List of the Fall band members
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One of the most notable aspects of the career of the British musical group the Fall has been the number of musicians to have passed through the group since their formation in 1976. The group has just one constant, vocalist Mark E. Smith. Aside from him, there have been about 66 members over the band's 41-year existence, with about a third of the musicians lasting for less than a year. This article lists all formal members of the group, starting with the current line-up before looking at previous members in chronological order of their first appearance with the band. A number of guests and people with brief stays in the group are listed afterwards.
Mark E. Smith — vocals, occasional keyboards, guitar, violin and other instruments
- See Mark E. Smith
Pete Greenway — guitar (2006–present)
- Initially appeared as stand-in for Tim Presley (when Presley was unavailable) although he also appeared alongside him. Guests on Reformation Post TLC and became sole guitarist during 2007.
Dave Spurr — bass (2006–present)
- Initially brought in during 2006 to cover for Rob Barbato due to his commitments with Darker My Love, though he later played alongside him in a twin-bass line-up both at the group’s gigs and on the Reformation Post TLC album before becoming sole bassist in 2007.
Keiron Melling — drums (2006, 2007–present)
- Originally stood in for Orpheo McCord at The Village, Dublin on 7 October 2006 (although the group did play one show with both on 12 November 2006 at the Old Boddington's Brewery, Manchester) before becoming the sole drummer of the band in 2007. His first recording with the group was Imperial Wax Solvent.
Paul Bonney — drums (2016–present)
- Salford-based drummer of The Australian Pink Floyd Show. Played second drums alongside Melling for three Scottish shows in 2016. Returned again in January 2017.
Martin Bramah — guitar, backing vocals, bass (1976–1979, 1989–1990)
- See Martin Bramah
Tony Friel — bass (1976–1977)
- See Tony Friel.
Una Baines — keyboards (1976–1978)
- See Una Baines
Steve Ormrod — drums (1977)
- Performed with the group for their first gig and was dismissed shortly afterwards. For several years, his exact name was unknown and he was usually referred to as "Dave" or "Steve" but with no surname. However, research by biographer Dave Simpson eventually led to his identity being resolved in 2010 following a correspondence with a former associate of Ormrod. . It was reported that he had committed suicide following a battle with mental illness and it has now been confirmed that Ormrod died in 1994. When interviewed for Simon Ford's Hip Priest book, Bramah recalled that the drummer offered the group a pro-Conservative song called "Landslide Victory" that was somewhat at odds with the group's left-wing political stance and was never performed.
Karl Burns — drums, bass, guitar, vocals, percussion, keyboards (1977–1979, 1981–1986 and intermittently between 1993 and 1998)
- See Karl Burns
Marc Riley — bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals (1978–1983)
- See Marc Riley
Yvonne Pawlett — keyboards (1978–1979)
- Replaced Baines, can be heard on Live At The Witch Trials and the "It's The New Thing" and "Rowche Rumble" singles. Ford reports that she now works in horticultural and environmental studies.
Kay Carroll — additional vocals, percussion (1979–1983)
- The group’s manager from late 1977, she contributed musically to all albums released from Dragnet to Room to Live inclusive, co-producing the latter. Carroll had previously worked as a psychiatric nurse. She was Smith’s partner and left the group when they split as a couple during a US tour in early 1983. Carroll opted to stay in the US where she settled. She now works with people suffering short-term memory problems and learning difficulties.
Mike Leigh — drums (1979–1980)
- Replaced Karl Burns, can be heard on "Rowche Rumble" and "Fiery Jack" singles; plus Dragnet, 77-Early Years-79 and Totale's Turns (It's Now or Never). Returned to the cabaret circuit then into insurance (as reported by Ford) in 1982. Recorded a single with Scottish band Twisted Hand and stayed as a part-time musician until the early 1990s. Became a sales trainer and manager for Prudential Assurance and gained an MBA in 1997, whilst working full-time in construction sales. Now employed as regional sales manager for a leading roofing systems manufacturer and also teaches English as a foreign language and scuba diving in his spare time. Leigh returned to music in late 2009 as drummer for the Salford-based band Pearl Divers. He left the band in September 2010 and joined Stockport band The Blimp of which Spencer Birtwistle was the previous drummer. He left The Blimp in 2012 to join Kill Pretty with Ian Moss (Sicknurse, The Hamsters) and Chris Dutton (Blue Orchids), with whom he is still drumming.
