Thursday 7 March 2019

Dave Simpson's "The Fallen" (2008, rev. ed. 2009): an index

On 5th January 2006, The Guardian newspaper published an article by Dave Simpson, entitled "Excuse Me, Weren't You in The Fall?" (Link), in which Simpson wrote about attempting to track down and interview 43 former Fall members.

The article featured Mark E. Smith, Tommy Crooks, Marc Riley, Steve Hanley, Paul Hanley, "Eric the Ferret" (Eric McGann), Tony Friel, Kay Carroll, Brix Smith, Adrian Flanagan, Nick Dewey, Adam Helal (though only to say that Neville Wilding was in Guadalajara), Ben Pritchard, Ed Blaney, Dave Bush, Una Baines, and Craig Scanlon.

A book publisher got in touch, and Simpson embarked on an all-consuming two year search for ex-Fall members. The research for the article and book had real-world effects, putting former group colleagues back in touch with each other and making some realise that they had stories to tell (Steve Hanley's book was to follow), all amid the disintegration of Simpson's relationship with his partner (see: "The Curse of The Fall", The Guardian, 17 September 2008).

Simpson's book was first published in hardback by Canongate in September 2008 (ISBN 9781847670496).  A revised paperback ("NOW with added ex-members!", the cover proclaimed) followed in August 2009, also published by Canongate (ISBN 9781847671448).  It contained three new "Fallen".

The hardback is subtitled, "Searching for the missing members of The Fall".  The paperback is subtitled, "Life in and out of Britain's most insane group."

Simpson later (a year or so after the publication of the book) uncovered the real name of the first Fall drummer. Often referred to as Dave, he was actually Steve Ormrod, who tragically took his own life in August 1994 (see Simpson's blog posting here, and a Guardian report about the case reproduced on this Fall Online Forum thread).

The table below lists all the interviews featured in the books, citing the relevant page numbers of the substantive content.  Since the books lack indexes, this is time-saving information if nothing else.

The hardback and paperback editions have the same page numbering up until the additional "Fallen".  The side by side comparison is probably unnecessary but might be useful to somebody out there.

I've also included a datasheet including all the names (some of them not interviewed) in Simpson's full list of "The Fallen", included at the beginning of his book (I've used Steve Ormrod's correct name; when the book was published he was listed as "Steve AKA Dave"). 

Note that Simpson defines a member of The Fall as follows:
to qualify as a Fallen, a musician will have to have played an instrument live with the group.  This rules out Adrian Niman, who played saxophone for 15 seconds on the Room to Live album in 1982, but includes Stuart Estell, who "joined " The Fall from the audience for an encore in Reading in 1998. (pp.29-30).
I call this "Simpson's Rule". Note that Simpson thereby excludes musicians who only appeared on record, but that he also includes vocalists like Lucy Rimmer and backing vocalists like Kay Carroll and Mike Bennett.  Note also that Simpson's book in fact omits various musicians who qualify as Fallen by his criteria who ought to have been included but were not (perhaps because they have only subsequently come to light - but he did also omit Eleni Poulou).  For the sake of completeness, I have brought his list up to date and included the missing Fallen.  The data sheet indicates who these additions to Simpson's list are.

Like Simpson, I've omitted Coldcut, despite the fact they did play live with The Fall for a television broadcast.

A full list of all contributors is a project for another day.  The Fall Online biography is worth consulting in the meantime.

This datasheet reproduces Simpson's information as he listed it, except I have tended to only list each musician's main instrument(s) rather than every instrument they may have played live or on record (in the book, for example, Karl Burns is listed as playing drums, guitar, bass and keyboards).  This means that there are a couple of errors included in this data.

For the record, they are:

Eric McGann resigned on the day of The Fall's first Peel Session recording on 30th May 1978, but Simpson lists his final date as "June 1978".  He was also in the group at the What's On recording on 13 February 1978, so his start date should be at least that rather than "March".

Ruth Daniel played other dates than the one listed by Simpson.

I may find more in due course.

View, manipulate and download the data from Google Docs (includes full list of "The Fallen" according to Simpson's Rule).

Click here to download the datasheet as a CSV file.

Click here to download the datasheet as an excel (.xlsx) file.

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