The album features a renowned bass player on each track, and even reunites Viv with Mick Jones of The Clash, who plays guitar on âConfessions of a MILFâ.
Vivâs former group, The Slits, were one of the first bands within the âPunkâ era to draw on – and tour with – different musical genres, and filter them through their music, especially reggae, improvised jazz and free improvisation. The band are considered to be the forerunners of âpost punkâ and the riot grrrl movements and they – and Vivâs guitar playing – have also been cited as an influence on many bands as diverse as Gang of Four, Sonic Youth, The Beastie Boys, Tricky and Massive Attack, to new bands such as Chapter 24 and Warpaint.
Because Viv picked up her Telecaster again in 2007, her 17 year marriage imploded. During the following years she played live, wrote songs and recorded a 4 track EP called âFleshâ – released on Thurston Mooreâs Ecstatic Peace label. Touring the UK, Viv teamed up with different musicians and began to record again.
Viv says of the experience: âI was very bold. I met musicians as I went along and asked them to come and play. I didnât know anyone anymore. I just had to work on instinct, if I liked them, I assumed they would be right. And they always were. It was the most fun and exhilarating time of my life. No rules, just the songs and the musicians.â
With âThe Vermilion Borderâ (a biological term for the border between the reddish skin of the lip and the more regular skin of the face), Viv is documenting a border crossing in different ways: from the safety of domesticity to the uncertainty of life as an artist; away from the comfort and bustle of family life, towards solitude and introspection. And even the juxtaposition of the featured bass players with her signature trebly guitar-playing is the meeting of two distinct planes.
Throughout this exploration, she always has the goal of personal freedom and self expression in her sights. The songs tell a story – with humour and fighting spirit – beginning with anger, moving through disillusionment and finally, at the end of the record, arriving at a breakthrough where she regains her ability to see beauty in the world again.
The featured players are; Jack Bruce (Cream), Jenny Lee Lindberg (Warpaint), Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads), Wayne Nunes (Tricky), Glen Matlock (The Sex Pistols), Richard Pike (PVT – Warp Records), Dennis Bovell, Norman Watt Roy (Blockheads, Wilko), Danny Thompson (Nick Drake, John Martyn, Pentangle).
Viv is currently composing a verbal score for a collaboration with the Turner nominated artist, Fiona Banner, and writing a book about her life, âClothes Clothes Clothes, Music Music Music, Boys Boys Boysâ to be published by Faber and Faber in Spring 2014.