Door 17: The Durutti Column

Have you heard of the band or better the musician of which Ian Curtis was a fan and former Red Hot Chili Pepper's guitarist John Frusciante called a genius and the best guitarist in the world: Vini Reilly's The Durutti Column.

Linked to and highly supported by Manchester's Tony Wilson and his record label Factory Records, the project was initially formed as a band in 1978 out of the remaining parts of the local punk band Fast Breeder. The name is derived from a misspelling of The Durruti Column, an anarchist military unit during the Spanish Civil War.

Later that year Vini Reilly, a classically-trained pianist and former guitarist for local punk band Ed Banger and The Nosebleeds joined the formation. The Durutti Column played at the Factory Club and had its first release on a Factory Compilation along bands like Joy Division. After that, three members left to form The Mothmen, later to become Simply Red. So it ended up being Vini Reilly's solo project.

The first album, released on Factory Records, was produced by legendary producer Martin Hannett. This was just a one time collaboration, but Vini Reilly continued to work with Factory until to its default in 1990, but he is still active today despite his rare media appearances and his disgust of the industry.


Vini Reilly's music is not comparable to other post-punk projects, as he often works in sketches giving an unfinished impression. His guitar play and husk voice melodically combine happiness and melancholy, which are audible through his entire body of work. A biographer nicely summarized the band: The basic idea behind Durutti Column's music is to break with whatever structure supports the foundations of musical formalism, in order to try and create a kind of music which really can belong to everyone.