period of music history between 1979 and 1981 is both memorable and
mind-boggling. With New Wave rock bands superceding the popularity
of progressive rock and even jazz-rock, at the dawn of the 1980's
it seemed like post-punk pop bands were popping up everywhere. Music
producer Paul Simon has great memories of that era, including
his time recording with The Civilians and his follow up band called
The Fallout Club, who are further memorialized on a 2016 CD
ep called Pedestrian Walkway. A vital, though
overlooked collaboration between drummer Paul Simon, then rising keyboardist
/ composer Thomas Dolby, the late vocalist Trevor Herion
and bassist Matthew Seligman, the Pedestrian Walkway
CD EP features the original track plus four remixes of the Thomas
Dolby composed track that also includes newly recorded parts to the
track by Paul Simons brother Robin Simon and Gina
Watson, vocalist in Simons current band AjantaMusic. With
stunning concept artwork by rock journalist John Mendelssohn,
the five track Fallout Club CD provides keen insight into that classic
early 1980s, steeley, post New Wave era and also what could have been
had the band stuck together. From the following early 2017 interview,
Paul Simon tells mwe3.com, Tom wrote the song Pedestrian
Walkway and produced the original track. I knew nothing of its
antecedence or subject matter prior to hearing it in demo form on
a cassette tape. Although the demo is similar in arrangement to the
finished track, The Fallout Club took it to another level. Tom's synth
work is awesome. The rhythm section, Matthew Seligman and me, hold
the groove down. Trevor's vocals have inimitable character. He was
a man of style with a great voice. It's sad he is no longer with us.
Many of Simons early '80s New Wave rock recordings have been
reissued by his label Stratotester Records and The Fallout Club remix
CD of Pedestrian Walkway is a most welcome addition to a growing
catalog of current and archival releases.
an interview with PAUL SIMON
The Pedestrian Walkway interview
mwe3: What's the story behind the track Pedestrian Walkway?
Paul Simon: I have already released the Dream Soldiers
EP by The Fallout Club and this release features the flip side of
that single plus remixes as the Pedestrian Walkway EP.
I left Cowboys International in 1980 to start an independent record
label. Happy Birthday Records was formed and we based the company
at Marcus Music Studios in Kensington, West London.
Thomas Dolby sent us a cassette of several of his songs, Pedestrian
Walkway, Airwaves, New Toy, Sale
Of The Century, and a previously released single, Leipzig
and Urges which was released by Andy Partridge of XTC.
On the strength of these tracks, we signed him to the label.
mwe3: How did the Fallout Club lineup come together?
Paul Simon: Before Cowboys International I had formed a group
called The Civilians whose lead vocalist was Trevor Herion. Trevor
had proved to be an enigmatic character, and his vocal talent was
immense, so we decided to link him up with Tom. Trevor had already
released a very minimum sounding solo single using the name, and The
Fallout Club thus became Trevor and me plus Tom and his friend Matthew
Seligman. Incidentally, around this time, I saw Tom play live with
the Lena Lovich band and Matthew play bass live with The Thompson
mwe3: How was the original track recorded and what can you
tell me about the lyrics, etc?
Paul Simon: We recorded Dream Soldiers and Pedestrian
Walkway at Marcus Music Studios in Bayswater, West London. Both
tracks were originally recorded in the main studio at Marcus via a
Harrison desk, to a Studer 24 track two inch tape machine. Mix down
was to half inch tape on an Otari 2-track machine.
played live drums to Tom's one-finger root note sequencer lines played
live. We did not have a sequencer or synchronization to the 2"
24 track machine. It was pre-Midi. Tom built the track up with keyboard
overdubs, firstly on his Roland Jupiter 4. Later in the session, Les
of the Lena Lovich band loaned Tom a Sequential Circuits Prophet 5
synthesiser for final synth overdubs. After Matthew added live bass
using his Fender Jazz, Trevor did the vocals.
Tom wrote the song Pedestrian Walkway and produced the
original track. I knew nothing of its antecedence or subject matter
prior to hearing it in demo form on a cassette tape. Although the
demo is similar in arrangement to the finished track, The Fallout
Club took it to another level. Tom's synth work is awesome. The rhythm
section, Matthew Seligman and me, hold the groove down. Trevor's vocals
have inimitable character. He was a man of style with a great voice.
It's sad he is no longer with us.
The original sessions were fun. It was fascinating to see Tom build
the track entirely from a 'head' arrangement. Although the studio
was state of the art we only had one synth and no synchronization.
Tom was great at programming analogue synths and the sounds on the
track bear witness to his skill.
mwe3: Did you do any other recordings on Happy Birthday Records?
Paul Simon: I also recorded a solo single under the name Paul
Duppre on the label with Fiachra Trench and former members of Cowboys
International, Jimmy Hughes and Evan Charles. We rehearsed for the
recordings in the West End of London, before moving to Marcus for
After I left Happy Birthday I recorded a second Paul Duppre solo single
at Jacob's Studio in Farnham with another former 'Cowboy' Lee Robinson
(ex Boney M and Marcia Griffiths) on bass and Robin Simon on guitar.
Fiachra Trench was my keyboard player and co-producer for both Paul
Duppre singles. I had met Fiachra when I was in Cowboys International
and we worked and wrote together from then on for several years. He
is best known for his work with Paul McCartney and Van Morrison.
How were the new versions recorded and on what equipment?
Paul Simon: On my recording for this and other Stratotester
Records releases, I work with engineer and keyboard player, Tony Bywaters
(The Executive/George Michael). We record at Tony's studio in Watford
and at my home in West London on my writing rig. We both use Steinberg
Cubase 9.5 recording software on custom-built PCs. I also record Robin
on location in North Yorkshire and Jurgen Graf in Ibiza.
