“SONG FOR EWE”
with SIMON WOLSTONECROFT of THE FALL
“SONG FOR EWE” is the feature where artists beloved by VELVET SHEEP choose an obscure song they’ve been listening to that day.
My fav band The Fall love a drummer, and not many more than this man. In the band for a critically stellar period, he also co-wrote the band’s only original Top 40 hit, in “Free Range”, a song that originally got me into the band. Famously he was in The Stone Roses before they became the Roses with childhood mates John Squire & Ian Brown, and also in The Smiths before they became The Smiths, with Johnny Marr & Andy Rourke – leaving because he wasn’t enamoured of Moz’s voice.
Noel Gallagher also once asked him to be in a band. He turned him down. But hey you know all this, cos you’ve probably got his memoir “You Can Drum, But You Can’t Hide”. For me, he’s part of a classic period in a classic band, from 1986 – 1997 “Bend Sinister” to “Levitate”. If you like he’s the equivalent to Tom Baker being my Dr. Who. Sure there have been other great drummers since, Kieron Melling is my David Tennant and he had big boots to fill with Burns (Jon Pertwee) as a predecessor, but with his “song for ewe” there really is only one Simon (Si) Wollstonecroft!
Si played on “Bend Sinister”, “The Frenz Experiment”, “I Am Kurious Oranj”, the brilliant “Extricate” whose song “Bill Is Dead” was number 1 in Peel’s Festive Fifty, “Shiftwork”, “Code: Selfish” (truly my entry point to the band), “The Infotainment Scan” (still one of my all-time favourite albums by any band, and very evocative of some rites of passage in my Gravesend yoof), “Middle Class Revolt” (back to a double drummer period with Burns), “Cerebral Caustic” (return of Brix, and when I also first saw the band live), “Light User Syndrome” (where Si also racked up some writing credit) and finally “Levitate” (also Karl Burns last for the band). There’s no doubt some ace albums in that list, and with him on the fringes of many great Manchester moments, it’s well worth reading Si’s book.
I asked Si what he’s up to at the moment:
“Since writing my memoirs, “You Can Drum But You Can’t Hide”, I’ve hooked up with (Fall producer) Mike Bennett again, to record with his new band The Stemz, featuring singers like the late Diane Charlemegne (Urban Cookie Collective) and Neville Staples of the Specials.
I’m presently recording an album with another new band The G-O-D which will surface before we play at this year’s Kendal Calling Festival in July, so keep your ‘ears on'”
“I first heard the song (Kim Fowley’s “The Trip”) when I was a member of Terry Hall’s latest project The Colourfield, way back in 1984. We covered the track on The Tube, a live television show filmed in Newcastle.
Fowley sounded like a Motown artist to me, which I’d grown up listening to, so was surprised to find out the maverick singer/producer was in fact, white.
Flying dogs, emerald rats, silver cats. Weird. I loved it.
Later, Mike Bennett told me Kim stayed at his flat in London for three weeks and got down on his hands and knees on the pavement outside, snarling and baring his teeth at a vicious, passing stray dog’s face. The dog backed down.
I love an outsider.”