Steve Hanley — bass, backing vocals (1979–1998)
Craig Scanlon — guitar, backing vocals, keyboards (1979–1995)
- See Craig Scanlon
Paul Hanley — drums, keyboards (1980–1984, early 1986)
- See Paul Hanley
Brix Smith Start — guitar, vocals, keyboards, bass (1983–1989, 1994–1996)
- See Brix Smith
Simon Rogers — bass, keyboards, guitar (1984–1987), production (1987–1988, 1992–1993)
- See Simon Rogers
Simon Wolstencroft — drums, keyboards, programming (1986–1997)
Marcia Schofield — keyboards, percussion, vocals (1986–1990)
- Former member of New York band Khmer Rouge. Originally played alongside Rogers before the latter ceased performing with the group in 1987 (this 7 piece line-up was pictured in the gatefold sleeve of the "Hit The North" single). Can be heard on The Frenz Experiment, I Am Kurious Oranj, Seminal Live and Extricate as well as one song on Shift-Work. Resigned during the Australian leg of the Extricate tour, at the same time as Martin Bramah. Now a palliative care doctor.
Dave Bush — programming, keyboards (1991–1995)
- Originally worked as the band's roadie. Can be heard on Code: Selfish, The Infotainment Scan, Middle Class Revolt and Cerebral Caustic, although he claims to have been virtually removed from the latter during the mixing process. Joined Elastica after being sacked by Smith by letter in early 1995, staying with them until their split in 2001. Went on to study web design .
Julia Nagle — keyboards, guitar, programming, backing vocals (1995–2001)
- See Julia Adamson
Lucy Rimmer — vocals, keyboards (1994–1996)
- Classically trained singer. Occasionally appeared with the group both live and in studio, including two Peel Sessions. Contributed vocals to several songs on Cerebral Caustic and The Light User Syndrome, most of them cover versions. Smith’s fiancée at the time, she also ran the group’s fan club.
Tommy Crooks — guitar, vocals (1997–1998)
- Can be heard on Levitate as well as providing the artwork for that album and the single "Masquerade". Left, alongside Burns and Steve Hanley, after the onstage bust up in New York in April 1998.
Karen Leatham — bass (1998)
- Brought in by Nagle who knew her from Manchester band Wonky Alice. Left to participate in their reunion but can be heard on The Marshall Suite.
Tom Head a.k.a. Tom Murphy — drums (1998–2000)
- Can be heard on The Marshall Suite and The Unutterable. Left as his acting work took precedence. Died 4 October 2015 following an illness.
Neville Wilding — guitar, vocals (1998–2001)
- Can be heard on The Marshall Suite and The Unutterable, taking lead vocals on “Hands Up Billy” on the latter. Left following a legal dispute with the group's record company.
Adam Helal — bass, programming (1998–2001)
Ed Blaney — guitar, vocals (2000–2001, 2003–2004)
- Previously a member of Trigger Happy (alongside Jim Watts and Dave Milner), he was initially the group’s tour manager, later becoming their overall manager and assuming a musical role—he co-wrote several songs and contributed guitar and vocals to Are You Are Missing Winner and other releases from this period before resigning. Returned to a managerial role in 2003 (with the title “broker”) and contributed guitar to the group’s final Peel Session in 2004 before leaving again. In early 2008 it was announced that he had recorded new material with Mark E. Smith for a project outside of The Fall and the Voiceprint label has now released 2 albums by the duo; Smith And Blaney and The Train Part 3. He is currently managing The Fall again. Smith appears on several songs on Blaney's 2016 album Urban Nature.
