- 06 May 18
They were walking the walk as well as talking the talk on the opening day of Vinyl in the RHK on Saturday
The first day of 2018’s inaugural Vinyl festival found us temporarily travelling back in time with photographer and designer Steve Averill, as he took us to Death Valley in 1986. This was of course, the occasion of his working with U2 and Anton Corbijn on The Joshua Tree album.
A mixture of stills , footage and scintillating stories, this talk was a U2 fan’s dream. One has to remember the importance of this album in the band’s history, and of course the visual aspect played a pivotal role. Anton Corbijn’s dry sense of humour got a gentle ribbing; Steve showed us the actual Olympus camera he used during the project (now of course appearing like an outrageously outdated artefact;) and he spoke warmly and openly about his working relationship with U2 – one of rock’s longest creative collaborations.
Next stop was The Great Hall. Ignoring the stares of William of Orange, Queen Ann and sundry other British monarchs, whose impressive portraits adorn the walls, we caught up with Hot Press’ own Stuart Clark as he spoke engagingly with Noel Hogan and Stepehen Steet (all pictured) about The Cranberries’ debut and related tales. There were great insights into the formation of the band and the recording of the magnificent album. We also heard about Noel’s shameless fanboying of Stephen Street, the impact of The Cranberries rapid rise to superstardom and Mr.Hogan spinetingling account of the first time he heard Dolores sing ‘Linger’.
Your humble correspondent then turned from reviewer to interviewer, shooting the breeze with producer Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey, Beth Orton). Victor has worked with Nick since the early days and gave a fascinating insight into the artist's creative process, most touchingly the work they did together on The Good Son – Nick’s first work post-rehab, when he was particularly vulnerable. Also revealed was how Victor came to work with The Pogues – on discovering he was an Australian he was hired instantly by a Sullivans- obsessed MacGowan (for the uninitiated, The Sullivans was a terrible 70s aussie soap)! Victor also regaled us with tales of being punched in the face by Mark E Smith, taking Kylie out to dinner and his experience working with the inimitable Cathal Coughlan).
Dave Robinson then took charge in The Other Room. When the slideshow was initially besieged with problems he quipped ‘Typical Stiff eh?’. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house (from laughter) as he brought us on a rollercoaster ride of yarns about tour managing Hendrix (guns and mafiosos featured), hiring Madness as his wedding band – he wanted to see them live before he signed them – the infamous PR stunt when he set the cops on an unsuspecting Elvis Costello and much, much more.
The Great Hall then played host to Shane MacGowan in conversation with Dave, moderated by Tony Clayton-Lea. Shane brought us through the albums which most affected him and we were treated to his chosen track from each. An obviously unwell Shane was unusually quiet throughout, but when he did pipe up it was to provide a genius-level insight, a few words on his musical heroes or to deliver an anecdote or barbed comment, swiftly followed by his rattlesnake giggle.
A truly memorable occasion.
Day 2 is already underway.