Saturday, March 27, 2010

From the Archives - Dave Simpson author of The Fallen

Songs To Learn And Sing - Dave Simpson author of The Fallen

Photo: Dave Simpson's The Fallen

From the Archives: I Interviewed Dave for the show upon the publication of The Fallen in 2009. We'd a great chat about his quest to track down all the ex-members of The Fall. I amused Dave with my own MES encounter, which involved operating a slide projector for a Fall gig in 1997. I shall now divulge the full story. 

I was involved in the promotion of a Fall gig in Cork in 1997. We spotted that they were playing Dublin, contacted the band's agent through the Mean Fiddler and Alan Fadd from Freakscene guaranteed the fee. We were on. The Fall hadn't played Cork in years so we were pretty confident the gig could breakeven. We were huge fans and did everything we could to coerce people into buying tickets - for weeks before  the gig, every Wednesday and Friday night, we hooked up a TV playing a Fall video at the ticketbox where people queued to get into Sir Henry's. We were faxed the PA and monitor-mix specifications from the band's agent and were completely freaked out by the cost of everything. John Robb's Gold Blade played in The Lobby a few weeks before the gig and their sound engineer also worked with The Fall, so he simply looked over the PA spec and crossed off loads of unnecessary equipment. It saved a fortune. We were so thrilled to be putting on a gig by The Fall we even got Jim Comic to print up laminated passes for us. We thought this was hilariously un-Fall like and it still remains my favourite piece of gig memorabilia.

Laminated Pass: The Fall - Sir Henry's, Cork 1997

On the day of the gig I had to chaperone MES and Julia Nagle from Sir Henry's over the Grand Parade and down the South Mall to RTE's studio where Uaneen Fitzsimons was waiting to interview him for No Disco. To this day I still have no idea what MES was saying to me on our 10-minute stroll around town. During soundcheck MES asked us if they could use a slide projector - Tommy Crooks, The Fall's guitarist, had a load of slides with him. They wanted me to simply project the slides behind the band during the gig. I remember putting the slides into the projector's tray and asking MES what order he wanted them projected in: "suit yerself, our kid thinks he's an artist" came the retort.  

The gig itself wasn't without insident - MES walked off, followed by the band, one or two songs in. I remember running backstage to see what was going on. MES was at one end of the room and the rest of the band were at the far end. Steve Hanley looked at me and even though nothing was said, the look he gave me was really reassuring, I knew things would be OK but I also knew that I had to get out and leave them to it. They returned to the stage a few minutes later and continued the set. It was a good gig.

Ticket Stub: The Fall - Sir Henry's, Cork 1997

Afterwards over a few scoops of Beamish, MES asked what I thought of the gig. Feeling disapointed that they hadn't played some of my favourite tracks and courageous with drink, I answered honestly, that I thought the gig was good but had expected more. MES looked at me and said, "but it's The Fall!" At the time I thought he was being a pretentious prat, now looking back on it I think he was right. He's uncompromising with a steely determination to push things forward, doesn't pander to fan's expectations and keeps surprising us. A new album, Your Future Our Clutter is coming in a few weeks on Domino - it's The Fall!

Steve Hanley, Tommy Crooks and Karl Burns would all leave The Fall after a New York gig at Brownies the following April. Their stories and those of the other Fallen are all in Simpson's book. If you even have a passing interest in the band I can wholeheartedly recommend it. As for MES he simply regrouped and went on to release some cracking albums in the last few years including Fall Heads Roll and Reformation Post TLC. They've also returned to Ireland on several ocasions to play live. Below the flyers you can download or listen to the Dave Simpson interview.

Flyer: The Fall - Redbox, Dublin 2001 

Flyer: The Fall - Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin 2001

Flyer: The Fall - Autumn Tour, 2001

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