Spencer Birtwistle — drums (2000–2001, 2004–2006)
- Previously a member of Laugh, The Bodines, and Intastella. Replaced Head on drums for Are You Are Missing Winner but was sacked before the end of the year. Collaborated with MES on “(Birtwistle’s) Girl In Shop” on the group’s (We Wish You A) Protein Christmas EP in 2003 before returning in 2004 to perform on the group's final Peel Session and the Fall Heads Roll album. Left during the group’s US tour of 2006 following an altercation with MES. Since then Birtwistle joined Stockport based band The Blimp which he subsequently left in 2009. His current band is Spencer Cloud and the Range Brothers.
Ben Pritchard — guitar, backing vocals (2001–2006)
- Guested on The Unutterable before joining full-time the following year. Left briefly in 2004, rejoining around a fortnight later. Can be heard on Are You Are Missing Winner, The Real New Fall LP and Fall Heads Roll. Walked out during the group’s US tour in 2006 claiming poor treatment by MES .
Dave Milner — drums, keyboards, vocals (2001–2004)
- Replaced Birtwistle for The Real New Fall LP but left before the follow-up could be recorded. Was replaced by the returning Birtwistle.
Jim Watts — bass, guitar, keyboards, backing vocals (2001–2003, 2004)
- Replaced Helal on bass, performing on Are You Are Missing Winner and The Real New Fall LP. Was sacked after a bust up in 2003. Rejoined the following year on his preferred instrument—guitar—contributing to the group’s final Peel Session but argued with Smith and left before the end of the year.
Elena Poulou — keyboards, vocals (2002–2016)
- Greek-German DJ and formerly a part of the electronic duo Zen-Faschisten. Married Smith in 2001 and joined the band in 2002. Can be heard on all albums from The Real New Fall LP forwards, taking a lead vocal on Reformation Post TLC, Imperial Wax Solvent and Ersatz G.B.. However, in 2016, her live appearances with the band became sporadic and in August, Smith confirmed to MOJO that she had left the band.
Simon Archer — bass, banjo, production, engineering (intermittent, 2003–present)
- Usually known as either "Ding" or "Dingo". Replaced Jim Watts on bass in 2003 but left around a year later to join P J Harvey’s touring band—he can be seen throughout her Please Leave Quietly DVD and is heard on a handful of Fall tracks from this period including the "Theme From Sparta FC #2" single. Returned to co-produce and appear on some tracks on Fall Heads Roll as well as briefly being the group’s soundman. Later toured as bassist for Frank Black. He engineered some tracks on Imperial Wax Solvent and his group Bobbie Peru supported The Fall on their March 2008 tour. He also performed with The Fall for around half their set at most shows. Although he has not performed with the group since, he has continued to work with the group in the studio, producing the group's 2009 single "Slippy Floor" as well as some other tracks on Your Future Our Clutter, co-producing Ersatz G.B. with Mark E. Smith and engineering Re-Mit with Grant Showbiz. He also plays bass on Indie Cindy by Pixies.
Steve Trafford — bass, guitar, backing vocals (2004–2006)
- Replaced Archer, can be heard on Fall Heads Roll. Left at the same time as Birtwistle and Pritchard for the same reasons. Has more recently worked with Paul Heaton. Currently plays guitar in Brix Smith Start's band Brix & The Extricated, which also features Steve and Paul Hanley. Has his own band Rubberbear which also contains Tom Chapman from New Order.
Tim Presley — guitar, backing vocals (2006–2007, 2011), Robert Barbato — bass, backing vocals, keyboards (2006–2007, 2013)
- Both members of Darker My Love, they initially joined the group to complete The Fall’s 2006 US tour—DML were out of action due to their drummer having a broken wrist. They balanced membership of The Fall with their commitments to DML for around a year and can be heard on the Reformation Post TLC album. Continue to record and perform with Darker My Love . Presley also records and performs as White Fence, and Barbato plays with Cass McCombs among others. Presley returned to the group in 2011 to stand in for Pete Greenway on a UK tour while the latter was on paternity leave, and later contributed guitar to several songs on 2013's Re-Mit. Barbato also stood in for Dave Spurr for two Irish shows in August 2013. Both contributed a song "Black Roof" to the bands's 2015 album Sub-Lingual Tablet.
Orpheo McCord — drums, backing vocals (2006–2007)
- Also brought in for the group’s 2006 US Tour, McCord was and remains a member of experimental duo The Hill. He can be heard on Reformation Post TLC. Is now playing with Cass McCombs.
