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Burn Like Fire: Interview with Vacation’s Wayne Memmer

Last year, The Cure performed their 1981 album Faith together with two other records for the four-hour Reflections concert at the Sydney Opera House. Hailed as a historic performance, Robert Smith and Co. ran through three big sets consisting of Three Imaginary Boys, Seventeen Seconds and then Faith. For the latter, the band picked up “The Holy Hour” as the 32nd track in the performance— the first from that record and being on the side one of the original tape release. The clamor for a reunion album with The Cure’s original key players Lol Tolhurst and Roger O’Donnell (as they played in Reflections) were loud but nothing materialized after the shows. Now and then, a The Cure tribute album (like NME’s Pictures of You, Just Like Heaven: A Tribute to the Cure and many others) surfaces to celebrate the music created by the band and nurtured thereafter by the fans. The need to remember the psychedelic melancholy and of course, much like in any other tributes, the nostalgia that Smith and his crew started in the suburbs of Crawley in ’76 visited the indie fence, this time initiated by the New York band Vacation. The Holy Hour, made up of ten The Cure standouts, were curated by Vacation’s Wayne Memmer and Rachel Asher with some help from nine other bands that are wildly talented on their own. Memmer took some time to answer some questions about the compilation and plans about his band Vacation. (Listen to the The Holy Hour in full here.)

Finally I found the time listening to The Holy Hour last night and the opener “Fire In Cairo” by Brown Bread was just the best way to kick it off. How were you able to gather these interesting artists for the compilation?

Wayne Memmer: Well, some of the artists I know in “real life” and other artists I was just a fan of their music, either by seeing them on a blog or playing a show with them.  I’ve been friends with Becky (Brown Bread) for a long time.  We used to be in a couple bands together, too.  I’m also very good friends with Tim Dunne who records under the name Pedenenious.  

Some well-known The Cure tracks are in the record, some of them so classic other bands might not try to shake them a bit. I noticed a lot of variation with the bands’ takes on them like Setting Sun‘s take on “Pictures of You” or probably the most famous one “Friday I’m In Love” done by Four More Years (which sounds to me like listening from a tape). How was it for the bands doing those songs, I mean, was it a specific intention to not be like the original?

Well, I can’t speak for the other bands, but as a whole it does seem like all the artists involved put in a lot of work to make each cover sound like their own and I think every artist succeeded in doing so. Speaking for Vacation, I know that we definitely wanted to put our own spin on “Close To Me.” We saw no reason to record the cover exactly like the original. There isn’t much fun in doing that. 

Kelly Schirmann: “A Night Like This”

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