As with the previous Fallout Club EP, I first cleaned up the original
analogue mix and then developed the track, overdubbing, arranging
and editing as necessary. My brother Robin Simon (Ultravox, Magazine,
Visage, John Foxx) put a lot of work into the guitar parts on the
remix tracks. Gina Watson (AjantaMusic) adds her character harmonies.
Tom can also be heard singing. After mixing with Tony at his studio,
I remastered all the tracks including the original mix.
mwe3: Will there be more releases from The Fallout Club?
Paul Simon: There were a couple of other tracks released as
The Fallout Club and I plan to compile a Fallout Club album, bringing
all the tracks together, plus the best of my remixes. Hopefully, I
can do a Fallout Club Live show in London to accompany the album at
some point in the future.
mwe3: Who did the artwork and the videos for the two Fallout
The artwork for the Pedestrian Walkway EP and the Dream
Soldiers EP was done by John Mendelssohn. It was my idea to use
Japanese Kabuki theater as a visual theme. For me, something about
Kabuki chimes with Trevor's character. Also Matthew Seligman lives
in Japan, which is a link.
For both Fallout Club releases, Dream Soldiers and Pedestrian
Walkway, I worked with Colin Minchin (One The Juggler) on the
videos. Colin and I first worked together in the mid-1980s, when I
produced an album for Dave Roberts, which was an industrial rock project,
which was later released in America on Cleopatra Records. Colin played
all the guitars whilst Carrie Booth (Thompson Twins, Shakespeare's
Sister) played grand piano. We recorded at John Foxx's studio, The
Garden, in Shoreditch, East London.
Did you keep in touch with Trevor after the sessions?
Paul Simon: I left Happy Birthday Records and went on to writing,
recording and producing with a series of bands throughout the 1980s.
I only saw Trevor once again. That was around '84-'85 in the Marquee
Club in London. We discussed at length our time spent working together,
and parted as good friends.
mwe3: Do you still see Thomas Dolby?
Paul Simon: No, Tom moved to the US many years ago, although
he and I exchanged regards via Matthew over the years and met again
during his time living in the UK recently. He has now returned to
the States and is currently Professor of Arts at John Hopkins University.
I have always liked Tom's music and am proud to have recognized his
potential and worked with him at a formative stage of his career.
In addition to Thomas Dolby, I have worked with some of the other
leading synth players of that era, including Billy Currie (Ultravox,
Visage), Dave Formula (Magazine) and Hans Zimmer (The Buggles). Hans
is now best known for his numerous Hollywood move scores.
mwe3: What else are you working on?
Paul Simon: I have been very busy working on several projects
simultaneously for my label Stratotester Records. I have done some
work on a new AjantaMusic release, which will include some remixes
of earlier tracks alongside new and previously unreleased material.
My brother Robin and I have also continued recording the album for
our new synth-based project. We retain our pool of additional players,
Jurgen Graf, Tony Bywaters and Matthew Seligman, plus Finland's Mauno
Pajanen and Ladbroke Grove's Gareth Redfern. We have around 15 tracks
in development and will be auditioning vocalists in the Spring.
and I have now concluded our work with the final lineup of Visage.
We were brought in originally by Rusty Egan, with Robin on guitar
and myself on engineering and production work. We released two albums
with Visage, Hearts and Knives and Demons and Diamonds.
Sadly, Steve Strange died in early 2015, which brought the band to
an end. Since then we have returned to work with Rusty Egan on his
excellent new album Welcome to the Dancefloor.
have been focusing on expanding the roster of my label, Stratotester
Records. I now have releases from AjantaMusic, The Civilians and The
Fallout Club on the label. Future releases include the Paul Duppre
solo singles and Pleasure Pack, a later 1980s band I formed with Robin
Simon and Fiachra Trench. This lineup also featured guest guitarist
Rob Dean (Japan).
am also planning to release a label sampler album. This will feature
all the Stratotester acts plus the first releases from the new project.
Still on the desk is the live album from The Civilians, recorded at
Camden Palace in London in 1979. Interestingly, at this gig we played
a brace of new songs, which are not on A Taste of the Future,
the already-released Civilians studio album. I am also working on
a new AjantaMusic release.
Are you still releasing hard copy or have you gone to download-only
releases? Will you release on vinyl?
Paul Simon: I am still selling hard copy CDs of all my releases
via www.ajantamusic.com and release digitally through my distributor,
All my releases are on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon MP3 and all the leading
digital outlets. In my opinion, with regard to formats, CD is best
as it contains wav files. I record digitally and although it's great
to see the vinyl resurgence helping music sales, remember, for the
full vinyl experience of the past your audio source would have to
be pure analogue. Virtually no one records like this today, so now
whatever you hear on vinyl is compromised by having a digital source.
However, it's a popular format so maybe my first vinyl release is
on the way. I have fond memories of the LP cover and its many uses.
mwe3: Do you intend to return to live in Ibiza?
Simon: I visit Ibiza often as I can and I still have many friends
there from the years Robin and I spent living on the island. Nowadays
I also go there to work with Jurgen Graf who, although originally
from Dusseldorf, has been an Ibiza resident for many years. Jurgen
is arguably the best electric guitarist on Ibiza and a superb keyboard
player. It's great to work in his studio on AjantaMusic and the new
album project Rob and I are currently doing in the UK. I have no plans
to live on Ibiza again as, although there is plenty of work in high
season, it is very difficult to find enough work during the winter,
whereas in London I am busy as a DJ all year round, in addition to
my work on the label.