissey recalls dissolving his adolescent friendship ("So wish me luck, my friends. Goodbye.") It's an act Morrissey has felt the need to repeat from his time in The Smiths onward: After Viva Hate, Morrissey never worked with Reilly or Street again.
DAVID HEMINGWAY TALKS TO VIVA HATE'S MUSICAL VOICE, VINI REILLY.
How did you get involved with Viva Hate?
Stephen Street produced two Durutti Column albums. He'd put together some chord structures and song structures for Moz to do. They'd done a few rough demos, and they need someone to play keyboards, sample strings and guitars, so Stephen suggested me. Morrissey seemed to like the idea, and it worked, except that when I came into the session, I wanted to rewrite everything. I'm not criticizing Stephen Street - he's a top guy - but it didn't fit in with my personal style, so I rewrote a lot. It was very enjoyable, the whole thing. I hold a great, great regard for Stephen Street and Mozzer.
Had you socialized with Morrissey before?
I'd seen him around. Mostly alone. Watching Joy Division. He was quite a loner, I think, apart from [Morrissey's female friend] Linder [from Manchester punk band Ludus]. He was very cautious and shy. We'd never spoken. I hadn't even exchanged a hello with him.
Were you a Smiths fan?
As soon as I'd heard "How Soon Is Now?" I was a Smiths fan. That's as seriously good song. Great guitar riff, great vocal. Brilliant.
Have you followed Morrissey's career since?
To be totally honest, I'd not heard that much since Viva Hate. I heard "Last of the Famous International Playboys"... couldn't get into it. Didn't like the rockabilly style bits and pieces. I've just lost touch with it, really, which is a bit shameful. I tend to be too specific about what I listen to, and it's a lot of classical, flamenco, South African hip hop. There's always something I desperately want to listen to.
What was it like to work with Morrissey?
It was fun. Musically, it was wonderful. You'd put down a backing track and you never knew what he'd hear as the verse or the chorus. He'd put a verse where the chorus was or a chorus where the verse was. His vocal melody gave it another dimension. You'd always be waiting to hear what his tune would be.
I've heard you play charades and had food fights.
That's true. We had a very happy friendship which was based on Mozzer's gift for mockery. Morrissey made fun of me in a very affectionate way. He was very kind, very funny and very nice.
Would you work with him again?
I was asked to work on the album after that but felt that I'd done it by then. I was involved with my own thing. I'm not too good, keen or interested in collaborations with other musicians. I've got too many ideas I want to do myself. I'd rather try and get them off the ground and concentrate on that.
Did working with Morrissey change you?
It didn't change the way I approach my own music. I had to change my approach on Viva Hate. Afterwards, I just carried in my own sweet way.