The Fall’s former bassist Steve Hanley heads to Islington to launch tell-all new book

Steve Hanley

Steve Hanley - Credit: Archant

A member of seminal post-punk group The Fall heads to Islington on Friday to launch his tell-all memoir to the public.

The Fall: Beggars Banquet photo shoot, Camden, 1984. (L to R) Paul Hanley, Mark E Smith, Karl Burns,

The Fall: Beggars Banquet photo shoot, Camden, 1984. (L to R) Paul Hanley, Mark E Smith, Karl Burns, Brix Smith, Steve Hanley, Craig Scanlon. - Credit: Archant

Steve Hanley, former bassist with the band, will be giving a talk and signing copies of his book The Big Midweek at Waterstones, in Islington Green, from 8pm.

After spending more than 17 years with The Fall, Mr Hanley helped define the sound and innovative reputation of a group that was renowned for never fitting in.

“The book’s a story really, a story about a band - an idiosyncratic band,” said Hanley. “I’m telling the story of a lad growing up in the music business, living the dream and becoming disillusioned with it”.

The Fall have performed for nearly 40 years, although only one member, front man Mark E. Smith, has never left.

“I wanted to dispel the myth that The Fall was just Mark Smith and a bunch of hired hands - it’s a myth perpetuated by Mark.

“Sure, the line up changed over the years but there was a solid core of the band, a handful of us.”

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Asked why this was the first book to have come from inside the band since it was formed in 1974, Hanley’s answer was resolute: “Everyone’s too damaged”.

He added: “There are perhaps three people who could write it, who were in it for long enough to give a real viewpoint, but it’s especially difficult when you’re writing about real people.”

Stormy relations between the band’s front man and The Fall’s other members came to characterise the group. “From my point of view I didn’t know any different. I’d gone into the group straight from school, the dynamic under Mark became my day to day.”

Olivia Piekarski who co-wrote the book said: “The book’s written in the first person, it’s a real insider’s perspective but with the benefit of hindsight.”

Mr Hanley added: “There were things that I can write about now that I couldn’t comment on at the time - things that I would have done differently, things I wouldn’t have signed - we signed away lots of the rights over the ‘I am Kurious, Oranj’ ballet but they were doing boxsets and remakes 30 years later.”

While The Fall are perhaps best known for their eccentric style and puzzling lyrics, The Big Midweek also explores life as part of The Fall family.

Ms Piekarski said: “People think of The Fall as dark and mysterious but their story has so many funny moments that we wanted to bring out.”

Mr Hanley added: “The work ethic made The Fall what it was - a real Manchester working class attitude that other bands just didn’t have.

“Sure, not every album was great but it was a real diary of what the band was doing. Making so much music allowed us to experiment and take risks, to not worry about it”

He added: “Public speaking isn’t really what bass players do but we can’t wait to launch the book. It’s had such a great reception from the most important critics - the fans.

Steve Hanley and Olivia Piekarski will be giving a talk and signing copies of the book at Waterstones Islington from 8pm on Friday.