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WIRE

”WHEN WE MADE PINK FLAG, WE WERE PRETTY HAPPY. WHEN WE DID CHAIRS MISSING, WE WERE ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTED… WHEN 154 CAME OUT, THEN IT WAS A LITTLE BIT SCARY, BECAUSE WE UNDERSTOOD HOW FAR AHEAD WE WERE. WE WERE OUT THERE SOMEWHERE ELSE ON OUR OWN. THERE WAS ONLY WHAT DAVID BOWIE AND BRIAN ENO WERE DOING TOGETHER, AND A FEW OTHER THINGS…”

Graham Lewis is talking Long Live Vinyl through Wire’s debut trio of albums spanning 1977 to 1979. Though they are well-regarded records, some will find his assertions of artistic supremacy a little over the top. However, it soon becomes apparent when conversing with Lewis and his bandmate Colin Newman that self-belief is endemic to the long-running punk-cumavant- garde quartet.

Wire were originally (briefly) fronted by George Gill. When Gill was hospitalised with a broken leg, the group carried on rehearsing and, says Newman, realised: “George’s songs sounded better without him in it. Then it became obvious that actually, we’d be better off without him. I suggested I could write songs. Graham said he could write lyrics.”

Lewis says of their writing arrangement: “It’s unusual that someone writes the tunes and sings them when somebody else writes the words, but I think that often gave things quite a strange juxtaposition.”

Not that Newman has ever treated his colleague’s lyrics as sacred. “He sends stuff and if I’ve got something, then I try and find a text that will fit it, but if it doesn’t fit, then I just somehow make it fit,” he says.

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