Daren Garratt — drums, vocals (2013–2015)
- Former drummer of The Nightingales and Pram, also played in Pubic Fringe (aka Das Fringe) with Pete Greenway. Prior to joining The Fall, he guested on stage with them a few times, providing vocals and playing second drums on a one-off performance of "Pat-Trip Dispenser" in Leeds in 2009. In 2013 he appeared as a second drummer on The Remainderer EP, although his name wasn't included in the credits; played as sole drummer for The Fall for one German gig in December 2013 while Melling was on paternity leave. Since January 2014 he became a full-time member, playing second drums alongside Melling. Missed Australian tour in 2015 and hasn't performed with the band since then, although he still appeared on Wise Ol' Man EP in 2016.
This section lists people who only worked with group for a short time or who were only brought in on a temporary basis.
Chris Horrie — guitar (c. 1977)
- Claims that he played guitar in an early incarnation of the group, having met The Fall co-founder Una Baines while they were working at the same hospital. He states that he performed once with the group but that he "didn't fit in", because he "was much too normal". Horrie is now a journalist.
Johnnie Brown — bass (1978)
- Replaced Tony Friel and lasted around 6–8 weeks — this was long enough to design the sleeve for the Bingo Master’s Break-Out! EP but he does not appear on any recordings.
Rick Goldstraw a.k.a. Eric McGann a.k.a. Eric the Ferret — bass (1978)
- Replaced Brown and was equally short-lived. Filmed the group's first television appearance (for Granada) and co-wrote the song “Mess Of My” before joining John Cooper Clarke's band. Simon Ford reports that Goldstraw quit because he took exception to Steve Davies's Hawaiian shirt.
Steve Davies — percussion, drums (1978, 1980)
- Can be heard on the group’s first Peel Session playing congas. Later stood in on drums for a Dutch tour when Paul Hanley was unable to travel with the group.
Dave Tucker — clarinet, keyboards, guitar (1980–1981)
- Can be heard on the Slates EP and played live with the group during this era — he can be seen on the DVD Perverted by Language Bis/Live at Leeds.
Richard Mazda — saxophone (1981–1982)
- see Richard Mazda — produced “Lie Dream Of A Casino Soul” single and Hex Enduction Hour album. Contributed saxophone to the former.
Arthur Kadmon — guitar (1982)
- see Arthur Kadmon — played on "Hard Life in Country" on Room to Live. Is credited as "Arthur Cadman".
Adrian Niman — saxophone (1982)
- Played on the title track of Room to Live and received a co-writing credit for "Hexen Definitive/Strife Knot" on Perverted By Language.
Gavin Friday — vocals (1984)
- see Gavin Friday — guested on three songs recorded in 1984, all of which can be found on the current CD edition of The Wonderful And Frightening World Of The Fall.
Craig Leon — production, keyboards, guitar, backing vocals (1989–1992)
- Renowned US producer, first contributed when Smith used a track from his Nommos LP as a backing track ("Mollusc In Tyrol" on Seminal Live). Went on to produce tracks on Extricate, Shift-Work and Code: Selfish, providing additional vocals and instrumentation on each album.
Cassell Webb — vocals, keyboards (1990–1992)
- Long-time associate of Craig Leon with a lengthy recording career in her own right. Contributed to the same records as Leon with the exception of Seminal Live.
Mike Edwards — guitar (1990)
Charlotte Bill — flute (1990)
- Can be heard on Extricate and toured with the group in the UK. Later joined Martin Bramah's Blue Orchids.
Kenny Brady — violin, keyboards, vocals (1990–1991)
- Can be heard on Extricate and Shift-Work but is credited as a guest throughout. Also toured with the group sometimes during this period.
Kevin (surname unknown) — keyboards (1990)
- The group's roadie who, according to Steve Hanley's book The Big Midweek, filled in as a keyboardist at the group's Reading Festival appearance in 1990, following Marcia Schofield's departure. Hanley was unable to recall his full name.
