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Baker's Dozen

Like Choosing A Lover: Viv Albertine's Favourite Albums
Thomas Hasson , April 18th, 2013 10:07

Always forthright, the great Viv Albertine discusses her favourite albums with Tom Hasson. T-Rex, Chris Watson, Don Cherry, Beefheart, Barrett, Kate Bush and.... The Slits all feature


The Pop Group - y
y completely changed the direction of so-called 'punk'. And I think The Pop Group were way, way out there. You could say way ahead of their time, but they were on a different path, on a different road, they didn't follow any rules. They were all quite extraordinary musicians. Gareth could play sax, piano and guitar. He liberated me so much because not only was he a very, very exciting musician, he also didn't give a shit about tuning and timing. And being in a group with Ari, who was a very hard taskmaster in that way, she absolutely obsessed over things being in time and in tune, it was very liberating for me to come across very intelligent musicians who said no, it's more about the passion and the ideas and the emotion in the music than it is about that.

I was beginning to go under, quite frankly, with my lack of expertise, thinking; 'what have I got to offer, really? I'm not a proper musician.' Then Gareth and The Pop Group completely reignited my love of music just at a time when I could have given up. We had our first album out and it was absolutely great but I didn't have the tools to go forward from there. I didn't have the technical tools to write a whole load of new music and not repeat myself. Then falling in love with improvised music, and jazz and rhythms made me realise that you can draw on who you are and your emotions and your soul and your experiences and it's still valid even though it's not virtuosity. Which is what punk was about.

I think that if I hadn't come across The Pop Group I would have gone under with my lack of confidence, my lack of ability, actually. But they gave me a whole new lease of life, a whole new path to follow musically which as much as I've taken the punk ethic with me throughout my life, I think I've taken that improvised jazz ethic with me as well.