THE FALLOUT CLUB
Pedestrian Walkway
(Stratotester Records / AjantaMusic)

 

That 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 Simon’s brother Robin Simon and Gina Watson, vocalist in Simon’s 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 Simon’s 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.






mwe3.com presents
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 Twins.

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.

I 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 recording.

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.

mwe3: 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 Club EPs?

Paul Simon:
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.

mwe3: 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.

Robin 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.

I 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).

I 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.

mwe3: 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, Glasgow-based Emubands.

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?

Paul 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.



 

 
   
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