John Peel — voice (1994)
- See John Peel. The group's most famous supporter, an edited section of Peel discussing a Manchester City game with guitarist Craig Scanlon (as broadcast on Peel's Saturday afternoon show) was used on the song "Symbol of Mordgan" on the Middle Class Revolt album.
Mike Bennett — production, vocals (1994–1996)
- Producer of Cerebral Caustic, The Light User Syndrome and "The Chiselers" single, he contributed additional vocals and occasionally appeared live with the group in this capacity.
Adrian Flanagan — guitar (1996–1997)
- Played a handful of gigs but did not record with the group. Later recorded solo as Kings Have Long Arms.
Keir Stewart — keyboards (1997), Simon Spencer — guitar (1996-1997)
- Spencer co-wrote "The Coliseum" on The Light User Syndrome and released the single "Plug Myself In" as D.O.S.E. featuring Mark E. Smith in 1996. Both Stewart and Spencer played live with The Fall on several occasions in 1997 (although never together) and were hired to produce Levitate; they quit after an argument with Smith and the album was finished without them. Later released a single "Inch" culled from the failed sessions under the name 'INCH feat. Mark E. Smith'. Simon Spencer died in 2003 after falling ill at the Glastonbury Festival.
Andy Hackett — guitar (1997)
- Can be heard on the Levitate album but did not gig with the group. Longtime guitarist for Edwyn Collins and former member of UK country group The Rockingbirds, he runs a guitar store in London.
Damon Gough — guitar (1998)
- Better known as Badly Drawn Boy, he co-wrote and played on one song, "Calendar" which was released as a b-side to the "Masquerade" single. Met when Smith mistook Gough's car for a taxi (a story later recounted in the song "Susan vs. Youthclub").
Kate Themen — drums (1998)
- Played drums for three UK gigs in April 1998 following the departures of Burns, Hanley and Crooks earlier that month.
Elspeth Hughes — sound effects (1998–1999)
- Sound engineer who contributed additional sounds and effects to the group's 1998 Peel Session and to The Marshall Suite. Credited as "Speth".
Steve Evets — bass, vocals (occasional 2000–2003)
- See Steve Evets. Brother of Tom Head and a friend of MES who occasionally contributed vocals live (as on the A Touch Sensitive DVD) and in the studio (as on The Unutterable) but also briefly stood in on bass after Jim Watts was sacked in 2003. Evets is a professional actor, best known for his leading role in Looking for Eric.
Brian Fanning — guitar (2001)
- Originally the group's guitar technician, Fanning played second guitar for a handful of dates in late 2001 and co-wrote "The Acute" on Are You Are Missing Winner.
Ruth Daniel — keyboards (2002)
- Played just one show with the group which was released as the A Touch Sensitive DVD. Alternated with Elena Poulou who joined the group full-time shortly afterwards.
Dougie James — vocals (2004–2006)
- Leader of the Dougie James Soul Train and friend of Smith who joined the group onstage to perform "Boxoctosis" on several occasions.
Safy a.k.a. SNIPER — visuals (2006–present)
- Although included in the group photograph on the cover of the US edition of Reformation Post TLC, he is not considered a member of the group but has been their regular support act with his 20–30 minute shows of video/audio, scratch/cut-up performance ("Star Search & Destroy"). He has also been seen filming many of the group's recent performances, including Last Night at The Palais.
Tamsin Middleton — vocals (2013)
- Guitarist and vocalist with Salford-based band Mr. Heart, she contributed vocals to "Touchy Pad" from The Remainderer EP.
All information in this article is taken from one of the following sources, unless otherwise indicated.
- Ford, Simon (2003). Hip Priest. Quartet Books. ISBN 0-7043-8167-2.
- Middles, Mick; Smith, Mark E. (2003). The Fall. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9762-4.
- Simpson, Dave (5 January 2006). "Excuse me, weren't you in the Fall?" (PDF). The Guardian. pp. 18–20. Retrieved 3 March 2015. (Simpson has since expanded this article into a book The Fallen. Canongate Books. 2008. ISBN 9781847671448. It was listed in The Times' best music books of 2008.)
- The Fall - Timeline and The Fall - Biography, both from The Fall online.